University of Vermont

UVM Medical Group Selects Research Award Winners

Isabelle Desjardins and David Krag
Isabelle Desjardins, M.D., UVM associate professor of psychiatry, and David Krag, M.D., UVM professor of surgery. (Photos by UVM Med Photo)

The University of Vermont Medical Group at Fletcher Allen recently presented awards to five of its physician members in recognition of their exceptional research efforts. The UVM Medical Group consists of approximately 450 physicians from all fields of medicine devoted to advancing patient care through clinical and laboratory research, and educating the next generation of providers.

“These awards recognize the important scholarship of our members in addition to the excellent patient care they provide,” says Howard Schapiro, M.D., interim president of the UVM Medical Group and interim senior associate dean for clinical affairs and professor of anesthesiology at UVM. “The value of having an academic medical center is rooted in the expertise and professionalism our physicians develop through research and teaching, and how that expertise provides direct benefits to patients and improves the education of medical students, residents and fellows.”

Two Investigator-Initiated Research Awards, each including a $50,000 grant funded by Fletcher Allen for two years of medical research, were presented. These awards are designed to help align the academic missions of Fletcher Allen and the UVM College of Medicine and enhance multidisciplinary and multi-department projects.

This year’s award recipient teams are led by Isabelle Desjardins, M.D., UVM associate professor of psychiatry and medical director of inpatient psychiatry at Fletcher Allen, and David Krag, M.D., S.D. Ireland Professor of Surgery at UVM and a surgical oncologist at Fletcher Allen.

Desjardins’ team is developing a suicide risk assessment tool that attempts to model the critical thinking of psychologists and psychiatrists. An additional goal of the project is creating a uniform assessment tool across different hospital settings that can be used by providers who are not psychiatrists. Krag is leading a team including Bruce Tranmer, M.D.., UVM professor of surgery and chief of neurosurgery at UVM/Fletcher Allen, and Steven Emmons, M.D., UVM assistant professor of medicine and an oncologist at Fletcher Allen, that is researching the use of vaccines in treating glioblastoma, the most common and most aggressive malignant primary brain tumor.

In addition, one senior and two junior faculty members were presented with Research Recognition Awards. The Senior Researcher of the Year award recipient receives $1,500 cash and a $6,000 education grant. Junior Researchers of the Year receive a $1,000 cash prize and a $3,000 research grant.

This year’s Senior Researcher of the Year is Mary Cushman, M.D., professor of medicine and pathology at UVM and medical director of the Thrombosis and Hemostasis Program at Fletcher Allen. Recognized as a leading expert in cardiovascular disease epidemiology, she has a particular research interest in racial and ethnic disparities.

The Junior Researcher of the Year recipients include Kalev Freeman, M.D., Ph.D., UVM assistant professor of surgery and emergency medicine specialist at Fletcher Allen, and Renee Stapleton, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine and pulmonologist and critical care physician at Fletcher Allen. Freeman is principal investigator of the Trauma Physiology Laboratory and director of emergency medicine research.  His current research focus is on vascular changes following traumatic brain injury. Stapleton’s research interests include end-of-life preferences in patients with chronic illness, and the role of nutrition in critical care.