November 23, 2022 | Volume IV, Issue 23
Message from the Dean
Dear Larner Community,
As the holidays approach, I want to express my sincerest thanks to each of you and wish you the best for the days ahead.
Over the past challenging three years, the response from our College was characterized by innovation, professionalism, commitment, and compassion. Even with unexpected challenges to our teaching, research, and clinical missions, our people—students, staff, and faculty—have prevailed. My thanks to you all.
As we look forward to additional accomplishments in the year ahead, we approach our clinical, research, and education missions with an emphasis on equity, inclusion, mental health, and wellness. We have recently updated our Vision 2025 strategic plan to include specific DEI objectives, and within two years we plan to open a student fitness center in the Given Building. Not long after that, we hope to receive NCI designation for our UVM Cancer Center. These are just a few of our upcoming priorities, with the best yet to come.
Warm wishes for a holiday season that brings you together with friends and family.
Pictured above: a photo of snow-covered tree branches full of red berries with the Robert Larner College of Medicine building signage in the background.
Tracy Appointed as Larner's Next Senior Associate Dean for Research
Kathleen (Kate) Tracy, Ph.D., has been named as the next senior associate dean for research at the Larner College of Medicine, and will begin her new role in February 2023. Dr. Tracy will also serve as professor of medicine and director of research at the UVM Health Network.
A scientist with deep expertise in women’s health, with a concentration on cervical cancer prevention in underserved populations, Tracy has published nearly 100 peer-reviewed articles in a variety of fields. Tracy comes to Vermont from the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMB-SOM), where she is a professor of epidemiology and public health, vice chair for research services, epidemiology and public health, and head of the Division of Preventive Medicine. Since 2010 Tracy has directed the UMB-SOM Clinical and Translational Research Informatics Center, and from 2017 to 2020 she was the inaugural director of the Richard and Jane Sherman Center for Health Care Innovation, a UMB center formed to foster cross-campus research and education collaborations related to health care innovations.
“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Tracy to our College and UVM,” said Dean Richard L. Page, M.D. “She brings extensive experience in science and leadership that will complement our existing strengths and will provide for growth of our research impact. We especially look forward to expansion of clinical investigation in the UVM Health Network in her role as director of research for the Network.”
Read the full article about Dr. Tracy's appointment.
Pictured above: Dr. Tracy (Courtesy photo)
Innovative Approaches Hold Promise for Improving Rural Health Across Region
On November 17, the nation celebrated National Rural Health Day. This event provides an opportunity to “recommit to delivering quality, affordable health care to every zip code in America by making insurance and prescription drugs more affordable, expanding mental health and substance use disorder services, and keeping rural facilities open and staffed with dedicated doctors, nurses, and other health professionals,” according to the Presidential Proclamation on National Rural Health Day 2022.
While the terms “innovation” and “rural” are not typically bedfellows, they are commonly paired in Vermont, and researchers at the Larner College of Medicine have long been committed to finding innovative ways to improve access to health care for residents in the state and surrounding region.
“People living in more rural areas may find it more challenging to find a primary care physician, find transportation, access primary and preventive care, and experience more challenges related to employment,” said Jan Carney, M.D., M.P.H., associate dean for public health and health policy and the Community Engagement & Outreach Core director for the Northern New England Clinical & Translational Research Network (NNE-CTR).
Led by Gary Stein, Ph.D., chair of biochemistry, the NNE-CTR is a health care collaborative network, which includes, in addition to Larner, partners in Maine and New Hampshire. Among the network’s initiatives is the development of a Rural Health Communications Network to promote two-way communication of health information to improve health literacy, enhance rural participation in clinical trials, promote access to health and social services, and help respond rapidly to public health emergencies. A recent $20 million renewal grant from the National Institutes of Health aims to provide residents in Vermont and Maine with greater support for addressing cancer, substance use disorders, food insecurity, obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cardiovascular disease.
Funded by a Health Resources and Services Administration grant, the UVM Center on Rural Addiction, led by Professor of Psychiatry Stacey Sigmon, Ph.D., serves as a resource for scientific and technical assistance, and provides information and training to clinicians, programs, and policymakers seeking guidance on how to address opioid addiction and other substance use disorder challenges in their rural communities.
“As the only medical school in a small, rural state, we have a commitment to supporting the addiction treatment providers in our rural communities,” says Dr. Sigmon.
Pictured above: An interest in rural health inspired alum Jordan Munger, M.D.’22 (rear center), to complete clinical training with pediatrician Irene Flateau, M.D., in a Hudson Headwaters Health Network clinic in upstate New York. (Photo: David Seaver)
It is easy to feel discouraged, but when challenges arise it is important to remember we are not alone. Elevate the voices of those around you and always have your teammates’ back. Because it really does take a village."
-Sydney Cardozo (pictured, at left), Class of 2024 medical student, in a UVM Larner Med blog post titled "To Protect Reproductive Health, It Takes a Village."
Interprofessional Faculty Development in Simulation
This two-day workshop is designed to promote faculty development and interprofessional collaboration in simulation within health care curricula and is open to UVM Larner College of Medicine and College of Nursing and Health Sciences faculty, as well as UVM Medical Center clinicians.
January 12 & 13, 2023
7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
UVM Clinical Simulation Laboratory
237 Rowell Building
Space is limited to 12 participants. To register, contact Helen.Brunelle@med.uvm.edu or
Accolades & Appointments
Cate Nicholas, Ed.D., M.S., PA, director of simulation education and operations for UVM’s Clinical Simulation Laboratory and associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences, was honored with a 2022 MedEdPORTAL Associate Editor of the Year award at the Association of American Medical Colleges 2022 “Learn Serve Lead” annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn., on November 11-15.
The Office of Medical Education is pleased to announce a number of new team members.
- Jason Bartsch, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, is the new director of the inpatient medicine clerkship, and Louis Polish, M.D., associate professor of medicine, is the new co-director.
- Erin Curtis, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry, is the new director of the psychiatry clerkship.
- Rhonda Hanley is the new coordinator for the family medicine clerkship.
- Susan Thompson is the new coordinator for the surgery clerkship.
Office of Medical Education Staff
- Catherine Daniel is the new clinical curriculum coordinator.
- Justine King, M.P.A., is the new clinical curriculum manager.
- Amir Sadick, M.M.S., is the new student services administrative assistant.
- Lisa Wilda is the new human resources administrator.
The UVM Cystic Fibrosis Center, which cares for both pediatric and adult patients, was recently recognized by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) for the center’s success in enrolling patients in CFF-sanctioned studies. UVM was ranked first out of 80 CFF Therapeutics Development Network centers in this category. The adult and pediatric CF program at the UVM Medical Center serves approximately 160 patients across Vermont and northern New York, with adults composing about 60 percent and children/youth composing about 40 percent of this population. Principal investigators for UVM’s CF research program include Charlotte Teneback, M.D., associate professor of medicine, associate chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine, and director of the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Program; Thomas Lahiri, M.D., professor and vice chair of pediatrics and director of pediatric pulmonology; Jillian Sullivan, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics; and Zachary Weintraub, M.D., assistant professor of medicine. Sub-investigators include Kelly Cowan, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics and associate director of the Pediatric Cystic Fibrosis Center; L.E. Faricy, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics; Keith Robinson, M.D., associate professor and vice chair for quality improvement and population health in the Department of Pediatrics; and Abraham Sender, PA-C, physician’s assistant in pulmonary and critical care.
The Department of Emergency Medicine has announced the receipt of two new Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grants:
- A five-year, $3.75-million, Medication Assisted Treatment-Prescription Drug and Opioid Addiction (MAT-PDOA) grant; Roz King, M.S.N., RN, program manager for research in emergency medicine, is project director for the grant titled “Start Treatment and Recovery” (STAR). Co-investigators include Daniel Wolfson, M.D., associate professor of emergency medicine; Miles Lamberson, AEMT; Sanchit Maruti, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry; Richard Rawson, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry; Elly Riser, M.D., assistant professor of medicine; John Brooklyn, M.D., clinical associate professor of family medicine; Kyle DeWitt, Pharm.D.; Blake Porter, Pharm.D.; and Nicholas Aunchman, M.D., assistant professor of emergency medicine.
- A one-year, $200,000 Rural Emergency Medical Services (REMS) Training grant. The Vermont REMS Training Program is a collaboration of the Department of Emergency Medicine, the Larner College of Medicine, and four rural Vermont EMS Districts. Ellen Stein, M.D., assistant professor of emergency medicine, is principle investigator. Kate Soons, M.S.N., RN, and Chris McCarthy, AEMT, have been brought on as lead course instructors for the program, bringing with them over 50 years of combined EMS training experience, and a reputation as two of the most respected and successful EMS-educators in the state. The program goals include providing no-cost, high-quality, geographically accessible EMT training that includes novel EMS-specific training on mental health and substance use disorder. The program aims to educate and certify 96 new EMTs in rural Vermont.
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