Dean's Weekly Message

July 1, 2019

Dear Colleague:

CU President Mark Kennedy visited the Anschutz Medical Campus on Tuesday, June 25, and we had the opportunity to visit about research investment and its importance to the School of Medicine. Our campus attracted more than $500 million in research funding last year, and we have made substantial investments in major programs, such as the CU Cancer Center, the Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine and the Gates Biomanufacturing Facility, the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine, and the School of Medicine’s Transformational Research Grant recipients. President Kennedy also met with campus leaders to discuss diversity initiatives. Shanta Zimmer, MD, senior associate dean for education and associate dean for diversity and inclusion, participated in that meeting. It is critically important to our future that we are attract students, faculty, and staff who reflect the diversity of the communities we serve. The School has provided funding in recent years for faculty diversity recruitment efforts and our student recruitment efforts have been bolstered by a scholarship program funded for seven years by CU President Bruce Benson. We are hopeful that successes in those programs can lead to additional support.

The Child Health Research Enterprise June 2019 newsletter has been posted online. The newsletter updates activities of the committees reviewing legal, space and facilities, finance and budgeting, and communications of research efforts as part of a process to align and develop a joint Child Health Research Enterprise between Children’s Hospital Colorado and CU Anschutz Medical Campus.

I have asked Peter Buttrick, MD, senior associate dean for academic affairs, to manage a review of our campus informatics and bioinformatics efforts. I expect this review to lead to a conversation about how to improve the organizational structure so that it is user-friendly and accessible to the entire academic community. The initial step in this process is to better understand how many faculty and staff are engaged in these activities. Peter’s office has distributed a survey to campus leadership to identify those colleagues. If you have received this survey, please fill it out and return it to Peter by mid-July.

The School of Medicine 2019-2020 Faculty Officer election has concluded with two new officers elected to leadership roles: Jaime Arruda, MD, associate professor of clinical practice of obstetrics and gynecology, will be president-elect, and Alma Juels, MD, assistant professor of anesthesiology, will be secretary. Continuing faculty officers are Nicole Draper, MD, associate professor of clinical practice of pathology, who will become president, and David Raben, MD, professor of radiation oncology, who will become past-president. Faculty Senate meetings are on summer break and the next meeting will be Tuesday, September 17, at 4:30 p.m. in the E. Chester Ridgway Boardroom on the seventh floor of the AO1 building.

Training programs for providing medical care on Mars are the featured subject of a podcast posted recently on the CU Anschutz Today website and of an article in Wired magazine. The programs, created by Ben Easter, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine, and colleagues offer simulation exercises to test problem-solving skills in an extraordinarily austere environment at the Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah. While it’s obviously impossible to duplicate Martian conditions on Earth, the goal is to practice dealing with potential problems a crew on Mars might face with no way for earthlings to intervene. Ben is occasionally the patient in the simulated medical scenarios. “I have died a number of times on Mars,” he tells Wired magazine. Fortunately, he’s here on Earth, and so he gets to return home safely. When Ben’s not on our campus or at the Mars Desert Research Station, he is at the Johnson Space Center working as a scientist for NASA’s Exploration Medical Capability division.

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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