July 10, 2019 | Volume I, Issue 9
New Research Role Aims to Expand Opportunities & Collaboration
Gordon Jensen, M.D., Ph.D., has been appointed as director of research at the University of Vermont Health Network, a role that parallels his work as senior associate dean for research at the Larner College of Medicine and aims to expand opportunities for cutting-edge research and enhance collaboration and partnership across the Network.
Dr. Jensen will hold this new leadership position, which reports to UVM Health Network CEO John Brumsted, M.D., in addition to his current roles at the College and UVM Medical Center. The position was collaboratively created by the UVM Health Network, Health Network Medical Group and the Larner College of Medicine.Read more about Dr. Jensen's appointment
Three Questions with Associate Dean Jan Carney
The role of Jan Carney, M.D., M.P.H., was recently expanded to associate dean for public health and health policy and senior advisor to the dean. Larner Medicine caught up with her for a quick chat about her past and current work in public health.
LM: Why are you so passionate about public health?
JC: Many of the diseases we see as physicians, including several chronic conditions, are preventable and linked to such behaviors as tobacco, alcohol or drug use, poor nutrition or sedentary behavior. Helping to make even a small improvement in that behavior can have a beneficial impact on many people. I have seen this happen and it is immensely gratifying.
LM: You served as Vermont’s Commissioner of Health from 1989 to 2003, launched the College’s Public Health Projects course, and have served as a leader at UVM and nationally. What accomplishments and activities are you most proud of?
JC: During my tenure as Commissioner, Vermont improved access to prenatal care and health insurance for pregnant women; further expanded health insurance for Vermont children; and we implemented policy initiatives to help prevent young people from using tobacco products. We also created a cancer registry and made breast and cervical cancer screening accessible. At UVM,I worked with other faculty and UVM Continuing and Distance Education to develop the online Master of Public Health (MPH) program to bring the science and practice of public health to more people. As part of the Northern New England Clinical and Translational Research (NNE-CTR) network, I'm working with colleagues to promote rural research and ultimately improve the health of the rural residents of our states. I’m also proud of my past service on the American College of Physicians national Health and Public Policy Committee.
LM: In this expanded role, what do you see as opportunities and top priorities for the College looking forward?
JC: Many of today’s health issues connect medicine and public health, and I want our students to have the benefit of this perspective. Advocating for evidence-based health policy is critically important for patients and the public and can lead to such achievements as improving access to health care, addressing social determinants of health, and preventing drug misuse and addiction. I would like to see the Larner College of Medicine play a greater role in shaping health policy, especially through our national professional organizations, like AAMC.Read more about Dr. Carney
Leading the Evolution in Medical Education: Active Learning
Keeping up with the constant rush of new medical knowledge and technology is a nearly unsurmountable challenge. At the Larner College of Medicine, education leaders opted for an easier-to-consume—and retain—alternative to traditional education methods: active learning. The approach, which builds medical students’ critical problem-solving and communication skills, puts the emphasis on team-based engagement, with faculty members serving as discussion facilitators.Read the full article in Vermont Medicine
Williams Named First Abajian Green & Gold Professor in Pediatric Anesthesiology
Professor of Anesthesiology and Pediatrics Robert K. Williams, M.D. (above, at left), was invested as the inaugural Chris Abajian, M.D.’69 and Margaret Abajian Green & Gold Professor in Pediatric Anesthesiology in a ceremony held in the College of Medicine’s Hoehl Gallery on June 24, 2019.
The new endowed professorship honors Dr. Abajian (above, at right), a UVM Class of 1965 undergraduate and Class of 1969 medical alumnus and his wife Margaret for their years of service to the Department of Anesthesiology, the College of Medicine, and the UVM Medical Center, in addition to the family’s multi-generation affiliation with UVM. It also honors Dr. Abajian’s leadership in the field of pediatric anesthesiology, a baton that Dr. Williams has carried forward through his research on the safety of anesthesia in children and the differences in neurodevelopmental outcomes for children receiving spinal anesthesia compared to children receiving general anesthesia.Read more about the investiture
Research Collaborations: Innovating Lung Cancer TreatmentIn the final video of the three-part “Research Collaborations” series about cancer research, Assistant Professor of Medicine C. Matthew Kinsey, M.D., M.P.H.,and Assistant Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Jos van der Velden, Ph.D.—both members of the University of Vermont Cancer Center—describe their efforts to develop lung cancer treatments. Dr. van der Velden, who has developed innovative cell growth techniques to encourage lung cancer propagation in a lab setting, relies on physician colleagues like Dr. Kinsey to supply the tissue samples he needs. He feels lucky that Dr. Kinsey, who understands the challenges facing those studying lung cancer (cells often grow poorly in lab settings and the field is underfunded due to the stigma around smoking), "is very excited about this research” and willing to collaborate on this important work.
Vicki Gilwee, Executive Assistant to Richard L. Page, M.D., Dean
Vicki Gilwee joined the Dean's Office at the Larner College of Medicine in November 2018. A graduate of Champlain College, she worked for 31 years as the office manager for a major Burlington law firm. A typical day for Ms. Gilwee involves ensuring that all Dean's Office activities run smoothly and efficiently and she and her staff rely on strong organizational and communications skills to accomplish this task.
"I love the variety of duties and responsibilities that I manage in my job, but most of all, I enjoy the opportunity to interact with such a diverse group of dedicated faculty, staff, and students," she says.
“In every interaction with members of the Larner community, UVM or beyond, Vicki is always welcoming and professional,” says Dean Rick Page. “This is a complex organization, and we both have a lot to learn, so I appreciate her great competence, good humor and commitment to our team.”
COMTS Team Shares Expertise at AAMC Group on Information Resources Meeting
The Larner College of Medicine Technology Services (COMTS) returned earlier this month from a successful trip to the Association of American Medical Colleges Group on Information Resources national meeting in San Diego. The four COMTS managers presented on college projects and joined with peers nationally for other panel presentations. Topics included "Using Financial Data to Drive Faculty Behavior During Curriculum Change;" "See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me, Heal Me: How Educational Technology Has Evolved to Increase Engagement;" "They Like Us, They Really Like Us, Until They Don't: A Student Panel;" "Finding the Balance: Med School IT in the Age of Centralization;" "Med Ed Data Warehouses - Where Are We and how Did We Get Here?"Clockwise from top left: Health Sciences CIO Jill Jemison presenting the GIR Service Award with Harvard’s Bill Barnett; Technical Support Manager Gordon White; Ed Tech Team Lead Laurie Gelles, Ph.D.; and Database Manager Steve Goldman (at far right in bottom left photo, above) with fellow panelists from NYU, Mayo, and the University of Iowa.
More than 250 family members, medical students, physical therapy students, residents, and faculty convened for the Convocation of Thanks, an annual event held in May to honor the donors who gave their bodies to UVM’s Anatomical Gift Program for the benefit of health science graduate students' training. Below is a quote from a blog post, titled "Gratitude for our Anatomical Donors."
Each day before beginning our work, my group had a moment of silence with our donor to remember her life and recognize her gift. In these moments, I thought about how my donor didn’t know me, yet she trusted me. I tried to imagine that level of trust in another human. I’ll be honest, it was hard. In this way, my donor taught me humility. Over the course of months, I grew to know her in ways that she didn’t even know herself. I am so grateful for her and the learning that she made possible."
~Medical student Anna Quinlan '22
Accolades & Appointments
Associate Professor of Medicine Shaden Eldakar-Hein, M.D. (left), and Assistant Professor of Medicine Prema Menon, M.D., Ph.D. (right), have been appointed Assistant Deans for Students in the Office of Medical Student Education, providing oversight of programs that support student professional identity development, academic achievement, health and wellbeing, as well as career advising.
University of California, San Francisco Pediatric Resident and Larner alumnus Mohammad (Mo) Mertaban, M.D.'18 was named Resident of the Year at UCSF.
The Department of Medicine presented several faculty awards on June 14:
Professor Charles Irvin, Ph.D. (above, far left), was awarded the Department of Medicine Research Mentoring Award. The award honors “department faculty members who are outstanding mentors to graduate students and/or postdoctoral fellows”.
Distinguished Clinician Awards were presented to Assistant Professor Cindy Noyes, M.D. (second from left), and Associate Professor Julian R. Sprague, M.D., Ph.D. (third from left). These awards recognize “Department of Medicine faculty members who are outstanding clinicians with a reputation as a ‘physician's physician,’ as well as their exceptional contributions in education, scholarship, administration, or community service.”Associate Professor Gilman Allen III, M.D. (above, far right), was presented with the Quality Scholarship Award. The award recognizes Dr. Allen’s commitment to patient care and safety, as well as his “demonstrated excellence in scholarly quality improvement.”
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