Dean's Weekly Message

April 13, 2015


Dear colleague: 

As my first week here draws to a close, I write to thank all of you for the warm welcome I have received.  Although I have met many of you this week, there are a far greater number of you I have yet to meet and I look forward to doing so in the weeks to come.  I am excited about the opportunities to work with all of you to advance our missions.  

I will continue the recent tradition of a weekly email from the Dean’s office to you. With an academic community as large and spread out as ours, this communication is one of the most direct ways I have of sharing news with you about the accomplishments of our colleagues, the investments in our facilities, the leadership opportunities in our School and the myriad ways we are making a difference in the lives of others. I hope you find this email informative and helpful in uniting our School in a common purpose to teach, learn, discover, care and serve.

This is a momentous time for academic medicine. Breakthroughs in biomedical research are offering significant hope for better treatments for patients and will certainly provide a source of strength for the American economy. At the same time, there is an increasing need for efficient work in our laboratories and clinics; federal grant funding is not growing as it had in the past and concerns about rising health care costs demand our attention. By focusing effort on improving how we use the funding we have, we make the case to our supporters and funders that we are a smart and worthwhile investment, proving that academic medicine is an essential mission to society that deserves their financial support. 

University of Colorado President Bruce Benson gave his Town Hall address to the Anschutz Medical Campus last Wednesday, outlining the great strides this campus has made since he became president seven years ago. Among the many points of pride he mentioned is the School of Medicine’s commitment and his office’s support for recruiting students who are underrepresented in medicine. In the class of 2018, about one-third of the class come from backgrounds not traditionally represented in medical schools across the country. He also noted the successes achieved through collaboration by entities on our campus. Last Monday’s grand opening of the Gates Biomanufacturing Facility is a great example. President Benson added that his office is working on sustainable funding for the entire university system in part by building recognition for significant contributions the University of Colorado makes statewide.

As previously mentioned, The Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine on Monday celebrated the grand openingof the Gates Biomanufacturing Facility, which will serve academic, clinical and commercial investigators looking to translate their laboratory discoveries into clinical-grade protein and cell-based products suitable for investigational use in humans. The Gates Biomanufacturing Facility will be the only site within a 500-mile radius that complies with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s manufacturing regulations, creating a significant resource to researchers on the Anschutz Medical Campus. The facility is an important investment in our faculty by a partnership that includes the Gates Center, the Anschutz Medical Campus, the School of Medicine, University of Colorado Health, Children’s Hospital Colorado and the Gates Frontier Fund. Diane Gates Wallach, a board member of the Gates Frontier Fund, described the fund’s support as “venture philanthropy,” a commitment of resources that seeks to spur significant growth in our community. This is a powerful collaboration showing the strength of working together, establishing a site that promises major new, and potentially revolutionary, medical treatments will be developed here.

The UCHealth Eye Center and Rocky Mountain Eye Institute offered self-guided tours of its newly expanded space last Thursday afternoon. The expanded UCHealth Eye Center provides new pre- and post-operating areas, a refractive surgical suite and new centers for macular diagnostics, glaucoma and retina treatment. As Naresh Mandava, MD, executive director of the UCHealth Eye Center, professor and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Sue Anschutz-Rodgers chair in retinal diseases, said at the groundbreaking events in June 2013, “The expansion allows us to do what we love to do most – take care of our patients in the very best way possible by offering them the latest in care – while at the same time discovering new approaches to that care so that we can preserve each patient’s ability to read, drive and recognize loved ones.” The expansion was made possible by significant gifts from The Anschutz Foundation, Denver philanthropist Frederic C. Hamilton, Michael and Suzy Leprino and the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Institute Foundation.

JFK Partners is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month with a symposium on Friday, April 17, featuring a presentation by former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy and a discussion with Sue Swenson, deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. There also will be an anniversary dinner that evening at the Denver Marriott City Center and an alumni reunion on Saturday, April 18, at the Four Mile Historic Park. JFK Partners, which is an interdepartmental center of pediatrics and psychiatry, promotes the independence, inclusion, contribution, health, and well-being of people with developmental disabilities and special health care needs and their families through consumer, community, and university partnerships.

The Center for Surgical Innovation is holding an open house from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday, April 22, to show off its new lab in the Bioscience Park Center, 12635 E. Montview Blvd., Suite 170. The center is growing from 1,500 square feet of space to 5,000 square feet and will now have dedicated conference rooms, an auditorium, flexible labs for customized training needs and free parking.

Each year, students on the Anschutz Medical Campus hold a Donor Memorial ceremony to pay tribute those who donate their bodies for research and education. The service offers students an opportunity to express their gratitude to the families of those who donate their bodies. Families of donors also are invited to attend and many share memories about their loved ones. This year’s ceremony well be at 3:30 p.m., Monday, April 13, in Education 2 South auditorium room 1102. 

Congratulations to Jeffrey Glasheen, MD, professor of medicine and director of the Institute for Healthcare Quality, Safety and Efficiency (IHQSE), and a team from the Anschutz Medical Campus for receiving the top prize in the Innovations Competition at the Society of Hospital Medicine meeting in Washington, D.C., in late March. Jeff and his colleagues were recognized for their presentation on the Certificate Training Program, a one-year training that focuses on enhancing team performance, leadership development and process improvement. Their presentation outlined multiple examples of how the IHQSE’s Certificate Training Program has improved patient safety and quality while also making our clinical teams more efficient. Their presentation was selected from several hundred submissions from across the country. 

Spero Manson, PhD, distinguished professor and associate dean of research at the Colorado School of Public Health, has been selected to serve on a National Institutes of Health panel that will help set the course for the Precision Medicine Initiative announced by President Obama in his State of the Union address in January. The work of this national panel is important to efforts on this campus. A year ago, the School of Medicine, University of Colorado Health, Children’s Hospital Colorado and University of Physicians, Inc., announced a major investment in creating the Center for Biomedical Informatics and Personalized Medicine on our campus. This new NIH panel will deliver a preliminary report in September 2015 that will inform efforts to accelerate the understanding of individual differences that play a role in health, with the goal of informing better prevention and treatment strategies tailored for each person.

C. William Reiquam, MD, clinical professor of pathology, died Tuesday, April 7. Bill will be remembered as “a true gentleman and an amazing artist,” said Therese Jones, PhD, associate director of the Center for Bioethics and Humanities. Friends and colleagues gathered on Monday, April 13, at 11 a.m. in the Library Gallery on the third floor where some of Bill’s artwork hangs.

Again, thanks to all who have made me feel so welcome during my first days here in Colorado. Beginning at 4:30 p.m. today, the Chancellor’s Office is holding an open house for me at the Nighthorse Campbell Native Health Building in the first-floor rotunda. I hope you will come by and say hello.


Have a great week,

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


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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