The College of Nursing and Health Sciences welcomed eight new full-time faculty beginning in the fall 2020 semester. Here is an introduction to each of the new teacher-scholars.

Biomedical and Health Sciences

Noah Derman, M.P.H., joined the Biomedical and Health Sciences Department as a Health Sciences Lecturer. An expert on the intersection of agriculture, food security and public health, Derman spent the past 15 years working on global health issues in the public and private sectors, domestically and internationally.

Derman credits his early interest in global public health to the combination of his mother’s career as a social worker running a women’s clinic in Michigan and his father’s work as an African studies professor at Michigan State University.

Derman served the Peace Corp in Thailand, where he focused on HIV/AIDS prevention and advocacy. After earning a master’s in public health from the University of Washington, he became Deputy Director of the nonprofit Development in Gardening, overseeing programs that improve the nutrition and livelihoods of uniquely vulnerable communities in Senegal, Kenya and Uganda. He looks forward to sharing his work in the field with his students.

“I’m excited that UVM’s health sciences program focuses on social justice and health equity. I view public health through that lens, and I’m happy to share my experience with people who will make a difference in this field,” Derman said. “I’m hoping to help build the public health program for undergraduates and start engaging students in some of my international work.”

This semester, Derman teaches introductory courses on global health and public health, and he will teach epidemiology and health promotion courses in the spring. When he’s not teaching, Derman enjoys hiking, mountain biking, snowboarding and cooking — especially Thai food. 

Melissa Scheiber, Ph.D., joined CNHS as a Clinical Assistant Professor for Medical Laboratory Science. This semester she teaches a freshman-level human cell biology course and a medical diagnostics course for seniors and graduate students. Scheiber comes to UVM from Mary Baldwin University, where she taught introductory and upper level cell and molecular biology courses and worked with undergraduate students on their research projects.

“Research is a great way to teach. I always learn from my students, and having them involved in my research keeps me on my toes,” Scheiber said.

An undergraduate student’s project led Scheiber to her current focus, using zebrafish as a model for studying breast cancer. She intends to engage UVM students in that research, injecting zebrafish eggs with human breast cancer cells and exposing them to chemicals suspected of causing cancer, including synthetic hormones found in plastics and birth control medicine. 

“It’s a great project for undergraduates. The zebrafish breed themselves, and you can easily see the injected cells in their eggs. There’s not a lot of tending to the animals and we don’t have to worry about rejection of the cells because the eggs don’t have an immune response, Scheiber said. “I’m hoping to work with students to look for cancer triggers and genetic sequencing.”

Nursing

Melanie Keiffer, D.N.P, APRN, ANP-BC, CNE, joined CNHS as Clinical Professor and Vice-Chair of the Graduate Nursing Program. Keiffer came to UVM from University of Central Florida College of Nursing where she was an assistant professor and program director for the family nurse practitioner/adult-gerontology nurse practitioner/doctor of nursing practice program. Keiffer also worked as a primary care nurse practitioner at Shepherd’s Hope Clinic in Orlando. She previously served on the nursing faculties at University of San Francisco, Madonna University, Mercy College and George Washington University Medical Center. Kieffer’s expertise includes rural community clinical placements for nurse practitioner students and integrating evidence-based inquiry into clinical practice.

Erin Leighton, D.N.P., Doctor of Nursing Practice ’20, joined the faculty as Clinical Assistant Professor. Leighton began her nursing journey as a student in the UVM Direct Entry Nursing Program and began working at Appletree Bay Primary Care as a Doctor of Nursing Practice student.

Tyler Alan Molleur, MSN, RN-BC, A-EMT, Professional Nursing ‘16, joined as a Clinical Instructor teaching a clinical practicum for the Direct Entry Program for the Doctor of Nursing Practice. He also teaches courses in emergency nursing and emergency medical services. Molleur’s areas of interest include surgical nursing and interprofessional collaboration. A lifelong Vermonter, previously worked as a cook, a weather observer, a reporter for a weekly newspaper, a volunteer EMT and a substitute teacher before starting his career as a nurse.

Janelle Sarnevitz, M.S., Professional Nursing ’14, joined the faculty as a Clinical Instructor teaching courses in adult health nursing and gerontology. She works on Baird 6, the inpatient surgical unit at UVM Medical Center, and she enjoys teaching and working in the clinical setting. Her specialty is medical-surgical nursing.

Daniel Weise, D.N.P., APRN, joined the department as a Clinical Instructor teaching a practicum, "Adults Across a Lifespan." Weise works at Appletree Bay Primary Care where he mentors undergraduate and graduate nursing students.

Rehabilitation and Movement Science

Elizabeth Harding, Ph.D., joins CNHS as Clinical Assistant Professor in Exercise Science. Just prior to joining UVM, Harding completed her doctorate at the University of New Mexico where she became focused on physical activity interventions for cancer rehabilitation and movement variability with aging and injury. Her current research includes a pilot study of a gardening intervention program that teaches older individuals to plant and harvest a vegetable garden at home as a gateway to increasing their physical activity and improving nutrition.

This semester, Harding teaches an evidence-based practice course for students in the Physical Activity and Wellness master’s degree program. The course engages students in selecting populations and health concerns, seeking out evidence on interventions, and applying the evidence to design a health promotion campaign. She also teaches a special topics course on exercise and active aging for junior and senior exercise science students.

“I wanted to give students the opportunity to engage in the community, working with geriatric nurses, senior centers, residential facilities and older athletes. The students have a lot of choice in choosing challenges associated with aging and what physical activity can address,” Harding said. 

A competitive swimmer, avid bicyclist and runner, Harding makes a point of trying a new sport every year. She’s sampled longboarding, roller derby, surfing, stand-up paddleboarding and rock climbing. “This year, my husband and I are excited about learning how to cross-country ski,” she said.

PUBLISHED

09-30-2020
Janet Lynn Essman Franz