April 6, 2022 | Volume IV, Issue 7
Koch Named UVM Clinical Simulation Laboratory Director
After a comprehensive internal search and interview process, Larner College of Medicine Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine Nick Koch, M.D., has been named clinical director of the UVM Clinical Simulation Laboratory (CSL). Dr. Koch will be the laboratory’s fourth director, replacing former Associate Professor of Anesthesiology Vincent Miller, M.D., who served in the position for five years, from 2016-2021.
A 2014 graduate of Larner, Koch applied for the CSL clinical director position spurred by a passion for simulation-based learning he developed during his own medical education.
“During my four years of medical school, the robust simulation program became an integral part of my preparation for clinical practice, seeding my professional interests in this educational modality,” Koch says. “I appreciated the effectiveness in teaching the humanistic side of medical care delivery [that clinical simulation provides], including effective and empathetic verbal and non-verbal communication and bedside demeanor.”
Koch was nominated from among three highly qualified candidates by a search committee including Cate Nicholas, Ed.D., M.S., P.A., director of education and operations for the Clinical Simulation Laboratory, College of Nursing and Health Sciences Director of Simulation Education Nancy Lemieux, MSN, R.N., Associate Professor of Surgery Jesse Moore, M.D., and University of Vermont Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Isabelle Desjardins, M.D.
Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education, Christa Zehle, M.D., is excited for the future of the laboratory under Koch’s guidance. “Dr. Koch is familiar with the Larner College of Medicine curriculum and understands the value of simulation education in the professional development of both current and future health care providers,” she says. “As the Clinical Simulation Lab continues to expand its services, Dr. Koch and Dr. Nicholas will continue to explore opportunities for expansion of the lab’s impact on learners and our community.”
Med Students Hold Medical Supply Drive for Ukraine
When Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, first-year Larner College of Medicine medical students Caitlin Marassi and Ellen Mats were inspired to act.
Marassi earned a degree in political science with a focus on Eastern Europe and worked for the U.S. Department of State prior to starting medical school. Mats, a first-generation American of Ukrainian heritage, spent many summers during her childhood visiting her grandparents, who lived in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, and other family members on the Crimean peninsula.
“I have some family friends and family who are still there or recently left as refugees,” Mats says.
She and Marassi began investigating ways to help the Ukrainian people, and decided to work through Razom, a 501(c)(3) organization that has been shipping medical supplies by sea and air directly to Ukraine.
“Razom, meaning ‘together’ in Ukrainian, has long established relationships with Ukraine, operating since 2014,” explains Mats. She adds that the nonprofit collaborates with Meest America, a shipping company with extensive logistics contacts and shipping routes throughout Eastern Europe.
“As medical students, we figured that it would make the most sense to collect medical supplies,” she says. They also set up a GoFundMe through which financial donations go directly to Razom.
On March 26, 2022, Mats and Marassi, along with other Larner first-year medical students, launched a three-week medical supply drive in collaboration with Vermont Flannel, where they held a donation drop-off event. Mats reports that, at the Burlington
Church Street Marketplace retail location alone, the group collected six bins of supplies, including items such as gauze, self-adherent wrap, antibiotic cream, thermal blankets, tourniquets, gloves, tactical backpacks, walkie-talkies, surgical supplies,
syringes, and a drone. The drive will continue until April 16, 2022.
Pictured above: (Left) Ellen Mats and Caitlin Marassi behind the Vermont for Ukraine Medical Supply Drive sign on the Church Street Marketplace on March 26; (Right) Bins filled with donated medical supplies. (Courtesy photos)
Research Shows Link Between Phthalates, the "Everywhere Chemical," and Childhood Cancer
In a first-of-its-kind study, research led by Thomas Ahern, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor of surgery and University of Vermont Cancer Center member, has linked chemical additives called phthalates to higher incidence of
specific childhood cancers.
Used to enhance the durability or consistency of plastics and a wide range of consumer products, phthalates are also found in delayed-release medications.
The study, published by Ahern and colleagues at Aarhus University and Odense University Hospital in Denmark in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, suggests that exposure to medication-associated phthalates may contribute to the development
of some childhood cancers, and that minimizing exposure to phthalates may help prevent some childhood cancers in the future.
The researchers measured the association between gestational and childhood phthalate exposures and childhood cancer incidence using data from the Danish Medical Birth Registry, the Danish Medicines Agency, and the Danish Cancer Registry from all live
births between 1997 and 2017, totaling nearly 1.3 million children. Among the 2,027 cases of childhood cancer, researchers measured associations between gestational and childhood phthalate exposure and the incidence of specific cancers.
Childhood, but not gestational (in utero) phthalate exposure was associated with 20 percent higher rate of childhood cancer overall, with a nearly three-fold higher rate of osteosarcoma diagnosis and a two-fold higher rate of lymphoma diagnosis.
Pictured above: A photo of blue- and yellow-colored medication capsules. (Stock image from Creative Commons)
New Service Offers Easier Access to Elsevier-Controlled Publications
For decades the biomedical community has dealt with a scientific publishing system that exclusively owns the copyright on any published material and restricts reader access to those articles. Scientific authors sign over all rights and sometimes have
to pay the publisher to re-use their own research. Even government-funded research that results in published literature hasn’t been freely accessible immediately upon publication to everyone who needs and wants those results.
At UVM, that situation has complicated access to new articles in journals controlled by Elsevier, the Netherlands-based company that specializes in scientific publications, since 2020. Now, the Dana Medical Library is offering a new document delivery
service, called Article Galaxy, that will make it easier for Larner faculty, students, and affiliates to request journal articles, including those from Elsevier publications, and have them delivered to their email inbox within a day – frequently
The process for utilizing Article Galaxy is covered on the Dana Library's blog and includes a step-by-step video to guide
Pictured above: A photo of a laptop showing the Dana Medical Library blog post about Article Galaxy.
I don't have a lot of experience with babies; they're not as fragile as I thought. I'm always nervous before a new rotation. It's a good learning experience."
- Kiro Soliman, Class of 2023 medical student, during his recent pediatric clerkship in the Newborn Nursery on the UVM Medical Center's Mother-Baby Unit.
Pictured at left: Kiro Soliman gazes down at a one-day-old infant he holds, swaddled, in the Mother-Baby Unit of UVM Medical Center's Newborn Nursery. Soliman wears blue scrubs, blue rubber gloves, a surgical face mask, and a stethoscope draped around his neck. (photo: Ian Thomas Jansen-Lonnquist)
Mark Your Calendar! The Larner College of Medicine will be celebrating the third annual anniversary of the launch of our Professionalism initiative during our online Professionalism Week Kick-Off and Awards Celebration on
Tuesday, May 3 at 4:00 p.m.
Attend via the Zoom link that will be emailed to the community and posted on the Larner Professionalism page.
Accolades & Appointments
Diann Gaalema, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry, recently published several journal articles. She is first author of a paper titled "The Association of Patient Educational Attainment with Cardiac Rehabilitation Adherence and Health Outcomes," in the Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention, and coauthor of "Smokeless Tobacco Use and Prevalence of Cardiovascular Disease Among Males in the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study, Waves 1-4," in Preventive Medicine Reports.
Leigh Ann Holterman, Ph.D., current director of curricular evaluation and assessment in the Teaching Academy and assistant professor of psychiatry, will be transitioning to a new position in the Office of Medical Education (OME) as the
assistant director of student wellbeing. In this new position, Dr. Holterman will be responsible for providing direct support to students, developing and implementing wellness programing, and conducting research on medical student wellbeing to inform
additional services and programming.
Holterman received a Ph.D. in psychology from UVM and joined the Teaching Academy in June 2017. In her role as director of curricular evaluation and assessment, she has been instrumental in leading the LCME-required course evaluation process and launching the new Medical Curriculum Committee Evaluation Subcommittee. She has also been actively involved in the WE-MD program, providing guidance and collaboration to the research team, and has been instrumental in the development and administration of OME's yearly Wellbeing Survey, which provides ongoing assessment of medical student mental health and wellbeing. In addition, Holterman collaborated with students from the Wellness Committee to assess and present on several wellness initiatives, such as the Medical Student Mental Health Panel.
Sherrie Khadanga, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and assistant director of cardiac rehabilitation, and Jennifer Kelly, D.O., associate professor of medicine and associate chief of the Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes, have been selected to serve as guest editors for Women's Health's upcoming Special Collection on Cardiovascular and Metabolic Bone Health in Aging Women. This special collection will explore best practices, research opportunities, and avenues for improvement in the diagnosis, progression, and management of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis in aging women.
For more information on submitting a paper for consideration, visit the official website.
William Middleton, a doctoral candidate in experimental psychology who is mentored by Diann Gaalema, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry, published his inaugural first-author paper, titled "Benchmarking Depressive Symptoms in Cardiac Rehabilitation," in the Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention.
Associate Professor Christina Wojewoda, M.D., has accepted the position of vice chair for education in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. She replaces Professor Rebecca Wilcox, M.D., who has served as vice chair for education for the past four years and recently was appointed associate dean for faculty affairs at the Larner College of Medicine. Dr. Wojewoda, who joined UVM in 2012 as director of microbiology, received her M.D. from the University of Illinois College of Medicine. During her anatomic pathology/clinical pathology residency training at the University Hospitals/Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio, she served as chief resident. She then completed a clinical microbiology fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.
Since joining the UVM Medical Center, Dr. Wojewoda has developed a comprehensive microbiology curriculum for residents, engaged in teaching of pathology residents, medical students, and infectious disease fellows, and mentored residents as assistant medical directors and in their careers. At Larner, she chaired an Academic Program Review Subcommittee of the Curricular Affairs Committee. She is a national leader in her field, and currently chairs the College of American Pathologists Microbiology Committee, and serves as chair of the board for the Intersociety Council on Pathology Information.
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