Dean's Weekly Message

May 18, 2015


Dear colleague: 

We will have many guests on campus this week to celebrate graduation and reunions. Please make time to welcome them as our School of Medicine prepares to graduate 150 MDs, 43 physician assistants, and 60 physical therapists. The all-campus commencement ceremony begins at 8:30 a.m., Friday, May 22, on Boettcher Commons south of the Fulginiti Pavilion. The Child Health Associate/Physician Assistant program holds its ceremony at 10 a.m., Thursday, May 21, on the Library Commons, the Physical Therapy program at 10 a.m., Friday, May 22, on Bonfils Circle and the School of Medicine at 10:15 a.m., Friday May 22, on Boettcher Commons.

The lead-up to commencement launched last Wednesday with the senior skits at Casselman’s and it was a great party to celebrate our graduating class. Terri Blevins, EdD, assistant dean of student life, and Richard Krugman, MD, professor of pediatrics and former dean, were noble competitors during the Dean’s Lip Sync contest and Nichole Zehnder, MD, assistant dean for admissions, was impressive with her back-up dancers, but Maureen Garrity, PhD, associate dean for student life, stole the show with her rendition of Rihanna’s “B____ Better Have My Money.” Maureen earned a standing ovation. Anyone planning to compete in next year’s contest better start practicing now if they want to surpass that performance.

I gave an update on Tuesday to the Faculty Senate on the proposed Interdisciplinary Building 1. Leadership from the Dean’s office and from the University’s Office of Institutional Planning have met with researchers on campus to hear concerns about potential disruptions from the proposed new structure on the land between Academic Office 1 and Research 1 South. We have agreed to have a process to quantitatively assess the impact of any possible construction on technologies that are used in Research 1 South. While the building’s planners are confident that there would be no disruption, we think it is a necessary step to assure researchers that their experiments and projects will not be affected.

At the Faculty Senate last Tuesday, Barry Rumack, MD, director of the School of Medicine Office of Professionalism, reported that the office has established three basic categories to categorize behaviors: one-time incidents, multiple occurrences that are not seriously egregious and repetitive, egregious matters.  With these categories, the office will pursue responses that are appropriate to the reported behavior. He also provided contact information to report lapses in professionalism or for consultation and assistance, which is available to faculty, residents, interns, clinical and postdoctoral fellows, staff, and students. The contact information is 303-724-4PRO (4776) or He also said those with concerns could contact him at or the office’s associate director, Josette Harris, PhD, at

Jennifer Wiler, MD, MBA, vice chair and associate professor of emergency medicine, was a panelist earlier this month at a Brookings Institution MEDtalk event, “Reimagining emergency medicine: How to integrate care for the acutely ill and injured.” The discussion focused on improving patient education and care coordination; Jennifer’s comments begin at about the 38 minute mark. The University of Colorado School of Medicine, the University of Colorado Hospital and other partners, have a program called Bridges to Care, testing a model that aims to decrease use of emergency departments for care that could be provided in a primary care setting. As Jennifer explains, the point of the program is to educate and empower patients about the most appropriate place to get the care they need. So far, the program has been remarkably successful, with 550 patients enrolled since 2012. Six months after a Bridges to Care intervention, about 90 percent of the patients seek primary care services, rather than emergency department/inpatient care, for their health-care needs. Jennifer also said that this assistance helps reduce emergency department and inpatient visits by these patients and showed a $2 million cost savings to the health care system. 

In a separate report, Roberta Capp, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine, provided additional context about why it’s so important to address the behavior of patients who are frequent users of hospital emergency departments. In an article published last week in the journal Medical Care, Roberta reported that more than half of all Medicaid enrollees prefer the “one-stop shop” of a hospital emergency department. The finding points to a need for services that can help these patients find the most cost-effective and suitable care for their health care needs. Solutions may include services like community health workers and case managers, based in emergency departments, to help the patients navigate the health care system. “This type of work brings great value to Medicaid,” Roberta and her co-authors write, “and potentially the health care system, as it will likely improve primary care utilization for chronic disease management and preventive services.” 

Richard Zane, MD, chair of emergency medicine, has been elected by his peers to become president of the Association of Academic Chairs in Emergency Medicine, a national group that works to improve and support academic departments of emergency medicine. He will be president-elect this year and president in 2016. 

announced that they have created a miniature, fiber-optic microscope that can peer deeply inside a living brain. The team of neuroscientists and bioengineers on our campus with peers at the University of Colorado Boulder, published details of their device in the latest issue of the journal Optics Letters. Emily Gibson, PhD, assistant professor of bioengineering and senior author of the study, said the microscope opens a new world for scientists. “We can now measure a large region and sample more neurons,” she said. “For example, we can image up to 100 neurons at the same time, as opposed to perhaps the 10 or so we could do in the past.” 

The Department of Medicine has named four junior faculty members as 2015 Rising Stars, a designation the department gives to members who exemplify the School’s core values of excellence in research, clinical work, education and community service. The Rising Stars are

  • Lilia Cervantes, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Internal Medicine and a hospitalist at Denver Health;
  • M. Kristen Demoruelle, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology;
  • Christopher Lieu, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Medical Oncology;
  • Read Pierce, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine.

Photographs and stories of each of these faculty members will be featured on the eighth floor of Academic Office One. 

The Academy of Medical Educators, which supports and enhances educational programs and faculty, has named seven new members. Jonathan Bowser, MS, PA-C, director of the Child Health Associate/Physician Assistant Program and assistant professor of pediatrics; Lara Hardesty, MD, associate professor of radiology; Adrian Hendrickse, MD, associate professor of anesthesiology; Rita Lee, MD, associate professor of medicine; Anne Libby, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, who holds appointments in the School of Medicine’s Departments of Pediatrics and Family Medicine; Darlene Tad-y, MD, assistant professor of medicine; and Meghan Treitz, MD, instructor of pediatrics. The Academy is an important School of Medicine resource that helps create an environment promoting and rewarding teaching excellence and enhancing the education of our students, residents, fellows, faculty and community. 


Next Monday, May 25, is Memorial Day, so my next message will be on June 2. Congratulations to all of our graduates and thank you to all who have contributed to their education.


Have a safe holiday,

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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