Internships and Projects


AHEC Scholars 2021 Summer Projects

The Office of Primary Care and AHEC Program offers a variety of opportunities for medical students enrolled in the VT AHEC Scholars Program during the summer between first and second year. The AHEC Scholars Program is a national program guided by AHEC’s federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant requirements. The overarching goals of the AHEC Scholars Program is for students to gain a valuable understanding about the numerous social and cultural factors that influence an individual’s overall health and their ability to access care.  We aim to prepare tomorrow’s health professionals to become leaders in interprofessional, transformative practice who serve those who need it the most. Additional specific goals of the summer projects are to increase students’ knowledge and skills in research and quality improvement and to foster a lifelong interest in scholarly activity. In 2021, we have funding to support up to 20 students. The program is designed to be relevant to students with all medical specialty interests.  Learn more about these projects here.

MedQ Explore is a 4 to 5 day online health careers exploration program. Students will hear from health professionals in many different careers and have the opportunity to talk with them during Q&A sessions.  In addition to learning about health careers, the students will participate in small groups to have in-depth discussions on current issues in healthcare including telemedicine, ethics, and professionalism.  Mentors will assist in preparing and presenting materials to students as well as facilitate small group discussions and activities.

Governor’s Institute on Health and Medical with Vermont AHEC:  A week-and-a-half-long, science-based exploration of health-related professions and fields of study for high school students. Mentors assist in instructing, provide coaching, and support the student community.  This will be an online program.

Community-based projects for the Larner College of Medicine students and other graduate health professions students are designed to offer interprofessional community-based service learning opportunities.  Students design and execute interprofessional projects that offer students and opportunity to: apply their classroom learning to the field, connect with different geographic areas of Vermont, learn about rural primary care and populations, and respond to a relevant issue and identified need. 

 To learn more about these programs, contact the regional AHEC.

Public Health Projects with Medical Students

Public Health Projects (PHP), a required course incorporated in the Vermont Integrated Curriculum, teaches second-year medical students to apply the principles and science of public health while working to improve the health of the community.  Public Health Projects respond to health needs identified by local community agencies. 16 projects are completed each fall by medical student groups working in partnership with community agencies, and mentored by both College of Medicine faculty and community agency mentors.


Project: "Naturopathic Medicine in Vermont's Healthcare System: A Thematic Analysis"

Abstract: Background:--Naturopathy is a practice of medicine that emphasizes natural therapies. In Vermont, Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are eligible for full prescriptive authority and may be designated as primary care providers, however their specific role within the healthcare system is not well understood. The objective of this project was to explore the role of NDs in Vermont’s healthcare system.

Medical Students (class of 2024): Trevor Coles, Tayler Drake, Rosie Eiduson, Dan Fried, Max HoddWells, Simran Kalsi, Mahima Poreddy

UVM Faculty Mentor:  Charles MacLean, MD 

Community Agency Mentor: Elizabeth Cote


Naturopathic Medicine in Vermont's Healthcare System: A Thematic Analysis Abstract
Naturopathic Medicine in Vermont's Healthcare System: A Thematic Analysis Poster



Project:  "Opinion and Attitudes of Vermont School Principals and Nurses on Youth Vaping"

Abstract: Background--A rapidly emerging new trend that is turning into a nationwide epidemic for youth in the United States is the use of electronic vapor products also known as “e-cigs”, “e-hookahs”, “vapes”, “mods”, and “JUULS”. There is little known about the long-term health effects of prolonged use of vapes. The rise in vape products sales and use, poses a public health threat to adolescents. The study’s purpose is to assess the opinions and attitudes of school principals and nurses about youth vaping. The results will identify if any gaps exist in the youth vaping issue and further expand on existing concerns of school issues. Using this information, public health recommendations can be developed.

Student: Vy Cao, MPH (UVM Class of 2019)

UVM Faculty Mentors:  Charles MacLean, MD and Katherine Mariani, MD

Community Agency Mentor: Elizabeth Cote

Youth Vaping Abstract

Youth Vaping Poster


Project:  "Vermont Legislators' Opinions Regarding the Opioid Epidemic"

PHP Project LCOM 2021One of the Public Health projects presented by the students in the Larner College of Medicine Class of 2021, "Vermont Legislators' Opinions Regarding the Opioid Epidemic" was performed in partnership with the UVM AHEC Program.

Abstract: Background--In response to the opioid crisis, the 2018 Vermont legislative session proposed 22 bills, nine of which passed.  While there is literature that includes various legislators' information source preferences, there is no literature regarding how Vermont State Legislators gather information and formulate public health decisions surrounding opioid policies.  The goals of the study were 1) to identify Vermont legislators' opinions regarding investments in, and effects of, programs to prevent and treat opioid addiction, and 2) to determine sources of information used and valued by legislators.

Pictured from left:  Ryan Harned, Bridget Moore, Casandra Nowicki, Matthew Lebrow, Emily Eichner, Jonathan Gau, and Liam du Preez

Medical Students (class of 2021):  Casandra Nowicki, Emily Eichner, Liam du Preez, Jonathan Gau, Matthew Lebow, Bridget Moore, Ryan Harned

UVM Faculty Mentors: Charles D. MacLean, MD and Jan K. Carney MD, MPH

Community Agency Mentor: Elizabeth Cote

Vermont Legislators' Opinions Regarding the Opioid Epidemic Abstract
Vermont Legislators' Opinions Regarding the Opioid Epidemic Poster

Past Projects


PHPFY18StudentPhoto2One of the Public Health projects presented by the students in the Larner College of Medicine Class of 2020, "Prescriber Perspectives of July 1, 2017 Opioid Prescribing Rules" was performed in partnership with the UVM AHEC Program.

Abstract: Introduction--In July 2017, Vermont enacted new rules on acute opioid prescribing to reduce misuse, addiction, and overdose associated with prescription opioids. The new rules include requirements of non-opioid therapy use when possible, querying VPMS, patient education and informed consent, and co-prescription of naloxone. Our study objective was to gain insight into the perspectives of opioid prescribers on the new rules read more.

Medical Students (class of 2020): Zara S. Bowden, Jinal Gandhi, S. Natasha Jost, Hanna Mathers, Chad Serels, Daniel Wigmore, and Timothy Wong

Pictured from left: Timothy Wong, Chad Serels, S. Natasha Jost, Jinal Gandhi, Hannah Mathers, Zara S. Bowden, and Charles MacLean, MD (missing from photo: Daniel Wigmore)

UVM Faculty Mentors: Charles D. MacLean, MD and Jan K. Carney MD, MPH
Community Faculty: Elizabeth Cote

Prescriber Perspectives of July 1, 2017 Opioid Prescribing Rules Abstract
The 2017 Vermont Opioid Prescribing Rules: Prescriber Attitudes Poster


Group of medical students in front of their public health project posterStudents in the Larner College of Medicine Class of 2019 presented posters and explained findings from 16 different Public Health projects at a public reception and celebration on January 18, 2017.

One of the 16 student projects, “Patient Perspectives on Medication Assisted Therapy in Vermont” was performed in partnership with the UVM AHEC Program.

Vermont has the highest per capita buprenorphine use in the U.S. The UVM AHEC Program's PHP cohort aimed to gain a better understanding of patient perspectives on the barriers and enablers of successful Medication-Assisted Therapy (MAT) – buprenorphine treatment for opioid addiction – in order to help inform system refinement. The students developed an interview guide based on established tools, as well as input from program leaders, clinicians and community stakeholders, and conducted interviews with 44 patients at two specialty treatment centers in Burlington, VT in October 2016. The students found that half of the subjects reported a mental health condition and stated that barriers to treatment included transportation (25 percent) and stigma (41 percent), among other factors. The students advised that “a comprehensive system that addresses this wide range of domains is critical to achieving optimal outcomes."

Medical Students (class of 2019): Ashley Adkins, Holly Bachilas, Florence DiBiase, Michael Marallo, John Paul Nsubuga, Lloyd Patashnick, Curran Uppaluri
Pictured (from left): Holly Bachilas, Florence DiBiase, John Paul Nsubuga, Curan Uppaluri, and Michael Marallo

UVM Faculty Mentor:  Charles MacLean, MD and Jan Carney, MD, MPH
Community Faculty: Elizabeth Cote


MAT Patient Perspectives Poster
Patient Perspectives on MAT Abstract

Students in the Larner College of Medicine Class of 2018 presented posters and explained findings from 16 different Public Health projects at a public reception and celebration on January 20, 2016. One project, “Addressing the Opioid Crisis in Vermont: Lessons Learned from Primary Care Physicians,” was sponsored by the UVM Office of Primary Care and statewide Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Program. The goal of the project was to identify physician barriers to providing office-based opioid treatment (OBOT) in Chittenden County. The students who conducted the study are Timothy Henderson, Molly Markowitz, Adam Petchers, Brittany Rocque, Andrew Sheridan, Nathaniel Sugiyama, and Lindsey Wyatt. Their UVM faculty mentors are Charles MacLean, MD, and Jan Carney, MD, MPH; community faculty members are Beth Tanzmen, MSW, Assistant Director, Vermont Blueprint for Health, and Elizabeth Cote, director, Office of Primary Care and AHEC.

Of the 25 primary care physicians interviewed, non-office-based opioid treatment providers more frequently reported that OBOT patients were challenging. OBOT providers more frequently acknowledged the stigma associated with OBOT. Both groups of physicians expressed a desire for increased state support for OBOT. The student recommendations are: increased state support/resources for OBOT; mentorship of new OBOT providers by experienced OBOT providers; and generation of OBOT best practice guidelines for primary care providers.

Asked what they were most surprised by in their study, Lindsey Wyatt said it was the fact that almost every provider said OBOT was easier and more rewarding than they thought it would be.

The Class of 2018 medical students working on this project found that "the five most frequently reported barriers were: insufficient state logistical support, challenging patient population, practice infrastructure/capacity, time, and provider fears/concerns. Seventy-nine percent of non-prescriber PCPs said that they would provide OBOT if the identified barriers were removed."

“Addressing the Opioid Crisis in Vermont: Lessons Learned from Primary Care Physicians.” (PDF)

An Inter-Professional Exploration of Cuba’s Primary Healthcare System

This presentation gives an overview of learning from a June 2014 trip to Cuba by faculty in the Larner Colleges of Medicine, Social Work, and College of Nursing and Health Sciences; medical students, a dental student, a dental technician, a social work graduate student, a nurse practitioner student; and members of the Burlington College faculty. The purpose of the course was to gain a better understanding of the Cuban health system, particularly the role of primary care, and the interaction between primary care, public health and the community. Cuba has a well-regarded system of population health and primary care.

Exploring Cuba's Primary Healthcare System (PDF