Early Achievement Award
Presented to an alumnus who has graduated within the past 15 years in recognition of their outstanding community or College service, scientific, or academic achievement.
2022 Early Achievement Award Recipients
Molly Hubbard, M.D. ’12 (Posthumous award)
Neurosurgery, Oregon Health Science University
Molly Hubbard, M.D. '12, graduated from Utah State University in 2008, where her skills in biochemistry matched naturally with her passion to study medicine. Remarkably, she returned to the hospital of her birth, obtaining an M.D. degree from the College
of Medicine at University of Vermont in 2012. In the Fall of 2012, her medical adventures led to her residency in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Minnesota. Upon completing this seven year program in 2019, Molly was awarded the
Zhao Zi-Zhen Award engraved "Inquisitiveness, Perseverance, Honesty, Frugality, Compassion." These words described Molly very well. She had a wry wit and sense of humor that would always make folks smile.
In 2019, Molly began a fellowship in Pediatric Neurosurgery at the Oregon Health Science University in Portland, OR. She had a deep commitment to helping children with extreme needs. In December, 2019, Molly accepted an Assistant Professor position at
the OHSU, to begin the summer of 2020. In her short time at OHSU, she became a valued team player. Her Department Head, Dr. Nathan Selden, described her as "a truly superlative physician and surgeon with exceptional judgement, technical skills, and
deep compassion for her patients and colleagues."
An avid expert skier who loved everything about the outdoors, Dr. Hubbard was one of three skiers killed in an avalanche at the Silver Mountain Ski resort in Kellogg, ID, in January, 2020.
Adam Polifka, M.D. ’07
Associate Professor, Department
of Neurosurgery, University of Florida
After graduating from the University of Vermont College of Medicine in 2007, Dr. Polifka went onto complete a 7-year residency in Neurologic Surgery at the University of Maryland as well as one-year fellowship in cerebrovascular surgery at Thomas Jefferson University. Upon completing his fellowship in 2015 Dr. Polifka joined the faculty at the University of Florida where he now holds the rank of Associate Professor. He is the division chief of cerebrovascular surgery and has built a thriving clinical practice focusing on cerebrovascular disease and minimally invasive spine surgery. Dr. Polifka has a strong interest in resident and fellow education. He serves as the associate program director for the neurosurgery residency and is also the fellowship director for the highly sought after endovascular surgical neuroradiology fellowship at the University of Florida. As an educator, Dr. Polifka has received the Exemplary Teacher award 5 out of the last 7 years. During his time at the University of Florida Dr. Polifka has had over 40 publications in scientific journals. He has lectured nationally on multiple topics within the field cerebrovascular surgery as well as minimally invasive spine surgery and has served as the site primary investigator for 9 clinical trials within the field of cerebrovascular surgery.
2021 Early Achievement Award Recipients
Philip Chan, M.D. ’06, M.S. '04
Associate Professor, Department
of Medicine and Department of Behavioral and Social Science, Brown University
Chief Medical Officer, Open Door Health
Medical Director, Rhode Island Department of Health.
Philip Chan, M.D. ’06, M.S. ’04, is Associate Professor in The Department of Medicine (Alpert Medical School) and Department of Behavioral and Social Science (School of Public Health) at Brown University; Chief Medical Officer at Open
Door Health; and Medical Director at the Rhode Island Department of Health for their Center for HIV, Hepatitis, STD, and TB Epidemiology (CHHSTE). His passions include improving access to healthcare and providing preventative medicine for marginalized
Dr. Chan completed his undergraduate, graduate, and medical school education at the University of Vermont. He subsequently completed his internal medicine residency and clinical and research fellowships at Brown University. Informed by his experiences,
Dr. Chan started the state-supported STD clinic in 2012 in the urban center of Providence, Rhode Island which currently provides safety-net care to underserved populations. He has since expanded on these efforts to lead multiple NIH, CDC, SAMHSA,
and other grants related to HIV/STD care and prevention. Dr. Chan also started the first pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) program for HIV prevention in the state and leads multiple initiatives including ongoing social media and online efforts to
engage at-risk populations online such as gay, bisexual, and men who have sex with men (MSM), addressing health disparities including issues related to cost and financial sustainability, and understanding behaviors and developing efficacious interventions
to improve uptake of HIV/STD preventative services. In early 2020, Dr. Chan started a primary care clinic for the LGBTQ+ community to improve access to primary and gender care in Providence. At the center of these approaches is a focus on underserved
populations and improving access to preventative healthcare.
In addition to his numerous leadership roles and respected research, Dr. Chan serves on numerous national board and committees and serves as a reviewer on several publications, including on the Editorial Board of Sexually Transmitted Diseases. He
is also a Medical Director at the Rhode Island Department of Health for their Center for HIV, Hepatitis, STD, and TB Epidemiology (CHHSTE). During the pandemic, Dr. Chan led aspects of the COVID-19 response for the State of Rhode Island.
Alexa Craig, M.D. ’06
Director of Neonatal Neurology
Program, Department of Pediatrics, Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center, Portland, ME
Assistant Professor, Pediatrics, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA
Alexa Craig, M.D. ’06 is a neonatal
and pediatric neurologist with a research interest in neonatal neurocritical care; specifically the use of therapeutic hypothermia for neuroprotection. After earning her MD from the Larner College of Medicine in 2006, she completed a pediatric residency
at Maine Medical Center (MMC), a child neurology residency at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital, and a neonatal neurology fellowship at Washington University and St Louis Children’s Hospital.
Her work, including
the creation of a neonatal neurology program at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital (BBCH) at Maine Medical Center, has focused on improving the neurological outcomes for babies born in Maine. Dr. Craig has pioneered telemedicine applications
for neonatal neurology through both research and clinical practice to eliminate disparities in access to care.
Dr. Craig is the recipient of numerous scholarly and teaching awards, is the director of the BBCH Cerebral Palsy Clinic, is a member
of the Child Neurology Society, and the MMC Institutional Review Board.
2020 Early Achievement Award Recipients
T. Mike Hsieh, M.D. ’05
Director of Male Fertility and Men’s
Professor, Department of Urology, UC San Diego Health System
T. Mike Hsieh, M.D. ’05 is a professor of urology at the University of California San Diego. After receiving his undergraduate education at Baylor University and earning his medical degree at UVM, Dr. Hsieh completed residencies in general surgery
and urology at George Washington University Hospital and a Male Reproductive Medicine and Microsurgery Fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine.
At UCSD, Dr. Hsieh directs San Diego's only comprehensive men's health center helping men with infertility and sexual health issues. Since joining UCSD, he has helped over 100 couples conceive healthy babies. As an associate professor teaching students
and residents, he is also the two-time recipient of the UCSD Department of Urology’s Outstanding Faculty Educator Award. Dr. Hsieh has authored over 20 peer-reviewed articles, seven textbook chapters, and is a co-investigator of NIH funded
research studying cognitive aging and hypogonadism (R01 award). He is member of numerous professional organizations, incoming president of the San Diego Urologic Society, and involved in myriad community and clinical volunteer roles.
Heidi Schumacher, M.D. ’10
Health and Wellness, Washington, D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education
Heidi Schumacher, M.D. ’10, FAAP serves as the chief health officer for the educational system of the District of Columbia where she drives District-wide strategy related to the intersection of health and educational outcomes; and leads partnerships
with DC’s Departments of Health and Behavioral Health on service delivery models and cross-sector population health strategies. She leads national advocacy and research efforts on the role that child health providers can play to support
school attendance, a topic on which she has presented extensively.
Prior to her role in school health for the District of Columbia, she served as a Medical Officer at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. She is a graduate of Duke
University and the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine. She completed her pediatric residency and chief residency at Children’s National Health System in Washington DC, where she continues to see patients and teach medical students
and residents on topics of clinical medicine, public health and health policy. She is an active member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, including serving on the Executive Committees of the AAP’s Council on School Health and the
DC chapter. She is a proud member of the Alumni Executive Committee for the UVM Larner College of Medicine and class agent for the Larner College Class of 2010.
2019 Early Achievement Award Recipients
Anne Dougherty, M.D. ’09
Assistant Professor of
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences and
Gender Equity Liaison in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) at the UVM Larner College of Medicine
Anne K. Dougherty, M.D. ’09 is an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at the UVM Larner College of Medicine as well as the Gender Equity Liason in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI). Dr. Dougherty
is active in global health work in Uganda and Tanzania, where she not only cares for and advocates for her patients, but also teaches residents and medical students about the role of gender inequity in maternal morbidity and mortality and encourages
them to take on an advocacy role for marginalized populations, regardless of gender, geography and socio economics. As director of the Global Women’s Program at the College since 2013, she makes several academic trips to Africa each year
and is an ongoing guest lecturer at Makerere University College of Health Sciences in Kampala, Uganda. She is currently involved in several research projects, one of which is facilitating the use of a low-cost innovative ultrasound program to
identify high-risk pregnancies in rural Uganda. She is the 2018 recipient of the College of Medicine’s Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Faculty Award and was the keynote speaker at the Class of 2022’s White Coat Ceremony. Dr. Dougherty
was also awarded a Frymoyer Scholarship in 2014.
Patrick Ng, M.D. ’14
Major, US Air Force
Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center, Denver, Colorado
Patrick C. Ng, M.D. ’14 completed Fellowship in Medical Toxicology at the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center in Denver, Colorado and training in Emergency Medicine at the San Antonio Military Medical Center in San Antonio, TX where he served
as chief resident. A Maj(s) in the U.S. Air Force, Dr. Ng has clinical and research interests in military-related subjects, including chemical weapons, trauma, and disaster management. He graduated summa cum laude from Northeastern University
before coming to the Larner College of Medicine, where he excelled and was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society. He has co-authored over 30 peer-reviewed articles and has presented at nearly two dozen conferences and meetings, including
the North American Congress of Clinical Toxicology Meeting in 2017, where he won the Taylor and Francis Best Research Award. In 2018, he was awarded the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology Junior Investigator Grant for his work on novel antidote
development for various potential chemical weapons.
2018 Early Achievement Award Recipient
Do, M.D. '03
Physician, Internal Medicine, Scripps Health
Duc T. Do, M.D. ’03 is an internal medicine physician at Scripps Health in La Jolla, California. Prior to this role, Dr. Do was Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, and held numerous clinical and administrative
positions at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire, including Associate Medical Director/Physician Advisor for the Office of Care Management, on-call Medical Director for the Office of Clinical Affairs, and the Director of Residency
Research for Internal Medicine Residency Program, among others. His teaching at Geisel earned him the most nominations and awards for excellence of any faculty member, including the Chairman’s Excellence in Teaching Award. He is a member
of the Gold Humanism in Medicine Honor Society.
2017 Early Achievement Award Recipients
Dayan, M.D. ’02
Plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, NYC
Director MSK Facial Reanimation Program
Assistant Professor of Plastic Surgery – MSKCC
Dr. Dayan's work in transplanting lymph nodes represents the state of the art, and Dr. Dayan has lead the field to refine and standardize the techniques and protocols involved. Dr. Dayan also maintains positions of leadership in numerous microsurgery
societies, and founded the American Society of Lymphatic Surgery. His drive and research continue a legacy of surgical innovation stemming from the College's students, faculty, and researchers.
K. Pierce, M.D. ’02
Infectious Disease Specialist
Associate Professor, Larner College of Medicine
Dr. Pierce is Associate Professor of Medicine in the division of Infectious Diseases at the Larner College of Medicine. She is the Program Director of the Infectious Diseases fellowship, and a Principal Investigator in the UVM Vaccine Testing Center
on all dengue vaccine clinical trials under the VTC’s award from the National Institutes of Health. Through this work, she will also be the PI for Zika vaccine clinical trials at the UVM site for the NIH. She is a sought-after speaker both
nationwide and internationally.
Hon-Bing Tsai, M.D. ’02
Anesthesiologist, Department of Anesthesia, UVM Medical Center
Associate Professor, Larner College of Medicine
Integrating his dual interests in business and medicine, Dr. Tsai has published in numerous scientific and medical journals and has written book chapters on operating room management. Dr. Tsai’s extensive knowledge in perioperative management
and leadership is well sought-after. His cross-disciplinary approach has been well received and in addition to teaching locally, he has presented nationally on numerous occasions. His popular lecture, “The Jazz of OR Leadership” creatively
incorporates a jazz band to illustrate the various ways that leadership works in the operating room setting. Dr. Tsai has developed, and continues to grow, a medical student reading elective, entitled “Medical Management and Leadership,”
which is now available for medical students at several medical institutions.
2016 Early Achievement Award Recipients
S. Kanter, M.D. '01
Chief, Division of Spine Surgery
Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery Director, Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Program Director, Neurosurgical Spine Fellowship Department of Neurological Surgery University
of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian, Pittsburgh, PA
Dr. Kanter has garnered national recognition for his expertise in the field of neurological surgery. He has worked with UPMC and industry supporters to deliver novel tools that advance the field of minimally invasive spine surgery, including an innovative
retractor now being used nationwide that allows surgeons lateral access to the spine with minimal destruction. He has served as primary investigator in several industry sponsored studies, and has had grant support totaling more than $300,000 since
2008. Dr. Kanter was named one of the Best Doctors in America from 2009-2013, and garnered Pittsburgh’s Most Compassionate Doctor Award in December 2012.
P. Murchison, M.D. '01, M.P.H.
Oculoplastic and Orbital surgeon, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Thomas Jefferson University and Wills Eye Hospital, Philadelphia, PA
A dedicated teacher and researcher, Dr. Murchison’s work reflects her passion for improving public health as it relates to eye disease. In 2009, she founded the International Scholar program at Wills Eye Institute, which annually hosts roughly
40 physicians from over 22 countries to observe surgeries and participate in research with world leaders in ophthalmology. She’s also a founding member of Children’s Vision Care Coalition, a group that offers a day of free eye examinations
and free glasses for Philadelphia children through the annual ‘Give Kids Sight Day,’ and co-founded a program that created an observational fellowship at Wills for Oculoplastic and Orbital Surgery fellows from Universidad Nacional
Autónoma de México.
S. Pritt, M.D. '01
Director, Clinical Parasitology and
Microbiology Initial Processing and Media laboratories
Associate Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Division of Clinical Microbiology
Mayo Clinic, Rochester,
Dr. Pritt’s research has led to several important discoveries in the fields of microbiology and parasitology. Her work has resulted in the implementation of rapid and highly sensitive molecular tests for important human pathogens, including
malaria, influenza and microsporidiosis. Dr. Pritt has directed multiple research efforts to characterize a novel Ehrlichia muris-like bacterium that infects humans in Wisconsin and Minnesota. She also played a key role in discovering and describing
the new, yet-to-be-named bacterium in Ixodes scapularis (deer) ticks and white-footed mice, the vector and reservoir host of Lyme disease, respectively.
2015 Early Achievement Award Recipients
A. Smith, M.D. '00
Dr. Smith is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Program Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital/McLean Adult Psychiatry Residency. She received her undergraduate degree from Middlebury College before earning her
M.D. at the College of Medicine. She completed her residency at MGH/McLean Hospital followed by fellowship training in Psychosomatic Medicine at MGH. Dr. Smith is deeply committed to the care of those with comorbid psychiatric and medical illness
and has served as Attending on the MGH Consultation-Liaison Service as well as Director of Behavioral Medicine at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. She also has a strong interest in improving emergency care of the mentally ill and, as Director
of the MGH Acute Psychiatry Service, was privileged to direct one of the busiest psychiatric emergency services in New England before transitioning to her current role with residency education. As Director of the MGH/McLean Adult Psychiatry Residency
Program, Dr. Smith leads one of the largest psychiatry residency programs in the country. Since starting this role in 2012, she has led curriculum redesign, revamped the evaluation and feedback process for both residents and faculty, and overseen
the creation of a medical education track for residents. As an active teacher, Dr. Smith is the recipient of the MGH Philip Isenberg Teaching Award.
2014 Early Achievement Award Recipients
DiSanto, M.D. '04
Celebrating her 10th reunion, Dr. Rachel DiSanto practices family medicine at North Country Primary Care in Newport, which is affiliated with North Country Hospital in Newport, Vermont. Her practice includes all ages from newborn to geriatrics, including
ICU and nursing home settings. The practice is involved in the Vermont Blueprint for Health and has been certified by the National Committee for Quality Assurance as a medical home. She is an active preceptor of UVM medical students in the third
year clerkship and teaches family medicine residents at her practice. Dr. DiSanto has a strong interest and involvement in global health. For several years she has been on the board of the Kenya Children's Fund and has traveled to Kenya
multiple times to provide medical care. She is currently working with KCF to establish a community-based feeding program for malnourished infants and children. She traveled to Haiti in 2012 for another medical mission and to Nicaragua in
January 2014 to work with women and child victims of human trafficking in Managua. In her own community, Dr. DiSanto volunteers in her church doing community service with her husband and their two children. She is also active at her children’s
school with various health and science programs. class” years later, writes one of her nominators.
M. Zehle, M.D. '99
Celebrating her 15th reunion, Dr. Christa Zehle successfully launched the Pediatric Hospitalist Program at The University of Vermont Medical Center in 2003 and continues in her clinical role at Vermont Children’s Hospital along with her responsibilities
as Associate Dean. She is a sought-after mentor by medical students and residents, and has received numerous awards for teaching. Dr. Zehle has been honored twice by residents as Clinical Attending of the Year and was nominated for the award
five more times, garnering runner-up honors in her first year at UVM/The University of Vermont Medical Center. In 2012 she received the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine faculty award for demonstrating ‘outstanding compassion in the delivery
of care, respect for patients, their families, and healthcare colleagues, as well as demonstrated clinical excellence’. She advises a number of senior medical students pursuing a career in pediatrics, as well as pediatric residents, and
is involved with medical student and pediatric resident medical education. She has been a physician mentor for the Public Health Projects, the UVM Pre-medical Enhancement Program, the AHEC MedQuest program, and Community Rounds. Before
accepting the position as Associate Dean for Students, she was a full member of the Admissions Committee and co-director for the Pediatric Student Interest Group. At Vermont Children’s Hospital, she serves on the Residency Education Committee,
and is a member of the The University of Vermont Medical Center Child Abuse Task Force. As the Associate Dean for Students at the University of Vermont College of Medicine she is responsible for the Academic Success, Personal Wellness, and
Career Advising for all enrolled medical students. She is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and the Gold Humanism in Medicine Honor Society, a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, a member of the Academic Pediatric
Association (APA) and the American Medical Association, and is active in the AAMC Group on Student Affairs.