LCOM & Department News

SPACE MISSION 2020: Celebrating Match Day in the Era of Social Distancing

March 20, 2020 by Jennifer Nachbur

The phrase “keep your distance” has taken on a whole new and deeply important meaning in the era of COVID-19 and even Match Day, the annual senior medical student rite of passage, was not “immune” to honoring this behavior. On March 20, 2020, members of the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont’s Class of 2020 went virtual to ensure social distancing while celebrating the news of where they will be spending the next three to seven years training as residents following graduation.

SPACE MISSION 2020 Virtual Match Day opening screen

The phrase “keep your distance” has taken on a whole new and deeply important meaning in the era of COVID-19 and even Match Day, the annual senior medical student rite of passage, was not “immune” to honoring this behavior. On March 20, 2020, members of the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont’s Class of 2020 – and medical schools across the country – went virtual to ensure social distancing while celebrating the news of where they will be spending the next three to seven years training as residents following graduation.

The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) reported that the 2020 Main Residency Match was its largest in history, with a record 40,084 U.S. and international applicants participating. (View the Larner College of Medicine 2020 Residency Appointment list.)

The UVM Larner College of Medicine “SPACE MISSION 2020” themed event was livestreamed on YouTube for friends, family, faculty, staff, and students to view as nearly 50 “space stations,” populated with nine or less people each, connected with “Mission Control” where Larner College of Medicine Dean Richard L. Page, M.D., Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education Christa Zehle, M.D., and Interim Assistant Dean for Students Shaden Eldakar-Hein, M.D., M.S., hosted the event made possible via Zoom webinar technology. 

Instead of envelopes filled with letters on NRMP letterhead, Class of 2020 medical students received emails containing the news of the location of their residency. After remarks from Dean Page, Dean Zehle, and Class President Ava Baktyari, a fun skit featuring Deans Zehle and Eldakar-Hein, participating medical student “Space Stations” dialed in to announce their news virtually. (Link to our Match photo gallery.)

Read Class President Ava Baktyari's Remarks to the Class of 2020 here

Among the Class of 2020 medical students who matched are:

Eli Goldberg, a Shelburne, Vt. native who majored in archeology and ancient Greek as an undergrad, then worked doing health outreach for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and at Planned Parenthood before medical school. Eli says “I think it’s critical for doctors to be socially engaged – to be able to see the bigger social picture behind each individual patient, and to act as advocates where the system needs to change. Through my lens as a trans person, it’s important to me to use the training and opportunities that I have to lift up other trans folks. At the same time, my experiences working within the trans community have broadened my understanding of how other communities are marginalized in healthcare, pushed me to expand my sense of who I’m here to serve, and challenged me to become a more self-aware and effective ally. More and more, I find myself thinking about alternative ways of providing healthcare that are patient-centered, nonjudgmental, trauma-informed, and can really lift up everyone.” Eli matched into family medicine at UVM Medical Center.

Jasmine Robinson, from Westchester County, N.Y., matched into obstetrics/gynecology at Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell Health Southside Hospital in Bayshore, N.Y. Having experienced homelessness as a child, she established the Here to Help Clinic for Burlington's homeless population through a Schweitzer Fellowship several years ago, which has grown and is supported by a Larner Student Interest Group. She says the project’s “biggest personal impact was my experiences with those among the homeless population and observing how the clinic impacted them. I gained the greatest fulfillment in seeing the community come together for a great cause . . . the success of this . . . inspires me to create more community programs addressing social determinants of health.”

Cole Shapiro of Charlotte, Vt., who couples matched with her boyfriend and Larner College of Medicine classmate Ben Lin to a pediatrics residency at Duke University School of Medicine (Ben matched in internal medicine at UNC Chapel Hill). She says “I discovered a strength in caregiving while helping a sick loved one, and this led me to study medicine. I've since focused my clinical interests in serving vulnerable populations, including identifying barriers to care. These experiences ultimately led me to apply into pediatrics - a population often lacking a voice in their medical care.” Cole has been working with a UVM pediatrician to develop a clinical curriculum for training in Burlington’s New American pediatric clinic.

A total of 120 students from the Larner College of Medicine’s Class of 2020 have matched into residencies at 72 different institutions across the U.S. and Canada, 48 in primary care specialties. Several students learned of their residency locations prior to Match Day through the Military Match and early specialty matches. Students in the Class of 2020 will earn their medical degrees at Commencement in May 2020 and will begin their residencies in June.  See the interactive map of residencies

Check out the Larner College of Medicine’s Match Day Instagram Story highlights >>

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)

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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)

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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.

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

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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 Vermont...read 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)