Dean's Weekly Message

August 17, 2015


Dear colleague: 

We welcomed the MD Class of 2019 with the annual Matriculation Ceremony on Friday. It was a bright, clear morning as the students donned their white coats and received stethoscopes from the Medical Alumni Association, a wonderful tradition that links the incoming class with their predecessors here at our School. As Wagner Schorr, MD ’63, president of the association, said, the gift is a symbol of the mutual sense of responsibility we, the School, the alumni and the students, have toward one another.

As I told the incoming students, this is a great time to become a physician. This class of 184 students was selected from more than 7,000 applicants to the School and they bring the highest average MCAT score we have ever enrolled. We know our students are smart and it’s our responsibility to prepare them to be great doctors, scientists and community leaders. One of the biggest challenges for medical students, who have shown their prowess at knowing the correct answers, is learning to recognize that we as physicians don’t always have “correct” answers to give. Sir William Osler provides the guidance, “Medicine is a science of uncertainty and an art of probability” and that “the good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.” So my advice is to listen closely. The most important organ for a physician is the ears. Listen to your patients. They will tell you their story.

At the Matriculation Ceremony, we also recognized Mitra Razzaghi, MD, associate professor of medicine, who received the Faculty Professionalism Award, and inducted 28 students in the Class of 2016 into the Gold Humanism Honor Society for representing skills of communication, compassion and empathy, showing that humanism is an essential and enduring component of patient care.

University of Colorado Health and the University of Colorado School of Medicine are seeking qualified applicants for a new physician leadership position, Chief Clinical Research Officer. This position will report to Jean Kutner, MD, MSPH, chief medical officer of the University of Colorado Hospital, and Peter Buttrick, MD, senior associate dean for academic affairs at the School of Medicine. The position description is posted online and the expected start date is Oct. 1, 2015. The deadline for applying is Monday, Aug. 24. Candidates should submit a cover letter, CV and a list of three references to James Moore at Questions may be directed to

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald spoke in Denver on Saturday, Aug. 8, at the Disabled American Veterans National Convention and he assured those gathered that the VA hospital adjacent to the Anschutz Medical Campus will be completed, saying it “would be lunacy not to finish the facility.” Last Monday, Jeff Miller, a Congressman from Florida who is the chairman of the House Veteran Affairs Committee, also spoke to the gathering and said “the hospital is at the point now where most everybody is thinking that it has to be completed.” The federal government’s current appropriation for the construction runs out in September.

David Engelke, PhD, professor and interim chair of the Department of Biological Chemistry at the University of Michigan Medical School, has been named the next dean of the Graduate School. David joins the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus on Oct. 1. He brings considerable administrative and scientific experience to our campus and we are happy to welcome him.


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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