June 2, 2021 | Volume III, Issue 11
Message from the Dean
Dear Larner Community,
The class of 2021 has graduated and, with Memorial Day now behind us, summer has officially begun. We should all take pride that we have arrived at this point, even with the challenges that befell our College, UVM and the world. Our medical and graduate studies continued throughout the last 15 months, thanks to accommodations and resilience from faculty, students, and staff. Our scientific inquiry, ranging from basic and translational to clinical and implementation research, received substantially more funding than in the year before, and pivoted to address questions related to COVID-19. Our clinical activities had to adjust, initially related to exposure risks and tragic effects on nursing homes and other care facilities. Now clinical volumes are approaching those seen before the pandemic as our patients are receiving the care that they delayed over the last year.
We should also have optimism for the days ahead. We have learned lessons that will improve the relevance and equity of our education programs, with examples such as a course in telemedicine and the discovery that Zoom “visits” to our College can be shared with all. The clinical crisis has necessitated collaboration that will continue with our affiliates in the UVM Health Network and the entire region. And the outlook is bright for research in the College. Even with the pandemic upon us, we broke ground on the Firestone Medical Research Building in October; the timing of this project allowed for reduced cost, stimulated the local economy, and demonstrated our confidence in the future.
Our accomplishments have not been without cost. We have all experienced stress related to some combination of finances, health, schooling, and childcare. Our reckoning with social injustice and systemic racism has only just begun, and our College has renewed its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Thanks to local and national efforts, as well as the power of science, the pandemic appears to be coming to an end in the U.S. We are increasingly able to join friends and enjoy activities together. I cannot think of a time when our community has been more in need of celebration and the opportunity to spend time relaxing with family and friends.
Please take some time this summer for yourselves: you deserve a vacation. This is about wellness and mental health. With a bit of rest and relaxation, all of us—faculty, staff, and students—will be better equipped to address the joys and challenges before us.
Richard L. Page, M.D.
Dean, The Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine
The University of Vermont
Pictured above: Exterior view of the Larner College of Medicine’s Health Science Research Facility.
Class of 2021 Graduate and Medical Students Celebrate Commencement
Graduate and Class of 2021 medical students participated in Commencement ceremonies held on May 20 and 23, respectively, both in-person, on the University of Vermont campus - a welcome result of lifted restrictions for public gatherings - and remotely via Zoom.
Led by Graduate College Dean and Professor of Neurological Sciences Cynthia Forehand, Ph.D., the Graduate College ceremony was held the evening of May 20 outdoors on Virtue Field on the university’s athletic campus. Among those participating were masters and Ph.D. degree students graduating from programs at Larner and across UVM. Among the graduates were 63+ students from inter-college, multi-disciplinary programs in which Larner collaborates with the Graduate College, Continuing & Distance Education, and Colleges of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, Arts & Sciences, Agriculture & Life Sciences, and Nursing & Health Sciences. The programs are Biomedical Engineering; Cellular, Molecular, & Biomedical Sciences; Neuroscience; Biochemistry; Clinical & Translational Science; Medical Sciences; Microbiology & Molecular Genetics; Pathology; Pharmacology; and Public Health programs.
The Larner College of Medicine held its first-ever hybrid in-person/virtual commencement for Class of 2021 M.D. graduates on May 23. The ceremony, led by Dean Richard L. Page, M.D., took place both at UVM’s Patrick Gymnasium and via Zoom and included 94 of the Larner College of Medicine’s 110 medical graduates, with 42 participating in-person. Mary Cushman, M.D., M.Sc., professor of medicine, served as faculty marshal, Cameron Burke, M.D., served as the Class of 2021 marshal, and Dean Page and Claude Deschamps, M.D., president and CEO of the UVM Health Network Medical Group and senior associate dean for clinical affairs, presented welcome remarks to the class. Camara Jones, M.D., family physician, epidemiologist, anti-racism activist and past president of the American Public Health Association, delivered a keynote address and Class of 2021 member Elizabeth Lynch, M.D., delivered the student address. Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education Christa Zehle, M.D. '99, and Dean Page recognized the participating graduating students, beginning with those on Zoom, followed by those in-person in Patrick Gym.
Pictured above: A collage of photos of Graduate College degree recipients and Larner College of Medicine medical graduates.
Warshaw Honored as University Distinguished Professor
UVM Provost and Senior Vice President Patty Prelock has announced that David Warshaw, Ph.D., professor and chair of molecular physiology and biophysics, is a 2021 recipient of the University Distinguished Professor Award—the highest academic honor that UVM bestows upon a member of the faculty. The title recognizes faculty members who have achieved an international reputation as top scholars within their respective fields of study and made transformative contributions to the advancement of knowledge.
A 1978 UVM doctoral degree alum, Dr. Warshaw is an internationally renowned leader in the structure and function of tiny, myosin molecular motors that power contraction in the heart and other muscles, and the transport of intracellular cargo, such as insulin granules.
Check out the 2020 annual report from the Department of Pediatrics and UVM Children’s Hospital, featuring articles on “Metz and Team Work to Keep Every Child Safe,” “Partnership in a Pandemic,” “Treating the Whole Child,” and “Reopening Schools Safely."
Graphic above: On the right, the words Larner College of Medicine Department of Pediatrics and The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital are positioned above a photo of Dr. Hillary Anderson, with the words 2020 Annual Report underneath. On the right, the text reads: View the 2020 annual report from the UVM Children’s Hospital and UVM Department of Pediatrics!
Wellness Environment Launches WE/MD App Study at Larner
Launched seven years ago, the Wellness Environment (WE) program for UVM undergraduates is an incentive-based program focused on health promotion, illness prevention, and behavioral change. For several years, students in WE have been given Apple watches and used the WE app, which was recently updated, to keep track of their health and wellness activities.
On May 24, members of the WE program at the University of Vermont, in collaboration with leaders at Larner, opened a voluntary research study of the WE/MD app in which medical students in the classes of 2022 and 2023 can currently enroll.
The latest creation conceived by WE founder and Director Jim Hudziak, M.D., professor of psychiatry and director of child psychiatry and the Vermont Center for Children, Youth and Families, the WE/MD app was inspired by Dr. Hudziak’s own experience as a medical student and by his daughter and Class of 2018 Larner alum Vicenta Hudziak, M.D.'18. The WE app served as a foundation for the WE MD app, which was tweaked for a medical student user based on input from a team including Dr. Hudziak, William Copeland, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, Lee Rosen, Ph.D., interim associate dean for students and assistant professor of psychiatry, recent graduate Elizabeth Lynch, M.D., and medical students Alexandra Novelli ’23, Carly Watson ’23, and Hakeem Yousef ’22.
An arm of the WE program, led by Dr. Copeland, focuses on research based on the findings generated by students’ responses in the app. A recent Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry article on student wellness during the pandemic is one example.
Find more information about the WE/MD app study for UVM Class of 2022 and 2023 medical students here.
In medical school, the fear of receiving a bad evaluation for any minor misstep can pressure us to stand with the crowd, to not stand apart, unless it is for knowing the right answer when the surgeon starts interrogating you in the operating room... But I know you all... I have seen you advocate on behalf of your patients, despite being the lowest person in the medical hierarchy, and many of you have worked tirelessly to improve the delivery of medical education to be more equitable, just, and diverse. As an M.D., your words and opinions will be respected and prioritized in conversations. Choose to be part of that dialogue, continue to speak up, do not hide in silence.”
– Elizabeth Lynch, M.D., Class of 2021 medical graduate, in her Commencement ceremony student address on Sunday, May 23, 2021.
Pictured above: Dr. Lynch.
Accolades & Appointments
Congratulations to the Larner College of Medicine's newly-appointed emeriti faculty for 2020-21: Tania Bertch, M.D., Department of Medicine (32 years of service); Leah Burke, M.D., Department of Pediatrics (20 years); Richard Colletti, M.D., Department of Pediatrics (46 years); Janice Gallant, M.D., Department of Radiology (24 years); Barry Heath, M.D., Department of Pediatrics (39 years); Diane Jaworski, Ph.D., Department of Neurological Sciences (25 years); John Leahy, M.D., Department of Medicine (24 years); Bruce Leavitt, M.D., Department of Surgery (32 years); Donna Millay, M.D., Department of Surgery (31 years); David Pederson, Ph.D., Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics (33 years); Jeffrey Rimmer, M.D., Department of Medicine (39 years); Rup Tandan, M.D., Department of Neurological Sciences (38 years); Ann Wittpenn, M.D., Department of Pediatrics (23 years).
Three members of the Department of Medicine and Vermont Lung Center were honored at the 2021 American Thoracic Society (ATS) International Conference held in May. As part of the Respiratory Health Awards presentation, Professor of Medicine Jason Bates, Ph.D., D.Sc., received a Recognition Award for Scientific Achievement, which “recognizes outstanding scientific contributions in basic or clinical research to enhance the understanding, prevention and treatment of respiratory disease or critical illness” and is given “based on contributions made throughout their careers or for major contributions made at a particular point in their careers.” Department of Medicine Chair and Amidon Professor Polly Parsons, M.D., received the Edward Livingston Trudeau Medal, which recognizes “an individual with lifelong major contributions to prevention, diagnosis and treatment of lung disease through leadership in research, education, or clinical care” and “acknowledges exemplary professionalism, collegiality and citizenship in the ATS community.”Find more information about Drs. Bates' and Parsons' awards here.
During the ATS Assembly Awards, David Kaminsky, M.D., professor of medicine, received the Assembly on Respiratory Structure and Function Dr. Robert Crapo Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award in Pulmonary Diagnostics, which recognizes the recipient’s “lifetime of dedication and accomplishment in the study of pulmonary diagnostic testing.”
Pictured at left: Drs. Bates (top), Parsons, and Kaminsky.
Wolfgang Dostmann, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology, was awarded the University of Vermont’s 2020-2021 Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Award at the rank of professor. The award recognizes Dr. Dostmann’s “commitment to the greatness and virtue of instruction and ... efforts at cultivating an inclusive environment conducive to exceptional learning.” Read more about the 2020-21 Kroepsch-Maurice awardees.
The Larner College of Medicine Teaching Academy’s 2021 Curriculum Development and Scholarship Award recipients are Victoria Hart, Ph.D. (pictured at left, top photo), assistant professor in the public health program, for "Development of asynchronous online modules to support medical student education in public health science,” and Nathalie Feldman, M.D. (pictured at left, bottom photo), interim associate dean for admissions, assistant professor and associate residency program director in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, for "Closing the Medical Student Perioperative Skill Gap with Interprofessional Education." This award funds projects that foster innovation and improvement in teaching, learning, and educational scholarship.
Dean Richard L. Page, M.D., authored an Editorial, titled “The Closing Argument for Surgical Left Atrial Appendage Occlusion,” which was published on May 15, 2021 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Arti Shukla, Ph.D., was awarded the Society of American Asian Scientists in Cancer Research (SAASCR) award during the annual American Association for Cancer Research meeting on May 17, 2021. SAASCR is a non-political and non-profit organization in California and has more than 5,000 scientists from Asian mainly Indian origin and working in the U.S. and Canada in the field of cancer research.
Harder VS, Plante TB, Koh I, Rogers EB, Varni SE, Villanti AC, Brooklyn JR, Fairfield KM. Influence of Opioid Prescription Policy on Overdoses and Related Adverse Effects in a Primary Care Population. J Gen Intern Med. 2021 May 4. doi: 10.1007/s11606-021-06831-4. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33948793.
Linderman MD, Suckiel SA, Thompson N, Weiss DJ, Roberts JS, Green RC. Development and Validation of a Comprehensive Genomics Knowledge Scale. Public Health Genomics. 2021 May 31:1-13. doi: 10.1159/000515006. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34058740.
Steingard S. Social (In)Justice and Mental Health. Community Ment Health J. 2021 May 31. doi: 10.1007/s10597-021-00851-4. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34057661.
Choudhury TA, Flyer JN, McBride ME. Simulation as an Educational Tool in the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. Curr Pediatr Rep. 2021 May 25:1-8. doi: 10.1007/s40124-021-00241-0. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34055476; PMCID: PMC8144691.
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van den Broek-Altenburg E, Atherly A. Adherence to COVID-19 policy measures: Behavioral insights from The Netherlands and Belgium. PLoS One. 2021 May 28;16(5):e0250302. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0250302. PMID: 34048441.
Kenchaiah S, Ding J, Carr JJ, Allison MA, Budoff MJ, Tracy RP, Burke GL, McClelland RL, Arai AE, Bluemke DA. Pericardial Fat and the Risk of Failure. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2021 Jun 1;77(21):2638-2652. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2021.04.003. PMID: 34045020.
Sobey J, Tsai MH, Evans RE. An update on pediatric sedation techniques in nonoperating room locations. Curr Opin Anaesthesiol. 2021 May 25. doi: 10.1097/ACO.0000000000001018. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34039846.
Wall DJ, Patel MM, Chung JR, Lee B, Dawood FS. Antibody Response and Protection After Receipt of Inactivated Influenza Vaccine: A Systematic Review. Pediatrics. 2021 May 26:e2020019901. doi: 10.1542/peds.2020-019901. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34039716.
Peng L, Gagliano-Jucá T, Pencina KM, Krishnan S, Li Z, Tracy RP, Jasuja R, Bhasin S. Age Trends in Growth and Differentiation Factor-11 and Myostatin Levels in Healthy Men, Measured Using Liquid Chromatography Tandem Mass Spectrometry: Differential Response to Testosterone. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2021 May 25:glab146. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glab146. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34037752.
Hanley JP, Tu HA, Dragon JA, Dickson DM, Rio-Guerra RD, Tighe SW, Eckstrom KM, Selig N, Scarpino SV, Whitehead SS, Durbin AP, Pierce KK, Kirkpatrick BD, Rizzo DM, Frietze S, Diehl SA. Immunotranscriptomic profiling the acute and clearance phases of a human challenge dengue virus serotype 2 infection model. Nat Commun. 2021 May 24;12(1):3054. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-22930-6. PMID: 34031380.
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