Vermont scene with dirt road, foliage, mountain


Friday, October 1, 2021

7:30 am - 2:15 pm

a free community event hosted by

uvmcancercenter logo

This free, educational event will again be hosted as a virtual event in order to preserve the safety and comfort of participants.

The conference is aimed at empowering and supporting individuals and communities with knowledge about cancer prevention, detection, treatment and survivorship. It is for anyone interested in learning more about women's health and cancer - patients, survivors, health care professionals, caregivers, and the general public. Regardless of age, gender or cancer experience, this event will provide a supportive learning experience.

Link to accreditation information for healthcare professionals

Visit the Virtual Exhibit Hall to learn about local organizations that offer support and resources to the cancer community. 

Recordings will be added as soon as they are available on YouTube.

Presenting Sponsor

The Victoria Buffum Fund at the UVM Cancer Center

Gold Sponsor

UVM Cancer Center Eleanor B Daniels Fund logo

Early Morning Provider Track
Title & TimePresenterDescription YouTube Link
PROVIDER TRACK: Having Difficult Conversations
7:30-8:30 am
(P, N, PA, PH, Psych, PT, SW)
Stephen Berns, MD
Larner College of Medicine

Many clinicians feel unprepared to have serious illness conversations with patients and their families, particularly about prognosis, treatment discussions, and quality of life when patients are facing a cancer diagnosis. This session will explore the structure and skills that can help facilitate these conversations to ensure goal-concordant care.

YouTube link
Welcome, Introductions & Keynote Address
TitlePresenterDescription YouTube Link
Welcome & Introductions
8:30-8:45 am
 Elizabeth Watson, MD, MPH - Conference Co-Chair
Michelle Machesky, PA - Conference Co-Chair
Richard L. Page, MD - Dean, The Robert Larner MD College of Medicine
Randall F. Holcombe, MD - Director, University of Vermont Cancer Center
YouTube link
Intro Keynote:
COVID Update
8:45-8:55 am
(P, N, PA, PH, Psych, PT, RT)
Mark Levine, MD
Vermont Commissioner of Health

This presentation will update the learner on the current state of the COVID pandemic, discuss current guidance on vaccination for those who are immunocompromised due to cancer or its treatment and review the impact of the pandemic on the components of the Cancer Plan.

(Same as above)
The Financial Costs and Burden of Breast Cancer Care
8:55-9:50 am
(P, N, PA, PH, Psych, PT, RT, SW)
Rachel Greenup, MD, MPH, FACS
Chief of Breast Surgical Oncology
The Breast Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital

Dr. Greenup will discuss how financial costs relate to decisions for breast cancer treatment and their impact on financial burden, debt, and employment. Cost transparency may inform preference-sensitive decisions and improve patient-centered care

(Same as above)
Session 1 - Choose one
TitlePresenterDescription YouTube Link
Update: Harnessing the Immune System to Fight Cancer
10:00-10:50 am
(P, N, PA, PH, Psych, PT, RT)
Shahid Ahmed*, MBBS
Larner College of Medicine
We will discuss the role of the immune system in cancer and how recent advances in the last decade have led to major breakthroughs in treatments. We will also see how diet effects the immune system. Lastly, we will go over what the future might look like for immunotherapies and cancer.
YouTube link
The Effects of Cancer and Cancer Treatment on the Pelvic Floor and the Benefits of Physical Therapy
10:00-10:50 am
(P, N, PA, PH, Psych, PT)
Amy Candon, PT, PLC
Pelvic Health
This presentation will focus on the pelvic floor and the implications of cancer and cancer treatment on bladder, bowel and sexual functions. Possible reasons for pelvic pain for those undergoing cancer treatment will be discussed, as well as the benefits that physical therapy can bring for improvement of pelvic floor impairment as well as overall wellness.YouTube link
Session 2 - choose one
TitlePresenterDescription YouTube Link
COVID & Cancer Panel
11:00-11:50 am
(P, N, PA, PH, Psych, PT, RT)
Elizabeth Watson*, MD, MPH - Radiologist
Shahid Ahmed*, MBBS - Hem/Onc
Cindy Noyes, MD - Infectious Disease
Patricia O'Brien*, MD - Hem/Onc
Michelle Sowden*, DO - Surgical Oncology
UVM Medical Center
This panel includes a variety of speakers who have been providing health care during the COVID pandemic. Each will present a different aspect describing how the pandemic has changed the way we practice medical care, and what has been done to protect cancer patients during the pandemic. Topics addressed: false positives on scans, lack of response to vaccines in cancer patients, hospital and cancer clinic policies, positives of telemedicine, examples of the effect of delayed screenings on cancer care.
YouTube link
Complementary and Integrative Health and Cancer
11:00-11:50 am
(P, N, PA, PH, Psych, PT, SW)
Amy Littlefield, ND, MSOM, LAc, FABNO
Vermont Wellness Medicine & Integrative Oncology
The demand for a more integrative approach to cancer care and survivorship is becoming a major focus on the national health care stage. Integrative medicine represents a coordinated approach to bring conventional and complementary medicine together. This session will discuss the utilization of integrative medicine and how to choose from so many options.YouTube link
Lunch Hour Provider Track and Wellness - choose one
TitlePresenterDescription YouTube Link
Provider Burnout
12:00-1:00 pm
(P, N, PA, PH, Psych, PT, RT, SW)
James Ulager, MD
Larner College of Medicine
This presentation will describe the rising prevalence of burnout among clinicians. We will discuss the implications of burnout on personal well-being and patient care. More importantly, we will discuss methods to improve resilience and well-being. YouTube link
Steps to Wellness: Demonstrating the "FUN"damentals of Virtual Group Exercise
12:15-1:00 pm
(Not accredited)
Rebecca Reynolds, BS, CES
Lucian Benway, CPT, ETS
Oncology & Hematology Rehabilitation Program
UVM Medical Center

Participants will learn about Steps to Wellness, the UVM Cancer Center's free 12-week Oncology/Hematology Rehabilitation Program, and how we support and empower cancer survivors through structured group exercise. Join our exercise trainers as they demonstrate balance, strength and aerobic exercises, commonly seen throughout the 12-week program.

Note: Participation is at your discretion and at your own risk.

YouTube link
Session 3 - choose one
TitlePresenterDescription YouTube Link
Multi-Disciplinary Clinic for Breast Cancer
1:15-2:05 pm
(P, N, PA, PH, Psych, PT, RT)
Mary Stanley*, MD - Breast Surgeon
Agnes Balla, MD - Breast Pathologist
Puyao Li, MD - Radiation Oncologist
Erin Tsai*, MD - Diagnostic Radiologist
Marie Wood*, MD - High Risk Breast Program
UVM Medical Center

Breast cancer care is not relegated to one single medical discipline. Surgeons, pathologists, radiologists and specialists in chemotherapy and radiation treatment all work together on a regular basis to ensure the best treatment possible. This session will demonstrate what a weekly breast cancer case team meeting looks like and how the health care team approaches treatment.


YouTube link
Health Disparities in Cancer Prevention, Screening and Survivorship
1:15-2:05 pm
(P, N, PA, PH, Psych, PT, RT)
Electra Paskett, MD
Professor of Cancer Research
The Ohio State University

This session will provide a high-level overview of disparities in cancer risk factors, incidence and mortality in women and how prevention, screening, and survivorship interventions can eliminate disparities.

YouTube link

* denotes UVM Cancer Center Member
P=Physician; N=Nursing; PA=Physician Assistant; PH=Pharmacy; Psych=Psychology; PT=Physical Therapy; RT=Radiologic Technologist; SW=Social Work

Link to downloadable program schedule for the conference
Link to photos and bios of our conference speakers

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The University of Vermont Cancer Center

About our Presenting Sponsor: The Victoria Buffum Fund

Victoria (Vicki) Buffum was a Vermonter who lost her battle with cancer in 2002 at the age of 58. During her experience as a patient at the University of Vermont Cancer Center, she became devoted to improving the experience of those facing cancer and blood diseases. She wished to inspire programs that supported patients and their families facing the many challenges that come with a cancer diagnosis. Buffum created a fund at the UVM Medical Center through her generous personal philanthropy in support of this goal, called the Victoria Buffum Fund.

Today, the fund has supported countless programs, from massage therapy to counseling, to rehabilitation programs and emergency financial assistance, to helping support patients at the hematology/oncology clinic at the UVM Cancer Center. In keeping with this legacy of impact, Vicki's brother and his wife, Tom and Melissa Gauntlett, have provided additional support through the Buffum Fund to benefit the Women's Health and Cancer Conference to help ensure that this valuable educational day remains free and accessible to those in our community for the coming years.

Conference Co-Chairs

Elizabeth Watson, MDElizabeth Watson, MD, MPH
Radiologist, Breast Imaging
University of Vermont Cancer Center

Michelle Machesky, PA-CMichelle Machesky, PA-C
High-Risk Breast Clinic
University of Vermont Cancer Center