May 4, 2022 | Volume IV, Issue 9

Professionalism Award Winners 2022

Larner Celebrates Professionalism with 2022 Awards Ceremony

“Going above and beyond” and consistently demonstrating kindness, compassion and respect were common accolades in the nomination letters for the 2022 Dean’s Awards for Professionalism recipients. On May 3, the Larner College of Medicine marked the third anniversary of the formal introduction and celebration of the College’s Statement on Professionalism at a virtual awards presentation ceremony.

“Professionalism isn't defined by how you look or where you're from . . . it's how you treat others,” said Dean Richard L. Page, M.D., in his opening remarks at the event.

Nominations Review Committee Chair Jennifer Gilwee, M.D., a past Faculty Award recipient and associate professor of medicine, told attendees that there were significantly more nominations this year than last year - and that she expected nominations would increase in the years to follow.

Awards and their respective recipients recognized at the event included:

  • Medical Student Award: Richard Brach, Class of 2022
  • Graduate Student Award: Trevor Wolf, Ph.D. Candidate, Cellular, Molecular and Biomedical Sciences
  • Staff Award: Mindy Bean, Administrator, Department of Pediatrics
  • Faculty Award: Nathalie Feldman, M.D., Director of the Learning Environment, Interim Associate Dean for Admissions, and Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences

Read the full article about the Professionalism Awards event, including a list of all nominees.

Pictured above (left to right): Trevor Wolf, Mindy Bean, Richard Brach, and Dr. Feldman.

Hannah Despres and Madaline Schmidt next to large screen showing cells

Inaugural UVM Research Week Features Larner Faculty and Trainee Investigators

In celebration of its standing as a top 100 public research university, the University of Vermont held its first “Research Week” April 18 to 22 to showcase the work of faculty, student and trainee investigators. The week’s events included a Research Resource Fair, UVM Innovations’ annual Invention to Venture (I2V) Conference, a two-day Student Research Conference, and a Postdoctoral Research Conference.

An impressive list of Larner faculty inventors received recognition for patents and licenses at I2V, which took place April 20 at Hula, a technology-driven co-working campus in Burlington’s South End.

The university’s annual Student Research Conference, launched in 2007, also took place during Research Week in a hybrid format, with posters available for viewing online and in-person oral presentations in the Davis Center.

The week’s events concluded with UVM’s inaugural Postdoctoral Research Conference, a showcase of postdoctoral research presented by the UVM Postdoctoral Association and the Office of the Vice President for Research. Postdoctoral Association co-chair Brandon Bensel, Ph.D., postdoc working with David Warshaw, Ph.D., University Distinguished Professor and chair of molecular physiology and biophysics, said the event’s two-fold goal was to provide opportunities for peer-to-peer professional networking and a chance for the UVM community to view the type and quality of research done by postdocs.

Read the full “Inaugural Research Week Features Larner Faculty and Trainee Investigation & Innovation” article.

Pictured above: UVM Master of Public Health student Madaline Schmidt (left) and Cellular, Molecular, and Biomedical Sciences doctoral graduate student Hannah Despres stand next to a screen displaying a slide from Schmidt’s presentation during the Student Research Conference.”

Dr. Anne Dixon headshot

Dixon Named 2022-23 University Scholar

Anne Dixon, M.A., BM BCh, professor of medicine, has been named one of four 2022-2023 University Scholars. The University Scholars program recognizes distinguished University of Vermont faculty members for sustained excellence in research, scholarship, and creative arts. In addition to Dr. Dixon, Emily Bernard, Ph.D., professor of English, Jan Fook, Ph.D., professor and chair of social work, and Beverly Wemple, Ph.D., professor and chair of geography, were named as 2022-23 University Scholars.

From Our Patients Banner
James Brown and family

I don’t know if there are even the right words to say, but I would thank them from the bottom of my heart for choosing organ donation because it saved my husband’s life.”

– Magan Brown, wife of UVM Medical Center kidney transplant recipient and lupus patient James Brown.

 Pictured at left: The Brown family (Courtesy photo)
Mark your calendar for the Larner Medical Student Council end-of-year celebration, The Endies!Friday, May 20, 2022, 6:00-10:00 p.m.ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, BurlingtonThe event celebrates folks’ hard work and achievements during the 2021-22 school year and features food, beverages, music, and dancing. Tickets are required and are free for students, $15 for plus-ones and staff, and $30 for faculty. (ID and proof of vaccination required.) 

Mindy Bean headshot

Mindy Bean, Department of Pediatrics Administrator

Compassion, integrity, cultural humility, kindness, respect: These words describe both Mindy Bean’s character and the traits that propel her colleagues to seek out her assistance and support. These qualities, along with her teamwork, inclusivity, caring attitude and leadership skills, earned Bean the 2022 Larner College of Medicine Dean’s Professionalism Staff Award.

Bean, who is a UVM undergraduate alum, joined the Department of Pediatrics in 2015 as a business/accounting specialist after working for several local nonprofit organizations. In 2020, she was promoted to department administrator, gaining responsibility for the department’s finances, grants management, and human resources. She enjoys interacting with her suite co-workers and collaborating with colleagues in other Larner departments.

“I really appreciate and love being able to reach out to someone in a different area and learn from them," said Bean, adding, “We all have different strengths and can give each other tips and tricks.”

Bean eagerly accepts challenges at work and takes initiative to complete projects says Chair of Pediatrics Lewis First, M.D., who nominated her for the award.

In his nomination, Dr. First wrote: “This past year was challenging for our department and … our Vermont Child Health Improvement Program (VCHIP) due to the retirement of its two senior leaders last summer. Ms. Bean eagerly stepped in and oversaw the program administratively until the new director started in February, and in doing so was able to help advance VCHIP’s mission by making sure grants, contracts, and other administrative duties of that program were attended to. She did this while running every other aspect of our department from recruitments to personnel issues to budgets and while still finding time for team building wellness activities that she orchestrates regularly for staff and faculty.”

UVM Staff Council also applauded Bean’s professionalism in 2020-21 with a Leadership, Engagement, Advocacy and Forward Looking (LEAF) Award, recognizing her excellent service to the university community and broad-minded, collaborative attitude.

Outside of work, Bean enjoys spending time with her newlywed spouse (they married in November) and their dog, Bartley, who she describes as “the best pooch in the whole wide world.” She likes reading about food, watching cooking shows, eating, and having dinner with friends and family.

Green graphic that reads

Accolades & Appointments

Leila Amiri

Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education Christa Zehle, M.D., has announced the appointment of Leila Amiri, Ph.D., as the Larner College of Medicine's next associate dean for admissions. Dr. Amiri comes to Larner from the University of Illinois College of Medicine, where she is assistant dean for admissions and recruitment. Previously, she was director of admissions and financial aid for the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. She holds a Ph.D. from Northcentral University, and M.A. and B.S. degrees from the University of South Florida. Dr. Amiri is a member of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Advancing Holistic Review in Alignment Working group, chair of the AAMC BA/MD Affiliate Group and team lead for the Central Region Committee on the AAMC Professional Development Initiative. Dr. Amiri will begin her new position at Larner on June 27.

Karen George headshot

Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education Christa Zehle, M.D., has announced the appointment of Karen George, M.D., M.P.H., as the next associate dean for students. Dr. George is currently clinical associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at George Washington University and chair of the Council for Residency Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology (CREOG) of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Her work through CREOG is focused on creating national curricular materials for residents in obstetrics and gynecology in patient safety and quality improvement, health equity, and on improving diversity and inclusion in the specialty through participation in a national learning collaborative called “Equity Matters”. She also serves on the leadership team of a five-year American Medical Association Reimaging Residency grant, called “Right Resident, Right Program, Ready Day 1,” focused on improving the transition to residency. Dr. George served as director of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center/Geisel School of Medicine for 17 years and is a course advisor and co-director of the Fourth Year Transition to Residency Course at George Washington University College of Medicine. She also serves as senior fellow of women’s health policy at the Institute for Medicaid Innovation. Dr. George received a B.S. degree from Bates College, M.D. from Ohio State University College of Medicine, and an M.P.H. from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. She will begin her new position on August 1.

Ali Yusuf, MD, headshot

South Burlington High School senior Hiba Ali, a mentee of Yusuf Ali, Ph.D., assistant professor of molecular physiology and biophysics, is one of two Vermont students selected to compete in the International Science & Engineering Fair this May in Atlanta, Ga. Ali's selection occurred at the recent Vermont STEM Fair Competition where she presented a poster, titled "Coordination of Myosin Va Motors Within a Team During Cargo Transport." Ali also won the 2022 Vermont Brain Bee at the Larner College of Medicine in February and competed in the U.S.A. Brain Bee in March.

Crompton, Chatterjee, Savard, Boyson headshots
Two University of Vermont undergraduate students working with Larner College of Medicine faculty mentors each received a 2022-23 Goldwater Scholarship, considered the most prestigious undergraduate scholarship in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering in the United States. Both students are in UVM's Honors College. Andrew Crompton, a Class of ’23 undergraduate majoring in microbiology and minoring in biochemistry, is mentored by Nimrat Chatterjee, Ph.D., assistant professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, with whom he is researching how to reduce or inhibit cells’ resistance to cancer therapies. Remi Savard, a Class of ’23 undergraduate student with a major in microbiology and minor in biochemistry, is a mentee of Jonathan Boyson, Ph.D., associate professor of surgery, with whom he is working to determine how the immune system fights off a flu infection. Provided through the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, the number of scholarships was increased to 417 this year, thanks to a partnership with the Department of Defense National Defense Education Programs. Read more about the students and their research.

Cole Davidson headshot

Cole Davidson, Ph.D., a 2022 doctoral degree recipient in the Cellular, Molecular and Biomedical Sciences program, has been appointed as a tenure-track assistant professor of molecular biology at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. When he starts the position this fall, he will launch the Davidson Lab to study thyroid and pancreatic cancer with undergraduate students. While at the University of Vermont, Dr. Davidson conducted research with his mentor, Frances Carr, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology.

Steve Higgins headshot
Stephen Higgins, Ph.D., director of the Vermont Center on Behavior and Health and Donaldson Professor of Translational Science in the Department of Psychiatry, has been named the recipient of the 2022 College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) Nathan B. Eddy Memorial Award. Established in memory of one of the pioneers in the field of drug dependence following his death in 1973, this award acknowledges outstanding research efforts that have advanced knowledge of drug dependence. CPDD has been in existence since 1929 and is the longest standing group in the United States addressing problems of drug dependence and abuse. Dr. Higgins will be recognized with the award and present a plenary talk, titled “Leveraging the Reinforcement Process to Promote Health: Applications to Substance Use Disorders and Other Chronic Conditions,” on June 12 during the CPDD 84th Annual Scientific Meeting.

Nancy Kaplan headshot
Governor Phil Scott appointed Nancy Kaplan, M.S., a research navigator for the National Institutes of Health-funded Northern New England Clinical & Translational Research (NNE-CTR) Network at Larner, to serve on the Vermont Commission on Women (VCW). VCW is the state’s non-partisan commission working to advance rights and opportunities for women and girls. In her role with the NNE-CTR, Kaplan connects Vermont clinicians and providers with the network's resources to enable them to conduct health-related research in their communities. Prior to joining UVM, she served as program manager for the Vermont Department of Health’s You First program, providing breast and cervical cancer screenings, heart disease management, and health care system navigation for eligible low-income Vermonters. She also worked for Voices for Vermont’s Children, a non-profit organization promoting public policy that enhances the lives of children and youth in Vermont.

Megan Perkins headshot
Megan Perkins, Ph.D., a Neuroscience Graduate Program doctoral student advised by Margaret Vizzard, Ph.D., professor of neurological sciences, successfully defended her dissertation, titled “Effects of Imatinib Mesylate on Urinary Bladder Function and Inflammatory Mediators in Mice with Cyclophosphamide-Induced Cystitis,” on April 6.



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