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May 7, 2020 | Volume II, Issue 9

Susan Wallace

Wallace Elected to American Academy of Arts & Sciences

The American Academy of Arts & Sciences has announced the election of Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Emerita Susan Wallace, Ph.D., to its membership, in recognition of her status as a world leader in the sciences. As one of 276 new members elected to the Academy on April 23, 2020, Dr. Wallace joins a prestigious group of innovative thinkers, including more than 250 Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners.

Dr. Wallace, who served as the founding chair of UVM’s Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics for 30 years before her retirement in 2018, played a significant role in providing a much greater understanding of the fundamental DNA repair mechanisms involved in the development of cancer, as well as the effects of radiation damage to the genome. More recently, her research, which was supported by more than 47 years of consistent National Institutes of Health funding, explored a potential link between certain DNA repair protein variants in the human population and an increase in the risk for some types of cancer.

Read more about Dr. Wallace.

Pictured above: Dr. Wallace. (Photo by Mario Morgado)


Dean Rick Page, M.D., makes remarks at the Professionalism launch event on May 1, 2019

Celebrating Professionalism: Our Commitment Continues

May 1 marked the first anniversary of the Larner College of Medicine’s public affirmation of the importance of professionalism at our institution, and throughout the entire academic health center. Whether faculty members, staff, or students, we continue to uphold these standards in all that we do every day throughout these challenging times. Read more about the College’s commitment on the Larner Professionalism website.

Pictured above: Dean Rick Page, M.D., makes remarks at the Professionalism launch event on May 1, 2019. (Photo: Andy Duback)


Class of 2020 Commencement Celebration on May 17

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Larner College of Medicine Class of 2020 Commencement ceremony may look different this year, but the celebratory spirit will be just as palpable.

On Sunday, May 17 at 3:00 p.m., students and guests participating remotely via Zoom will be greeted by Dean Rick Page, M.D., and UVM Medical Center President and Chief Operating Officer Stephen Leffler, M.D. ’90. Joia Mukherjee, M.D., M.P.H., chief medical officer of Partners in Health and associate professor of global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School, will deliver the keynote address, and graduating medical student Eli Goldberg will deliver the student address. Attendees will also hear remarks from UVM President Suresh V. Garimella, who will then confer medical degrees upon 72 of the 121 medical students in the Class of 2020. On April 20, 49 students from the Class of 2020 were granted their medical degrees early in an unprecedented move by the UVM Faculty Senate that allowed these students to make themselves available for early deployment to assist in the surge of clinical needs caused by the pandemic.

Faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to attend, dressed as they would be for Commencement at Ira Allen Chapel—in either business attire or regalia. All are invited to post on social media channels with the #uvmgrad and #uvmlarnermed hashtags to show their support for the Class of 2020. Check the Larner home page for a link to the livestream, which will be available soon.


Vermont Medicine Spring Issue

The spring 2020 issue of Vermont Medicine is now online! View the latest issue, including feature stories that explore a new UVM Medical Center primary care-based genetic testing program and efforts to help students build a positive professional identity, on our website


Dauerman Coauthors Statement on Heart Attack Care During Pandemic

Amid the rise in COVID-19 cases and continuing strain on health care workers and the economy, an alarming statistic—a sharp decrease in heart attack-related hospital admissions—thrust cardiologists, including Professor of Medicine Harold Dauerman, M.D., into action. On April 20, he and other representatives of the American College of Cardiology, American College of Emergency Physicians, and Society of Cardiovascular Angiography & Interventions, issued a joint statement, titled “Management of Acute Myocardial Infarction During the COVID-19 Pandemic” that was developed and approved in only five weeks. Published early online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the guidance aims to help clinicians make decisions about treatment alternatives for heart attack patients in the environment of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Read the full article.

Pictured above: Dr. Dauerman (Photo by Raj Chawla)

town hall


College Announces Inaugural Medical Student Research Fellowships

Two Larner medical students plan to hone their research skills and contribute to the leading-edge work of faculty as the inaugural recipients of the College’s Medical Student Research Fellowship. During the coming academic year, Jordan Munger ’21, will work with mentor Neil Zakai, M.D., M.Sc., associate professor of medicine and pathology and laboratory medicine, and Jennifer Holland ’21 will work with mentor Valerie Harder, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry. Mr. Munger and Ms. Holland were selected from an applicant pool reviewed by Gordon Jensen, M.D., Ph.D., senior associate dean for research, Christa Zehle, M.D., senior associate dean for medical education, Christopher Berger, Ph.D., associate dean for graduate education and postdoctoral training, and Renee Stapleton, M.D., Ph.D., director of medical student research.

Instituted in January 2020, the fellowships, which include a cost of living stipend, are designed to occur during a leave from the fourth year of medical school. Each student fellow will complete the first three months of Advanced Integration starting in March of their third year, and then complete the remaining portion of Advanced Integration upon returning to complete medical school during a fifth year. Both fellowships will formally begin July 1.


TEXT ONLY VERSION: COVID-19 Tests for Vermont. 8,300 vial of viral transport media (VTM) made. 5,000 vials of VTM can be made per week. 4,500 complete collection kits created to date. #UVMSTRONG


Le Develops Database of Medical Student COVID-19 Volunteer Efforts

On March 13, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Class of 2023 medical student Vinh Le walked out of the Larner College of Medicine, uncertain about when he and his classmates would be returning. A week later, as he grew used to the new rhythm of remote classes, he thought about ways to tap into the passion and enthusiasm his classmates have to serve communities in need. “I didn’t want to see the COVID-19 pandemic take that spirit away,” says Le. “If anything, we should be inspired – we are being given a chance to rise up to meet a challenge. We need to take it.” 

Two weeks later, Le’s Medical Student COVID-19 Action Network (MSCAN) emerged as a literal map of how medical students across the nation have met the challenge posed by COVID-19.    

With the help of 23 of his Larner classmates, Le develop a list of contacts at every accredited U.S. medical school and began reaching out to them to gather data about student-led volunteer efforts. At first, the data trickled in; now it has become a flood. 

As of May 1, the MSCAN database contains over 530 activities from 104+ schools in 40 states. The effort is supported by 57 medical students from the College and over 240 additional contributors. MSCAN has also been listed as primary resource for medical students by the national organization, WhileAtHome’s Frontline Family.

Read more about the creation of MSCAN.

Visit the MSCAN database.




Quote MarksI try to find strength in all of the doctors and nurses that came before me dealing with the anxiety of a new epidemic like AIDS, polio, smallpox, and the plague. Humanity was able to survive those ills through the courage of health care providers with far less medical knowledge than we have today. I also find strength in the incredible cohesiveness of my co-workers. We know we are going to get through this together.”

~Excerpted from a UVM Larner College of Medicine blog post by alumnus, assistant professor of surgery, and UVM Medical Center emergency medicine physician Joseph Ravera, M.D. ’10. (Read the blog post.)

Quote MarksThings are beginning to turn around. While people are still dying, the urgency and sheer volume has reduced. We are now discharging those patients who came in the initial surge and playing cheerful music when they get to go home, announcing it over our loudspeakers. Our residents and physicians are coming back to work, and there’s a small glimpse of normalcy. I recognize this is not yet over, and there is talk there may be another wave of this arriving, but it’s nice to be able to help reduce this burden, even just a little bit.”

~Excerpted from a UVM Larner College of Medicine blog post by alumnus Hyunsoo No, M.D. ’19, who is currently at Flushing Hospital Medical Center in New York City, completing a preliminary medicine rotation prior to radiation oncology residency training at Stanford. (Read the full blog post.)

Top photo: Dr. Ravera in the emergency department at the UVM Medical Center.

Bottom photo: Dr. No.


We are proud of and thankful for our researchers and healthcare professionals on the front line of the COVID-19 response. Join us in adding this Twibbon to your Twitter profile photo as a sign of support for these heroes:

Accolades & Appointments

Lewis First, M.D., professor and chair of pediatrics, has been selected as one of -16 distinguished educators to serve in the Academic Pediatric Association’s new honorary service academy, the National Academy of Distinguished Educators in Pediatrics (NADEP). Members of NADEP will serve as topic experts for academic institutions; national peer reviewers for educational credentials of pediatric faculty; mentors/coaches for junior faculty; and as a think tank to set future directions in pediatric education.


Julian Sprague, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of medicine, was named to the myeloma subcommittee for the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology. The Alliance Myeloma Committee focuses on developing trials that will improve outcomes of patients diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable marrow bone disease whichhas widespread effects throughout the body, including the marrow, skeleton, immune system, kidneys and peripheral nervous system, and is responsible for two percent of cancer deaths.

The Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) chapter at the Larner College of Medicine received the “Exemplary” ranking from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. The ranking, which is the highest that can be achieved, shows the exemplary job the chapter has done to increase engagement and empathy within the community of patients they serve, supporting clinician resilience and team building, teaching leadership and advocacy, and highlighting compassionate care throughout all levels of healthcare. The advisor for the Larner GHHS chapter is Andrea Green, M.D., professor of pediatrics.

Steven Lidofsky, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine, was appointed to the editorial board for World Journal of Hepatology, an open-access journal published by the Baishideng Publishing Group.

Peter Kaufman, M.D., professor of medicine, has been elected to serve a three-year term on the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology Board of Directors. The organization represents the National Cancer Institute-based national clinical trials network. The board of directors is made up of principal investigators or designees from the top 40 accruing Alliance institutions.  

The Society for Pediatric Research announced that Judith Shaw, Ed.D., M.P.H., R.N., professor of pediatrics and executive director of the Vermont Child Health Improvement Program, has been selected by the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) Board of Directors as the incoming PAS Meeting Program chair-elect. The annual PAS Meeting is the premier North American scholarly child health meeting, attracting 8,000 child health professionals annually for research presentations and discussions.

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The Larner College of Medicine
at The University of Vermont
Copyright 2020