August 25, 2021 | Volume III, Issue 16

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Fostering Socially-Conscious Clinicians

“Our current system is excellently equipped to deal with a faceless collection of symptoms,” says Class of ’24 medical student Erik Zhang. “But once we begin layering in the interacting components of race, gender, mental health, language, and weight—to name a few of the big categories—in addition to the connotations and stigmas carried by each one, we lose the ability to appropriately address the issues being presented.”

It’s this understanding that motivated five Larner medical students to create the Social Justice Coalition in 2017. This group helped to drive creation of the formalized social medicine curriculum piloted during the 2018-19 academic year. After its founding by Samuel Epstein, M.D.’21, Christina Dawson, M.D.’12, Reed Hausser, M.D.’21, Raghav Goyal, M.D.’21, and Elizabeth Lynch, M.D.’21, the social medicine curriculum continued to evolve with involvement from Class of 2022 medical students Richard Brach, Sheridan Finnie, and Nikkole Turgeon, Class of 2023’s Krisandra Kneer, and most recently, Class of 2024’s Zhang and Tyler Harkness.

Within the social medicine curriculum, the student-driven Social Medicine Theme of the Week (SMTW) weaves discussions of social determinants of health throughout all courses. SMTW themes are based on the seven learning objectives of the social medicine curriculum, including topics like appraisal of the intersection of social determinants with marginalized populations’ histories, perspectives, and experiences; synthesis of the United States’ role in the “global health narrative;” and tools and strategies to advocate for lasting social change. 

Read the full story in the Summer 2021 edition of Vermont Medicine.

Pictured above (left to right): Medical students Erik Zhang, Tyler Harkness, and Krisandra Kneer pose for a photo outside the Health Science Research Facility main entrance on Beaumont Avenue

Light green, dark green, and yellow graphic with text that reads “Faculty Promotions.

Raszka Receives AAMC Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award

Professor of Pediatrics William Raszka, M.D., has received the prestigious 2021 Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award. Established in 1988 by the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, the award recognizes outstanding achievement in medical education by four faculty members from the nation’s medical schools—two from basic science/pre-clinical departments and two from clinical disciplines. The award is part of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) annual slate of honors. It commemorates the late Robert Glaser, M.D., former dean of Stanford University School of Medicine and longtime AOA executive secretary.

A pediatric infectious disease specialist, Dr. Raszka directs the pediatrics clerkship and “Attacks & Defenses” course at Larner. He was also recently co-honored with the 2021 Vermont State School Nurses Association’s J. Ward Stackpole, M.D. Award, and the 2020 National Board of Medical Examiners Edithe J. Levit Distinguished Service Award. He received the Dignity in Medicine Award from the Larner medical student Class of 2019. 

In announcing the award, the AAMC/AOA noted Dr. Raszka's innovative and challenging teaching and his advocacy for equity, diversity, and inclusion. Quoting a student’s comments in a recent evaluation, AAMC/AOA wrote that Dr. Raszka's “questions are case-based, straightforward, and, importantly, he takes the time to explain why the wrong answers are wrong.”

Glaser awardees each receive a $10,000 prize. The College will also receive a $2,500 teaching activities grant, and the Larner AOA Medical Honor Society chapter will receive a $1,000 grant. The award will be formally conferred at an October 27 virtual recognition event.

Read more about Dr. Raszka and the 2021 AAMC awards here.

Robert Althroff

Althroff Named Acting Chair of the Department of Psychiatry

Dean Rick Page, M.D., and Claude Deschamps, M.D., senior associate dean for clinical affairs and president and CEO of the UVM Health Network (UVMHN) Medical Group, recently announced that Robert Althoff, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry, will serve as acting chair of the Department of Psychiatry effective September 1, and will become interim chair of the department on October 1. Dr. Althoff will replace Robert Pierattini, M.D., who on October 1 will transition to interim leader in three key roles: president and CEO of the University of Vermont Health Network Medical Group; executive vice president of clinical affairs for UVM Health Network; and senior associate dean for clinical affairs at the Larner College of Medicine.

A national leader in child and adolescent psychiatry with a research focus on child emotion regulation, Dr. Althoff has been a member of the UVM faculty and UVMHN Medical Group since 2006, and since 2017 has served as medical director of psychiatry at Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh, N.Y., and division chief, Adirondack Division, in the Department of Psychiatry. Since 2019, he has also served as vice chair for clinical affairs in the Department of Psychiatry. From 2014 to 2017, he was executive vice president of UVM’s Vermont Center for Children, Youth and Families.

Dr. Althoff is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and is an associate editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.  He teaches undergraduate, graduate, and medical students along with residents and fellows, and mentors Ph.D. students in his laboratory. He has twice received awards for Excellence in Academic Teaching within the psychiatry residency program at UVM Medical Center.

Pictured above: Dr. Althoff.


Megan Chamberlain; Vivian Pauley; Emerson Wheeler; Rachel Harrison; L.E. Faricy; and Ray Mak

Camp Outright Elective Connects Medical Student Trainees and LGBTQ+ Youth

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, LGBTQ+ youth are up to 20 percent more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to experience bullying, sadness and hopelessness, illicit drug use, and suicidal thoughts. Amidst the increased isolation and disconnectedness of the pandemic, Outright Vermont’s Camp Outright offered a beacon of light and hope for queer, trans, questioning, and allied youth in July 2021. 

Described as “a traditional summer camp experience with a queer twist,” the camp’s mission, says Assistant Professor of Pediatrics L.E. Faricy, M.D., “is to support queer, trans, questioning, and allied youth to survive, thrive, and grow.” As a medical provider at the camp for several years, Dr. Faricy says working at the camp “makes me a better physician.”

Realizing that creating an educational opportunity for medical trainees would be powerful, Dr. Faricy developed an Advanced Integration elective called “Adolescent & LGBTQ Health.” In addition to organizing daily medications, practicing reflective listening with campers, and sharing perspectives on the barriers faced by LGBTQ youth in accessing effective medical care, the students addressed acute health issues like splinters, bug bites, and headaches, and supported camp activities like workshops, crafts, and affinity group spaces. 

Dr. Faricy’s 2021 “MedForce” team included Vivian Pauley, M.D., a UVM Medical Center resident and clinical instructor in pediatrics, Class of 2022 medical students Rachel Harrison, Ray Mak, and Emerson Wheeler, as well as a local area nurse, Megan Chamberlain. 

Read the full article.

Pictured above (left to right): Megan Chamberlain; Vivian Pauley; Emerson Wheeler; Rachel Harrison; L.E. Faricy; and Ray Mak.


Elena MartelQuoteMarkBlueWorking with Bridges to Health for the migrant farmer worker flu clinic was undoubtedly one of the most rewarding experiences of my clerkship year thus far.” 

 Elena Martel, Class of 2022 medical student.

Through a new partnership between the Larner College of Medicine Global Health Program, the University of Vermont Extension's Bridges to Health Program, and the Vermont Department of Health, a team of medical students and residents have been fanning out across the state to vaccinate migrant farmworkers, first with the influenza vaccine in the fall and winter of 2020 and then with the COVID-19 vaccine when it became available in the spring of 2021. Their efforts have resulted in over 260 people receiving the flu vaccine on 53 farms across eight counties. 

Read more about the program’s impact through Elena Martel’s reflection, the first in a series of four blog posts by participating medical students.

Pictured: Elena Martel.


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The Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont, John Stetson, UVM’56, M.D.’60, and Roberta B. Stetson, UVM’57, present the Annual Stetson Lecture in Technological Advances in Medicine, featuring:

Mark Levine, M.D., Commissioner of Health, State of Vermont

“Riding the Wild Wave: My 18-months’ experience as Vermont’s Commissioner of Health during the COVID-19 pandemic”

Wednesday, September 1, 2021- 1:00-2:00pm

Accolades & Appointments

Bradley Berryhill, M.D., M.S., clinical assistant professor of family medicine and chief medical officer of Rutland, Vt.-based Community Health, received the 2020 Family Medicine Teaching Award in recognition of the Community Health network’s excellence in teaching medical students. The award, given through a joint sponsorship of the Vermont Academy of Family Physicians and the UVM Department of Family Medicine, also recognized the network’s “commitment above and beyond the standard contributions to our teaching programs.” Dr. Berryhill joined Community Health in 2004 as medical director and was named chief medical officer in 2019. He holds a medical degree from the State University of New York Upstate, completed a residency at St. Joseph’s Hospital Medical Center in Syracuse, N.Y., and received a master’s degree in health care policy and administration from Harvard University. Community Health is Vermont’s largest Federally Qualified Health Center and has a network of primary care, pediatric, behavioral health, dental and pharmacy services with offices in Rutland, Brandon, Castleton, West Pawlet and Shoreham.

Picture of Matthew Geeslin
Matthew Geeslin, M.D., M.S. Eng., assistant professor of radiology, director of musculoskeletal ultrasound and image-guided interventions, and associate vice chair of imaging informatics, has been named the new course director for Connections, a second-year course in the Foundations level of the Vermont Integrated Curriculum. Dr. Geeslin joined the UVM Department of Radiology’s Division of Musculoskeletal Imaging in 2017. He received his B.S. in biomedical engineering, M.S. in mechanical engineering, and medical degree from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Geeslin completed an internal medicine internship at Wake Forest University and a residency and fellowship in diagnostic radiology at the University of Virginia. In addition, he is a founding co-director of a graduate course called “Human Anatomy through Medical Imaging.” He completed the Teaching Academy’s Medical Education Fellowship Program and was inducted as a member in 2020. 

Pratistha Koirala
In June, Pratistha Koirala, M.D., Ph.D., clinical instructor and chief resident in obstetrics and gynecology at Danbury Hospital in Conn., was elected to the American Medical Association Board of Trustees. Dr. Koirala completed her M.D., Master of Science, and Ph.D. in molecular pharmacology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, N.Y.

Patrick Mullen
Patrick Mullen, Ph.D., a doctoral student in the Neuroscience Graduate Program, successfully defended his dissertation, titled “Investigating the mechanisms linking mutations in the protein synthesis apparatus to neurological disease,” on August 5. His advisors are Alicia Ebert, Ph.D., associate professor of biology, and Christopher Francklyn, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry.

Leslie Sepaniac, Ph.D., a doctoral student in the Cellular, Molecular and Biomedical Sciences program, successfully defended her dissertation, titled “Maintenance of Genomic Stability: Impacts of the loss of KIF18A” on August 17. Her advisor is Jason Stumpff, Ph.D., associate professor of molecular physiology and biophysics.

VASE logo
Three Larner faculty members are among the newest members elected in 2021 to the prestigious Vermont Academy of Science and Engineering (VASE) by the VASE Board of Directors. Professor of Medicine Mary Cushman, M.D., M.Sc., Professor and Chair of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics and UVM Vaccine Testing Center Director Beth Kirkpatrick, M.D., and Professor of Medicine and Vermont Commissioner of Health Mark Levine, M.D., join the approximately 60 current members of the academy. Chartered by the State of Vermont in 1995, VASE’s mission is “to recognize outstanding achievement and contributions in the broadly defined areas of science and/or engineering, to foster a deeper understanding and promote discourse on scientific and technical matters among the citizens of the State of Vermont, and to provide expert and impartial technical advice to the people and the government of the State of Vermont.” VASE administers a slate of grants and awards to foster science and technical fields in Vermont.

Cellular, Molecular and Biomedical Sciences  student Emily Whitaker, Ph.D., defended her dissertation, titled “Analysis of Host Factors Involved in Regulating HIV-1-Induced Syncytium Formation,” on August 16, 2021. Dr. Whitaker works in the lab of Markus Thali, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and molecular genetics.



Prasanna A, Miller HN, Wu Y, Peeler A, Ogungbe O, Plante TB, Juraschek SP. Recruitment of Black Adults into Cardiovascular Disease Trials. J Am Heart Assoc. 2021 Aug 25:e021108. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.121.021108. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34431310.

Zakai NA, Walker RF, MacLehose RF, Koh I, Alonso A, Lutsey PL. Venous thrombosis recurrence risk according to warfarin versus direct oral anticoagulants for the secondary prevention of venous thrombosis. Res Pract Thromb Haemost. 2021 Aug 17;5(6):e12575. doi: 10.1002/rth2.12575. PMID: 34430789; PMCID: PMC8371351.

Naufal F, West SK, Brady CJ. Utility of Photography for Trachoma Surveys: A Systematic Review. Surv Ophthalmol. 2021 Aug 20:S0039-6257(21)00177-6. doi: 10.1016/j.survophthal.2021.08.005. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34425127.

Lester-Coll NH, Topol EJ. Radiation oncology 2.0. Lancet. 2021 Aug 21;398(10301):654. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(21)01798-0. PMID: 34419194.

Finnie SM, Brach RJ, Dawson CA, Epstein SB, Goyal RK, Lounsbury KM, Eldakar- Hein ST, Lahey T. A new roadmap for social medicine curriculum design based on mixed methods student and faculty evaluations of the preclinical curriculum. BMC Med Educ. 2021 Aug 20;21(1):442. doi: 10.1186/s12909-021-02885-4. PMID: 34416885; PMCID: PMC8376629.

Taatjes DJ, Roth J. In focus in HCB. Histochem Cell Biol. 2021 Aug 20. doi: 10.1007/s00418-021-02017-5. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34415416.

Mattern L, Chen C, McClure LA, Brockman J, Cushman M, Judd S, Kahe K. Serum Zinc Levels and Incidence of Ischemic Stroke: The Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke Study. Stroke. 2021 Aug 20:STROKEAHA120033187. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.120.033187. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34412513.

Harder VS, Villanti AC, Heil SH, Smith ML, Gaalema DE, Meyer MC, Schafrick NH, Sigmon SC. Opioid use disorder treatment in rural settings: The primary care perspective. Prev Med. 2021 Aug 16:106765. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2021.106765. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34411588.

Patel SY, Huskamp HA, Barnett ML, Zubizarreta JR, Zachrison KS, Busch AB, Wilcock AD, Mehrotra A. Association Between Telepsychiatry Capability and Treatment of Patients With Mental Illness in the Emergency Department. Psychiatr Serv. 2021 Aug 19:appips202100145. doi: 10.1176/ Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34407629.

Jaffray J, Mahajerin A, Branchford B, Nguyen ATH, Faustino EVS, Silvey M, Croteau SE, Fargo JH, Cooper JD, Bakeer N, Zakai NA, Stillings A, Krava E, Amankwah EK, Young G, Goldenberg NA. A New Risk Assessment Model for Hospital- Acquired Venous Thromboembolism in Critically Ill Children: A Report From the Children's Hospital-Acquired Thrombosis Consortium. Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2021 Aug 18. doi: 10.1097/PCC.0000000000002826. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34406168.

Casey DT, Bou Jawde S, Herrmann J, Mori V, Mahoney JM, Suki B, Bates JHT. Percolation of collagen stress in a random network model of the alveolar wall. Sci Rep. 2021 Aug 17;11(1):16654. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-95911-w. PMID: 34404841; PMCID: PMC8371101.

Kumar A, Elko E, Bruno SR, Mark ZF, Chamberlain N, Mihavics BK, Chandrasekaran R, Walzer J, Ruban M, Gold C, Lam YW, Ghandikota S, Jegga AG, Gomez JL, Janssen-Heininger YM, Anathy V. Inhibition of PDIA3 in club cells attenuates osteopontin production and lung fibrosis. Thorax. 2021 Aug 16:thoraxjnl-2021-216882. doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2021-216882. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34400514.



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Published by the Office of Medical Communications
The Larner College of Medicine
at The University of Vermont
Copyright 2021