September 9, 2022 by
Judith Lewis, M.D. (Photo: David Seaver)
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.
Joining Larner Dean Richard L. Page, M.D., for the event were UVM Foundation President and CEO Monica Delisa, Chair of Psychiatry Robert Althoff, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry Robert Pierattini, M.D., and other leaders from across UVM, the Larner College of Medicine, and the UVM Medical Center.
Originally 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 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.
Lewis 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. Psychiatry residents have recognized her extensive experience teaching psychotherapy with two Excellence in Academic Teaching awards. In addition, 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. She was named an inaugural Distinguished Educator – the highest category of membership – in the Teaching Academy in 2014. Lewis is also a past recipient of a Frymoyer Scholarship, which supported her project to develop web-based education modules in psychiatry for medical and nursing students.
During the official medallion portion of the ceremony, Althoff stated, “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. 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.”
A second-generation UVM clinician, Lewis received her medical degree from UVM’s College of Medicine in 1989, following which she completed a residency in psychiatry at Columbia-Presbyterian in New York City. She then trained for five years at the Columbia University Training Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research while working as an instructor and then assistant professor at Columbia before returning to UVM.
After receiving her medallion, Lewis delivered remarks, commenting on “the incredible privilege of being a psychiatrist,” and acknowledging the many colleagues, including Pierattini, with whom she has collaborated throughout her career.
“I would not be here without my family,” she said, acknowledging her husband, and father, UVM Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences John Lewis, M.D., “whose support of my career has been profound.” In closing, she said, “I’m honored to be the inaugural recipient of this award.”