Peterson Named Inaugural Goldman Professor

August 14, 2020 by Christina Davenport

Thomas Peterson, M.D., chair of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine, was invested as the inaugural Morris Goldman ’29 MD’32 Professor of Family Medicine. The ceremony was the first of its kind to be held remotely, via Zoom, on August 13, 2020.

Thomas Peterson, M.D., Morris Goldman ’29 MD’32 Professor of Family Medicine.

Thomas Peterson, M.D., chair of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine, was invested as the inaugural Morris Goldman ’29 MD’32 Professor of Family Medicine. The ceremony was the first of its kind to be held remotely, via Zoom, on August 13, 2020. A recording of the ceremony may be viewed by clicking here

Dr. Harriet Goldman and Michael Kaplan established the professorship in honor of Dr. Goldman’s late father, Dr. Morris Goldman, a member of the UVM class of 1929 who went on to receive his medical degree from UVM’s College of Medicine in 1932. As a Jewish man, Dr. Goldman was always deeply grateful to the University of Vermont for helping him achieve his dream of becoming a physician at a time when very few medical schools accepted students without regard to race, creed, or religion.

Dr. Goldman went on to a career as the quintessential family physician. Caring for his patients meant always having his doctor's bag close by, ready for house calls at any time of the day or night. His daughter, Dr. Harriet Goldman, who pursued a career as a dentist and faculty member at Columbia University, recalls that his most important resources were the tools in that bag and the five senses he honed over decades of practice. 

“He loved medicine and his patients and voraciously read all the medical journals to keep ahead of the latest advances and treatments,” she said. “He cared for his patients from birth to death while managing the health needs of the entire family.” 

Like Dr. Morris Goldman, Dr. Peterson has dedicated his medical career to caring for multiple generations of families, providing maternity and newborn care; pediatric, adult, and geriatric care; hospice care; sports medicine; and addiction and hospital care.  He has twice been voted Family Practice Teacher of the Year and was honored as Family Physician of the Year in 2003 by the Vermont Academy of Family Physicians. He has also been named to the national “Best Doctors in America” listing. 

“Through his dedication to clinical care, public service, and teaching, Dr. Peterson not only saves and improves lives, he prepares future generations of doctors to do the same,” said UVM President Suresh Garimella. “The coronavirus pandemic further underscores our ongoing need for dedicated and highly skilled medical professionals.” 

After graduating with high honors from the University of California, Santa Barbara, Dr. Peterson earned his medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, followed by a residency in family medicine at what was then the Medical Center Hospital of Vermont, now the University of Vermont Medical Center, where he was chief resident in his final year. He joined the UVM faculty in 1986, rising to full professor in 2002. In 2010, he was named chair of the Department of Family Medicine.

Dr. Peterson is a board-certified family physician practicing at Colchester Family Practice, where in addition to treating patients he assists in the clinical education of UVM medical students. He is a faculty development scholar at the University of California, San Diego in the area of addressing the health of the underserved. He also is a fellow of the National Institute of Family Medicine Residency Program Directors and was instrumental in the formation in 2016 of the Family Medicine Residency Program at the UVM Health Network Champlain Valley Physician's Hospital in Plattsburgh, N.Y.   

“I’m very proud to represent Dr. Morris Goldman and his contributions to healthcare,” said Dr. Peterson. “His example is both an inspiration and in alignment with modern family medicine. Dr. Goldman provides a vision and a North Star for us all.”

The Goldman Professorship will foster the work of Dr. Peterson and his colleagues in the Department of Family Medicine and will contribute to their missions of research, education, and clinical care. 

“Endowed faculty positions are a tribute to the holder and a permanent legacy for the donors who establish them,” said Richard L. Page, M.D., dean of the Larner College of Medicine.  “Named chairs and professorships help ensure the quality and strength of our faculty for years to come, and clearly reflect the interests and hopes of the donors who support them.”         

Fundraising for the Larner College of Medicine is a major focus for the University of Vermont Foundation, a nonprofit corporation established to secure and manage private support for the benefit of the University of Vermont.  During the University’s eight-year Move Mountains comprehensive fundraising campaign, which concluded last summer, donors like Dr. Goldman and Mr. Kaplan helped raise more than $290 million to support the Academic Health Sciences (the Larner College of Medicine, the College of Nursing & Health Sciences, and the UVM Medical Center).  Today, the University boasts 124 endowed chairs and professorships—64 of those are associated with the Larner College of Medicine. Find more information about the impact of donors and the work of the UVM Foundation.

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