University of Vermont

Class of 2015 Marks End of Foundations, Presents Awards

William Raszka, M.D.
William Raszka, M.D., UVM professor of pediatrics and Attacks and Defenses course director, provides remarks after receiving the AMSA Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching from the College of Medicine's Class of 2015. (Photo: Raj Chawla/UVM Med Photo)

Like its name implies, the Foundations level of the University of Vermont College of Medicine’s Vermont Integrated Curriculum (VIC) provides students with the fundamental training they need to become competent and caring physicians. A mix of science courses and clinical skills education, Foundations also features a focus on leadership development, professionalism, communication, personal reflection, community engagement, and cultural awareness.

On Monday, January 28, 2013, the College’s Class of 2015 marked their collective completion of Foundations with a reception and awards ceremony in the Health Science Research Facility's Hoehl Gallery. Associate Professor of Pediatrics Christa Zehle, M.D., delivered a welcome at her first Foundations Awards event since taking on the role of associate dean for student affairs in July 2012.

Zehle provided a look back for the Class of 2015, sharing that their medical journey began 539 days ago, on August 8, 2011. Since that first day, she said, students have taken 14 courses, 30 secure exams and eight clinical exams and have spent more than 1,600 hours studying, with more to come as they all prepare for Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Exam® (USMLE) in March.

“Be proud of what you’ve accomplished and be confident that you are prepared for your clerkship year,” Zehle said.

Led by the Class of 2015's Sarah Gardner, several members of the class participated in announcing awards at the event. For the first time ever, the students launched the awards presentation with the American Medical Student Association Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching, which was presented to William Raszka, M.D., professor of pediatrics and director of the Attacks and Defenses course.

The following Foundation Awards and recipients were announced at the Class of 2015’s event:

Outstanding Foundations Course:
Cardiovascular, Respiratory and Renal Systems

Foundations Course Director Award:
William Hopkins, M.D., associate professor of medicine and course director, Cardiovascular, Respiratory and Renal Systems

Foundations Teaching Award:

Rebecca Wilcox, M.D., assistant professor of pathology. 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:
Robert Low, Ph.D., professor emeritus of molecular physiology and biophysics and interim provost at UVM. This award recognizes the faculty member whose teaching best captured the spirit of the VIC.

The Silver Stethoscope Award:
Ellen Black, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurological sciences. This award recognizes the faculty member who had few lecture hours, but made a substantial contribution to students’ education.

Above and Beyond Award:
William Hopkins, M.D., associate professor of medicine. 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):
Aaron Hurwitz, M.Ed., VIC coordinator. This award recognizes the staff member who best supported students in areas besides teaching.

Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award:
Tyler Stewart, UVM College of Medicine Class of 2013.

In addition, members of the Class of 2015 also presented these awards:

AMWA Gender Equity Award:
Pamela Gibson, M.D., associate professor of pathology. 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:
Anisha Patel, UVM College of Medicine Class of 2015. This award recognized a student who went above and beyond to help class members.

Elizabeth Ezerman, Ph.D., professor of neurological sciences, presented the B. Albert Ring, M.D. Memorial Grant Award, which recognizes a student who best exemplifies compassion, humor, humility, devotion to family and friends, and intellectual curiosity. The award, created in 1989 following Ring’s death by his family and friends, honored the educator, clinician and scholar who served as a professor of radiology at the UVM College of Medicine. Second-year medical student Benjamin Brown was named the recipient.

The ceremony closed with a special recognition for two retiring Foundations course directors, presented by Paula Tracy, Ph.D., director of Foundations and professor of biochemistry. The first honor was presented to Ezerman, who joined the UVM faculty in 1974, began teaching Gross anatomy in 1987 and then helped design the Human Structure and Function course and became its director in 2006. The second honor went to Jerome Fiekers, Ph.D., course director of Cell and Molecular Biology and associate professor of neurological sciences. Fiekers joined UVM in 1978 and began serving as CMB course director in 2003.