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October 26, 2022 | Volume IV, Issue 21

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Medical Class of 2026 Celebrates White Coat Ceremony

The gray skies and rain cleared just in time for the start of the Larner College of Medicine's medical Class of 2026 White Coat Ceremony at UVM's Ira Allen Chapel on October 14, 2022. With the chapel filled to capacity with 121 first-year medical students, family members, loved ones, faculty, and staff, the event opened with a welcome from Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education Christa Zehle, M.D., who said, "Class of 2026, your White Coat Ceremony is intended as a formal recognition of your transition from aspirant to participant in clinical medicine."

In his remarks, Larner Dean Richard L. Page, M.D., thanked the newest class of future doctors "for deciding to become a physician, for applying during a pandemic." He added, "There was a fire, and you ran toward that fire. I do believe things are getting better, but we have never needed you more."

Timothy Lahey, M.D., M.M.Sc., professor of medicine, director of clinical ethics, and 2022 Arnold P. Gold Foundation Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Faculty Award recipient, presented an enlightening and entertaining Humanism in Medicine Keynote Address.

Faculty participating in the Presentation of Coats included: Mary Cushman, M.D.’89, M.Sc., professor of medicine and president, Larner College of Medicine Alumni Association; Karen George, M.D., associate dean for students; Ellen Kulaga, M.D., Connecticut Campus assistant dean for students; Karen Lounsbury, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and level director of Foundations and pre-clinical assessment; and Mariah McNamara, M.D., M.P.H., interim assistant dean for students.

Link to the full White Coat Ceremony article.

View a video of the ceremony livestream.

View a slideshow of the Class of 2026 White Coat Ceremony photos.

Pictured above: Collage of photos (from left to right): Class of 2026 medical student Kevin Ito walks across the stage at Ira Allen Chapel after receiving his white coat; Shani Legore ’26 dons her white coat with assistance from Dr. McNamara as deans Page and Zehle and UVM Health Network Medical Group CEO Justin Sanders, M.D., M.B.A., look on; Molly Greenblatt ’26 smiles after receiving her white coat.

Health Equity Summit

UVM Health Network & UVM Hold Inaugural Health Equity Summit

The University of Vermont, Larner College of Medicine, and College of Nursing and Health Sciences joined with the University of Vermont Health Network for the inaugural Health Equity Summit, held October 20 at UVM's Davis Center, with many sessions also available online.

Titled "Mending Ourselves, Together" and organized by Marissa Coleman, Ph.D., UVM Medical Center president of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and colleagues, the event was a first step in acknowledging the existence of health disparities and inequities within our local and global communities. It also demonstrated the type of effort needed to dismantle institutional inequities, improve patient experience, and advance health equity. Highlights of the day-long event included keynote presentations and panel discussions by top DEI experts and leaders including Heather McGhee, New York Times best-selling author of The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together (One World, 2021), public policy leader, former president of Demos, a  non-profit progressive U.S. think tank, and current chair of the board of Color Of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization.

Among the Larner community members presenting at the conference were medical students Gabriela Bosmenier-Cruz ’24Michelle Falcone ’25Stellar Levy ’23Elise Prehoda ’24, and  Erik Zhang ’24; Master of Medical Science degree student Joseph Owuor, M.P.H., and the following faculty members: Benjamin Clements, M.D., assistant professor of family medicine;  Anne Dougherty, M.D., M.S., associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences and director for gender equity; Eli Goldberg, M.D., clinical instructor in family medicine; Andrea Green, M.D., professor of pediatrics; Leigh Anne Holterman, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and assistant director of student wellbeing; Anya Jokela, M.D., assistant professor of family medicine; Anisha Rimal, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics; Aron Steward, Ph.D., clinical assistant professor of psychiatry; Katie Wells, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor, director of international emergency medicine and director of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Department of Emergency Medicine; and Tony Williams, M.D., assistant professor of family medicine. In addition, several Larner medical students presented posters in the Davis Center's Grand Maple Ballroom. 

Visit the event website to learn more about the agenda and speakers.

Pictured above: (From left to right) Naomi Wolcott-MacCausland, M.S., migrant health coordinator, UVM Extension; Claire Bove, community health worker program coordinator for migrant health, UVM Extension; Gabriela Bosmenier-Cruz, Class of '24 medical student; Benjamin Clements, M.D. ’15, assistant professor of family medicine; and Javier Rincon, Class of '25 medical student assisting with the “Vermont’s Migrant Farmworker Population during COVID-19 Pandemic and Medical Students Improving Migrant Farmworker Healthcare Outreach in Vermont” session at the Health Equity Summit on October 20.

Child gaming and their brain highlighted

Chaarani and Colleagues Find Evidence of Better Impulse Control & Memory in Gamers

A study of nearly 2,000 children conducted by University of Vermont researchers found that those who reported playing video games for three hours per day or more performed better on cognitive skills tests involving impulse control and working memory compared to children who had never played video games. Published October 24, 2022 in JAMA Network Open, this study analyzed data from the ongoing Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study, which is supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and other entities of the National Institutes of Health.

Although a number of studies have investigated the relationship between video gaming and cognitive behavior, the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the associations are not well understood. Only a handful of neuroimaging studies have addressed this topic, and the sample sizes for those studies have been small, with fewer than 80 participants.

Bader Chaarani, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and the lead author on the study, said, “While we cannot say whether playing video games regularly caused superior neurocognitive performance, it is an encouraging finding, and one that we must continue to investigate in these children as they transition into adolescence and young adulthood.”

Through the ABCD Study, researchers will be able to conduct similar analyses for the same children over time into early adulthood, to determine whether changes in video gaming behavior are linked to changes in cognitive skills, brain activity, behavior, and mental health. The longitudinal study design and comprehensive data set will also enable researchers to better account for various other factors in the children’s families and environment that may influence their cognitive and behavioral development, such as exercise, sleep quality, and other influences.

Link to the full NIDA press release about the study.

Link to national media coverage of the study on CNN.comU.S.NewsNew York PostMedPage TodayThe Hillyahoo!THE TIMES (UK)Daily Mail (UK)

Pictured above: Graphic shows the dark silhouette of a young child holding a gaming controller against a white screen with a brain image superimposed on the child's head to illustrate the neural activation changes during inhibitory control in gamers. (Courtesy of B. Chaarani)

Save the Date

Mark your calendar for the 2022 Dean’s Excellence in Research Celebration taking place Monday, October 31 through Wednesday, November 2!

  • October 31, 10:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. (via Zoom - see Larner email for link) - Research Trainee Showcase 
  • November 1 – 2 (Given Courtyard) - Poster display of post-doctoral research, 2021 award recipient research, and core facilities
  • November 1, 4:30 – 6 p.m. (Sullivan Classroom & via Zoom) - State of Research at the College & Research Excellence Awards Presentations presented by Richard Galbraith, M.D., Ph.D., Interim Senior Associate Dean for Research. Reception Immediately following in Hoehl Gallery.
  • November 2, 12 – 1 p.m. (Sullivan Classroom & via Zoom) - Research Laureate Lecture featuring Yvonne Janssen Henninger, Ph.D.
Details about these events, including Zoom links, can be found here.

Join Us text in a green circle

Grand Opening and Dedication of the Firestone Medical Research Building

Thursday, October 27, 2022
11 a.m.
Firestone Medical Research Building main entrance (closest to the water tower)

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Accolades & Appointments

Sandi Caus
A study published by Larner fourth-year medical student Sandi Caus and colleagues was used in the 2022 University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) course,  "Arthroplasty for the Modern Surgeon: Hip, Knee and Health Innovation Technology in Sonoma," which took place September 15 to 16. Erik Hansen, M.D., section chief in UCSF's Division of Adult Reconstructive Surgery, and William Murray, M.D., UCSF endowed chair in orthopaedic surgery, used the publication, titled “Reliability of a simple fluoroscopic image to assess leg length discrepancy during direct anterior approach total hip arthroplasty,” which was published in November 2021 in the World Journal of Orthopedics. Coauthors on the study include UVM's Hailee Reist, M.D., clinical instructor and resident in orthopaedics and rehabilitions; medical alum Christopher Bernard, M.D. '20Michael Blankstein, M.D., associate professor of orthopedics and rehabilitation; and Nathaniel Nelms, M.D., associate professor of orthopaedics and rehabilitation.

Sydney Cardozo with Senator Klobuchar and Congressman Welch
Class of 2024 medical student Sydney Cardozo took part in a roundtable discussion with federal and state legislators and leaders on the topic of reproductive liberty on October 7 at Hotel Vermont, which was broadcast on Town Meeting TV (CCTV). Participants included U.S. Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.), U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Anne Lezak, chair of the Vermont Democratic Party, Harry Chen, M.D., former Vermont Commissioner of Health and current treasurer of Vermont for Reproductive Liberty Ballot Committee, and Vermont Representative and Speaker of the House Jill Krowinski. Cardozo represented the Larner Medical Students for Choice Student Interest Group. Watch a video of the roundtable discussion.

Pictured at left (left to right) Senator Klobuchar, Sydney Cardozo, Congressman Welch.

Finlay Pilcher and Annelise Lapides
Class of 2024 medical students Finlay Pilcher and Annelise Lapides are working with Heather Link, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics, on a project, titled "Prep Therapy for HIV Prevention and How to Talk to Your Adolescent Patients." They co-presented the project on October 19 during The Monthly Scoop* - a Zoom meeting convened by a partnership between the American Academy of Pediatrics-Vermont, Vermont Child Health Improvement Program, Vermont Academy of Family Physicians and the Vermont Department of Health's Division of Maternal and Child Health. This meeting covers hot topics in child health (COVID and otherwise) and also serves as a platform for Vermont child health professionals and community colleagues to discuss issues that impact outcomes for Vermont’s children, youth and families.

*The Monthly Scoop meeting follows a new structure with a continuous quality improvement approach and replaced VCHIP's former weekly "CHAMP" calls.

Kae Ravichandran

Class of 2025 medical student Kae Ravichandran (pictured at left) finished first in the Green Mountain Marathon in South Hero, Vt., on October 16, with a time of 2 hours, 42 minutes. In addition to their medical studies, Ravichandran is currently a New Hampshire/Vermont Schweitzer Fellow, co-leading a project in collaboration with Outright Vermont that aims to improve transgender youth’s understanding of clinical interventions and common health risks and empower transgender and gender diverse youth in the healthcare setting.



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