LCOM & Department News

Medical Students, Faculty, & Staff Recognized at Class of ’23 Honors Night

May 17, 2023 by Jennifer Nachbur

The Larner College of Medicine medical Class of 2023 Honors Night on May 15 featured recognition and awards for graduating medical students, faculty, and staff.

(L-R) Class of '23 medical students Sean Muniz, Cyrus Thomas-Walker, and Anna Chamby pose at Honors Night. (Photo: Andy Duback)

The Film House at Burlington’s Main Street Landing was the setting for the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine Class of 2023 Honors Night on May 15. Hosted by Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education Christa Zehle, M.D., the event featured recognition and awards for graduating medical students, faculty, and staff.

Among the honors presented at the event were the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society faculty and housestaff awards; the Arnold P. Gold Foundation's Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine faculty and student awards; the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Scholars; department awards to students; and awards from the Class of 2023.

Larner Dean Richard L. Page, M.D., opened the event with welcome remarks, after which Zehle delivered remarks and introduced the first award presenters.

Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society Awards

Class of 2023 medical students Sean Muniz, Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honor Medical Society president, and Cyrus Thomas-Walker, AOA Honor Medical Society vice president, presented the awards, which recognize faculty and housestaff who embrace the AOA tenants of professionalism, scholarship, leadership, and service. The 2023 Faculty Award recipients are Skyler Lentz, M.D., assistant professor of emergency medicine; Anamaria Mihu, M.D., clinical assistant professor of medicine (CT campus); Bridget Marroquin, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences; Lee-Anna Burgess, M.D., assistant professor of medicine; and Matthew Barbery, M.D., clinical assistant professor of medicine (CT campus). The 2023 Housestaff Award recipients are Ali Jandal, M.D., clinical instructor in medicine; Faiz Abu-Jaber, M.D., clinical instructor in medicine; Kramer Wahlberg, M.D., cardiology fellow; Solomon Feuerwerker, M.D., clinical instructor in surgery; and Yu-Lin Hsieh, M.D., clinical instructor in medicine (CT campus).

Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Awards

Lud Eyasu, Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) president, and Emma Dunne, GHHS vice president, presented the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Awards. The Faculty Award recipient is Jeremiah E. Dickerson, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry. The Student Award recipient is Sean Muniz.

AHEC Scholars

Charles MacLean, M.D., associate dean for primary care and professor of medicine, announced the names of the 2023 Vermont AHEC (Area Health Education Centers) Scholars on behalf of the Office of Primary Care and AHEC Program. The AHEC Scholars program is designed to provide students with a deeper understanding of the social and cultural factors that influence an individual’s overall health as well as their access to healthcare. AHEC Scholars have supplemented their education and completed projects that have addressed such priorities as social determinants of health; interprofessional education and collaboration; integration of behavioral health into primary care; impact of opioid prescribing in our communities; cultural competence and cultural humility; and using quality improvement approaches to transform healthcare delivery. The following medical students were recognized as AHEC Scholars: Dinkar Ahuja; Niveditha Badrinarayanan; Ashta Birgy; Valerie Braddick; Michael Brown; Sandi Caus; Anna Chamby; Ryan Cournoyer; Caitlin Dowling; Jenna Elhoury; Megan Eubank; Julia Evans; Nina Feinberg; Brad Fiske; Agatha Forstein; Sean Fox; Charlotte Gemes; Amy Golinker; Warren Grunvald; Sebastian Hanna; Matthew Hanna; Kisha Kalra; Sarah Kendrivk; Jason Lach; Amberly Lao; Tiffany Lao; Stellar Levy; Liana Mathias; Kayla Menendez; Lucy Merriam; Sean Muniz; alexandra Novelli; Mark Oet; Lauren Okamoto; Zachary Smith; Cyrus Thomas-Walker; and Ariella Yazdani.

Department Awards

Kevin Abnet, M.D., associate professor of anesthesiology, presented the John E. Mazuzan, Jr., M.D.’54 Award for excellence in anesthesiology to Cara Rathmell.

Emergency Medicine
Katherine Dolbec, M.D., assistant professor of emergency medicine, presented two awards. Brittany Botticelli received the American College of Emergency Physicians Medical Student Professionalism and Leadership Award. Nathan Dow was given the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine Award for excellence in emergency medicine.

Family Medicine
Martha Seagrave, PA-C, professor of family medicine, presented two awards. The Family Medicine John Fogarty, M.D. Leadership Award was presented to Jenna Elkhoury. The Edward E. Friedman Award for promise of excellence in the practice of family medicine was given to Jordan Carver.

Dennis Beatty, M.D., associate professor of medicine, presented the Laura Weed, M.D. Award for scholarship service and excellence in medicine to Sean Muniz. Lee-Anna Burgess, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, presented the Ellsworth Amidon Award for outstanding proficiency in internal medicine to Alexandra Novelli.

Fatemeh Sobhani, M.D., assistant professor of neurological sciences, presented Sydney Chatfield with the American Academy of Neurology Medical Student Prize for excellence in neurology and Agatha Forstein and Valerie Braddick with the Herbert Martin Sr., M.D. Award for excellence in neurology.

Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences
Erin Morris, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences, presented the Carbee Award for academic excellence in obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences to Alexa Rosenthall. Justin DeAngelis, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences, presented the John V. Maeck, M.D.’39 Award for overall excellence in obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences to Kayla Menendez.

Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation
Jennifer Lisle, M.D., associate professor of orthopaedics and rehabilitation, presented the Dr. and Mrs. Nathaniel Gould, M.D.’37 Prize for outstanding achievements in orthopaedic surgery on behalf of the department to Sandi Caus.

Lewis First, M.D., M.S., professor and chair of pediatrics, presented the Ralph D. Sussman, M.D.’38/Medical Alumni Award for excellence in pediatrics to Emma Cooper Dunne.

Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Kirsten Threlkeld, M.D., assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, presented the College of American Pathologists Distinguished Medical Student Award to Cari Ellinghaus Carpenter.

Erin Curtis, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry, presented the William Sweetser Award for excellence in psychiatry to Stellar Levy.

Andrea Hildebrand, M.D., assistant professor of radiology, presented the Walter Dodd, M.D. Award in Radiology for excellence in radiology to Zachary Smith.

Katelynn Ferranti, M.D., assistant professor of surgery, presented three awards. McKenna Schimmel received the Harry Howe, M.D.’52 Senior Student Award for excellence in surgery. Caitlin Dowling received the H. Gordon Page, M.D.’45 Award for excellence in surgery. Lud Eyasu was presented with the Pilcher Award for representing the qualities of Eleanor and Lewis Pilcher of devotion to family and patients, with a high regard for ethics and honesty.

Awards from the Class of 2023

Clinical Department of the Year Award: Medicine/Division of General Internal Medicine

Clinical Resident of the Year Award: Ali Jandal, M.D., Clinical Instructor/Resident in Medicine

Clinical Teacher of the Year Award: Katherine Dolbec, M.D., Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, and William Hopkins, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine

Colette Award: Emma Faustner, Advanced Integration and Residency Placement Coordinator

Dignity in Medicine Award in recognition of respect, inclusion, and support for LGBTQ students, colleagues, and patients: Brad Blansky ’23

Dean William Eustis Brown Award for broad cultural interests and loyalty to the College of Medicine: Brad Blansky ’23 and Lud Eyasu ’23

Harry E. Howe, M.D. & Theo O. Howe Outstanding Teacher of Surgery Award: Fuyuki Hirashima, M.D., assistant professor of surgery, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Lamb Fellowship Award for best exemplifying concern and care for the total patient: Anna Chamby ’23 and Sean Muniz ‘23

Awards from the Office of Medical Student Education

Joseph Cleary, M.D. Award for ensuring the success of the educational and clinical experience at the Larner College of Medicine Connecticut Nuvance Campus: Jett Choquette ’23 and Victor Abraham ‘23

Charles T. Schechtman, M.D.’26 Award for Clinical Excellence for excellence in the clinical care of patients during the Clerkship Year: Sydney Chatfield ‘23, Brad Fiske ‘23, and Grace Eisenbiegler ‘23

Kerzner Family Prize for outstanding service to the community: Victor Abraham ‘23

David Babbot, M.D. “Caring and Seeing” Award for commitment to medical education and patient care: Anna Chamby ‘23

Mildred A. Reardon, M.D.’67 Award for service to the Larner College of Medicine: Cyrus Thomas-Walker ‘23


Past Department Highlights

Mark_FungCongratulations to Dr. Mark Fung, M.D., PhD., Professor Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, on receiving the 2023 College of American Pathologists (CAP) Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Fung is a nationally recognized expert in transfusion medicine. (10/2023) 

Congratulations to Jessica Crothers, M.D., Assistant Professor Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, on achieving the Notice of Special Interest Team Science award from NIAID for: "Effects of the gut microbiota on oral vaccine response in adults and children." (10/2023)

Nicole BouffardCongratulations to Nicole Bouffard on being awarded the "Scientific Research Staff Award" for 2023. This was presented to Nicole at the September 21, 2023, LCOM Research Excellence Award Ceremony. This is a great honor for Nicole and the Department of Pathology and recognizes her contributions and importance to the department and MIC. (10/2023)

Congratulations to Brian Cunniff, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, on being awarded a $1.6 million R01 grant by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to study the role of mitochondrial trafficking in regulating cell migration, a key feature of metastatic tumors. (9/2023)

Congratulations to Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D., Professor Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, on becoming a University of Vermont Cancer Center Program Co-Leader, Cancer Cell. (9/2023)

Congratulations to the following pathology members on receiving research support funds in April 2023. Recipients were: John Kennedy, M.D., $6520 for morphologic and immunohistochemical re-evaluation of renal cell carcinomas exhibiting papillary architecture, with emphasis on tumors demonstrating "type 2" morphology. Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D., $15,000 for a joint initiative between RBP, UVM Cancer Center, and faculty in the Department of Chemistry. Megan Tarte $745 for Stem Cells, Cell Therapies, and Bioengineering in Lung Biology and Disease ConferenceAlbert van der Vliet, Ph.D., $14,400 for Redox processes in macrophage activation in IPF. (9/2023)

Congratulations to the following faculty members on their promotions: Vikas Anathy, Ph.D., to Professor with tenure, Bronwyn Bryant, M.D., to Associate Professor, John DeWitt, M.D., Ph.D., to Associate Professor, Sarah Nowak Ph.D., to Associate Professor, and Christi Wojewoda, M.D., to Professor. (6/2023)

Bei Zhang, M.D., M.S., Ph.D., MLS(ASCP), associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, did an educational scholarship session titled "Activate Students Learning Outside Classroom." at the 8th International meeting of the Association of Biochemistry Educators. Dr. Zhang also conducted two additional workshops with other ABE members titled "Linking Clinical Presentations to Their Biochemistry: A novel ABE Clinical-Biochemistry Curricular Treat Mapping Educational Tool.", and "Getting to Clerkship and Beyond: Crafting Biochemistry Learning Objectives that Connect and Integrate Basic Science Concepts with Clinical Application." (5/2023)

Congratulations to Dr. Maureen Harmon, M.D., associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, and Dr. Amer Abu Alfa, M.D., assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine for being recognized by medical students for their professionalism. Dr. Harmon was recognized for social responsibility and Dr. Abu Alfa was recognized for compassion. (5/2023)

Congratulations to Mary Cushman, Ph.D., M.Sc., professor of medicine and pathology and laboratory medicine, on being named a University Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Hematology/Oncology Division, and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. (5/2023)

View the story Mammograms of a study by Sarah Nowak, Ph.D., assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, and researchers at the UVM Cancer Center showing data that fewer women being screened for breast cancer. (4/2023)

vandervliet-habibovic420x280A new study by Albert van der Vliet, Ph.D., professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, and a team of University of Vermont (UVM) researchers is honing in on why people with asthma often have worse symptoms if they are obese. This new research demonstrates that the gene DUOX1 likely contributes to the connection between obesity and asthma.  The research was published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology and was highlighted as an APSselect article for March 2023. Albert van der Vliet, Ph.D., was the senior author on the paper, along with department of pathology and laboratory medicine coauthors Aida Habibovic, lab research technician;Litiele Cruz, Ph.D., visiting scholar; Vikas Anathy, Ph.D., associate professor; University Distinguished Professor Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D.; and additional team members and authors from UVM. Read the full LCOM News story LCOM News (4/2023)

Congratulations to Bronwyn Bryant, M.D., Assistant Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, for having your proposal, Consequential Validity of Entrustable Professional Activities in Pathology Residency Training selected to receive a Frymoyer Scholars Program project of $48,000 to be funded July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2025. (4/2023)

Congratulations to Martin Chang, M.D., Ph.D., on accepting the new role as Vice Chair for Faculty Affairs. (4/2023)

Congratulations to Joanna Conant, M.D., on becoming the new Pathology Student Fellowship Director starting July 1, 2023. (4/2023)

Congratulations to The Cunniff Lab, on receiving funding to support research focused on malignant mesothelioma. The funding was from The Butler Family Foundation Fund for Cancer Research at the University of Vermont Cancer Center. The Butler Fund was established by the Butler family in memory of two loved ones lost to mesothelioma. (03/2023)

Congratulations to the following recipients that received pathology research support funding. Nathaniel Shannon in Brian Cunniff's, Ph.D., lab was awarded $1800 towards the cost of travel to the 2022 Annual Meeting of the Society for Redox Biology and Medicine (SfRBM). Litiele Cruz, Ph.D., and faculty mentor Albert van der Vliet, PhD., were awarded $2622 for her project "Characterization of Laminin Oxidative Modifications by Peroxidasin in Pulmonary Fibrosis"Nels Olson, PhD., MPH., $14,582 for the purchase of an Agilent BioTek 405 TS Touch Microplate Washer, Model 405 TSRS. Ashley Volaric M.D.Joanna Conant M.D., and David Seward, M.D, Ph.D., were awarded $13,680 for their project, "The Effect of Epstein Barr Virus Latency on Cellular DNA Methylation Profile of Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma". (3/2023)

A number of faculty and students from the pathology and laboratory medicine department presented research at the American Heart Associations Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle, and Cardiometabolic Health (EPI/Lifestyle) Scientific Sessions 2023 in Boston February 28 - March 3. Students presenting were Maggie King, a master in science pathology degree student who was mentored by faculty scientist J. Peter Durda, Ph.D. pathology and laboratory medicine.  Maggie presented on "Complete Blood Count Analysis in the Risk Underlying Rural Areas Longitudinal (RURAL) Cohort Study with a Point of Care Instrument." Her study is supported by NHLBI. And second-year medical student and 2022 Cardiovascular Research Institute Summer Research Fellow Megan Zhou, mentored by pathology and laboratory medicine associate professor Nels Olson, Ph.D. Megan presented on  "Coagulation Factor IX and Incident Diabetes Risk: The Reasons for Geographic and Race Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) Study." Also, pathology and laboratory faculty members that were coauthors of presentations given, assistant professor Margaret Doyle, Ph.D., and University Distinguished Professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, Russell Tracy, Ph.D. (3/2023)

Congratulations to Dr. Bei Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., MLS(ASCP), associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, for being selected for a Distinguished Scholar Award by the Association of Biochemistry Educators for her submission entitled "Activate Students' Learning Outside Classroom". Dr. Zhang will be presenting this submission at the 2023 Association of Biochemistry Education Conference. (3/2023)

Congratulations to our 2023 Gender Equity Award Nominees. Gender Equity Champion Award nominee, Debra Leonard, M.D., Ph.D., Chair and Professor Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. Our departmental nominees for The Polaris Award for Outstanding Mentorship- an award for informal or formal mentorship for women or gender diverse college community members, Rebecca Wilcox, M.D., Pam Gibson, M.D., Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D., and Christi Wojewoda, M.D. (2/2023)  

Congratulations to Dr. Scott Anderson, M.D., on being selected to receive the Association of Pathology Chairs 2023 Margaret Grimes Distinguished Achievement Award in Graduate Medical Education. This award was made in recognition of Dr. Anderson's outstanding contributions to graduate medical education and his stature as a nationally recognized leader in pathology education. (2/2023)

Congratulations to Dr. Yvonne Janssen-Heininger, Ph.D., Dr. Kelly Butnor, M.D., Dr. David "Bebo" Seward, M.D., Ph.D., and Dr. Sharon Mount, M.D., on their news story in The Charlotte News, on their "giant steps in cancer research." Read the full article here:   Humble Superstar (1/2023)

Congratulations to Dr. Elizabeth Bundock, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Examiner of Vermont and clinical assistant professor of pathology, for her appointment by the American Board of Pathology, to the Test Development and Advisory Committee for Forensic Pathology 2023. (1/2023)

Dr. Beri Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., MLS(ASCP), associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, presented a panel, at the Snow Season Education Retreat, titled "The Pearls and Pitfalls of Publishing in Medical Education", with three clinicians Dr. Hale, Dr. Halle, and Dr. Rideout. (1/2023)

Congratulations to Dr. Bronwyn Bryant, M.D., assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine on her Awards for  Teaching and Educational Excellence, Learner Assessment, conferred at the Teaching Academy Induction and Award Ceremony on January 11, 2023. (1/2023)