Dean's Weekly Message

June 1, 2015


Dear colleague: 

Congratulations to all the School of Medicine graduates who received their diplomas on Friday, May 22. The graduates of our MD program gathered indoors for their ceremony due to inclement weather for the first time in about two decades. While it was a scramble for seats in the Crowne Plaza Convention Center, it was a wonderful day to celebrate the achievements of this class. We wish continued success to them and to the graduates of our Child Health Associate/Physician Assistant and Physical Therapy programs. 

There were a number of events associated with the Commencement Ceremonies: Dinners for graduating Medical Scientist Training Program students and Alpha Omega Alpha inductees, as well as the Honors Convocation honoring a number of the members of the Class of 2015. The Silver and Gold Banquet recognized returning members of the Class of 1965, who informed me that their graduation was marked by a heavy rainstorm. Several members of the Alumni Association were recognized for their contributions and the evening culminated with the Class of 2015 meeting the Class of 1965.  

At the School of Medicine’s Executive Committee meeting on Tuesday, May 19, Senior Associate Dean for Education Robert Anderson, MD, gave an overview of the preparations we are making for the 2017 site visit by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). It is critical that we take steps now to be ready for the LCME, which accredits medical schools in the U.S. and Canada and sets high standards for the quality of educational programming at those schools. There are significant implications to recruiting, funding and community support if a medical school is put on probation as has happened to other schools. For our self-evaluation, Bob is overseeing a process that will gather data on the standards that LCME will review, including such areas as school finances, student mistreatment and diversity. These preparations are comprehensive and will require a sustained and focused effort over the next 18 months. I encourage you to assist with these activities if you are asked to participate. 

I toured the construction site of the Denver Veterans Affairs hospital last month with representatives of our campus and the contractor. The project’s scale and cost remain the focus of intense scrutiny by Congress and will certainly be the subject of ongoing disputes in Washington, D.C. Before adjourning for the Memorial Day holiday and facing another potential shutdown of construction on the site, lawmakers reached a short-term deal that provided enough funding to continue construction for three weeks. I am sure that the project will be among the many issues I discuss with the Colorado congressional delegation and others this week during a visit to Washington, D.C., as part of the 2015 Colorado Capital Conference, which is sponsored by University of Colorado, Colorado Mesa University and U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner. 

Children’s Hospital Colorado announced last week a $400 million fundraising campaign to invest in pediatric research, clinical care improvements and statewide partnerships and initiatives. The “Courage Is … Campaignis the largest fundraising effort in the hospital’s history and the hospital has raised $190 million toward that goal as it enters the public phase of the campaign. Steve Winesett, president and CEO of Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation, explained that the theme of the campaign covers the families and faculty, staff and supporters of the hospital: “Courage is, to me, the connective tissue that brings together all of the young patients and families in need, all of the caring health professionals, all of the technological marvels, and all of the pioneering research at Children’s Hospital Colorado.” We are hopeful for the campaign’s success, which will show again that we are stronger when we work together. 

Congratulations to V. Michael Holers, MD, professor of medicine and head of the Division of Rheumatology, who was named to the advisory council of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The council advises the NIH on broad policy issues and makes recommendations on research proposals.

Ronald Gibbs, MD, was given a fond farewell by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the local chapter of the March of Dimes with the Frontiers in Pregnancy Research Symposium on Friday, May 15 and a celebration on Saturday, May 16. Ron has been an outstanding leader and mentor at the School of Medicine. He served as the E. Stewart Taylor Chair of the department and is currently associate dean for continuing medical education and professional development. He retires at the end of June after more than 20 years with the School of Medicine. We wish Ron a happy and healthy retirement. 

The Academy of Medical Educators announced the recipients of its annual awards for excellence in medical education. The awardees are nominated by students, residents, fellows, faculty and peers and are selected based on the quality of the impact and interactions described in the nominations. The awardees are

  • Frank Scott, MD, Department of Orthopedics, for excellence in direct teaching
  • Carlton C. Barnett, MD, Department of Surgery, for excellence in mentoring and advising
  • Patricia Brown, residency coordinator, Department of Pathology, for educational administration and leadership
  • Jennifer Adams, MD, Department of Medicine, for excellence in curriculum development and educational innovation
  • Kristina Tocce, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, for excellence in education research and scholarship 

The ABC television series “Extreme Weight Loss” began airing last Tuesday, May 26. The program follows the yearlong transformation journeys of “super obese” people as they lose weight and change their lives. For the second year in a row, the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center is featured as the home of each participant’s three month boot camp. Our own Holly Wyatt, MD, serves as the shows medical director and will be doing a weekly video blog on Channel 7. 

The spring issue of the CU Medicine Today magazine is now available, featuring articles about the outstanding research by physicians and scientists at the CU Cancer Center, the remarkable care received by a heart-transplant patient, globe-trotting by one of our recent graduates and by alumni and many other stories about our colleagues. 

One of the performers in the lip sync contest at the Senior Skits was incorrectly identified in my May 18 message. It was Terri Blevins, EdD, assistant dean of student life, not Brenda Bucklin, MD, professor of anesthesiology, who graced the stage. 


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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