Foundations Celebration Recognizes Class of '24 Teachers, Staff, & Med Students

January 27, 2022 by Michelle Bookless & Jennifer Nachbur

The Larner College of Medicine medical student Class of 2024 celebrated its completion of the Foundations Level of the Vermont Integrated Curriculum with a virtual celebration and awards presentation on January 27, 2022.

The medical student Class of 2024 poses outside in front of the UVM Larner College of Medicine Medical Education Building. (Photo by David Seaver)

The Larner College of Medicine medical student Class of 2024 celebrated its completion of the Foundations Level of the Vermont Integrated Curriculum with a virtual celebration and awards presentation on January 27, 2022. Foundations Director Karen Lounsbury, Ph.D., opened the event, welcoming Larner students, faculty, and staff, as well as friends and family of the Class of 2024, to the celebration.

"It is important to acknowledge within yourselves that you have reached this goal, and importantly, to reflect on how this goal is connected to your broader purpose," said Lounsbury. "As you move into clerkship and beyond, if you set authentic and achievable goals that contribute to the development of your broader purpose, you will be able to better follow your individual paths to a fulfilling career," she added.

Larner Dean Richard L. Page, M.D., spoke next, highlighting the students' entry into medical school amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and emphasizing the importance of professionalism as they continue on their educational journey and into future careers. If they keep the ideals of professionalism in mind, Page said, they "will always be worthy of the privilege of being a physician, and experience the joy of being the best doctor(s) [they] can be."

Lee Rosen, Ph.D., interim associate dean of students, rounded out the introductory remarks, commending the students on their accomplishments and imploring them to remain committed to supporting and caring for themselves and for each other, even as they rotate into the clinical setting where they'll be actively caring for patients. 

Class of 2024 Student Council representative Warrick Sahene kicked off the awards portion of the event, recounting the class’s experiences over the past 17 months. Class of 2024 Student Council representatives Sydney Cardozo, Elise Prehoda, Than Moore, and Sahene presented the following awards:

AMWA Gender Equity Award:
Lee-Anna Burgess, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine. This award honors a male or female faculty member who promotes a gender-fair environment for the education and training of physicians and gender diversity in the field. In their nominations of Dr. Burgess for the award student commented that she "is so respected and admired across the medical school and the hospital and is a phenomenal doctor," and that she "made a point to include gender-affirming language and concepts in the NMGI curriculum.”

Standardized Patient Award: Nicole D'Elisa. Standardized Patients play an integral role in the education of Larner College of Medicine medical students. They foster an environment in which students can practice interviewing and examinations skills and receive honest feedback. The ability of a physician to develop rapport with a patient, perform a focused examination, and gather an accurate history are vital skills that Larner College of Medicine students are fortunate to practice early and often. The Standardized Patients share their experience, knowledge, and time with students during both Foundations and Clerkship years. Students commented that D'Elisa was "incredible at providing seemingly real patient encounters," adding, "She's a fantastic teacher, a true chameleon for different patient presentations, and just a wonderful all-around presence in what can easily be an awkward situation.”

Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award: Ashleigh Peterson, Class of 2022 medical student. This award recognizes the teaching assistant who was the most helpful in teaching and facilitating within a Foundations course. Of their fellow medical student and teaching assistant, one student wrote, "It was clear that Ashleigh knew exactly what she was talking about and put a lot of preparation into her review sessions in CRR. I knew I could ask her almost any question and get a straight-forward, concise, and trustworthy response."

Best Support Staff (Non-teaching) Award:
 Tim Moynihan, Ph.D., Director of Academic Achievement in the Office of Medical Education. This award recognizes the staff member who best supported students in areas besides teaching. Along with his nomination came notes such as “He has helped me navigate STEP studying and I feel a lot better and less anxious after talking through things with him," and "Dr. Moynihan is very patient and takes time to really listen to your concerns. He is quick and responsive."

The Silver Stethoscope Award: Pamela Gibson, M.D., Associate Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. This award recognizes the faculty member who had few lecture hours, but made a substantial contribution to students’ education. “Dr. Gibson is a force to be reckoned with. Her knowledge and skill is so expansive and she does a phenomenal job of teaching and transferring that to us. From pathology reviews to gross lab to teaching about nephrotic and nephritic syndrome, she is so organized and adept and teaches in a way that really solidifies the information,” wrote one student in their nomination note.

Above and Beyond Award:
 Andrew Hale, M.D., 
Assistant Professor of Medicine. This award recognizes the faculty member who went above and beyond the call of duty to help the students in their learning objectives. In presenting him with the award, students commented,“Dr. Hale far exceeds his role as course director and this award should be named after him," and “Dr. Hale really went above and beyond to encourage us and motivate us. CRR is typically recognized as one of the more challenging courses in 2nd year and he ensured that we never felt overwhelmed by providing multiple review opportunities and treats during those reviews. He encouraged community amongst us in inviting us to his home and a hike. He knew us by name and would frequently interject in class to ensure we recognized the high yield topics both for class and for exams."

Foundations Teaching Award: Nicholas D'Alberto, Ph.D.,
Assistant Professor of Neurological Sciences. This award is presented to the faculty member who provided the most outstanding teaching activities within the Foundations curriculum. In their nomination of D'Alberto for the award, one student wrote, "Dr. D'Alberto has a unique way of asking questions and explaining challenging concepts that really makes the information more clear. Many of his lab questions and activities were the only way I was able to make sense of some of the more difficult concepts."

The Dean Warshaw Integration Award:
William Raszka, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics. This award recognizes the faculty member whose teaching best captured the spirit of the VIC. In a nomination note, one student wrote, "Dr. Raszka was fundamental in establishing active learning as the cornerstone of our education—the structure of A&D made us work together to tease through problems and prepared us for what actual clinical practice will be like.”

Foundations Course Director Award: Andrew Hale, M.D., Course Director, Cardiovascular, Renal and Respiratory Systems (CRR) and Assistant Professor of Medicine. This award recognizes the foundations course director who showed the highest degree of dedication to the successful design and implementation of their course curriculum. Students wrote that, due to Hale's commitment, CRR "was the most organized, most clinically relevant, and most streamlined [course]," and "The complex material was presented in a thoughtful, comprehensive, and logical manner."

Dr. Lounsbury presented the following award:

Curriculum Innovation Award: Cate Nicholas, Director of Simulation Education and Operations for the UVM Clinical Simulation Laboratory. This award is present to a faculty member in recognition of contributions to new curriculum development. When presenting the award, Lounsbury commented, "Cate has been instrumental in adapting to the needs of curriculum experiences by creating new opportunities for our medical students to receive valuable training using simulation," adding, "She has worked closely with our course directors to provide online experiences when COVID restrictions prevented patient encounters."

Students and faculty members presented the following awards to members of the Class of 2024:

B. Albert Ring, MD, Memorial Grant Award for best exemplifying compassion, humor, humility, and devotion to family and friends, and intellectual curiosity – presented by Dr. Lounsbury to Class of 2024 students Eliot Binkerd-Dale, Stephen Halsey, Amanda Nattress, and Sean Taylor.

CVRI Summer Research Fellowship Merit Award – presented by Cardiovascular Research Institute of Vermont (CVRI) Director and Professor of Medicine David Schneider, M.D., to Ying Loo (mentor: Tim Plante, M.D., MHS, Assistant Professor of Medicine).

Durwood Smith Award for Excellence in Pharmacology – presented by Dr. Lounsbury to Sydney Cardozo.

Ephraim Woll Award for Excellence in General Pathology – presented by Rebecca Wilcox, M.D., associate professor and vice chair for education in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine to Max HoddWells.

Exemplary Clinical Exam Skills Award – presented by Shirley McAdam, Standardized Patient educator, to Class of 2024 students Nick Brunette, Tayler Drake, Morgan Howlett, Colleen McCarthy, and Louisa Moore.

Helen and Phyllis Wasserman Phorplus Prize for excellence in the Basic Sciences – presented by Dr. Lounsbury to Class of 2024 students Nick Brunette, Colleen McCarthy, and Rachel Wayne.

Summer Research Fellowship Merit Awards – presented by Renee Stapleton, M.D., Ph.D., director of medical student research and professor of medicine, to Class of 2024 students Sam Afshari (Mentor: Nataniel Lester-Coll, M.D., Assistant Professor of Radiation-Oncology), Amanda Galenkamp (Mentors: Stapleton, Adam Atherly, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine, and Andrew Wilcock, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Family Medicine), and Molly Mepyans (Mentor: Marilyn Cipolla, Ph.D., Professor of Neurological Sciences and Chair of the Electrical and Biomedical Engineering Department at the UVM College of Engineering & Mathematical Sciences).

Wellness Award: presented by Class of 2024 Wellness Committee member NAME to classmate Mialovena Exume. Classmate Ankrish Milne, who presented Exume with the award said, "Mialovena Exume exemplifies the spirit of Wellness by consistently encouraging her peers and maintaining a positive attitude in all situations. She is a dependable friend and source of support, always taking the time to listen to fellow classmates in need."

The event concluded with remarks from Elise Everett, M.D., M.S., director of the clinical clerkship level of the Vermont Integrated Curriculum, and Christa Zehle, M.D., senior associate dean for medical education.

View the ceremony program.
Watch a recording of the ceremony. (Coming soon)

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