Dean's Weekly Message

December 21, 2015


Dear colleague: 

Sallie Houser-Hanfelder, director of the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System, has been named directorof the Eastern Colorado VA Health Care System. Thomas Meyer, MD, associate chief of staff for academic affiliations at the VA, announced her appointment during the School of Medicine Executive Committee meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 15. Sallie joined the VA more than 30 years ago and most recently has been responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Central Texas system, which is comprised of VA medical centers in Temple and Waco, an outpatient clinic in Austin and four community clinics and a rural outreach clinic. In Colorado, she will oversee delivery of health care to more than 81,000 veterans and an operating budget of $800 million at one of the nation’s largest VA Medical Centers. She is expected in Colorado by early next year.

Richard Zane, MD, chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine, is the author of an article, “How We Transformed Emergency Care at Our Hospital,” that was posted online last Thursday by the Harvard Business Review. The article summarizes the hard work and impressive results that Rich and his team have achieved in improving processes and the quality of patient care in the emergency department of University of Colorado Hospital. “Our volume has increased by 53%, putting us on track to become the highest-volume ED in Colorado,” he writes. “Our patient-satisfaction scores are in the top box 77% of the time (not 90%, like we want, but we’ll get there). We have cut our total treatment time by more than 40%; patients now wait fewer than eight minutes, on average, to see an attending physician. Virtually no patients leave our ED without being seen, and we are never, ever on ambulance diversion.” Even more impressive, Rich and his team are already conducting a top-to-bottom evaluation of these new processes, proving that we can continuously get better.

Bob Anderson, MD, senior associate dean for education, and I met last week with about 100 medical school students in a town hall setting. We had a thoughtful conversation about tuition, curriculum, exam and evaluation reporting and community involvement to assist the medically underserved. We were pleased with the good turnout and discussion. Future issues of “The Deans’ Newsletter,” an email to our students, will answer some of the questions to reach a wider audience. For more information, contact

Congratulations to University of Colorado Primary Care at Lone Tree for its selection as the Patient Centered Medical Home Best Practice of 2016 by the Colorado Academy of Family Physicians (CAFP) Foundation. The CAFP Foundation board commended the practice for its outstanding patient care and quality initiative and improvements. The award will be presented at the CAFP Annual Scientific Conference in April.

The University of Colorado Staff Council is seeking nominations of classified and university staff employees for its annual Service Excellence Award. The Service Excellence Award is presented to one qualified individual from each campus and system administration. The award includes a $1,000 cash prize that will be presented at the All Staff Council Conference on April 8, 2016, in Colorado Springs. Each recipient will be invited to the ceremony, along with his/her nominator, supervisor, and one additional guest. More information is available on the UCSC Service Excellence Award web page. Nominations are due Friday, Jan. 29, 2016, at 11:59 p.m.

Chancellors Don Elliman and Jerry Wartgow, PhD, announced last week the promotions of Brenda J. Allen, PhD, to vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion and Raul Cardenas, PhD, to vice chancellor for student affairs, effective Jan. 1, 2016. These changes to the leadership structure of the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus reflect the priority that student affairs and diversity and inclusion represent to our campuses. Brenda and Raul have served as associate vice chancellors, Brenda since 2012 and Raul since 2011. Both will continue to report to the provost, and both offices span the Denver and Anschutz campuses. 

A reminder that volunteers are still needed for the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus’ booth at the National Western Stock Show. Students, clinical and non-clinical faculty and staff are needed to help with health screenings and education for adults and children. The stock show runs from Jan. 9 to Jan. 24. There are multiple daily shifts, which can last either four or six hours. Volunteers get admission to the show on the day they volunteer and may qualify for free rodeo tickets if volunteering for more than one shift. 


Best wishes for a healthy and happy holiday season.

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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