University of Vermont

Medical Reunion 2014: Alumni Zehle and DiSanto Receive Early Achievement Awards

Christa Zehle, M.D., Associate Dean for Students and Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Christa Zehle, M.D., Associate Dean for Students and Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Photo: UVM Medical Photography)

The University of Vermont College of Medicine Medical Alumni Association presented Rachel DiSanto, M.D.’04, and Christa Zehle, M.D.’99 with the Early Achievement Award at the Medical Alumni Association’s “Celebration of Achievements – Legends and Leaders” event held on Friday, June 6, 2014 in Davis Auditorium.

Established in 2000, the Early Achievement Award recognizes early-career physicians for outstanding academic achievements or contributions through community or medical service.

DiSanto is a family physician at North Country Primary Care in Newport, Vt., which is affiliated with North Country Hospital. Her practice includes all ages, from newborn to geriatrics, including Intensive Care Unit and nursing home settings. The practice is involved in the Vermont Blueprint for Health and has been certified by the National Committee for Quality Assurance as a medical home. DiSanto is an active preceptor of UVM medical students in the third year clerkship and also teaches family medicine residents at her practice. Possessing a strong interest and involvement in global health, she has served on the board of the Kenya Children's Fund (KCF) for several years and has traveled to Kenya multiple times to provide medical care. Currently, DiSanto works with KCF to establish a community-based feeding program for malnourished infants and children. In 2012, she traveled to Haiti for another medical mission and in January 2012, went to Nicaragua to work with women and child victims of human trafficking in Managua. In her own community, DiSanto volunteers at her church doing community service with her husband and their two children. She is also active at her children’s school with various health and science programs.

Zehle serves as associate dean for students and is an associate professor of pediatrics at the UVM College of Medicine. She also serves as a pediatric hospitalist and is responsible for launching the Pediatric Hospitalist Program at Fletcher Allen Health Care. A sought-after mentor for medical students and residents, Zehle has received numerous awards for teaching, including being honored twice and nominated five times by residents as clinical attending of the year. A full member of the Admissions Committee since 2007, Zehle is co-director for the Pediatric Student Interest Group and also advises a number of senior medical students pursuing a career in pediatrics or other specialties, as well as pediatric interns, and informally advises the 18 pediatrics residents. At Vermont Children’s Hospital, she serves on the Residency Education Committee and the Integrated Quality Program Committee, and is a member of the Fletcher Allen Child Abuse Task Force. Zehle is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, a member of the Vermont Chapter of Academic Pediatric Association (APA), and was honored as an APA Educational Scholar in 2009, receiving a grant to pursue a scholarly project in medical education. She has served as a physician mentor for the second-year medical student Public Health Projects, the UVM Pre-medical Enhancement Program, and the Area Health Education Centers MedQuest program.

Link to the 2014 Medical Reunion Weekend schedule.