January 25, 2023 | Volume V, Issue 2

Group shot of Teaching Academy inductees

Faculty Educators and Scholars Recognized at Teaching Academy Ceremony

Faculty from across the Larner College of Medicine gathered in the Sullivan Classroom January 11 for the Teaching Academy’s annual Induction and Award Ceremony. The event marked the start of the annual Snow Season Education Retreat, which took place at UVM’s Davis Center on January 12 and 13. (Find more information about the 2023 Snow Season Retreat here.)

Faculty recognized with 2023 Teaching and Educational Excellence Awards include L. E. Faricy, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics; Bronwyn Bryant, M.D., assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine; Molly Rideout, M.D., professor of pediatrics; Anthony Williams, M.D., assistant professor of family medicine; and Cynthia Forehand, Ph.D., professor of neurological sciences. Faricy received the Innovation in Curriculum Development or Pedagogy Award, Bryant was the recipient of the Learner Assessment Award, Rideout was honored with the Educational Scholarship Award, Williams received the Outstanding Contribution Award, and Forehand was honored with the Frederick C. Morin III, M.D., Educational Leadership Award.

The event also featured the presentation of UVM Health Network Medical Group Education Awards. Anisha Rimal, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics, and Miller Celestin, RN, MSN, CEN, CMSRN, clinical instructor of nursing, as principal investigator and co-investigator, respectively, received the UVM Health Network Medical Group Education Grant for their project, titled “Building a Sense of Belonging and Improving Mentorship Skills: An Interprofessional BIPOC Mentorship Program for Health Professions Students.” Clara Keegan, M.D., associate professor of family medicine, received the Graduate Medical Education Educator of the Year award. Jennifer Kelly, D.O., associate professor of medicine, was named Continuing Medical Education Educator of the Year

View the list of Teaching Academy inductees and additional information about the awards presented at the event.

Pictured above (left to right): Teaching Academy inductees Astill-Vaccaro, Jirka, Jennifer Covino, M.D.,* Pawlowski, Strange, Moaven, and James Wolf, M.D.* (*Spring 2022 cohort)

Richard Vuong '25 teaches first-year medical students

Peer-to-Peer: Medical Students Support Each Other’s Education

Ensuring medical students’ academic success and well-being relies on having access to numerous resources. At the Larner College of Medicine, those assets include the students themselves, who create and host peer-based learning opportunities for their junior colleagues. The interactive and collaborative nature of peer-based learning helps to engage learners, facilitate the understanding of complex topics, and build confidence for both the tutor and the tutee. 

Last fall, Class of 2025 medical student Richard Vuong launched “Supplemental Processing,” a bi-weekly content review and tutoring session for first-year medical students. Vuong worked with Tim Moynihan, Ph.D., director of academic achievement, to set up the pilot program, which is based on an active learning framework that Vuong participated in as an undergraduate student at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, when he was planning on applying to medical school.

Another program launch last fall by medical students Sam Afshari ’24, Megan Zhou ’25, and Will Brown ’23 featured an interactive session for Class of 2026 medical students to practice cross-sectional imaging, a relatively new technology that uses advanced imaging techniques such as magnetic resonance (MR) to display a body in cross-section, providing a look “inside” the chest, abdomen, or pelvis. 

Students attending peer-led learning sessions benefit from their colleagues’ experience, and receive study tips and mnemonics that helped the senior medical students succeed during their earlier years of medical school. The mentor-mentee relationship also has value outside of academics.

“Students who take care of each other, who support each other to be successful, those are the kind of physicians that you want to have out in the world,” said Director of Student Well-Being Lee Rosen, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry.

Read the full article.

Pictured above: Vuong hosting one of his bi-weekly sessions for first-year medical students in the Reardon Classroom in the Medical Education Center.

Join Us callout

Medical Class of 2025 Foundations Celebration

Thursday, January 26, 2023
2:00 - 5:00 PM
Hoehl Gallery, Health Science Research Facility

Hosted by Karen Lounsbury, Ph.D., Foundations director and professor of pharmacology, and held after the last exam of the Convergence course, the annual Foundations Celebration celebrates second-year medical students' accomplishments and honors the faculty, staff, and other important individuals who helped students successfully navigate through the Foundations level of the Vermont Integrated Curriculum.

graphic of low blood cell count types

Cancer Medicine Study Explores Racial Disparities in Cytopenia-Related Cancer Death

Cytopenia — a condition in which there is a lower-than-normal number of blood cells — is a risk factor for cancer death through conditions like chronic inflammation and clonal hematopoiesis, which is linked to the development of blood cancers. These conditions are more prevalent in Black Americans compared to White Americans; however, the relationship of cytopenia and racial disparities in cancer mortality is unknown.

In a new study published in Cancer Medicine, University of Vermont Cancer Center members Diego Adrianzen-Herrera, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, and Neil Zakai, M.D., professor of medicine, and colleagues found that cytopenia is a risk factor for cancer death with stronger association in Black compared to White people; however, cytopenia is not a mediator in the Black-to-White disparity in cancer mortality.

The study's findings offer guidance for future research on the causes of racial disparities in cancer death and could help identify mechanisms for racial disparities in cancer mortality.

Read the full article.

Pictured above: Graphic features illustrations of what blood cells look like in patients with anemia, neutropenia, and thrombocytopenia. (Credit: Mechanisms in Medicine, Inc.)

Carolyn Finney, Ph.D., MLK celebration keynote speaker

Join storyteller, author, and cultural geographer Carolyn Finney, Ph.D., for the University of Vermont’s 2023 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration keynote presentation, “The Fullness of Ourselves,” on Thursday, January 26, at 4 p.m. The event will take place in person at UVM’s Ira Allen Chapel and will also be streamed live. Tickets are free but are required for both in-person and online attendees.

Dr. Finney, who is the author of Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors (UNC Press, 2014), is deeply interested in issues related to identity, differences, creativity, and resilience. Her work aims to develop greater cultural competency within environmental organizations and institutions, challenge media outlets on their representation of difference, and increase awareness of how privilege shapes who gets to speak to environmental issues and determine policy. She received B.A. and M.A. degrees in gender and environmental issues in Kenya and Nepal, and a Ph.D. in geography from Clark University, where she was a Fulbright Scholar and Canon National Parks Science Scholar. Along with public speaking nationally and internationally, writing, media engagements, consulting, and teaching at such institutions as Wellesley College, the University of California–Berkeley, and the University of Kentucky, she served on the U.S. National Parks Advisory Board for eight years.

Learn more about Dr. Finney.

Student Voices below

photo of Alicia Finney



Quote MarksThe guidance and support of mentors is critical to first-generation student success, as these students may otherwise struggle to navigate the academic landscape and achieve their full potential."

- Alicia Finney, a Ph.D. student in the CMB Sciences program, in a UVM Larner Med blog post titled “Creating Space: Navigating Academia to Propel First-Generation Success."

Rally Against Cancer with UVM Catamount logo

This winter, the UVM Cancer Center and UVM Athletics, in partnership with Mascoma Bank, are raising awareness about cancer screening and prevention and raising money for cancer patients and cancer research through the annual Rally Against Cancer hockey and basketball games. Wear your lavender as a show of support and attend one or more of the following games:

  • February 3, 2023, 6 p.m. - UVM Women’s Hockey vs. Merrimack
  • February 18, 2023, 2 p.m. - UVM Women’s Basketball vs. NJIT
  • February 18, 2023, 7 p.m. - UVM Men’s Hockey vs. Northeastern
  • February 22, 2023, 7 p.m. - UVM Men’s Basketball vs. Binghamton

Find more information about the UVM Rally Against Cancer games here. With thanks to UVM Athletics, the UVM Cancer Center is able to offer a group rate of $15/ticket for the Rally Against Cancer men's hockey game on February 18 at 7 p.m. vs. Northeastern. Click here and enter the password uvm to purchase tickets at the group rate.

Meet the staff button link

Accolades & Appointments

Headshot of Maria Mercedes Avila, Ph.D.

The Board of Directors of the Bi-State Primary Care Association voted unanimously to present Mercedes Avila, M.S.W., M.Ed., Ph.D., professor of pediatrics and program director of the VT LEND program, with the 2023 Board of Directors’ Chair Award. In particular, the board recognized Dr. Avila's "unyielding dedication to community-based access to care for the underserved." The Board of Directors’ Chair Award honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the Bi-State Primary Care Association’s mission to ensure access to health care for vulnerable populations in Vermont and New Hampshire.

Headshot of Harold Dauerman, M.D.

Professor of Medicine Harold Dauerman, M.D., professor of medicine, was recently appointed executive editor for the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), considered one of the highest-profile journals in cardiology. JACC publishes peer-reviewed articles highlighting all aspects of cardiovascular disease, including original clinical studies, experimental investigations with clear clinical relevance, state-of-the-art papers, and viewpoints. Dr. Dauerman, who is also director of cardiovascular services at the UVM Medical Center and director for interventional cardiology at the UVM Health Network, has held several editorial roles, including as editor-in-chief of Coronary Artery Disease, associate editor for JACC, and senior guest editor for Circulation: Cardiovascular Interventions.

pediatric pulmonologist L. E. Faricy, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics, and first-year medical student Lauren Tien, M.P.H.

Pediatric pulmonologist L. E. Faricy, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics, and first-year medical student Lauren Tien, M.P.H., spoke with host and 2019 UVM M.P.H. alum Jules Wetchi, M.P.H., about youth vaping and nicotine dependence on his local CCTV program, “The African Variety Show,” on January 5. The show, which is aimed at African immigrant communities, features information that is translated in real time into French, Swahili, and Lingala. Wetchi trained as a physician in Congo but does not practice clinically in the U.S.

Link to a video of the show.

Pictured at left (left to right): Tien and Faricy

3 Global Health Students holding a globe

Class of 2023 medical students Charlotte GemesKeara Lynn, and Micaila Baroffio have been selected to complete a Global Health Elective in Zimbabwe. From January 30 to March 10, 2023, they will contribute to the work of the medical team at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare, the nation’s capital. Larner College of Medicine fourth-year medical students are eligible to apply to participate in the six-week Global Health Elective as part of the Advanced Integration Curriculum. The program provides a unique cross-cultural opportunity for future doctors to become better equipped to manage disparities in health and society as they navigate a wide array of medical conditions, health care systems and socioeconomic structures with varied resources.

Pictured at left (left to right): Gemes, Lynn, and Baroffio 

Headshot of Christian Pulcini, M.D., M.Ed., M.P.H.

Christian Pulcini, M.D., M.Ed., M.P.H., assistant professor of emergency medicine and pediatrics, recently authored a Commentary on titled "We can prevent firearm tragedies — a call to action." 

Link to the Commentary

Daniel Weiss, M.D., Ph.D., Gerald Davis, M.D., and Theodore Marcy, M.D., M.P.H.

Daniel Weiss, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine, along with additional Larner College of Medicine faculty members, were participants in the annual New Year’s Day performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony by the Green Mountain Mahler Festival. Founded in 2002 by Dr. Weiss, the Green Mountain Mahler Festival is a local 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to bringing large-scale orchestral and choral music to local musicians and audiences. As part of their activities, they hold an annual New Year’s Day benefit performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with all proceeds going to local, national, or international charities. This year, the New Year's Day event raised $4,000 for the Vermont Foodbank.

Pictured at left (left to right): Weiss, who plays string bass; Professor of Medicine Emeritus Gerald Davis, M.D., who plays percussion; and Professor of Medicine Emeritus Theodore Marcy, M.D., M.P.H., who sings tenor, are all members of the Department of Medicine's Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care. Other Larner faculty participants (not pictured) and their respective instruments include Ari Bensimhon M.D., assistant professor of anesthesiology, string bass; Friederike Keating, M.D., professor of medicine, flute; and Sara Roberts, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, first chair cello.

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  • Jackson Provides Advice on Strategies for "Sober January" in Washington Post
  • Cheung Quoted about Research on Chronic Kidney Disease in Southeastern U.S. in Renal & Urology News


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