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Improving Lives in Changing Times

By John J. Reilly, Jr., MD

​(May 2017) The University of Colorado School of Medicine’s success depends on the sustained effort of everyone associated with it to build and maintain a vibrant community of educators, clinicians, scientists, staff and other valued contributors.

In ordinary times, that requires a level of dedication and coordination unmatched in many professional endeavors. The lives of our patients, the future of the healthcare system, breakthroughs in laboratories demand constant, unyielding attention. We are fortunate to have so many talented people at our school working together to benefit our community and the world.

These, however, are far from ordinary times. During the past year, we have witnessed proposals that would take health insurance away from millions of people, that would limit entry to scholars seeking to join our community, and that would make devastat-ing cuts to the budgets of federal agencies that provide crucial funding for biomedical research.

The actions of our elected leaders will undoubtedly have a significant impact on health care over the upcoming years and we will need to adapt our tactics for this changing environment. We are already doing so by bolstering the school’s investments in research, by adding clinical sites in our community, by re-evaluating the curriculum for medical students and by advocating for the programs that have made valuable improvements in the lives of so many people.

In this issue of CU Medicine Today, we have articles about five Transformational

Research Funding projects receiving substantial support from the school. We are investing in teams exploring the promise of immuno-therapy, the search for common targets in fibrotic disease, productive uses of big data in caring for patients, a better understanding of the role of RNA in human health, and expanding discovery of innate immunity and the vast landscape of the microbiome.

Such programs will be crucial to the future of medicine and to our campus. The leaders of these projects are already recruiting faculty, managing resources that promote collaborative science, organizing training and educational programming and sponsoring pilot re-search projects. While the projects vary in topic and scope, they all have one common element: They are investments in people.

While times change, our calling is to improve the lives of others. We will remain steadfast in fulfilling our fundamental missions of providing world-class health care to all in need, advancing science to improve our understanding of biology and translating that un-derstanding to improved prevention and therapy, and educating the next generation of researchers and health care providers.

We also will not change our commitment to embracing diversity as a core component of our strategy. We will continue our efforts to recruit and support a diverse student body, faculty and staff and to leverage their skills to meet the needs of the diverse population we serve. We will continue to support a diversity of ideas, respectful and civil dialogue among those with differing points of view, and tolerant environment for all. 

With warm regards,  


John J. Reilly, Jr., MD
Richard D. Krugman Endowed Chair
Dean, School of Medicine
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs
University of Colorado