Medical Class of 2025 Celebrates Completion of Foundations Curriculum

January 27, 2023 by Jennifer Nachbur

Faculty, staff, and students gathered January 26, 2023, to honor a milestone in the Class of 2025’s medical education journey at the Foundations Awards Celebration. The annual event marks the medical students’ completion of the Foundations – the first level of the Vermont Integrated Curriculum – and recognizes the students’ accomplishments and the teachers and staff who helped them along the way.

(L-R) Lee-Anna Burgess, M.D., Caitlin Early, M.P.H., and Angela Russo at the Class of 2025's Foundations Awards Celebration on January 26, 2023. (Photo: David Seaver)

Faculty, staff, and students gathered in the Hoehl Gallery in the Larner College of Medicine’s Health Science Research Facility to honor a milestone in the Class of 2025’s medical education journey at the Foundations Awards Celebration on January 26, 2023. The annual event marks the medical students’ completion of Foundations – the first level of the Vermont Integrated Curriculum – and recognizes the students’ accomplishments and the teachers and staff who helped them along the way.

Foundations Director Karen Lounsbury, Ph.D., kicked off the event, welcoming attendees to the celebration. Larner Dean Richard L. Page, M.D., followed with additional remarks, and then Class of 2025 medical student leader Justin Henningsen presented a recap of class members’ medical education journey to date.

The following awards were presented by members of the Class of 2025:

  • Class of ’25 American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) chapter members Angela Russo and Caitlin Early, M.P.H., presented the AMWA Gender Equity Award to Lee-Anna Burgess, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and course director, Nutrition, Metabolism, and Gastrointestinal Systems (NMGI). This award honors a male or female faculty member who promotes a gender-fair environment for the education and training of physicians and gender diversity in the field.
  • Kadi Nguyen presented The Dean Warshaw Integration Award to Lee-Anna Burgess, M.D. This award recognizes the faculty member whose teaching best captured the spirit of the VIC.
  • Elizabeth Kelley presented The Silver Stethoscope Award to William Hopkins, M.D., associate professor of medicine, and Ellen Black, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurological sciences. This award recognizes the faculty member who had few lecture hours but made a substantial contribution to students’ education.
  • Jennifer Toner presented the Above and Beyond Award to Andrew Hale, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and course director, Cardiovascular, Respiratory, and Renal Systems. This award recognizes the faculty member who went above and beyond the call of duty to help the students in their learning objectives.
  • Kadi Nguyen presented the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award to Sean Muniz, Class of 2023 medical student. This award recognizes the teaching assistant who was the most helpful in teaching and facilitating within a Foundations course.
  • Gabriela Sarriera-Valentin presented the Best Support Staff (Non-teaching) Award to Annika Eberle, curriculum coordinator for Foundations. This award recognizes the staff member who best supported students in areas besides teaching.
  • Elizabeth Kelley presented the Standardized Patient Award to Nicole D'Elisa. Standardized Patients (SPs) play an integral role in the education of Larner College of Medicine medical students. They foster an environment in which students can practice interviewing and examinations skills and receive honest feedback. The ability of a physician to develop rapport with a patient, perform a focused examination, and gather an accurate history are vital skills that Larner College of Medicine students are fortunate to practice early and often. The SPs share their experience, knowledge, and time with students during both Foundations and Clerkship years.
  • Justin Henningsen presented the Foundations Course Director Award to Lee-Anna Burgess, M.D., course director, NMGI, and assistant professor of medicine. This award recognizes the foundations course director who showed the highest degree of dedication to the successful design and implementation of their course curriculum.
  • Gabriela Sarriera-Valentin presented the Foundations Teaching Award to Lee-Anna Burgess, M.D. This award is presented to the faculty member who provided the most outstanding teaching activities within the Foundations curriculum.

Students and faculty members then presented awards to members of the Class of 2025. Awards and recipients were as follows:

  • Wellness Committee members James Fanning, Nic Hutt, Jharna Jahnavi, Ellen Mats, and Taylor Walker gathered at the podium to present the Wellness Award to Neeki Parsa.
  • Ira Bernstein, M.D., professor and chair of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences, presented the Cardiovascular Research Institute of Vermont Summer Research Fellowship Merit Award to Eric Stoutenburg (mentor: Timothy Plante, M.D., M.H.S., assistant professor of medicine).
  • Karen George, M.D., M.P.H., associate dean for students, presented Summer Research Fellowship Merit Awards to Class of 2025 students Christine Horn (mentor, Ira Bernstein, M.D.); Karena Nguyen (mentor: Mark Fung, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pathology and laboratory medicine); and Kenny Nguyen (mentor: Mirabelle Sajisevi, M.D., assistant professor of surgery).
  • Christina Wojewoda, M.D., associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, presented the Ephraim Woll Award for Excellence in General to Jennifer Chen.
  • Shirley McAdam presented the Exemplary Clinical Exam Skills Award to Ryan Kelly, Casey Krueger, Callan Gravel-Pucillo, Madeline Powell, and Hannah White.
  • Karen Lounsbury, Ph.D., presented the B. Albert Ring, MD, Memorial Grant Award to Megan Zhou and Ryan Kelly. This award recognizes students who best exemplify compassion, humor, humility, and devotion to family and friends, and intellectual curiosity.
  • Lounsbury presented the Durwood Smith Award for Excellence in Pharmacology to Charlotte Evans.
  • Lounsbury presented the Helen and Phyllis Wasserman Phorplus Prize for excellence in the Basic Sciences to Bradley Anair, Charlotte Evans, and Ryan Kelly.

At the close of the awards presentations, Lounsbury invited Elise Everett, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences and level director of clinical clerkship, who welcomed members of the Class of 2025 to Clinical Clerkship – the second level of the Vermont Integrated Curriculum. Class of 2025 medical students are currently preparing to take Step 1 – the first part of the United States Medical Licensing Examination – and will begin the clinical portion of their education in March 2023.


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