University of Vermont

College of Medicine Class of 2013 Receives M.D. Degrees at Commencement

College of Medicine graduates outside Ira Allen Chapel
Graduates of the Class of 2013 of the UVM College of Medicine, with their newly-conferred degrees in hand, pose for their official class photo on the steps of the Ira Allen Chapel on the UVM campus after the College's commencement ceremony on May 19, 2013. (Photo by Ed Neuert)

A total of 106 students were conferred medical degrees by University of Vermont President Tom Sullivan, J.D., at the College of Medicine's Commencement Ceremony in Ira Allen Chapel on Sunday, May 19, 2013.

A little more than 13 percent of the University of Vermont College of Medicine’s Class of 2013 will remain in Vermont for residency training. Pediatrics is the most popular specialty this year, with 18 class members pursuing that field, and four of them doing a residency at UVM/Fletcher Allen. Nearly as popular is family medicine, a specialty chosen by 16 students, with two of them remaining in Vermont. Internal medicine is the third most popular, with 14 students doing that residency after graduation, one of them at Fletcher Allen. In addition, two students will do residencies in psychiatry, two in surgery, one in anesthesiology, one in obstetrics/gynecology, and another in pathology at UVM/Fletcher Allen.

Among those students staying in Vermont for residency is Shrewsbury, Vt. native Delia Horn, M.D., who will be specializing in pediatrics. Born small with multiple health complications at birth and through childhood, she underwent seven surgeries before graduating from Vassar College with an English degree. “I did not have an epiphany during any one of my hospitalizations that led me to want to become a doctor,” says Horn, who completed UVM’s post-baccalaureate pre-medical program after realizing that “I would only be happiest and most fulfilled as a doctor.” Once decided, she fully embraced this path, receiving a Schweitzer Fellowship and two scholarships. “I want to look at systems of care delivery and public health policy, even federal law to determine how to improve children’s health care,” she says.

The Class of 2013 also includes:

• Monkton, Vt. native Gwen Fitz-Gerald, M.D., has wanted to be a doctor since the third grade. “I have always felt the need to help people,” says the future family physician who volunteered at a nursing home, hospital, blood drives and became an EMT after participating in the Area Health Education Centers’ MedQuest summer program for high school students interested in health careers. As a UVM undergraduate (her siblings, father, grand- and great-grandparents are also alums), she was accepted into the Premedical Enhancement Program and shadowed doctors and was mentored by a medical student. “One of my goals has always been to give back to the community, and family medicine is deeply entrenched within the community it serves,” says Fitz-Gerald, who hopes to return to Vermont after a residency in Denver, Colo.

• UVM undergraduate alumnus and Windsor, Vt., native Haddon Pantel, M.D., recently received the Atherton Award, along with his wife, from Burlington, Vt.’s Dismas House, a residential program that aims to reconcile prisoners with society and society with prisoners. Pantel, who will be doing a surgery residency at the Lahey Clinic in Mass., has been volunteering there making dinners for the residents, for about five years. “The experience has truly kept me grounded during medical school,” he says.

In addition to Dean Frederick C. Morin III, M.D., and UVM President Thomas Sullivan, J.D., presenters at the ceremony included keynote speaker William Hopkins, M.D., UVM associate professor of medicine and award-winning course director and teacher in the College’s Cardiac, Renal and Respiratory course; Class of 2013 student speaker Jeffrey McLaren, M.D., an Essex, Vt. native, semi-pro box lacrosse player and high school coach who will be doing an anesthesiology residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass.

The ceremony also included honoring several of the College of Medicine’s retiring faculty members. Professor of Neurological Sciences and former Chair of Anatomy and Neurobiology Rodney Parsons, Ph.D., read citations for Elizabeth Ezerman, Ph.D., associate professor of neurological sciences, Jerome Fiekers, Ph.D., associate professor of neurological sciences, and Professor of Neurological Sciences and former Chair of Neurology Robert Hamill, M.D.

In addition to the medical degrees that were conferred at the ceremony, 27 students who earned a Ph.D. and eight who earned an M.S. degree from the College of Medicine were hooded at the Graduate College’s ceremony on Saturday, May 18, 2013.

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