Chancellor's Communique

Announcing Retirement of Dean & Vice Chancellor John J. Reilly, Jr., MD , 10-3-23

Dear faculty, staff and students,

We write to share the news that University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus School of Medicine Dean and Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs John J. Reilly, Jr., MD, has announced his decision to retire.

Since joining us in 2015 from the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Reilly has led the highly ranked CU School of Medicine with vision and dedication as Richard D. Krugman Endowed Chair. Taking the reins at a time of tremendous opportunity for the School of Medicine, Dr. Reilly drove advancements in each area of our mission. He focused on deepening the school’s many areas of strength while growing programs and boosting expertise to meet the demands of an ever-changing healthcare landscape.

He has skillfully driven investments in transformational research initiatives spanning disciplines and departments, and leveraged our strengths in new and emerging fields to draw top experts from across the country. With a focus on team science, Dr. Reilly has cultivated cross-disciplinary connection and collaboration. 

Over the course of Dr. Reilly’s tenure, the School of Medicine and the campus as a whole have seen remarkable growth and repeatedly ranked among the top 10 medical schools in the country for primary care. Annual research awards have increased nearly 70% and patient volume for the faculty practice group over 60%. CU Medicine income is up nearly 120%, and philanthropy has grown by 50%. Under his watch, we have attracted record numbers of student applicants year over year, and increased diversity among enrolled students. Total faculty have grown by more than half to over 6,000, with endowed chairs increasing by more than 50%; not captured in these metrics is an equal increase in the exceptional quality of those same faculty members. 

Dr. Reilly has grown the school’s focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, and overseen innovative curriculum redesign efforts that ensure our graduates leave ready to lead. New initiatives launched during his tenure include the Department of Biomedical Informatics and Center for Health AI, and he led the establishment of the Aurora Wellness Community in partnership with local leaders to better serve the communities surrounding campus. Dr. Reilly deftly navigated the School of Medicine through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has prioritized faculty engagement and wellness. He has also focused on expanding our reach through branch campus programs at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) and Colorado State University, and a new hybrid physical therapy program in partnership with UCCS. 

To have had a leader of Dr. Reilly’s caliber at the helm for nearly nine years has benefited the school, our campus and the University of Colorado immensely. We are far, far stronger by every measure than we were in 2015. John’s steady leadership has been a major factor in that achievement. He has been a trusted partner for me and a valued colleague for all. 

Please join me in thanking Dr. Reilly for all he has made possible in his roles as dean and vice chancellor for health affairs, and for his countless contributions to academic medicine made throughout a highly distinguished career. His ambitious vision and many accomplishments have taken the university to new heights, and he leaves the School of Medicine positioned well for its next chapter. We will share plans for an event to thank him in person once finalized.

Dr. Reilly has graciously agreed to hold his current role until his successor is engaged. We will begin a national search immediately.


Don Elliman

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