Dean's Weekly Message

November 9, 2015


Dear colleague: 

The Town Hall meeting on the Transformational Research Funding initiative last Tuesday was well attended with more than 100 people there to ask questions and learn more about this important effort. One attendee asked for a definition of “transformational.” The term was carefully chosen because it allows for projects of significant scope. We are looking for proposals that will have an impact on campus and in medical science. We expect the proposals will position the School of Medicine as a leader in cutting-edge and emerging fields, attract extramural funding, help recruit and retain outstanding faculty, enhance education and training, and positively impact human lives and society in Colorado, the nation and the world. It is not our intent to fund core labs or to fund existing programs, though it can be used to enhance an existing program.

Some attendees asked whether we would combine proposals if they are similar. I’m not a big believer in arranged marriages, so we prefer that those who have similar research interests work together on their proposals. We posted the 64 Letters of Intent we received with the expectation that the teams would collaborate when it makes sense to do so.

Other questions related to the financial support for these proposals. The School plans to support no more than four proposals and the budget for each initiative should be between $10 million and $20 million over a five-year period. While that is substantial funding, it is not unlimited. The proposals should be realistic about what can be done and how the investment can leverage extramural research support, particularly multi-investigator, multi-project awards such as program project or center grants. We do not intend to fund more than four proposals and we do not expect that we can offer a funding initiative like this every year. We intend to work with our clinical partners on the Anschutz Medical Campus when proposals align with their strategic plans. The mutual investment in the Center for Biomedical Informatics and Personalized Medicine announced last year is a good example of working together with our clinical partners. And we expect that the investments in Transformational Research Funding initiatives will present an opportunity to attract philanthropic support to campus.

The deadline for submitting an application is Monday, Dec. 7. We will be using external reviewers to review the proposals and I plan to announce the selected proposals at the State of the School Address in January.

We are able to make such a substantial investment in the Transformational Research Funding initiative in part because of the agreement we have with UCHealth providing ongoing funding support to the School. Each year, the system provides financial support based on its annual earnings. We are fortunate to have strong partners in UCHealth who recognize the value in working together on this campus.

UCHealth recently published the Community Benefits Report 2015 and that document offers comprehensive review of the extensive support the system provides to the state of Colorado and beyond. The system reports that it invested $89 million in the University of Colorado School of Medicine in its 2015 fiscal year (July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015). The report also highlights the $3 million in annual funding for the Colorado Springs branch of the School of Medicine, an example of how clinical support expands and strengthens the educational offerings we can provide in the state.

In addition, the report says UCHealth spent $500 million on financial assistance, subsidized care and other areas that directly benefit patients and communities. That’s $1.37 million per day to make care accessible. The total impact of UCHealth on the Colorado economy is estimated at $4.6 billion. The report is an excellent overview of the tremendous asset UCHealth is to Colorado and it is well worth your time to read it.

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) held its 2015 annual meeting in Baltimore, beginning on Friday, Nov. 6. This event is always a well-attended and important opportunity for us to gather with our peers from academic medical centers across the country. Over the course of session, we heard from Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, Steven Brill, author of “America’s Bitter Pill,” AAMC President and CEO Darrell Kirch, MD, and Peter Slavin, MD, president of Massachusetts General Hospital. 

Two School of Medicine faculty members have been added to the roster of University of Colorado Distinguished Professors. Tomas Berl, MD, professor in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension, and Charles Anthony Dinarello, MD, professor in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Infectious Diseases were among the four CU professors to receive the University System’s highest honor. The awards were approved last Friday by the CU Board of Regents. Since establishing the honor in 1977, only 83 Distinguished Professors have been named.

Congratulations to the 16 School of Medicine students who received awards at the 2015 Fall Awards Ceremony, which was Tuesday, Nov. 3. Several students were recognized for their community service while others were honored for their outstanding performance in laboratories and classrooms. The dedication and diligence of these students are an inspiration for their fellow students and those of us who are teaching them.

Wilson Pace, MD, professor of family medicine, received the Distinguished Research Mentor Award from the North American Primary Care Research Group at the group’s annual meeting in late October. It was the first time the group has bestowed the award and Wilson received testimonials from more than a dozen of his peers and mentees. Congratulations.

The team at University Physicians, Inc., won a Silver Leaf Award from the Colorado Healthcare Communicators during the 2015 Gold Leaf Awards ceremony for its “In the Palm of Your Hand” advertisement in 5280 magazine. This ad was designed to congratulate University of Colorado School of Medicine physicians who were featured in the Top Doctors issue of the magazine and does a great job at promoting our cudoctors.comwebsite.

Terri Carrothers, who has served as the chief of staff for the Dean’s Office since 2008 while also serving as assistant and then associate dean for finance and administration, has been named senior vice chancellor for finance and administration for the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus. She brings a wealth of talent and knowledge to that role and her leadership makes her a valuable asset for the whole University. She is succeeding Jeff Parker, who is retiring at the end of the year. We wish Terri well in her new role.

The Anschutz Medical Campus is offering the nation’s first master’s degree in palliative care, a new graduate degree program that expects to launch with 18 students next summer. The two-year program, which will include classroom and online instruction, is an innovative approach addressing a significant need in the health care market. Our program will be strong thanks to the national leaders we have here on campus leading the effort.

The Academy of Medical Educators is seeking applications for membership from all departments and programs within the School of Medicine. Members are chosen via a competitive, peer-reviewed application process. Membership represents a significant achievement in the field of medical education. Members are expected to have an ongoing commitment to medical education and the mission of the Academy. More information is available on the Academy’s webpage.  Anyone interested in applying should submit a brief email of intent (a one-line note will suffice) to by Tuesday, Dec. 15. Final applications are due Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. 

The Colorado Area Health Education Center (AHEC) is recruiting volunteers to help with health screenings at the 2016 National Western Stock Show. Volunteers can be students, clinical and non-clinical faculty and staff from the Anschutz Medical Campus. This program is coordinated by AHEC each year and it is a high-profile way to show our commitment to our community. At the 2015 National Western Stock Show, students and faculty from our campus helped 3,000 adults and children with health screenings, flu shots and vision tests.

Mile High Behavioral Healthcare is organizing a warm clothing drive for the homeless who depend on Comitis Shelter in Aurora. On Friday, Nov. 13, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., friends of the shelter will be collecting warm clothing and hygiene supplies for homeless families. They are specifically requesting new and gently used coats, hats, gloves, socks and other clothing. The drop-off site is the Fitzsimons Credit Union, 2201 Fitzsimons Parkway.


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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