Dean's Weekly Message

September 12, 2016


Dear colleague: 

University of Colorado President Bruce D. Benson announced last Wednesday that private support for CUreached a record $384.5 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, with the Anschutz Medical Campus leading the way, accounting for $203 million. Generous support of donors, alumni, charitable foundations and corporations is essential to the continued success of CU and the School of Medicine in particular. The university’s announcement of private support noted that philanthropic support for cancer initiatives totaled nearly $27.5 million, supporting research and individualized care at the CU Cancer Center and throughout the School of Medicine. We are grateful for the support and commend the hard work of all who helped raise the money, including the staff in the Office of Advancement, the CU Foundation and all who work on nurturing and sustaining relationships with those who support us. 

While private support is crucial for our future, we have also been fortunate to have strong allies in the public sector as well. In a ceremony on Aug. 31 in Building 500 on the Anschutz Medical Campus, the CU Cancer Center renamed its board room the State Senator Pat Steadman Board Room. The designation honors Sen. Steadman, who shepherded the first-ever state of Colorado appropriation for cancer research through the legislative process. “Losing my partner Dave to cancer was one of my motivations for supporting a dedicated funding source for the Cancer Center,” Sen. Steadman said. “But I’ve lost many to cancer: my father, my nephew, my uncle, my friends. My support for the Cancer Center is for them.” 

The National Behavioral Health Innovation Center held its board meeting and an open house last Tuesday. The center will be an important support network collaborating with prevention, early-intervention, treatment and recovery-support programs here and nationwide. One example is Aurora’s Second Chance program, which has reduced recidivism rates locally and can use the center’s expertise to develop plans to replicate that success on a larger scale. Another example is the center’s partnering with the Colorado Office of Suicide Prevention and the U.S. Department of Defense to use the New Hampshire Gun Shop Project as a model for programs in communities where military bases are located. The Anschutz Foundation has provided the initial financial support to launch the center. 

Emmy Betz, MD, MPH, associate professor of emergency medicine, was featured in a Colorado Public Radio report on Sept. 2 that featured her work on a collaboration between Colorado gun shops and public health leaders to prevent suicide. Emmy made a presentation at the Centennial Gun Club, which is one of 46 shops in Colorado that are participating in the Colorado Gun Shop Project. Emmy has been a leading national researcher on topics related to firearms safety and physician conversations with their patients her participation in this project is an excellent example of community service. 

The Eugene S. Farley, Jr. Health Policy Center announced last week that it has been awarded a $1 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to establish a technical assistance program for designing policies that help integrate behavioral health into care. During the next 15 months, the Farley Health Policy Center will create communications products, such as videos and policy briefs; establish a network of technical assistance providers; and assess outreach efforts that are aimed at helping policy makers and providers, payers and philanthropies transition to practices that integrate behavioral health. The center includes many faculty appointees in the Department of Family Medicine. 

Wendy Kohrt, PhD, professor of medicine in the Division of Geriatric Medicine, has been named the inaugural Nancy Anschutz Chair in Women’s Health Research, an endowed chair in the Center for Women’s Health Research. Wendy is a preeminent researcher in women’s health whose work has been funded for more than 25 years. Her research is focused in two main areas:  metabolic actions of sex steroids, and novel factors that influence musculoskeletal adaptations to exercise. She is also a dedicated and successful mentor. Wendy is highly deserving of this honor as an academic leader on our campus. She is co-associate director of the Center on Women’s Health Research; principal investigator of a National Institutes of Health-funded Specialized Centers of Research on Sex Differences; head of the Investigations in Metabolism, Aging, Gender, and Exercise research group; an associate director of the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute; and associate director of research for the Eastern Colorado VA Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center. 

Congratulations to Michael Harper, a senior medical student at the School of Medicine, who was one of 21 medical students nationwide to receive the 2016 Benjamin H. Kean Travel Fellowship in Tropical Medicine. Michael received his PhD in immunology through the Medical Scientist Training Program studying innate immunity to HIV-1. Michael’s project is “Adolescent Immune Responses to Vaccination against Mycobacterium tuberculosis” and he will be conducting his research in South Africa. 

Congratulations to Margaret E. Wierman, MD, professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics, and obstetrics and gynecology, on receiving the Outstanding Mentor Award from the Endocrine Society, one of 14 leaders in the endocrinology field to receive the group’s 2017 Laureate Awards. This annual award recognizes a career commitment to mentoring and a significant positive impact on mentees’ education and careers. According to the Society’s announcement of the award: “She ensures each has a strong scientific foundation to allow them to become ‘detectives’ in understanding a complex patient or making an important experimental advance in the laboratory. Her insatiable thirst for new knowledge that can be applied to the laboratory bench and ultimately the bedside encourages trainees. She helps each mentee to develop the skill sets and expertise to accomplish their goals. Throughout her career as a physician scientist, Wierman has mentored postdoctoral fellows, graduate and medical students, residents and fellows with an infectious enthusiasm.” 

Thomas Smith, MD, associate professor of pediatrics (hematology-oncology), has been elected President of the Denver Clinical and Pathological Society (DCPS) for 2016-2017. DCPS is the oldest medical society in Denver and will turn 125 years old in 2017. Thomas joins the company of noted past University of Colorado physicians including Bruce Paton, MD, Joseph St. Geme, Jr., MD, and C. Henry Kempe, MD, who have participated as members and served as President of DCPS. 

John Fluke, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics and associate director of system research and evaluation at the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect, received the Distinguished Service Award from the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect at the International Congress in Calgary, Canada, on Sept. 1.  

Edward Ashwood, MD, professor of pathology and vice chair of clinical pathology for the School of Medicine and laboratory director for the University of Colorado Hospital, has received the 2016 Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine from the AACC (American Association for Clinical Chemistry). Edward has served as chair of the AACC’s Rocky Mountain section and on many committees for the organization. His research has focused on regulation of laboratory developed tests, standardization of clinical chemistry tests, determination of reference values, and laboratory assessment of pregnancy. 

The Medical Alumni Association is hosting a night at the ballet on Friday, Oct. 14, at 5pm at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at the Denver Center for Performing Arts. The evening will include a pre-performance reception and the Colorado Ballet’s performance of Swan Lake.  For more information, call the Office of Alumni Relations at 303-724-2518 or register online. CU School of Medicine faculty, staff, students, and alumni are invited to attend. I hope to see you there.  

A newly published book of essays, Miracles We Have Seen – America’s Leading Physicians Share Stories They Can’t Forget, features 20 University of Colorado School of Medicine faculty members, including Lia Gore, MD, Benjamin Honigman, MD, and former Dean Richard Krugman, MD.  The book was edited by Harley A. Rotbart, MD, professor and vice chair emeritus of the School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics. All author proceeds from sales of the book will be donated to charities designated by the physicians contributing to the collection. 

The School’s Foundations of Doctoring Curriculum is currently recruiting clinical preceptors for new first-year medical students. This three-year longitudinal preceptorship program allows students to participate in patient care, gain exposure to various medical fields, and apply knowledge from medical school didactics under the supervision and guidance of practicing physicians. Students work with their preceptor two to three afternoons per month while school is in session. All medical specialties are encouraged to participate in the preceptorship program, but we are in particular need of primary care preceptors for our new medical students.  For additional information or to apply as a preceptor, visit the Preceptor/Teacher Resources page of the Foundations of Doctoring website. 

The fifth Education Scholarship & Innovation Symposium, hosted by the Academy of Medical Educators, is set for Tuesday, Jan. 31, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. All Anschutz students, residents, graduate students, post-docs and faculty are invited to submit an abstract on educational research and/or innovations in the health sciences professions. Abstracts are due by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 1. For additional details about the abstract submission process, please check the Academy’s Call for Abstracts webpage. All abstracts will be considered for poster presentations, and some will be selected for oral presentations. 

This Wednesday, Sept. 14, is the Fourth Annual Anschutz Medical Campus Block Party in Bonfils Circle, directly south of Building 500. Everyone is invited to attend. There will be more than 80 booths featuring information about services and programs on our campus and from the Aurora community. Also, there will be food trucks and musical performances. 

Henry Claman, MD, Distinguished Professor of the University of Colorado, died on Saturday, Sept. 3, leaving a legacy of scientific and humanistic accomplishment that will inspire and endure on the Anschutz Medical Campus. Henry moved to Denver in 1961 to join the Division of Allergy and Immunology in the School of Medicine’s Department of Medicine. In 1966, Henry and his colleagues published a paper that included the seminal observation that cellular cooperation between lymphocytes from the bone marrow and those from the thymus was essential for antibody production, the beginning of our understanding of T and B cell collaboration in immunology. In 2004, the article was the first one cited as a “Pillar of Immunology” by the Journal of Immunology. In his later years, Henry founded our Arts and Humanities in Healthcare Program, integrating the arts, literature and reflective writing into the medical education curriculum and he was the founding editor of The Human Touch, an annual anthology of poetry, prose and photography. Our condolences to his wife Janet S. Claman, MD, son David, and Henry’s many friends and colleagues. Interment services were held on Tuesday, Sept. 6, and his family asks that contributions in Henry’s honor be made to The Denver Hospice, Friends of Chamber Music, or Temple Emanuel. 


Have a good week, 

John J. Reilly, Jr., MD
Richard D. Krugman Endowed Chair
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and
Dean, School of Medicine


The Dean’s weekly message is an email news bulletin from John J. Reilly, Jr., MD, Dean of the CU School of Medicine, that is distributed to inform University of Colorado School of Medicine faculty members, staff, students and others about issues pertaining to the School’s mission of education, research, clinical care and community service.  See the UCH-Insider →


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