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November 13, 2019 | Volume I, Issue 18

Mike Cross

Celebrating Mike Cross & His 43 Years of Service

When Mike Cross joined the University of Vermont’s custodial services team on October 25, 1976, planters filled with red geraniums lined the Given hallway and there were ashtrays in every corner. Many things have changed since then, but not Mike. His kind and caring nature has yielded hundreds of fans among College of Medicine students, faculty, staff, and alumni over the past 43 years. On October 30, the UVM and Larner communities celebrated Mike Cross and his contributions with a retirement party.

Read more about Mike Cross and his time at UVM.

View a slideshow of photos featuring Mike Cross.

Read comments and well-wishes from UVM medical students, graduate students, faculty, and staff. 


Dr. Mayo Fujii

Fujii Presents Opioid Prescribing Study 

In July 2017, the Vermont Department of Health issued new regulations for prescribing opioids for pain, which required physicians to discuss the risks and benefits of opioid pain treatment with patients, counsel them on non-opioid pain treatment options, and educate them on the safe disposal of unused opioids. 

University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC) surgical resident and Larner alumna Mayo Fujii, M.D. ’13, M.S., and colleagues evaluated opioid prescribing patterns at UVMMC for 15 common operations across four surgical specialties for 12 months before the regulations went into effect and for 17 months afterward. They found that the median morphine milligram equivalents—a measure of cumulative potency of pain meds prescribed—declined by 33 percent, with no signs of inadequate postoperative pain management in surgical patients. Dr. Fujii presented these findings at the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress 2019.

"Despite the amount being prescribed, patients were also using less after implementation of these regulations, which was likely due to the patient education component of the initiative and awareness about the opioid crisis," said Dr. Fujii.

Dr. Fujii's study has been covered by several national media outlets, including WebMD and U.S. News & World Report. Read more about the study.

Kinetic Light Performance photo

Kinetic Light Shines

At the invitation of Dean Rick Page, in Partnership with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Wellness Committee, more than 250 faculty, staff, students, and guests from the Larner College of Medicine community attended an October 30 performance of “Descent” by the Kinetic Light performing arts company, thanks to a special partnership between the College and the Flynn Center. Inspired by the work of French sculptor Auguste Rodin, Kinetic Light’s “Descent” tells the story of mythological figures Venus and Andromeda. Throughout the performance, artists Alice Sheppard and Laurel Lawson created moving sculpture of their own, backed by gorgeous projected images and a sinuous, multi-level ramp that became a kind of character, itself, in the performance. The show was presented in association with the UVM Office of the Vice President for Human Resources, Diversity, and Multicultural Affairs through the UVM President’s Initiative for Diversity.

Dr. Thomas Delaney

New Views on Suicide Screening & Prevention

Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in Vermont and the state’s rate of suicide in young people is substantially higher than the overall national rate. In addition, Vermont’s veteran suicide rate has been higher than the national rate almost every year from 2005 to 2016, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Thomas Delaney, Ph.D., who studies suicide prevention in the Vermont Child Health Improvement Program and teaches in the UVM Master of Public Health online program, is looking at ways to improve screening, resources, and support.

One of the potential solutions Dr. Delaney suggests is strengthening prevention efforts that target specific ages and risk factors for emerging adults, middle-aged and older adults, and older males in particular. He also recommends equipping health care and community-based providers with the knowledge and skills to respond effectively to anyone in distress, and establishing a broad-based suicide prevention and intervention program throughout Vermont. 

Read more about Dr. Delaney's work on the UVM OutReach blog.

Success in residency is over 93 %
Text only version: Success in Residency
Class of 2018 graduates earned high marks from residency program directors in a survey from the Larner College of Medicine: 93.9%–Percentage of Class of 2018 graduates rated as “prepared” or “more prepared” than their peers by residency program directors for interpersonal/communication skills. 93.2% of residency program directors agreed or strongly agreed with the statement: “Overall, I am satisfied with the preparation of this resident.”

Green mountain Medicine podcast image

Tune in to Green Mountain Medicine

Green Mountain Medicine is an original podcast series hosted by the American College of Physicians (ACP) Vermont chapter student representatives and Class of 2021 members Matt Tsai and Dylan Koundakjian. Inspired by the national ACP podcast, “The Curbsiders,” the Larner students’ podcast “deconstructs the topics that impact the field and characterize the practice of medicine,” and discusses a variety of topics such as the internal medicine residency experience at UVM Medical Center, chronic pain management, and patient advocacy. Listen to Green Mountain Medicine episodes here.

Faculty Voices Banner

Mercedes Avila and Virginie Diambou Photo

Quote MarksAdvancing equity work on our campuses means that we need to have a commitment to effecting systemic change, to engage in dialogue about social justice and historical injustices, institutionalized racism, and identify best practices to address and eliminate systemic disparities in higher education."

~Excerpted from remarks delivered by Mercedes Avila, Ph.D., M.S.W., associate professor of pediatrics, VT LEND program director, and Office of Diversity and Inclusion health equity inclusive excellence liaison, after she received the Sister Elizabeth Candon Distinguished Service Award at the 2019 Vermont Women in Higher Education (VWHE) fall dinner.

Pictured above: Dr. Avila, left, with VT LEND colleague Virginie Diambou, M.D., community health & refugee outreach/internship coordinator, who nominated her for the VWHE award.

Accolades & Appointments

Marie Wood, M.D.

Marie Wood, M.D., professor of medicine and associate director for cancer control and population health science for the UVM Cancer Center, was selected for one of a very limited number of specialized Institutional Review Board IRB) member positions at the National Cancer Institute. Her selection to the Central IRB recognizes her national leadership in the field. 

Thomas Achenbach, Ph.D.

Thomas Achenbach, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, was honored by the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology of the American Psychological Association with the 2019 Smith Award. The award recognizes an individual, a group, or an organization that has advanced the field of scientific assessment in individual psychological functioning, mental health, learning, or social and intellectual development.

Stephen Berns, M.D.,

Associate Professor of Family Medicine Stephen Berns, M.D., was selected as Emerging Leader in Hospice and Palliative Medicine by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.  The honor recognizes recipients' career accomplishments, involvement in the Academy, mentoring of residents and students, and participation in charitable work.

Stephen Higgins, Ph.D.

Richard Rawson  Headshot



Donaldson Professor of Psychiatry and Vermont Center on Behavior and Health Director Stephen Higgins, Ph.D., and Professor of Psychiatry Richard Rawson, Ph.D., co-chaired a session on the opioid epidemic at the Northeast Regional IDeA Conference recently held at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. The multidisciplinary panel discussion focused on efforts to curtail the national opioid use disorder epidemic and specifically, it’s impact on rural northern New England communities. 

Wasef Abu-Jaish M.D. and Patrick Forgione, M.D.

Associate Professor of Surgery Wasef Abu-Jaish M.D., and Associate Professor of Surgery Patrick Forgione, M.D., both fellows of the American College of Surgeons, recently received the designation of Fellow of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (FASMBS).

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Slauterbeck JR, Choquette R, Tourville TW, Krug M, Mandelbaum BR, Vacek P,
Beynnon BD.Implementation of the FIFA 11+ Injury Prevention Program by High
School Athletic Teams Did Not Reduce Lower Extremity Injuries: A Cluster
Randomized Controlled Trial.
Am J Sports Med. 2019 Oct;47(12):2844-2852. doi:
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Guigni BA, van der Velden J, Kinsey CM, Carson JA, Toth MJ. Effects of Conditioned Media from Murine Lung Cancer Cells and Human Tumor Cells on Cultured Myotubes.  Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2019 Nov 5.
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Davey AP, Vacek PM, Caldwell RA, Slauterbeck JR, Gardner-Morse MG, Tourville
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Davids S, Allen D, Desarno M, Endres NK, Bartlett C, Shafritz A. Comparison of
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Kim JS, Anderson MR, Podolanczuk AJ, Kawut SM, Allison MA, Raghu G,
Hinckley-Stuckovsky K, Hoffman EA, Tracy RP, Barr RG, Lederer DJ, Giles JT.
Associations of Serum Adipokines with Subclinical Interstitial Lung Disease Among
Community-Dwelling Adults: the MESA study.
Chest. 2019 Oct 31. pii:
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Dukhovny D, Buus-Frank ME, Edwards EM, Ho T, Morrow KA, Srinivasan A, Pollock DA, Zupancic JAF, Pursley DM, Goldmann D, Puopolo KM, Soll RF, Horbar JD. A Collaborative Multicenter QI Initiative To Improve Antibiotic Stewardship in
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Collin LJ, Ulrichsen SP, Ahern TP, Goodman M, McCullough LE, Waller LA, Bang 
Christensen K, Damkier P, Hamilton-Dutoit S, Lauridsen KL, Yacoub R, Christiansen PM, Ejlertsen B, Sørensen HT, Cronin-Fenton DP, Lash TL. 17β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 1:2 and breast cancer recurrence: a Danish population-based study. Acta Oncol. 2019 Oct 31:1-5. doi: 10.1080/0284186X.2019.1684560. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31671023.

Crehan ET, Althoff RR, Riehl H, Prelock PA, Hutchins T. Brief Report: Me,
Reporting on Myself: Preliminary Evaluation of the Criterion-Related Validity of 
the Theory of Mind Inventory-2 when Completed by Autistic Young Adults.
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PubMed PMID: 31667653.

Freed JA, Hale AJ, Rangachari D, Ricotta DN.Twelve tips for teaching
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 Nicoli CD, Sprague BL, Anker CJ, Lester-Coll NH. On the Importance of Rural
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Published by the Office of Medical Communications
The Larner College of Medicine
at The University of Vermont
Copyright 2019