Dean's Weekly Message

June 15, 2015


Dear colleague: 

The final faculty senate meeting of the academic year was last Tuesday and it concluded with full agenda: An assessment of a recent online course offering, an overview of accomplishments in the Department of Emergency Medicine, a discussion of resiliency among faculty members and a presentation about the services provided by the Health Sciences Library. The faculty senate is now on break for two months and will assemble again in September.

At the faculty senate meeting, Michael Overbeck, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine, outlined many advances made in that department in the past two years, particularly since the April 2013 opening of the new emergency department at University of Colorado Hospital. By several measures, the improvements to the quality and timeliness of care in the emergency department have been outstanding.

The online course, called Foundations for Global Health Responders, attracted 2,531 participants from 136 countries, reported Jay Lemery, MD, associate professor of emergency medicine and chief of the department’s section of wilderness and environmental medicine. While enrollment fell short of the 30,000 Jay and others had hoped for, the effort illustrated the challenges and opportunities offered by online-only course offerings. Jay said the discussion forums “proved to be absolutely incredible.” In a note to the leadership of the Department of Emergency Medicine, Jay said they plan to “leave the lights on” with this course, allowing students to take it throughout the year at their own pace, and to formally run it again in six to 12 months.

The Global Health Responders course is not the only online course offered by School of Medicine faculty. The Mini Med School program is currently offering its second session online. Those classes began last Monday, June 8, but there’s still time to sign up for this free course. When it launched last fall, 4,057 people registered. They live in 150 countries, and in all 50 states. Professor JJ Cohen, MD, PhD, the founder and teacher in the Mini Med School course, said completion rates for the class were three times higher than the average online courses. Participants ranged in age from high school students to retirees, and novices at science to health professionals.

Children’s Hospital Colorado was ranked the fifth-best pediatric care facility in the country, in the listing released last Tuesday by U.S. News and World Report. Nearly 200 hospitals participated in the magazine’s 2015-16 survey. Of the 184 pediatric hospitals invited to participate in the magazine’s survey, only 12 children’s centers qualified for the Honor Roll compiled by the magazine. The Honor Roll recognizes centers that excel in at least three of the 10 Best Children’s Hospital specialties. Children’s Colorado ranked in nine of the 10 specialties and in six of those, Children’s Colorado ranked in the top 10. Congratulations to the hospital leaders and all of the School of Medicine faculty who practice there for receiving this well-deserved recognition.

The American Association of Women Emergency Physicians named Richard Zane, MD, chair of emergency medicine, this year’s ED Director Award winner. The award recognizes Rich for his commitment to promote mentoring and professional development for women emergency physicians in the School’s Department of Emergency Medicine. The association will recognize Rich at its meeting in October.

Jean Kutner, MD, MPH, professor of medicine, associate dean of clinical affairs and chief medical officer at University of Colorado Hospital, received the 2015 Aspire Award on Sunday, June 14, at an event sponsored by Trilogy Financial Services and held at the Brown Palace Hotel in downtown Denver.  The Aspire award recognizes a Denver “Woman of Distinction” for exhibiting four attributes: ambition, perseverance, humility and influence. Congratulations to Jean.

Research by Kristen Boyle, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics, and her colleagues here at the School of Medicine was announced at a meeting of the American Diabetes Association’s scientific sessions in Boston and it attracted significant national media attention. Kristen and the team analyzed stem cells from the umbilical cords of babies born to normal weight and to obese mothers. They found that children born to obese mothers may be predisposed to being obese.

Last Friday, June 12, Congress approved another extension of funding to the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital under construction adjacent to the Anschutz Medical Campus. The deal raised the project spending cap enough to extend construction for a few months, avoiding for now another work stoppage.


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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