University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Office of Medical Communications

Class of 2016 Celebrates End of Foundations and Honors Two Long-Time Course Directors

Foundations Level Director and Professor of Biochemistry Paula Tracy, Ph.D., left, presents a commemorative gift to Associate Professor of Pediatrics Leah Burke, M.D. Burke has served as course director of Introduction to Clinical Decision Making since 2003 and is now stepping down from that post.
Foundations Level Director and Professor of Biochemistry Paula Tracy, Ph.D., left, presents a commemorative gift to Associate Professor of Pediatrics Leah Burke, M.D. Burke has served as course director of Introduction to Clinical Decision Making since 2003 and is now stepping down from that post. (Photo by Raj Chawla, UVM Medical Photography)

“I wish we could clone her.” “Simply the best lectures across the board.” “Her enthusiasm was contagious.” During a ceremony on January 30, 2014, students in the University of Vermont College of Medicine Class of 2016 had these and many other high compliments for the faculty, staff, and peers who have helped them through the first phase of their medical education.

The reception and awards ceremony in the Health Science Research Facility's Hoehl Gallery marked the end of Foundations, the first level of the Vermont Integrated Curriculum (VIC). During this first year and a half of their medical education, students gain the fundamental skills they need to become compassionate and skilled physicians. In addition to science courses and clinical skills education, Foundations also includes a focus on professionalism and communication, cultural awareness, leadership skills, and community outreach. Later this spring, students begin clinical clerkships in level two of the VIC.

Nathalie Feldman, M.D., interim associate dean for student affairs and instructor in obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences, told the crowd gathered for the ceremony that in her new role in student affairs she has “witnessed the profound and untiring dedication that your faculty and staff have” for medical student education. The ceremony, she said, was a time to pause and reflect on the accomplishments of the past year, and to appreciate all who have contributed to it.

This year the ceremony also marked the retirement of two long-time course directors: William Hopkins, M.D., course director of Cardiovascular, Respiratory and Renal Systems (CRR) and associate professor of medicine, and Leah Burke, M.D., course director of Introduction to Clinical Decision-Making (ICDM) and associate professor of pediatrics. In recognizing their service, Paula Tracy, Ph.D., Foundations director, called them the “epitome of professionalism and hard work.” Hopkins, who has served as CRR course director for eight years, has been at UVM since 1995. Burke joined the UVM faculty in 2000 and started as ICDM course director in 2003.

The following awards and recipients were announced at the Class of 2016’s event:

Outstanding Foundations Course:
Cardiovascular, Respiratory and Renal Systems (CRR)

Foundations Course Director Award:
William Hopkins, M.D.

Foundations Teaching Award:

Ellen Black, Ph.D. The recipient of this award will be hooding the Class of 2015 at their graduation and will be recognized with other Teachers of the Year from the past.

The Dean Warshaw Integration Award:
William Hopkins, M.D. This award recognizes the faculty member whose teaching best captured the spirit of the VIC.

The Silver Stethoscope Award:
Michael Toth, Ph.D. This award recognizes the faculty member who had few lecture hours, but made a substantial contribution to students’ education.

Above and Beyond Award:
Ellen Black, Ph.D. This award recognizes the faculty member who went above and beyond the call of duty to help the students in their learning objectives.

Best Support Staff (Non-teaching):
Michael Goedde, M.D. This award recognizes the staff member who best supported students in areas besides teaching.

Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award:
Nkem Aziken, M.D.

In addition, members of the Class of 2016 also presented these awards:

AMWA Gender Equity Award:
Pamela Gibson, M.D. This award honors a male or female faculty member who promotes a gender-fair environment for the education and training of physicians and gender diversity in the field.

Standardized Patient Award:
Bob Bolyard

Wellness Award:
John “Nez” Nesbitt. This award recognizes a student who went above and beyond to help class members.

American Medical Student Association Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching:
William Raska, M.D.

The following three awards went to a student with the highest grade point averages in courses with a significant amount of content related to the mentioned subject area. Scott Anderson, M.D., presented the Wool Award and the Buttles Award. John McCormack, Ph.D., presented the Durwood Smith Award.

The Ephraim Woll Award for excellence in General Pathology:
Laura Griesinger

The Ernest H. Buttles Award for excellence in Pathology:
Laura Griesinger

The Durwood Smith Award for excellence in Pharmacology:
Laura Griesinger