University of Vermont

Research at The University of Vermont

Economic Development & Impact: More Stories


Clinical Trials: Research Translating to Improved Care

Clinical trials are the testing of new treatments in humans after extensive laboratory research has been completed. Clinical trials find better ways to treat a specific disease and are a critical step in the development of new medications to treat diseases. Hundreds of externally-funded clinical trials of new medicines have been conducted at UVM and Fletcher Allen in the last decade, most targeting the nation's six most debilitating chronic diseases — asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, mental illnesses and stroke.

In December 2013, "Research in Your Backyard," a special panel discussion, provided an overview of clinical trials in Vermont and their importance in offering both cutting-edge treatments to patients, as well as economic opportunities to our communities.

"The broad availability of clinical trials in Vermont ensures that promising novel treatments are locally available and that our community benefits from these emerging therapeutic opportunities," says Richard Galbraith, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the UVM Clinical Research Center.


Using Technology to Engage Middle Schoolers

When the Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education was launched in 2009 with a $5 million gift from the Rich E. and Deborah L. Tarrant Foundation, its 10-year mission was clear: Support technology integration in middle schools as a means of increasing student engagement and decreasing drop-out rates in Vermont. Today, five years into the ambitious initiative, the Tarrant Institute, an outreach, development and research arm of the College of Education and Social Services, is active in 10 middle schools around the state, has advisors working with the Burlington-Winooski Partnership for Change, a multi-district effort, and is being tracked by educators around the country eager to see if its approach to engaging a hard-to-motivate age group can be widely adopted.

The Tarrant Institute's grant, the largest in its history, was in a sense a bet the organization made on the scholarship of Penny Bishop, a professor of middle level education at UVM who became its director. Bishop has written extensively on using technology as an engagement strategy in the classroom and co-authored five books on effective middle grades practice.

"The institute's goal is to not only foster widespread use of technology in Vermont schools, but also to create a cadre of teachers who confidently employ it in service of what we know to be exemplary middle school teaching practices," she says.


Career Skills Correlate with Volunteering

For almost a decade, David Jones has studied how company-supported volunteer programs increase employee loyalty, happiness and retention. Starting in 2006 with his study of a Green Mountain Coffee Roasters program to support and encourage its employees to volunteer and serve their communities, Jones began to note a pattern: Companies who invest in employee volunteerism can recoup those investments — and then some. Over time, he has completed more than 10 empirical studies, consulted with six companies — both local firms and large multinationals — seeking to set up volunteer programs, and seen his findings published in academic journals and scholarly book chapters. His studies about company volunteer programs, in turn, connect to his other research showing that many job seekers want to work for employers committed to sustainable business practices.

"I'm not setting out to try to show that these volunteer programs pay for themselves or that companies will always get a lot in return, but the results across several studies make a heck of a good story," Jones says.


Last modified May 12 2014 12:16 PM