Dean's Weekly Message

November 23, 2015


Dear colleague: 

Peter Buttrick, MD, senior associate dean for academic affairs, has added a few questions and answers to the FAQ page for those who are working on their applications for Transformational Research Funding. The most common concerns from applicants focus on the degree of detail required in the application package. While we have tried to avoid being overly prescriptive about what applicants should include, there is an important guiding principle: Be realistic. The applications should reflect an appropriate commitment of resources to achieve the stated goals of the program. While we are providing substantial funding, it is not unlimited, so we expect to see prudent use of those dollars. A reminder: the deadline for submitting applications is Monday, Dec. 7.

I met with Medical Student Council last Wednesday evening to hear from the student leadership about our learning environment and share information about the School’s commitment to matters that are important to all of us. In particular, I discussed our decision to expand the time that will be dedicated by the School’s associate dean for diversity and inclusion and the financial aid counselor to those needs. The associate dean for diversity and inclusion will now be a 0.75 FTE, up from a commitment of about one-third of that person’s time. And we are making a financial aid counselor available on a full time basis, rather than having a 0.5 FTE commitment in that role. I expect these additions, along with the move of the Office of Student Life to Building 500, to increase the level of support we are providing.

David Schwartz, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine, offered his annual State of the Department addresslast Thursday, outlining accomplishments over the past five years and the strategy for the next five years. The productivity of the Department has been notable, with an 80 percent increase in clinical income. At the same time, David discussed significant programs that have been developed and strengthened by the Department in partnership with our partners on the Anschutz Medical Campus, particularly University of Colorado Health and Children’s Hospital Colorado. He noted, in particular, programs like bone marrow transplantation, the Center for Lungs and Breathing, the Personalized Medicine initiative, and a quality-improvement program. 

David Keller, MD, professor of pediatrics and vice chair of clinical affairs and health care transformation at Children’s Hospital Colorado, wrote an editorial that appeared in in JAMA Pediatrics last week calling on policy makers to provide adequate support for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). He notes that Congress authorized CHIP until 2019, but has only funded the program through 2017. David observes that a recent study regarding how children fare in different systems of coverage – Medicaid, CHIP, private insurance – raises more questions than answers. He adds that policy makers should heed a significant finding of that study of parental attitudes toward coverage: “CHIP is currently part of a system that is keeping our children from harm. They are telling us to think carefully before allowing a part of that system to fall away.”

We offer condolences to the friends and family of G. Barry Pierce, MD, Distinguished Professor of the University of Colorado and professor emeritus of pathology at the School of Medicine, who died last week. Barry was on the School of Medicine faculty from 1968 to 1991, serving as chair of pathology from 1968 to 1982, and was highly regarded by colleagues and his former students. In a 1993 article in International Journal of Developmental Biology, Douglas Swartzendruber, PhD, who graduated from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in 1974, wrote: “Dr. Pierce provided encouragement, guidance and scientific insight, and was always quick with a thoughtful question and scientific insight.” Ann Thor, MD, chair of pathology, notes that Barry’s work was critical to the development of the stem cell hypothesis for human cancer. She also added that Barry was well-known as a naturalist and photographer of wild flowers in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 24, at the Horan & McConaty Family Chapel, 1091 S. Colorado Blvd., Denver.

We also offer condolences to the friends and family of Carl Zimet, PhD, who died last week. Carl joined the CU School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry in 1963 as an associate professor. He was promoted to professor in 1965 and held that rank until 2007, when he was named professor emeritus. From 1963 to 2007, he was head of the Division of Clinical Psychology. The main areas of Carl’s clinical work and research were in individual and group psychotherapy and psychological testing, topics that he taught to psychology interns and psychiatry residents. The School has an endowed lectureship in his name that was established in 2012 and featured his son, Gregory Zimet, PhD, professor of pediatrics and clinical psychology at Indiana University School of Medicine, as the inaugural lecturer. Josette Harris, PhD, professor of psychiatry and neurology and head of the Division of Clinical Psychology, said the lecture will now be called the Carl Zimet Memorial Lecture and on April 20, 2016, will feature Mick Smyer, PhD, former provost and current professor of psychology at Bucknell University. Carl had remained active in the psychology community until a few months ago, shortly after another son, Andy Zimet, who was an extreme skier, died in Kazakhstan last summer. A formal memorial and celebration of Carl’s life will be planned for spring.

An article celebrating the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Bioscience 2 Building has been published on the University’s website. Bioscience 2, at 12705 E. Montview Blvd., will serve as an education center, research hub and industry incubator. The collaborations that will be housed in the building are a symbol of how we gain strength by working together. As Chancellor Don Elliman says of the facility: “It’s exciting to have our students and faculty in bioengineering working directly with medical faculty from the medical school across the street.”


I wish you a safe, healthy and happy Thanksgiving.

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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