University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Vermont Medicine Magazine

DEPARTMENT OF Pediatrics ~ 2013 Annual Report

Lewis R. First, M.D., Chair

During the past year, the Department of Pediatrics continued to further its academic mission of improving the health of children through clinical, research and educational activities that make a difference for those living in our community and in turn can be shared with others throughout the country and the world.

Educationally, the Department continued to participate actively in all four years of the Vermont Integrated Curriculum, and was honored by the graduating class as Clinical Department of the Year in addition to other teaching honors received by Pediatrics faculty during the past year. Once again, more fourth-year students chose to pursue a career in Pediatrics than any other field of medicine, and the residency training program application increased again another 25% over the prior year’s record-breaking increase. The Department’s nationally lauded summer CME course sold out again and brought attendees from all over the country to Vermont to be updated on the newest developments in the field of Pediatrics.

Nationally, faculty members continue to take leadership roles in all the major pediatric educational organizations. The Department continues to serve as the editorial home of the journal Pediatrics, the leader in peer-reviewed general pediatric journals nationally and internationally, now celebrating its 65th year, the past 39 of which have been headquartered at the College of Medicine. From a research perspective, the Department continues to be fortunate to receive significant federal, state, and foundation grant funding especially in the area of health services research. The Vermont Oxford (Neonatal) Network, ImproveCareNow (a national network for collaborative improvement research in inflammatory bowel disease), the AAP’s Pediatric Research in Office Settings, and the Vermont Child Health Improvement Program (VCHIP) expanded their projects and programs. For example, VCHIP’s statewide model of improving care to children and adolescents extended into 20 states providing the oversight to a new initiative — the National Improvement Partnerships Network (NIPN). Translational research also flourished in areas such as metabolism, nutrition, cystic fibrosis, and oncology.

Advocacy efforts also flourished as faculty and house staff worked collaboratively to improve the communities the Department serves with numerous projects, a number of which warranted presentation at national pediatric research and education meetings. Members of the faculty as well as other departmental and hospital staff, for example, took the “3 Squares Challenge” in which they each lived for a week on $37 worth of food stamps to better understand food insecurity and then followed this experience with a large departmental food drive for those who were in need.

Inpatient and outpatient services demonstrated quality improvements in every clinical area, thanks in part to implementation of an electronic health record system. One of the major initiatives undertaken this year was a transformational change of the delivery of pediatric primary care utilizing innovative smaller care teams with community outreach workers and other supports to truly establish a better medical home system for the patients served by primary care clinicians in the Department. Another clinical initiative was our finalizing plans to provide 24/7 hospitalist coverage on our inpatient service.

Sadly, this past year the founder and first chair of the Department R. James (Jim) McKay, M.D., passed away at the age of 95. None of the achievements described in this report or throughout the year would be possible without the remarkable dedication and commitment to children instilled by Dr. McKay into all the members of the Department. He is greatly missed but, as can be seen in the achievements captured in this narrative, his legacy lives on.

Last modified December 20 2013 11:51 AM