Medical Class of 2026 Celebrates Completion of Foundations Curriculum

February 2, 2024 by Angela Ferrante

Faculty, staff, and students congregated in the Larner College of Medicine's Health Science Research Facility for the Foundations Awards Celebration. This gathering commemorated a significant milestone in the medical education journey of the Class of 2026.

Medical Class of 2026 Celebrates Completion of Foundations Curriculum

On January 24, 2024, faculty, staff, and students congregated in the Hoehl Gallery within the Larner College of Medicine's Health Science Research Facility for the Foundations Awards Celebration. This gathering commemorated a significant milestone in the medical education journey of the Class of 2026. The annual event not only acknowledges the completion of Foundations—the inaugural stage of the Vermont Integrated Curriculum—but also pays tribute to the students' achievements and the dedicated teachers and staff who guided them.

The event commenced with a welcome from Karen Lounsbury, Ph.D., Foundations director, who set the tone for the celebration. Following her, Adama Aja, the Class of 2026 medical student leader, provided a comprehensive recap of the journey undertaken by class members in their medical education thus far.

large group of people celebrating in a gallery
The following awards were presented by members of the Class of 2026:

  • Class of ’26 American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) chapter members Yasamin Zamanian and Christina Kirk presented the AMWA Gender Equity Award to Lee-Anna Burgess, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and course director, Nutrition, Metabolism, and Gastrointestinal Systems (NMGI). 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.
  • Adama Aja presented The Dean Warshaw Integration Award to Amer Abu Alfa, M.D., assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine. This award recognizes the faculty member whose teaching best captured the spirit of the VIC.
  • Adama Aja presented The Silver Stethoscope Award to Kramer Wahlberg, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and cardiology. This award recognizes the faculty member who had few lecture hours but made a substantial contribution to students’ education.
  • Arman Grewal presented the Above and Beyond Award to Abigail Hielscher, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurological sciences. This award recognizes the faculty member who went above and beyond the call of duty to help the students in their learning objectives.
  • Molly Hurd presented the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award to Arjune Nibber, Class of 2024 medical student. This award recognizes the teaching assistant who was the most helpful in teaching and facilitating within a Foundations course.
  • Chris Kruglik presented the Best Support Staff (Non-teaching) Award to Sean Coyne, course coordinator for Foundations. This award recognizes the staff member who best supported students in areas besides teaching.
  • Casey Norton presented the Standardized Patient Award to Deb Lyons, Julie Mitchell and Peter Shea. Standardized Patients (SPs) 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 SPs share their experience, knowledge, and time with students during both Foundations and Clerkship years.
  • Arman Grewal presented the Foundations Course Director Award to John Steele Taylor, M.D., assistant professor of neurological sciences. This award recognizes the foundations course director who showed the highest degree of dedication to the successful design and implementation of their course curriculum.
  • Molly Hurd presented the Foundations Teaching Award to Kramer Wahlberg, M.D. This award is presented to the faculty member who provided the most outstanding teaching activities within the Foundations curriculum.
  • Karen Lounsbury presented the Curriculum Innovation Award to John Steele Taylor, M.D. This award is present to a faculty member in recognition of contributions to new curriculum development.

Students and faculty members then presented awards to members of the Class of 2026. Awards and recipients were as follows:

  • Wellness Committee members Anika Advant and Tucker Angier gathered at the podium to present the Wellness Award to Henry Mitchell.
  • Maria Noterman Soulinthavong, Ph.D., pharmacology fellow, presented the Cardiovascular Research Institute of Vermont Summer Research Fellowship Merit Award to Emmanuel Ogunlana.
  • Renee Stapleton, M.D., Ph.D., director of medical student research, presented Summer Research Fellowship Merit Awards to Class of 2026 students Haley Bayne, Ava Siegel and Deepinder Singh.
  • Christina Wojewoda, M.D., associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, presented the Ephraim Woll Award for Excellence in General Pathology to John Rustad.
  • Shirley McAdam, standardized patient educator at the Clinical Simulation Laboratory, presented the Exemplary Clinical Exam Skills Award to Anika Advant, Tucker Angier, Jenna Eaton, Emma Fleming and Khadija Moussadek
  • Karen Lounsbury, Ph.D., presented the B. Albert Ring, MD, Memorial Grant Award to Molly Hurd and Timothy HwangThis award recognizes students who best exemplify compassion, humor, humility, and devotion to family and friends, and intellectual curiosity.
  • Lounsbury presented the Durwood Smith Award for Excellence in Pharmacology to Jenna Eaton.
  • Lounsbury presented the Helen and Phyllis Wasserman Phorplus Prize for excellence in the Basic Sciences to Tucker Angier, Jenna Eaton and Kassie Mastras.

At the conclusion of the award ceremonies, Lounsbury extended an invitation to Elise Everett, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences and level director of clinical clerkship. Dr. Everett warmly greeted the members of the Class of 2026, introducing them to the Clinical Clerkship – the second stage of the Vermont Integrated Curriculum. Currently, the medical students from the Class of 2026 are preparing for Step 1, the initial component of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). Their clinical education is set to commence in March 2024.


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Voices of the College

 

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"Four weeks, five European countries, and 5000 calories/day seemed like the only logical way to celebrate four years of sacrifice."

— Edom Girma, Class of 2024

Read Girma’s blog post

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