LCOM & Department News

Class of 2021 Celebrates Teachers, Classmates at Foundations Awards Event

January 25, 2019 by Jennifer Nachbur

The UVM Larner College of Medicine Class of 2021 participated in a Foundations Awards celebration January 24. The event, which marks the completion of the first level of the Vermont Integrated Curriculum, provides an opportunity for second-year medical students to join with faculty and staff and express their gratitude for the contributions of these Larner College of Medicine community members to their medical education journey.

Chris Hill, left, accepts the Standardized Patient award from Class of 2021 Student Council member Davina Tolbert. (Photo: David Seaver)

The numbers are staggering – since beginning medical school in August 2017, students in the Class of 2021 “have completed 27 secure exams, 8 to 9 anatomy practicals, at least one CSE for every course, 47 TBLs, and 191 Readiness Quizzes,” reported Class of 2021 Student Council member Cameron Burke in his opening remarks at his class’ Foundations Awards ceremony on January 24.

The celebratory event, which marks the completion of the first level of the Vermont Integrated Curriculum – Foundations – provides an opportunity for second-year medical students to join with faculty and staff and express their gratitude for the contributions of these Larner College of Medicine community members to their medical education journey.

“Please join me . . . to thank all those people who have given so much to advance our education thus far; the faculty, standardized patients, office staff, and other people too numerous to name who have helped us all reach this point in our medical education,” said Cameron to his classmates. “We wouldn't be here today without them, their dedication to teaching, or their devotion of so much time and energy, all of which has helped cultivate the growth of a class of fledgling medical students and prepared us to enter the hospital, where we will begin working with patients every day.”

In addition to Burke, key players in the event were Foundations Director Karen Lounsbury, Ph.D., who played her inaugural role as host; Dean Rick Page, M.D., and Interim Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education and Associate Dean for Students Christa Zehle, M.D., who each presented congratulatory remarks to the students; and Class of 2021 student leaders Jenna Dafgek, Sarah Sherman, Naira Goukasian, Sidika Kajtezovic, and Evan Lowry.

The Class of 2021 recently completed an exam for Convergence – the final course in the Foundations level of the curriculum. They will take a National Board of Medical Examiners practice exam on January 28 in preparation for their U.S. Medical Licensing Examination Step 1 exam, which they’ll do in February or March before starting the Clerkship level of the curriculum in mid-March.

The following Foundations awards were presented by the Class of 2021:

AMWA Gender Equity Award: Rebecca Wilcox, M.D., Associate Professor of Pathology and Laboratory 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.

The Dean Warshaw Integration Award: William Raszka, M.D., Course Director, Attacks & Defenses, and Professor of Pediatrics. This award recognizes the faculty member whose teaching best captured the spirit of the VIC.

The Silver Stethoscope Award: Ronald Bryant, 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.

Above and Beyond Award: Ellen Black, 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.

Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award: Patrick Mullen, Ph.D. student, Neuroscience Graduate Program

Best Support Staff (Non-teaching) Award: Mike Cross, Custodial Maintenance Worker. This award recognizes the staff member who best supported students in areas besides teaching.

Standardized Patient Award: Chris Hill

Foundations Course Director Award: Rebecca Wilcox, M.D., Course Director, Nutrition, Metabolism and Gastrointestinal System (NMGI), and Associate Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Foundations Teaching Award: Ellen Black, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Neurological Sciences. The recipient of this award will be hooding the Class of 2019 at their graduation and will be recognized with other Teachers of the Year from the past.

Additional awards presented to members of the Class of 2021 included:

Wellness Award – presented by Class of 2021 Wellness Committee members Lexi Churchill, Olivia Larkin, Elizabeth Lynch, and Jordan Munger to Sarah Sherman ‘21

CVRI Summer Research Fellowship Merit Award – presented by Marilyn Cipolla, Ph.D., professor of neurological sciences and obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences, to Juan Conde, Ph.D. ’21

Exemplary Clinical Exam Skills Award – presented by Shirley McAdam to Susan Campbell ’21, Michael Chmielewski ‘21, Jenna Dafgek ‘21, Van Hoang ‘21, and Ellen Seyller ‘21

LCOM Summer Research Fellowship Merit Awards – presented by Renee Stapleton, M.D., Ph.D., director of medical student research and associate professor of medicine, to Garrett Chan ’21 (mentor: Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D.), Collin Love ’21 (mentor: Patrick Bender, M.D.), Kenneth Palanza ’21 (mentor: Daniel Weiss, M.D., Ph.D.), and Shae Rowlandson ’21 (mentor: Jay Gupta, Ph.D.)

Durwood Smith Award for Excellence in Pharmacology – presented by Dr. Lounsbury to Meri Lackie ‘21

Ephraim Woll Award for Excellence in General Pathology – presented by Dr. Wilcox to Trina Thornburgh ‘21

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 Michael Weber ’21, Rio Beardsley ’21, and Lauren Struck ’21

Helen and Phyllis Wasserman Phorplus Prize for excellence in the Basic Sciences – presented by Dr. Lounsbury to Joy Benner ’21, Meri Lackie ’21 and Shae Rowlandson ‘21

The awards ceremony was followed by a welcome to Clerkship from Associate Dean for Clinical Education Tania Bertsch, M.D.

Department Highlights

Dr. Debra Leonard, M.D., Ph. D., our department chairand the Genomic Medicine Team announce the start of the Genomic Population Health Initiative. A pilot project offering Genomic DNA Testing is now underway within the University of Vermont Health Network. Read more here... (2019)

Dr. William Pendlebury, M.D., professor emeritus of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, has been selected to receive the 2019 Vermont Medical Society’s (VMS) Founders’ Award. The award recognizes Pendlebury’s leadership role and advocacy in “the fight for the diagnosis and treatment of dementia in Vermont for the past 35 years.” He will receive the award November 2 at the VMS 206th Annual Meeting in Stowe, Vt.(2019)

Yvone Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D., Jos van der Velden, Ph.D. (both Pathology & Laboratory Medicine faculty) and senior author, Charles Irvin, Ph.D. (Medicine), published "The Effect of Flavored E-cigarettes on Murine Allergic Airways Disease" in Nature Scientific Reports. The study has been cited in stories by several news outlets: U.S. News & World Report/HealthDay; American Journal of Managed Care; Medical News Bulletin; and Medical Daily. (2019)

Dr. Mark Fung, M.D, Ph.D., professor and vice chair for Population Health, was recently named to the board of directors for the Project Santa Fe Foundation, which “focuses on demonstrating the power of longitudinal clinical laboratory data to proactively augment population health in a value-based healthcare environment.” (2019)


Dr. Bronwyn Bryant, M.D. was named a 2019 Frymoyer Scholar for her project, “Validating Entrustable Professional Activity-Based Assessment to Determine On-Call Competency in Pathology Residents”. (2019)


Dr. Rebecca Wilcox, M.DDr. Rebecca Wilcox, M.D. was selected, by the Larner College of Medicine Class of 2019, to be the commencement keynote speaker. Read more... [Photo credit: Andy Duback 2019] (2019)

Please join Dr. Yvonne Janssen-Heininger in congratulating Allison Manuel and Evan Elko

Dr. Allison Manuel is a post-doctoral fellow in our group.  Her abstract to be presented at the American Thoracic Society conference was chosen to receive an Abstract Scholarship . The scholarship includes a full In-Training Registration to the 2019 ATS International Conference in Dallas, Texas.  

Evan Elko is a PhD student. He just received notice that his F31 NIH application entitled: “Role of peroxiredoxin-4 in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis”  will be funded.

Congratulations to Evan and Allison.


Department alumni, Dr. Bobbi Pritt, M.D. featured in Vermont Medicine Magazine. To read her story click on the photo below.




Dr's Leonard and HuberA Remarkable Gift from Dr. Sally Huber, Ph.D.

At the end of last week's Research Day, Dr. Leonard gave a surprise announcement: a very generous bequethment of $5 million by research faculty emerita, Dr. Sally Huber! The funds will go toward two endowed professorships for junior investigators in our department. The endowments will be named for her parents, Elmer R. Huber and Blodwen S. Huber, and will support junior research faculty for five years.(9/2018)

This amazing support will allow junior faculty time and funds to gain independence while pursuing the milestone achievement of being awarded their first R01 grant.

Heintz Awarded 2018 Distinguised Graduate Alumni Award

Dr. Nick Heintz, Ph.D. received the 2018 UVM Medical Alumni Association’s Distinguished Graduate Alumni Award​, which is presented to Larner College of Medicine (LCOM) alumni who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in basic, clinical or applied research; education; industry; public service/humanitarianism; and/or outstanding commitment to the LCOM community.

He accepted his award at the college's Celebrating Research Excellence event at the end of October. (September 2018)

Kida Received Certificate of Commendation

Dr. Kida receives award from the State of more here. (August 2018)

Leonard and Committee Publish Through National Academies Press

Dr. Debra Leonard, along with a committee under the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, ​published "Returning Individual Research Results to Participants: Guidance for a New Research Paradigm" through The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2018 (Committee Member). (August 2018)

Excellence in Education

The Larner College of Medicine’s second year medical students nominate and elect faculty who they want to recognize for their outstanding teaching and support over their first years of the Foundations education. (February 2018)

Pathology nominees (winners in bold):

AMWA Gender Equity Award  - Pamela Gibson; Sharon Mount; Rebecca Wilcox

Dean Warhsaw Integration Award - Rebecca Wilcox

Silver Stethoscope Award - Scott Andreson; Maureen Harmon; John Lunde

Above and Beyond Award - Ronald Bryant; Rebecca Wilcox

Foundations Course Director Award -Rebecca Wilcox

Outstanding Foundations Course Award

  • Cardiovascular, Respiratory & Renal Systems: (Ron Bryant; Kelly Butnor; and Pam Gibson are the primary pathologists in each section of the course, respectively)
  • Nutrition, Metabolism & the Gastrointestinal System: Course Director is Rebecca Wilcox

Foundations Teaching Award - Ronald Bryant; Pamela Gibson; Rebecca Wilcox; Christina Wojewoda

Dr. Yvonne Janssen-Heininger Receives Patent

Yvonne Janssen-Heinger was awarded a patent on the ​concept that strategies to inhibit GSTP has utility for the treatment of patients with pulmonary fibrosis. Congratulations, Yvonne! (January 2018)

Drs. Bronwyn Bryant and Phillip Munson inducted into the Teaching Academy

Last week Bronwyn and Phillip were inducted into University of Vermont's Teaching Academy. The Teaching Academy sustains and supports an interdisciplinary community of educators who value the scholarship of teaching and learning while facilitating educator development; improve the efficiency and quality of medical education through collaboration and scholarship; and promote an academic environment that increases the value and impact of educators locally, regionally, and nationally. (January 2018)