Dean's Weekly Message

September 19, 2016


Dear colleague: 

The Faculty Senate held its first meeting of the academic year last Tuesday, where I gave a report on the Faculty Climate survey conducted earlier this year. The overall report for the School, which included responses from 40 percent of our faculty, painted a generally positive picture, but also pointed out spots where our School can do better. We have made substantial progress in reducing learner mistreatment, but there’s still work to do. We have made progress in opportunities for minority and women faculty, but we still have work to do. We found that in bigger departments, faculty felt more disconnected from their chairs than in smaller departments.

I told the senators that we have met with department chairs to discuss department-specific responses and many departments have developed plans to address issues relating to the concerns expressed. I discussed with the faculty senators certain limitations of the survey, such as not collecting the gender of respondents. As a result, we don’t have specific information on how women, as compared to men, view the School as a workplace. When we do a survey again, which I expect would be in 20 months to 24 months from the previous survey so that departments have time to take action on these findings, we will address that shortcoming and we will also address some other points. For example, many faculty reported feeling stress at work, but we cannot determine from the responses whether that level of stress is appropriate. Obviously, some stress in our workplace is natural and expected. Sending in a big grant application or treating a young person covered in blood in an emergency room is going to be stressful. We need to figure out if our workplace is more stressful than it should be and, if so, what we can do about it. 

One of the ways our colleagues already are attempting to address stress in the workplace and, more generally in our lives, is through the School of Medicine Resilience Program. Last Wednesday, the Resilience Program hosted an event, “The Road to Resilience,” which aimed to raise awareness and promote education on the topics of burnout prevention and resilience promotion among health care providers. There was full capacity for the conference, which featured two keynote speakers: Liselotte “Lotte” N. Dyrbye, MD, MHPE, professor of medicine and of medical education at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota; and Aviad “Adi” Haramati, PhD, professor of integrative physiology in the Departments of Biochemistry, Molecular & Cellular Biology and Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center. I commend Jenny Reese, MD, associate professor of pediatrics, and the many others involved in establishing and organizing the Resilience Program. There are many resources available on the Resilience Program website and I encourage you to check it out. 

I would also like to thank the Center for Women’s Health Research, the Academy of Medical Educators and the  Office of Women in Medicine and Science, for sponsoring a productive Women’s Leadership Training program, which met last Monday and Tuesday, offering professional development for women assistant professors with primary appointments in the School of Medicine. The two-day session is the first of a series of four meetings that offer advice and assistance with mentorship and sponsorship, career negotiation and advancement, conflict management and other essential skills needed to succeed in academic life. I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with these talented faculty. 

The Anschutz Medical Campus fourth annual block party last Wednesday was a success with a large crowd checking out more than 80 booths, many food trucks and free concert performances. By all accounts, this effort to build a campus community has grown into a popular event. Thanks to all who helped out. 

Last Friday, I spoke at the University Physicians, Inc. (UPI) Scholars luncheon to celebrate the 2016-17 recipients of the scholarships and to thank our faculty and staff for their generous investment in these future physicians, physician assistants and physical therapists. In February 2016, the UPI Board of Directors voted unanimously to support increasing the total scholarship fund contribution to $500,000 from $350,000, an example of how the success of our physician practice plan directly contributes to the next generation of health care providers. One of the highlights of the luncheon was presenting a book of thank you notes from the student scholars to UPI Executive Director and CEO Jane Schumaker. We are fortunate to have so many talented providers supporting so many exceptional students. 

The School of Medicine’s chapter of the national medical honor society Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) has elected 19 members of the class of 2017, joining six other students who were elected as juniors. The elected members are listed on the chapter’s website. Under the AOA’s constitution, the top 25 percent of each class is eligible for consideration, but only one-sixth of the class may be elected to membership. Members were selected based on academic achievement, leadership, scholarly activity, and community service. James M. Beck, MD, professor and vice chair of the Department of Medicine, serves as the AOA Chapter’s Councilor. All new AOA members will be inducted next May during graduation week. Congratulations to all. 

The Men for the Cure dinner, benefiting the University of Colorado Hospital Foundation, at Wings over the Rockies last Thursday featured former Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. Since it was founded in 2000, this fundraiser has collected more than $1.9 million to advance breast cancer research, care and early-detection education at University of Colorado Hospital. The funds from these events have been used to purchase medical equipment such as a biopsy machine, a digital specimen radiography system, a stereotactic biopsy table and a mobile mammography unit called “The Pink Life Saver.” 

George Hayes, president and CEO of UCHealth’s Memorial Hospital, announced last week that he plans to step down in early November after nearly three years at the helm. A replacement has not yet been named and the system plans to develop a timeline and plan for a search for a successor. In announcing George’s departure, UCHealth President and CEO Liz Concordia said: “Since 2014, George and his leadership team have led a dramatic turnaround in the quality, safety, patient experience and finances at Memorial Hospital and Memorial Hospital North. Memorial is now ranked among the top eight hospitals in our state by U.S. News & World Report.” 

This is another call for faculty volunteers for a Foundations of Doctoring session on Oct. 11 to facilitate guiding our Phase II students with their Subjective Objective Assessment Plan notes and oral presentations. There will be a similar session for Phase I students focusing on the History and Physical Note in the spring (tentative date is April 20) and faculty volunteers are needed for that session too. These sessions involve a faculty development orientation with lunch provided from noon-1 p.m., then a short large-group session with facilitators and students from 1 p.m.-1:30 p.m., with small groups from 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. If interested, please contact Meleah Himber at or Todd Guth at I encourage faculty to get involved and participate. 

The Health Sciences Library will be hosting an exhibit, DNA to Beer: Harnessing Nature in Medicine and Industry, beginning today, Sept. 19, through Nov. 6 in the third floor gallery. The exhibition illustrates the history of the dynamic relationship among microbes, medicine, technology and industry and includes MillerCoors historic advertisements and a display of home-brewing equipment. The exhibition is a touring show of the National Institutes of Health’s U.S. National Library of Medicine. It should be noted that we have some expertise already here on campus. Back in 2011, Mark Johnston, PhD, chair of biochemistry and molecular genetics, and colleagues at universities in Portugal and Argentina published the results of an investigation into the origin of the yeast that makes lager beer and he later wrote about the research in an article in the CU Medicine Today magazine.


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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