Dean's Weekly Message

October 5, 2015


Dear colleague: 

Today, Oct. 5, is the deadline for submitting a Letter of Intent for the Transformational Research Fundinginitiative that I announced a couple of weeks ago. With this initiative, the School of Medicine intends to support the creation of multidisciplinary programs that will identify gaps in our current research capabilities and support the recruitment of talent to facilitate research of high impact. The School plans to support no more than four proposals and the budget for each initiative should be between $10 million and $20 million. The Letter of Intent should be a brief, one-paragraph description of the scientific focus of the proposal and a listing of potential faculty applicants. The Letter of Intent is to allow the School to assemble the appropriate expertise for an external review panel. A detailed description of the proposal is expected as part of the application, which is due on Monday, Dec. 7. Please send Letters of Intent to

The 2015 Carousel Ball to support the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes was held last Friday in downtown Denver. The event featured a performance by Usher, was hosted by record producer David Foster and paid tribute to John and Paige Elway for their philanthropic contributions to the community. These galas provide valuable resources for the outstanding clinical, research and educational programs of the Barbara Davis Center. Dana Davis, the daughter of Barbara and Marvin Davis, reflected on four decades of Carousel Balls in an interview published by The Villager.

We also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the creation of the profession of Nurse Practitioners at a gala on Friday night. The event honored Loretta Ford, EdD, from the College of Nursing, and Henry Silver, MD, from the School of Medicine, who joined together in 1965 to find a way to improve health care delivery to underserved communities. They established a “pediatric nurse practitioner,” who would check babies’ health and provide vaccinations, health counseling and other disease prevention services in communities that struggled to attract physicians. The event was a wonderful opportunity to recognize two health care pioneers and our University’s landmark role in the establishment of a new and important profession in health care.

On Saturday, the School of Medicine’s Child Health Associate/Physician Assistant Program held its Fall Banquet at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science with 200 alumni, students, preceptors, and friends. At the banquet, Richard Krugman, MD, professor of pediatrics and former Dean of the School of Medicine and Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, received the Henry K. Silver Award for his extraordinary commitment to the program over the past 40-plus years.

The University welcomed new faculty members from the Anschutz Medical Campus and the Denver campus at a reception Thursday in the Fulginiti Pavilion. There were 250 new faculty members invited to this year’s event. Chancellor Don Elliman, Provost Roderick Nairn, PhD, and Jerry Wartgow, PhD, interim chancellor of the downtown campus, joined us at the event.

Jane Schumaker, executive director of University Physicians, Inc., and Frank deGruy III, MD, chairman of the Department of Family Medicine, last Tuesday joined other health care professionals in a Regional Innovation Day event hosted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Denver Regional Office. The day included several discussion panels focused on value-based payment models. Frank was a panelist offering some thoughtful comments on the critical importance of population health.

The Charles C. Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine held a strategic planning session last week with its advisory board, the Anschutz Medical Campus executive leadership and other supporters to review progress and chart next steps for recruitment and clinical trials. Dennis Roop, PhD, director of the Gates Center and professor of dermatology, expressed his gratitude to participants for their enthusiasm and commitment. Also at that meeting, the Gates Center’s leadership announced that it has received a $2 million gift to establish the Daniel and Janet Mordecai Chair in Cancer Stem Cell Biology. The initial holder of the chair is Antonio Jimeno, MD, PhD, professor in the Division of Medical Oncology. Jimeno is an expert in head and neck cancer stem cell biology. We are grateful to the Daniel and Janet Mordecai Foundation for its generous support. Janet Mordecai is a 1965 graduate of the University of Colorado College of Nursing. In 2007, she established the College of Nursing’s first endowed chair in rural health, which is currently held by Amy Barton, RN, PhD.

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute announced last week that it has awarded a $2.8 million, three-year grant to John Corboy, MD, professor of neurology, to study the discontinuation of disease-modifying therapies for some patients with multiple sclerosis. John’s project is one of only 26 studies from across the country selected for funding in this round of funding.

The Center for Advancing Professional Excellence (CAPE) received full accreditation in the areas of education, assessment and research from the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. Congratulations to Eva Aagaard, MD, associate dean for educational strategy, and the CAPE faculty and staff. The accreditation caps a year of work that engaged leaders and learners from each of the health professional schools on campus. We appreciate their time and support in the process.

The Academy of Medical Educators is accepting applications for the Rymer Endowment Innovation Small Grants Program. The Academy annually provides small grants ($3500 or less, although occasionally grants of up to $5,000 will be considered) to support efforts to create, implement and evaluate innovative medical education programs and to develop scholarship in medical education. Grant funds are provided with support from the Rymer Family Endowment, the Office of Faculty Affairs and the Academy of Medical Educators. Check the Academy’s website for more information and the application process. Applications are due Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. 

University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) last week announced that it was named one of the top 10 academic hospitals in the country by the University HealthSystem Consortium. The consortium consists of 133 nonprofit academic medical centers and 299 of their affiliated hospitals. Each year, the consortium give quality awards based on outcome scores in patient safety, clinical effectiveness, clinical efficiency, patient satisfaction, mortality and equity, which is a measure of whether outcomes differ for patients of different ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. UCH ranked No. 6 on the consortium’s rankings.

Congress agreed last week to provide $625 million to finish construction of the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital adjacent to the Anschutz Medical Campus. The legislation allows the VA to shift the money within its budget to complete the hospital and it takes oversight of large construction projects away from the VA and gives them to the Army Corps of Engineers. The 184-bed medical center has been in limbo while lawmakers decided whether to fully fund the project, which is now estimated to cost $1.7 billion. The Corps of Engineers determined that the cost of construction increased due to multiple design changes and a decision by VA officials to use a complicated contract process they didn't fully understand. We are hopeful that this project will now proceed without further delay so that our nation’s military veterans can get the health care they deserve and our colleagues at the VA can join us in Aurora.


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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