October 7, 2020 | Volume II, Issue 19

White Coat Ceremony

A Tailor-Made White Coat Ceremony for the Class of 2024

For the last quarter-century, the White Coat Ceremony has been a ritual at U.S. medical schools, one that officially welcomes students into the medical profession and emphasizes the responsibility they carry as they don the traditional physician’s white coat. Due to the most serious worldwide health crisis in a century, the Larner College of Medicine revised the ceremony to a format that underscores that responsibility.

On October 2, 124 medical students in the Class of 2024, along with a limited number of faculty, administrators and staff, gathered in person in small, physically-distanced groups in order to receive their first white doctors’ coats as family and friends joined in remotely via a livestream on YouTube.

Speakers–participating through Zoom–included Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education Christa Zehle, M.D., Dean Richard L. Page, M.D., UVM Health Network President and Chief Executive Officer John Brumsted, M.D., and 2020 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award recipient Anya Koutras, M.D., associate professor of family medicine. Associate Professor of Medicine Prema Menon, M.D., Ph.D., and Interim Associate Dean for Students Lee Rosen, Ph.D., read the names of each student receiving a white coat.

Read the full article about the Class of 2024 White Coat Ceremony.

Pictured above: Class of 2024 medical student Devan Spence puts on her white coat as Deans Zehle (left) and Page (right) look on.


Diane Jaworski, Ph.D.,

Jaworski Creates First Fund for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

When she was growing up, UVM Professor of Neurological Sciences Diane Jaworski, Ph.D., remembers her parents bringing her to volunteer at a soup kitchen, one of many ways they encouraged their daughter to give back. Her father, Witold “Victor” Jaworski, was a Polish displaced person who immigrated to the U.S. after World War II. Her mother, Jane (née Czyzewski), was born in the U.S. to Polish immigrants and, though she wanted to be a nurse, could not afford to go to college. They always stressed to their children the importance of education and service to others, saying: “You may not have what you want, but you have what you need. Many don’t have what they need. We need to help them.”

This generosity of spirit inspired Jaworski to create a new fund at the Larner College of Medicine, named for her parents, the first to specifically support the work of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI). In addition to promoting ODEI-specific initiatives, the fund allows ODEI leaders to allocate dollars to a variety of student groups engaged in advocacy.

In her 25-plus years at UVM, Jaworski has been at the front lines of diversity and equity work: She serves as an advisor to the American Medical Women’s Association and the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) and is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Committee for Diversity and Inclusion. The medical students she mentors–particularly the student-led SJC, a group that has worked with faculty to weave teaching about social justice into the curriculum–inspire her to stay engaged.
“I see the wonderful work the SJC is doing with the health disparities curriculum,” she says. “I want to support those efforts.”

Make a gift to the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Pictured above: Dr. Jaworski

Class of 1970 Medallion Ceremony

Medical Reunion 2020 Goes Remote

Medical Reunion at Larner has been transformed into a 10-day online celebration for 2020. The event, which launched October 1 and runs through October 10, allows the College’s medical alumni from across the country and globe to gather safely in a virtual setting while enjoying a full slate of activities. 
Medical Reunion kicked off on October 1 with the with the Vito Imbasciani, Ph.D., M.D.’85 and George DiSalvo LGBTQ Health Equity Lecture on “An Intersectional Approach to LGBTQI Healthcare” by Lourdes Dolores Follins, Ph.D., LCSW-R, author of Black LGBT Health in the United States: The Intersection of Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation. Featured events included a presentation on diversity, equity and inclusion at the College, a Town Hall with UVM President Garimella, and the 50th Reunion Medallion Ceremony on October 2. Alumni also had the opportunity to attend an Alumni Town Hall on the State of the College with Dean Richard L. Page, M.D., a presentation on “Leading Through COVID-19 and Beyond” by Dean Page and UVM Medical Center President Stephen Leffler, M.D.,  and the Medical Alumni Association Awards Ceremony on October 3.
Watch a video of the Imbasciani and DiSalve LGBTQ Health Equity Lecture.
Read the full Medical Reunion agenda. 
Read the full Medical Reunion article, including Alumni Award recipients.
Pictured above: A screenshot of the opening slide from the Class of 1970 virtual 50th Reunion Medallion Ceremony

the Firestone Medical Research Building
Construction of the Firestone Medical Research Building began on October 5, with fencing installation that displaces some parking to the Jeffords lot. See construction notices and other project information.

Tim Lahey, M.D.

The Social Medicine on Air podcast, co-produced and co-hosted by Class of 2022 medical student Raghav Goyal, recently featured Tim Lahey, M.D., M.M.S., professor of medicine, in an episode, titled “Medical Ethics in a Pandemic.”

Listen to the podcast here.

Accolades & Appointments

The Larner College of Medicine celebrates 43 staff members who have reached the significant milestone of 10 or more years of service at the University of Vermont! Learn more about these individuals.

Sylvie DoubliƩ, Ph.D.,
Sylvie Doublié, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, is a co-investigator on a five-year, $8.8 million collaborative program project grant, titled “Polymerase theta, genome instability, and cancer.” Led by Dale Ramsden, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, the research focuses on an enzyme called DNA polymerase theta (PLOQ), which plays an essential role in the development of many hereditary breast cancers. Dr. Doublié serves as both a project leader and core director on the grant.

Matthew Siket, M.D., M.S.,
Matthew Siket, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of surgery, has received notice of an award from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Dr. Siket is the principal investigator on the project, titled “Advancing Unified Guidance for Medical Emergencies with Network Telehealth for the Emergency Departments and Emergency Medical Services (AUGMENT-ED/EMS) of Greater Vermont.” Co-investigators include Amy Dubuque, BSN, RN, health care nurse in the Department of Surgery and project director; Daniel Wolfson, M.D., associate professor of surgery; Douglas George, M.D., assistant professor of surgery; Ajai Maljoltra, M.D., professor of surgery; and Christopher Commichau, M.D., professor of neurological sciences.

Mary Cushman, Mark Pasanen, Michael Toth
Chair and Amidon Professor of Medicine Polly Parsons, M.D., recently announced three new vice chair appointments: Mary Cushman, M.D., M.Sc. (bottom right), professor of medicine, has been named to the newly-created role of vice chair for emerging researchers; Mark Pasanen, M.D. (bottom right), professor of medicine, has been named vice chair for education; and Michael Toth, Ph.D. (top right), professor of medicine, has been appointed vice chair for research.

Jason Bates and Vitor Mori
Jason Bates, Ph.D., D.Sc., professor of medicine, and postdoctoral fellow Vitor Mori, Ph.D., co-authored an article, titled “Modeling lung perfusion abnormalities to explain early COVID-19 hypoxemia” in Nature Communications. Their coauthors are Bela Suki, Ph.D., a professor of biomedical engineering at Boston University, and his postdoctoral fellow Jake Herrmann, Ph.D. Drs. Mori and Bates “hope that this model analysis will help the scientific community consider all physiologically reasonable hypotheses in interpreting the clinical picture in COVID patients.” Link to their Nature Communications article.



Fritz AJ, Hong D, Boyd J, Kost J, Finstaad KH, Fitzgerald MP, Hanna S, Abuarqoub AH, Malik M, Bushweller J, Tye C, Ghule P, Gordon J, Frietze S, Zaidi SK, Lian JB, Stein JL, Stein GS. RUNX1 and RUNX2 transcription factors function in opposing roles to regulate breast cancer stem cells. J Cell Physiol. 2020 Oct;235(10):7261-7272. doi: 10.1002/jcp.29625. Epub 2020 Mar 17. PMID: 32180230; PMCID: PMC7415511.

Andrew AS, Bradley WG, Peipert D, Butt T, Amoako K, Pioro EP, Tandan R, Novak J, Quick A, Pugar KD, Sawlani K, Katirji B, Hayes TA, Cazzolli P, Gui J, Mehta P, Horton DK, Stommel EW. Risk factors for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a regional U.S. case-control study. Muscle Nerve. 2020 Oct 1. doi: 10.1002/mus.27085. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33006184.

Uddin J, Malla G, Cherrington AL, Zhu S, Cummings DM, Clay OJ, Brown TM, Lee LT, Kimokoti RW, Cushman M, Safford MM, Carson AP. Risk factor control among Black and White adults with diabetes onset in older adulthood: The Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study. Prev Med. 2020 Oct; 139:106217. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2020.106217. Epub 2020 Jul 20. PMID: 32702350; PMCID: PMC7494649.

Harraz OF, Jensen LJ. Aging, calcium channel signaling and vascular tone. Mech Ageing Dev. 2020 Oct;191:111336. doi: 10.1016/j.mad.2020.111336. Epub 2020 Sep 9. PMID: 32918949.

Garg PK, Buzkova P, Meyghani Z, Budoff MJ, Lima J, Criqui M, Cushman M, Allison M. Valvular calcification and risk of peripheral artery disease: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Eur Heart J Cardiovasc Imaging. 2020 Oct 1;21(10):1152-1159. doi: 10.1093/ehjci/jez284. PMID: 31740939.

Morris CS. Interventional Radiology Placement and Management of Tunneled Peritoneal Dialysis Catheters: A Pictorial Review. Radiographics. 2020 Oct;40(6):1789-1806. doi: 10.1148/rg.2020200063. PMID: 33001792.

Adrianzen-Herrera D, Choudhary G, Gordon-Mitchell S, Ramachandra N, Bhagat T, Zhang H, Aluri S, Shastri A, Steidl U, Will B, Yang WL, Mahler M, Eichenbaum G, Guha C, Verma A. The thrombopoietin mimetic JNJ-26366821 increases megakaryopoiesis without affecting malignant myeloid proliferation. Leuk Lymphoma. 2020 Oct;61(10):2453-2465. doi: 10.1080/10428194.2020.1775213. Epub 2020 Jun 24. PMID: 32578476.

Ricotta DN, Hale AJ, Freed JA, Taylor JL, Smith CC. Peer observation to develop resident teaching. Clin Teach. 2020 Oct;17(5):521-525. doi: 10.1111/tct.13134. Epub 2020 Jan 22. PMID: 31968153.

Lahiri T, Sullivan JS, Sartorelli KH, Murphy JJ. Delayed Presentation of Meconium Ileus in an Infant With Cystic Fibrosis. Pediatrics. 2020 Oct;146(4):e20193717. doi: 10.1542/peds.2019-3717. PMID: 32978295.

Bissell MCS, Kerlikowske K, Sprague BL, Tice JA, Gard CC, Tossas KY, Rauscher GH, Trentham-Dietz A, Henderson LM, Onega T, Keegan THM, Miglioretti DL; Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium. Breast Cancer Population Attributable Risk Proportions Associated with Body Mass Index and Breast Density by Race/Ethnicity and Menopausal Status. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2020 Oct;29(10):2048-2056. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-0358. Epub 2020 Jul 29. PMID: 32727722.

Gergi M, Landry KK, Ades S, Barry M, Zakai NA, Herrera DA. Nivolumab-Induced Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura in a Patient with Anal Squamous Cell Carcinoma: A Lesson on Hematologic Toxicity from Immunotherapy. Oncologist. 2020 Oct 5. doi: 10.1002/onco.13553. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33017484.

Bolf EL, Gillis NE, Davidson CD, Rodriguez PD, Cozzens L, Tomczak JA, Frietze S, Carr FE. Thyroid Hormone Receptor Beta Induces a Tumor-Suppressive Program in Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer. Mol Cancer Res. 2020 Oct;18(10):1443-1452. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-20-0282. Epub 2020 Jun 17. PMID: 32554601. 

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The Larner College of Medicine
at The University of Vermont
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