September 14, 2022 | Volume IV, Issue 18

Judith Lewis, M.D.

Lewis Invested as Inaugural Pierattini Green & Gold Professor of Psychiatry

On September 8, 2022, the University of Vermont held a formal ceremony at the Larner College of Medicine to invest Professor of Psychiatry Judith Lewis, M.D., as the Robert A. Pierattini, M.D. Green & Gold Professor of Psychiatry.

Established in honor of Pierattini through the generous philanthropy of the late Katherine Teetor of Middlebury, Vt., this endowed position’s goal is to enhance excellence in teaching and research in psychiatry at the Larner College of Medicine. This position became fully endowed in 2013, with support from additional donors including the late Middlebury, Vt. artist and writer Betty Hampel, and Dr. Pierattini and his wife, Elizabeth Schmit. Pierattini served as interim chair and chair of psychiatry at the Larner College of Medicine from 2001 to 2021.

Dr. Lewis, a 1989 graduate of the Larner College of Medicine, joined the UVM faculty in 2003. Her leadership roles have included service as director of the Psychiatry Residency Training Program for 13 years, following which she became the director of psychotherapy training in 2022. She has been recognized with two Excellence in Academic Teaching awards from psychiatry residents. She was named Teacher of the Year for Graduate Medical Education in 2016 and received the Educational Scholarship Award from the Larner College of Medicine Teaching Academy in 2018 in recognition of her work in the area of student mistreatment. Dr. Lewis was named an inaugural Distinguished Educator – the highest category of membership – in the Teaching Academy in 2014 and is a past recipient of a Frymoyer Scholarship.

"Dr. Judith Lewis is a highly respected researcher, clinician, teacher, and scholar. She has dedicated her career to improving the lives of patients and families who face complex and challenging journeys," said Robert Althoff, M.D., professor and chair of psychiatry, during the medallion portion of the ceremony. "Through her research, teaching, and leadership, she will ensure that we constantly improve our ability to care for patients here in Vermont and around the world.”

Link to the full article about Dr. Lewis.

Pictured above: Judith Lewis, M.D. (Photo: David Seaver) 

Sunny Eappen

Sunil Eappen, M.D., M.B.A., Named UVM Health Network President & CEO

On September 8, the University of Vermont Health Network Board of Trustees announced it has named Sunil “Sunny” Eappen, M.D., M.B.A., as the health system’s next president and chief executive officer, following an extensive national search. Effective November 28, 2022, Dr. Eappen will succeed John R. Brumsted, M.D., who will retire after leading the health system for more than 10 years.

Dr. Eappen will be responsible for oversight of all operations, including the flagship academic medical center, five community hospitals, children’s hospital, multi-specialty physicians group, and home health and hospice agency.

Currently, Dr. Eappen serves as chief medical officer and senior vice president for medical affairs for Brigham and Women’s Hospital, part of the Mass General Brigham network, and is an associate professor of anesthesia at Harvard Medical School. 

“All through the search process, Dr. Eappen stood out as an accomplished and inspirational leader whose personal and professional values closely align with the strategic direction of the Network,” said Allie Stickney, chair of the UVM Health Network Board of Trustees and CEO search committee. “His track record of building partnerships, commitment to health equity and belief in a value-based approach to health care will build upon the strong foundation Dr. Brumsted began a decade ago. We are incredibly excited and fortunate to have Dr. Eappen join us to lead this organization and its talented people into the next phase of its evolution.” 

Read the full article about Dr. Eappen.

Pictured above: Sunil "Sunny" Eappen, M.D., M.B.A. (Courtesy photo)

Women's Health and Cancer Conference Graphic

UVM Cancer Center Hosts Women’s Health and Cancer Conference

Cancer researchers, clinicians, survivors, and caregivers will convene on September 30 for the 25th annual Women’s Health and Cancer Conference. Hosted by the University of Vermont Cancer Center, the event takes place from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Dudley H. Davis Center at the University of Vermont and via livestream via Zoom. (Attendance is free and open to the public and continuing medical education credits are offered at no cost, but registration is required.)

This year’s conference theme focuses on whole-person, integrative health care, an approach that takes into consideration all of the factors that contribute to both health and disease, including biological, behavioral, social, and environmental, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Kim Dittus, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of medicine, oncologist, and UVM Cancer Center member, will deliver a keynote address, titled “Moving from treating cancer to treating the whole person.”

Cancer patients, integrative oncology experts and physicians will share their best practices and the latest evidence-based information. Researchers will discuss the evolution of cancer science during the past quarter-century and reveal what the future of cancer research looks like. Areas such as therapeutic and lifestyle approaches, health care professionals, and self-care for achieving optimal well-being will be discussed, and participants will be able to explore integrative therapies including massage, yoga, and acupuncture.

Read more about the conference and register today. 

Pictured above: Graphic of Women's Health and Cancer Conference poster with date and registration information.

Pride Day Join Us Button

Put on your best pride colors and join members of the UVM Larner College of Medicine, College of Nursing & Health Sciences, UVM Children's Hospital and UVM Health Network community to march in the 2022 Pride Parade, which will be immediately followed by the Pride Festival. Read UVMHN, LCOM, CNHS Participant Details sheet.

View details about Pride Week activities and the September 18 parade and festival.

Emma Faustner Meet the Staff Image

Emma Faustner, Advanced Integration and Residency Placement Coordinator, Office of Medical Education

The final year of medical school is marked by waves of intense moments leading up to graduation and receiving an M.D. Students face challenges including the U.S.M.L.E. Step 2 Exam, researching and applying to residency programs, completing an Acting Internship and special electives, meeting teaching/research requirements, and Match Day. During this often-stressful time, Emma Faustner is a haven of calm and an incredibly knowledgeable resource. As the Advanced Integration and residency placement coordinator on the student services team in the Office of Medical Education, Faustner is a supreme facilitator who works with fourth-year medical students on scheduling rotations, completing graduation requirements, and preparing for residency application.

In August, Faustner celebrated her 20th anniversary at the University of Vermont and the Larner College of Medicine. Throughout her tenure at Larner, she has worked in medical student services (formerly known as the Office of Student Affairs). Prior to joining UVM’s staff, she worked for the Children’s Book Council in New York City as a front desk administrative assistant/office librarian. Before that, she worked for Mikimoto, the famous cultured pearl manufacturer located on Fifth Avenue, and a film company called Troma Entertainment, which produced “The Toxic Avenger.”

“In my youth, I thought I wanted to work in film or television, but if you’ve ever seen the [1994] film “Swimming with Sharks,” you’ll get an idea as to why I chose not to pursue it,” she jokes. 

In all seriousness, though, Faustner says that, in addition to meeting and making friends with countless staff, students, and faculty through the years, “just knowing that I’m contributing to something important – making doctors – is my favorite part” of the job. The doctors that she is helping make are extremely grateful for her work. Over the years, roughly 12 medical student classes have honored her with the Colette Award at Honors Night. 

When she is not assisting senior medical students, Faustner spends her time making art. Her work includes sculpting with papier-mâché, polymer clay, sculptable epoxy (air-dry clay), and stoneware or terracotta clay when she can get access to a studio and kiln. She also draws, paints, creates collages, and produces soft sculpture from repurposed clothing or by needle felting. She is also an avid collector of minerals and crystals since childhood. 

Pictured above: Emma Faustner

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Accolades & Appointments

Inner Space Group

Members of the Larner and UVM Medical Center community partnered with organizers at Inner Space to volunteer at the Community Wellbeing Festival held July 9 in Winooski's Rotary Park. The event offered a space for community healing, art, music, food, and an opportunity for folks to connect with healthcare professionals and medical students from the greater Vermont area. Event co-organizers included Simran Kalsi '24, Kae Ravichandran '25, Karena Nguyen '25, Anthony Quach '25, Elise Prehoda '24, and Eric Zhang '24, along with faculty members and UVM Medical Center staff Kristin Fontaine, M.P.H., senior pediatric outreach coordinator, and Anisha Rimal, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics. Inner Space is also supported by Marissa Coleman, Ph.D., clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and UVMMC vice president of diversity, equity & inclusion, and Anthony Williams, M.D., assistant professor of family medicine. "Inner Space is a new healthcare organization founded with the help of established local community leaders, including Coco Shah of Marigold House, to improve health equity and access for historically oppressed or marginalized populations in our local community. The concept of events like this is to connect community members with both allopathic/osteopathic and ancestral healing providers in Vermont while providing a safe healing environment for all. The goal is to eventually develop a permanent physical space that the community can use for gathering and/or receiving holistic care," said Kalsi. Inner Space, supported by the Community Health Centers of Burlington, Vermont Health Equity Initiative, United Way of Northwest Vermont, and UVMMC, is partnering with Outright Vermont to hold another Community Wellbeing Festival on September 24, in Landry Park in Winooski. Additional Larner volunteers at the July 9 and upcoming September event include medical students Tonya Conley '24, Mialovena Exume '24, Shubhankar Joshi '24, Sam Afshari '24, Finlay Pilcher '24, Warrick Sahene '24, Gabriela Bosmenier Cruz '24, Linda Cui '24, Tim Greenfield '24, Paul McCleary '24, Amanda Galenkamp '24, Althea Tapales '24, Elizabeth O'Neill '25, Caitlin Early '25, Nic Hutt '25, Aathmika Krishnan '25, Ellen Mats '25, Camila Salcedo Gomez '26, and Matthew Kwasnik, lab research technician in neurological sciences. Find more info about the September 24 event. 

Pictured at left: Medical student volunteers gather at the July 9 Community Wellbeing Festival.

Vermont Conversation Lab Logo
The National Quality Forum (NQF) has formally endorsed the “Heard & Understood” measure as a core indicator of person-centered serious illness care, thanks to person-centered care research by Larner College of Medicine and UVM faculty, staff and students, UVM Health Network national leadership in value-based healthcare financing, and "six years of steady and coordinated effort - and some good tail winds," says Miller Chair in Palliative Medicine Bob Gramling, M.D., D.Sc. According to Dr. Gramling, this item will be a standard for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS) value-based contracting and by researchers as a clinical trial person-centered care outcome. The original item was developed by Dr. Gramling and colleagues in the Vermont Conversation Lab via data arising from an American Cancer Society grant-funded study and adapted for the outpatient setting as part of a CMMS Cooperative Agreement with the American Academy of Hospice & Palliative Medicine and the RAND Corporation for which Dr. Gramling served as a scientific advisor. Read the NQF measure specifications.  Read the MACRA Palliative Care Quality Measure Development research report.

Angela and Dr. Mead

David Warshaw, Ph.D., professor and chair of molecular physiology and biophysics, recently received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Research Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research. The award, a supplement to Dr. Warshaw's ongoing National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute R01 grant to study cardiac myosin binding protein-C, is funding UVM undergraduate student Angela Ploysangngam, who has been working with Andrew Mead, Ph.D., faculty scientist in molecular physiology and biophysics. This NIH program is designed to attract and encourage individuals who are underrepresented in the biomedical, behavioral, biometric, clinical, social sciences, and nursing research, by providing a continuum of research opportunities with an overall goal to increase diversity in the research workforce. Ploysangngam will continue to work with Dr. Mead throughout her senior year to study the genetic manipulation of myosin binding protein-C in a zebrafish model.  She recently completed hiking the Vermont Long Trail (272 miles)!

Pictured at left: Dr. Mead (left) in the lab with Angela Ploysangngam.



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