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March 11, 2020 | Volume II, Issue 5

Christa Zehle

Christa Zehle, M.D., Named Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education

On March 9, Dean Richard L. Page, M.D., announced the appointment, following a national search, of Christa Zehle, M.D., as senior associate dean for medical education at the College. Dr. Zehle, who has served as interim senior associate dean for medical education at Larner since January 2019, immediately assumed the new role. 

A 1999 alumna of the Larner College of Medicine, Dr. Zehle did her residency in pediatrics at the University of Rochester, where she was named chief resident in 2002--2003. She joined UVM in 2003 as assistant professor of pediatrics and was promoted to associate professor in 2011. She became associate dean for students in 2012. A sought-after mentor for medical students and residents, Dr. Zehle has received numerous awards for teaching. In addition to her roles at the Larner College of Medicine, she practices as a pediatric hospitalist and successfully launched the Pediatric Hospitalist Program at The University of Vermont Medical Center in 2003. Among Dr. Zehle’s honors are the 2014 Early Achievement Alumni Award from the UVM Larner Medical Alumni Association, and the 2012 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Faculty Award.

“Dr. Zehle has done an outstanding job as interim and I am so pleased she will become our senior associate dean for medical education,” said Dean Page. "I am grateful to Dr. Beth Kirkpatrick and Dr. Lewis First, search committee chairs, and to the entire search committee for the thorough and professional way they approached their task.”

Read more about Dr. Zehle’s appointment.


Keeping Informed About Coronavirus/COVID-19

As the world and our nation respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, it is important for everyone to be prepared for possible community spread of this illness. This is a rapidly-evolving situation that requires a focus on sharing as much accurate, high-quality information as possible. To that end, UVM has set up a COVID-19 Information and Updates webpage as a campus resource. The two most important sources of information continue to be the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Vermont Department of Health. The CDC site contains up-to-date information on the spread of the disease, its symptoms, proper preventive measures, and current travel restrictions, and the Vermont Department of Health page gives daily updates on the status of COVID-19 in Vermont.

A March 11 message from Dean Richard L. Page, M.D., to the Larner College of Medicine community detailed many of the latest developments around the situation for students, faculty, and staff, including the College's move to remote learning starting March 16.

Many public events  scheduled for the coming weeks have been cancelled or postponed. The most prominent event affected is the Match Day Celebration on March 20. The usual public Match Day event will not take place. In its place will be a series of appropriately smaller gatherings for just members of the Class of 2020.

The Larner College of Medicine is, of course, closely associated with clinical partners, who, like all major medical centers, have plans in place to prepare for a new disease outbreak. The UVM Medical Center has a website with information, as does Nuvance Health, which includes our branch campus in Connecticut. Associate Dean for Public Health and Health Policy Jan Carney, M.D., M.P.H., and colleague Kelsey Gleason, D.Sc., assistant professor of medicine, in collaboration with UVM Continuing and Distance Education, presented an informative webinar on March 5, a video of which can be viewed here.

We encourage everyone to follow these recommended actions:

• Get a flu shot.

• If you’re sick, stay home.

• Practice vigilant hand hygiene. This means washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

• Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.

• Avoid touching your face.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.

• If you have a fever or cough, consider not visiting a loved one in the hospital.

from left to right: Dean Page; Gov. Kunin; Dr. Faricy; Dr. Herrington; Dr. Leonard; Professor Emeritus William Pendlebury, M.D. (on behalf of his wife, Dr. Cushman); Dr. Dougherty; Margaret Tandoh, M.D., Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion

Kunin Headlines Inaugural Celebration of Gender Equity 

Governor Madeleine Kunin helped kick off the Larner College of Medicine’s first-ever event to celebrate and recognize achievements in gender equity on March 4 in the Sullivan Classroom. 

Following remarks from Dean Richard L. Page, M.D., and Gender Equity Liaison Anne Dougherty, M.D., M.A., Gov. Kunin delivered her keynote presentation, titled “A Memoir: Coming of Age,” which featured readings from her latest book –intimate reflections on different aspects of her life as an octogenarian. During the 30-minute Q&A interview moderated by Associate Dean for Public Health and Health Policy Jan Carney, M.D., M.P.H., Gov. Kunin was asked “What strikes you most about the gender equity movement . . . why is it so slow?” She replied that “women still feel like they need a certain pedigree [to take on a higher-level position or political role] which is why we started EmergeVT,” referencing the non-profit she founded, which recruits and trains women to run for elected office.

The celebration event featured the presentation of the College’s inaugural gender equity awards. Ramsey Herrington, M.D., assistant professor of surgery and chief of emergency medicine, received the Gender Equity Champion Award. Mary Cushman, M.D., M.Sc., professor of medicine and director of the thrombosis and hemostasis program, received the Gender Equity Outstanding Achievement in Medicine and Science Award. Debra Leonard, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of pathology and laboratory medicine, received The Polaris Award for Outstanding Mentorship. Lauren Elizabeth (L.E.) Faricy, M.D.,assistant professor of pediatrics, received The Rising Star Emerging Professional Award.

Read more about the celebration of gender equity event.

Pictured above, from left to right: Dean Page; Gov. Kunin; Dr. Faricy; Dr. Herrington; Dr. Leonard; Professor Emeritus William Pendlebury, M.D. (on behalf of his wife, Dr. Cushman); Dr. Dougherty; Margaret Tandoh, M.D., Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion. (Photo: David Seaver)

from left to right: Ms. Sidwell; Ms. Coates, Mr. Weinman; Mr. Masquelin; Dr. Berger, Ph.D.; and Mr. Bivona.

College Announces  First Graduate Student Council

On February 20, the Larner College of Medicine’s new, dedicated Graduate Student Council gathered for their first official meeting. The council’s role is to address the needs and concerns of students in the College’s ten master’s and doctoral degree programs. 

Newly-elected council members include: J.J. Bivona, a Cellular, Molecular, and Biomedical Sciences (CMB) Ph.D. candidate, and Amanda Sidwell, a Neuroscience Graduate Program Ph.D. candidate, who will serve as representatives for doctoral degree students; Caitlin Coates, a student in the Master of Medical Science degree program, who will represent master’s degree students; Marcus Weinman, a CMB Ph.D. candidate, who will serve as an at-large member; and Axel Masquelin, a candidate in the College of Medicine’s and College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences’ collaborative Bioengineering Ph.D. program, who will serve as an additional at-large member until the next election. These five representatives provide the council’s quorum.

With support from Associate Dean for Graduate and Postdoctoral Training and Professor of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics Christopher Berger, Ph.D., and Erin Montgomery, coordinator of faculty development, graduate education, and postdoctoral training, the students will advocate for their colleagues and graduate program initiatives within the College. 

Pictured above, from left to right: Ms. Sidwell; Ms. Coates, Mr. Weinman; Mr. Masquelin; Dr. Berger, Ph.D.; and Mr. Bivona. (Photo Erin Montgomery)


Janice Gallant

3 Questions for Associate Dean Janice Gallant, M.D.

Janice Gallant, M.D., has served as the College’s associate dean for admissions for the past 14 years. A member of the Larner Class of 1989, she has helped create a diverse and robust admissions committee, a holistic admissions process, and led the charge to implement the College’s multiple-mini interview (MMI) process. One of the top issues in medical education today is rising medical student debt. Larner Medicine discussed how this issue is impacting medical school admissions with Dr. Gallant.

LM: How do you think medical education costs have impacted medical student applications? What about the impact on accepted applicants’ decisions on where to attend medical school?

JG: The number of applications to the Larner College of Medicine has not declined despite rising medical student debt; in fact, the College received the largest number of applications to date this most recent application cycle. When we ask accepted applicants what factors influence their decision on where to attend medical school, year after year, the number-one factor is finances.

LM: UVM and the Larner College of Medicine agreed to freeze tuition for the 2020-21 school year and several medical schools have gone tuition-free. What has been the response of applicants in this regard, and what are your thoughts on the topic? 

JG: While Admissions is not equipped to comment on the response of current applicants to the tuition freeze at this time, I do believe that the College of Medicine must take action to address increasing student debt. The 2020-21 tuition freeze may provide a good opportunity to bring together a diverse group of people to creatively discuss and develop strategies for moving forward with a comprehensive plan for decreasing student debt.

LM: How are students advised on the financial aspects of a medical education? Are there any models for reducing or eliminating medical school debt that you think are particularly effective?

JG: Student Financial Services engages our admitted students early on to educate them on the realities of financing a medical degree. They provide information on financial aid package amounts, how to budget the funding, and inform students of financial literacy offerings covering a broad range of platforms, from free webinars to campus-based activities. A limited number of Larner College of Medicine scholarships are available for incoming students. For medical school graduates interested in serving in primary care in Vermont, there are loan forgiveness programs available at the local and national level.

Our Vermont community, our medical center, and our legislature want our medical school graduates to continue to come back to the state of Vermont to practice, as they have been doing for many years. Can we count on that in the future? Maybe. Will their debt load preclude them from returning? Perhaps.


Application Deadline Approaching for Medical Student Research Fellowships. Apply by March 5, 5:00 PM. Learn more at

Text-only version: Application Deadline Approaching for Medical Student Research Fellowships. Apply by March 5, 5:00 PM. Learn more at 

Accolades & Appointments

Patrick Clarke

The Larner College of Medicine Student Council has announced that medical student Patrick Clarke will be the president-elect for the Class of 2022. Currently the class chair of finance, Mr. Clarke will assume his new president-elect duties on March 20, 2022 - Match Day for the Class of 2020. Concurrently, Cameron Burke ’21, who has served as president-elect for the past year, will step into the position of Student Council president.

Leigh Ann Holterman

Leigh Ann Holterman, Ph.D., director of curriculum evaluation and assessment, is part of a research team that received a $50,000 UVM Gund Institute Catalyst Award. The award is designed to increase collaborative research at UVM, while advancing the Gund Institute’s mission to mobilize scholars and leaders to understand and solve the world’s critical environmental problems. Dr. Holterman and colleagues will examine health, water, energy, transportation and community development data in order to improve scientific and public understanding of Vermont’s changing climate.

Lindsay Longe


Lindsay Longe, a member of the Academic Health Sciences development team since 2018, has been appointed as the new director of major gifts for the UVM Cancer Center. In this new role, she will work closely with the UVM Cancer Center leadership team and administration, as well as colleagues in the UVM Foundation, Larner College of Medicine, and UVM Medical Center, on fundraising, communications, and marketing.

Deborah and Jennifer

Jennifer Provencher, neurology clerkship coordinator, and Deborah Fay, residency program administrator, in the Department of Neurological Sciences, were part of a team of coordinators who planned and created the newly-approved Consortium of Neurology Education Coordinators, which is part of the American Academy of Neurology. This consortium, which recognizes and promotes the importance and professional nature of the coordinators’ roles, represents neurology program coordinators, clerkship coordinators and fellowship coordinators. 

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Published by the Office of Medical Communications
The Larner College of Medicine
at The University of Vermont
Copyright 2020