Dean's Weekly Message

December 14, 2015


Dear colleague: 

The Dean’s Office received 39 applications for the Transformational Research Funding initiative by last Monday’s deadline on Dec. 7. The review process has begun and we look forward to announcing the selections at the State of the School address in January.

Naresh Mandava, MD, chair of the Department of Ophthalmology, was featured in news reports last week for another “first-in-Colorado” treatment offered here on the Anschutz Medical Campus. Naresh and a team of providers at University of Colorado Hospital performed the first bionic eye transplant. After the surgery, patient Jamie Carley saw her son for the first time in 15 years. The innovative and expert care provided by our faculty and partners on this campus are transforming lives and improving our communities and the world. This is why we work here. In November, CU doctors performed the state’s first heart-kidney transplant and earlier this year, surgical teams completed the first double lung and liver transplant. We are proud of the achievements and we are focused on creating an environment where these accomplishments continue.

The Department of Ophthalmology has attracted a major grant from Research to Prevent Blindness, a national foundation that supports efforts to prevent, treat and cure eye disorders. Research to Prevent Blindness has selected the department for a $300,000 Challenge Grant to support the development of vision research programs. J. Mark Petrash, PhD, professor and vice chair of research in the Department of Ophthalmology, said the grant will enhance collaborations between clinicians and basic scientists and will add new capabilities to measure visual function in animal models of eye disease.

In a separate news report on Colorado Gives Day last Tuesday featured the work of Jean Mulcahy Levy, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics. Jean’s research as a pediatric neuro-oncologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado, has contributed the successful treatment of Cash McCandless, who was five years old when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. A grant from the Morgan Adams Foundation helped launch the research that contributed to Cash’s treatment. Jean’s dedicated research and care are clear in a comment she made in the report: “My goal is not only to cure cancer, but my goal is to cure kids with cancer so they have a good life.”

We are pleased to announce the naming of the James C. and Elisabeth C. Dudley Lung Cancer Research Program at the University of Colorado Cancer Center in honor of a $10 million commitment by Elisabeth Dudley. Mrs. Dudley has been a longstanding supporter of the University of Colorado beginning in the 1990s when her husband, James, was diagnosed with lung cancer. Paul Bunn, Jr., MD, Distinguished Professor and former director of the Cancer Center, provided the compassionate care that inspired the Dudleys to give so generously to the University. Previously, Mrs. Dudley created the Paul Bunn/James Dudley Endowed Chair in Cancer Research in 2000 and the Paul A. Bunn, Jr. Endowed Chair in Cancer Research in 2009. We are grateful for Mrs. Dudley’s enduring support and we are committed to wise stewardship of these funds, which will help recruit and retain talented faculty and will improve outcomes for patients facing lung cancer.

The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation announced this month that the University of Colorado School of Medicine is one of 10 medical schools to receive a $540,000 award to establish a Fund to Retain Clinical Scientists. The grant, which will be received over a five-year period, will provide for stronger institutional support and supplemental funds for early-career physician scientists to maintain productivity during periods of excessive extraprofessional demands. Judy Regensteiner, PhD, professor of medicine and director of the Center for Women’s Health Research, and Anne Libby, PhD, vice chair for academic affairs for the Department of Emergency Medicine, will serve as Principal Investigators of this grant.

On Saturday, Dec. 12, the School of Medicine’s Anesthesiologist Assistant Program held its inaugural Graduation Reception and Awards Ceremony at the History Colorado Center. More than 100 students and faculty came together to honor the program’s first graduating class. Talia Cozzetta, Dylan Hartley, Laura Knoblauch, Kelly Maize, William Thompson, and Brandon Way started in the Anesthesiologist Assistant Program in August 2013, and will finish this semester with more than 2,700 clinical hours and a Master of Medical Science in Anesthesiology.  These graduates all scored well above the national average on their board examinations and have achieved 100 percent job placement.

Tom Flaig, MD, associate professor in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Medical Oncology, has been named the inaugural UCHealth and University of Colorado Chief Clinical Research Officer and Associate Dean for Clinical Research, effective January 2016. In this role, Tom will lead efforts to provide an efficient and attractive environment for conducting research while ensuring compliance with federal and state regulatory requirements. The ultimate goal is to create the infrastructure, processes, informatics and analytics that enable the University of Colorado and UCHealth to be leaders among academic health systems from the perspective of investigators as well as sponsors.

Congratulations to Kelley Brodsky, MS, on being named the recipient of the Steven Fadul Award, which honors contributions of outstanding professional research assistants and staff in comparable position in the School of Medicine. Kelley joined the Department of Anesthesiology in 2008 after working for many years in the Department of Medicine’s endocrinology and gastroenterology divisions. One of Kelley’s nominators noted that Kelley had volunteered to take on a lab project that many colleagues felt “would fall by the wayside.” Through setbacks, she produces high quality and significant results that served as the basis for a National Institutes of Health grant proposal that was awarded. Her perseverance serves as a model that the nominator uses “as a teaching example for my trainees.

”Carol Rumack, MD, professor of radiology and pediatrics and associate dean for Graduate Medical Education (GME), was welcomed last week as a volunteer to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s (ACGME) Institutional Review Committee. Carol’s term runs from July 2016 through June 2022. This leadership role on the ACGME recognizes Carol’s valuable contributions to our own GME program and extends her expertise to the national accrediting organization.

The Academy of Medical Educators is seeking applications for membership from all departments and programs within the School of Medicine. Members are chosen via a competitive, peer-reviewed application process. Membership represents a significant achievement in the field of medical and healthcare education. Members are expected to have an ongoing commitment to medical and healthcare education and the mission of the Academy. More information is available on the Academy’s webpage.  Anyone interested in applying should submit a brief email of intent (a one-line note will suffice) to by Tuesday, Dec. 15. Final applications are due Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. 

The University of Colorado Denver|Anschutz Medical Campus Staff Council is presenting “Current Trends in Identity Theft” at noon on Thursday, Dec. 17, in the Hensel Phelps Auditorium West. The session will provide suggestions on developing an ID Theft prevention plan and will feature guest speaker Hazel Heckers from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

The original Mini Medical School, offered as a free community service, will soon be available online again. Previous offerings of Mini Medical School online enrolled more than 4,000 students each time. The course, hosted on Canvas Network, runs seven weeks and begins on Monday, Jan. 25, 2016.  There are no exams and no course credit. Those enrolled in the online course will get a broad overview of the basic science underpinnings of medicine in an engaging video format. There are seven weekly modules, each consisting of about eight units which range from 4 to 7 minutes long, allowing students to cover all the material in a couple of hours a week, at their own pace, watching a unit whenever they have time. Additional resources, illustrated transcripts, an interactive discussion forum, optional self-test quizzes, and a Certificate of Completion are available. Register at Questions?

The latest issue of CU Medicine Today magazine has been published, featuring articles about novel research by Kristen Boyle, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics, and by Kristina Legget, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry, and outstanding community service by Roberta Capp, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine, and by Anschutz Medical Campus students at the DAWN (Dedicated to Aurora’s Wellness and Needs) Clinic. John Carroll, MD, professor of medicine, and a patient, Bray Patrick-Lake, are also featured in an article about Bray’s efforts to improve the clinical trial process nationally.

The School of Medicine Student Breakfast and end-of-semester celebration is scheduled at 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16, in the Office of Student Life in Education 2 North, 5th floor. Free coffee, juice and breakfast burritos will be served. The event is made possible with support from the Office of Student Life and the Medical Alumni Association. As they prepare to end the semester, we also commend the Anschutz Medical Campus students who garnered well-deserved attention last week for putting together hundreds of care kits with personal care items to distribute to the homeless in metro Denver.

And finally, Kjell Lindgren, MD ’02, the first School of Medicine graduate to go to space, has returned to Earth after a 141-day mission to the International Space Station. NASA reported last Friday that Kjell and his fellow crew members orbited Earth 2,256 times, traveling a total of 59.6 million miles. Kjell participated in several experiments, including demonstrating a vegetable growth system that yielded fresh lettuce for crew consumption in space. We plan to invite Kjell to campus next spring to discuss his experiences in space.


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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