Category Archives: Archive

Medical Library to Host Classroom for Team Learning

artist's view of the Larner classroom from the end closest to the HSRF, showing students working at the tables.
Construction of a new classroom to support active team-based learning at the Dana Medical Library will begin in early June 2014. The classroom, to be named in honor of Dr. Robert Larner, will be located in the front south side of the Library. Prior to the classroom construction study tables currently located in the front of the Library will be relocated to the rear. To create space for the tables some bound journal volumes will move to adjacent Fletcher Allen storage space on May 19. These volumes will be available on request.

Outer walls will be built around the classroom construction site in early June and the new Larner Classroom will be built over the summer. The opening of the Classroom is scheduled for the fall semester. Medical students in the Foundations level (first and second years) will be the first learners using the classroom. The classroom will accommodate 120 students at small tables optimizing the team-based or active learning philosophy. The space will feature flexible furniture to support a variety of learning configurations, multiple projection screens, an advanced video and sound system, and active acoustics to accommodate both small and large groups.

The development of the Larner Classroom is a first step in the Library’s pursuit of the Learning Commons approach to offering a content and technology enriched and learner-driven environment. The Dana Medical Library supports the education, research, and clinical practice of students, faculty and staff in medicine, nursing, and the health sciences. Librarians are working with faculty, staff, and students from the College of Medicine and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences to further develop the enhanced space and services.

These projects will result in disturbance and displacement for students, faculty, and staff. There will be an impact on study space between May 19 and early June. There will be noise and disruption at times. We will advise Library visitors of alternative study spaces if the need arises. All Library services including electronic and print book and journal access, interlibrary loan, reference and consultation services will be available during our regular summer hours.

We appreciate your patience during the construction period and look forward to the new classroom and reconfigured study space for the fall semester.

Contact Marianne Burke (, Director, or Donna O’Malley ( Project Coordinator, Dana Medical Library

New resource: Because you asked for it!


Prescriber’s Letter (PL) is a resource for medication prescribers to keep them up to date on new developments in drug therapy. Prescribers produces monthly concise updates and Detail-Documents provide in-depth coverage answering many specific questions related to each topic. More unique features included in the articles are charts, rumors, and comments by colleagues. Links to practice guidelines are included when appropriate.

Physicians, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners and other prescribers can earn continuing medical education credits built around the information contained in the Letter. This resource is called “CME-in-the-Letter.”

Prescriber’s Letter editors state the content “is totally independent, and has no connection with any pharmaceutical firm. There is absolutely no advertising, or other financial support. Everything published in Prescriber’s Letter or the additional detailed documents is totally objective.”

There is a mobile app available for PL, but it requires the creation of an account first.

Check out this new resource today and let us know how you like it! It can be found on the Dana website under “Articles and More.” The direct link is:

A Thousand Ghost Maps: History in and as Health Crises


“A Thousand Ghost Maps” is a symposium that starts from the assertion that health and disease are always situated in expansive cultural landscapes, that the life of the body must be conceptualized holistically, and that illness and its responses cannot be separated from the historical and social forces of their particular times and spaces. The title of the talk is drawn from UVM Arts and Sciences’ “First-Year Read” selection for 2013-2014, Steven Johnson’s The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic – and How it Changed Science, Cities and the Modern World, a wide-ranging account of the spatial, cultural, and political reverberations of an 1854 Cholera outbreak; the panel mobilizes the book’s name and theme to suggest that health crises must always be understood as a complex interaction of pathogen and political economy, of individual body and configurations of power.

The symposium brings together at a single forum scholars of pediatric cancers and medieval history, of global health broadly construed and childhood toxic exposures, of AIDS in China and polio in Pakistan, researchers with MDs and PhDs alike. The discussant and moderator is President’s Burack Distinguished Lecturer JR McNeill, a Guggenheim and MacArthur Genius Fellow, Toynbee Prize-winner, and University Professor at Georgetown, who has recently written on the relevance of mosquito-borne illnesses in the decline of oceanic empires. Participants include Middlebury’s Svea Closser, McGill’s Sandra Hyde, UVM’s Barry Finette, Dartmouth’s Margaret Karagas, and John Aberth. The panel is organized and conceived by UVM Anthropology’s Jonah Steinberg. At the heart of the project is an interest in interrogating and understanding how history’s grand sweep is translated into individual and intimate experience and sensation, in the life of a body; the gathering is governed by the notion that even the largest movements of human beings across the planet are iterated at microscopic levels, in organs and cells themselves.

Davis Auditorium, Fletcher-Allen/UVM Medical School, Monday April 28, 11-12:30, reception to follow.

Dr. JR McNeill, University Professor, Georgetown University, Guggenheim and MacArthur Genius Fellow, and Toynbee Prize-Winner, Author of Mosquito Empires. Burack Lecturer, Moderator and Discussant
Dr. Margaret Karagas, Darthmouth College: Section Head, Epidemiology and Biostatistics; Co-Director, Epidemiology & Chemoprevention (Norris Cotton Cancer Center); and Director, Formative Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Center
Dr. Svea Closser, Sociology and Anthropology, Middlebury College, author of Chasing Polio in Pakistan (Vanderbilt)
Dr. Sandra Hyde, Anthropology, McGill University, Author of Eating Spring Rice: The Cultural Politics of AIDS in Southwest China (UC Press
Dr. John Aberth, Author of Plagues in World History, The Black Death, and an Environmental History of the Middle Ages.
Dr. Barry Finette, Director, Global Health and Humanitarian Opportunity Program; Fletcher-Allen Pediatrics

Sponsored by UVM Anthropology, Global and Regional Studies, the First-Year Read Program and the TAP Program of the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office.

For more information, contact Jonah Steinberg,, or Mary Lou Shea, 802-656-1096.

In Association with the President’s Burack Distinguished Lecture of:

JR McNeill, How Hungry Mosquitoes Liberated the Americas, 1776-1898, Billings North Lounge and Apse, Monday April 28, 4 pm, Reception to follow.

Pre-med Student Group Opens Opportunities


By Thomas James Weaver

Spring semester of senior year is hectic for any UVM student staring down that Sunday, May 18, graduation date on the calendar. Christopher Thomas Veal has upped the ante in recent weeks with trips to academic medical conferences in Florence, Italy and Harvard University to present research he’s been involved with as an undergraduate.

Veal was one of just two undergrads presenting a poster at the event in Italy, the 61st Annual Society of Gynecological Investigation Scientific Meeting. The poster featured research he conducted under the mentorship of Dr. Mark Phillippe, former professor in the UVM College of Medicine and now on the staff at Massachusetts General Hospital. “Not only was I able to contribute to one of the most prestigious gynecological conferences in the world, but I was able to witness the ever-changing tide of research in women’s health firsthand. It was a phenomenal experience that has changed my life,” Veal says.

The student’s appreciation and enthusiasm for the mentorship and opportunities he’s found in his pre-med focus at UVM are palpable. And Veal has a strong desire to create the same for others. It’s motivated him to join together with like-minded students, including Fathima Samen and Rehana Pothiawala, to form a UVM chapter of the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students (MAPS).

The group has quickly grown across the past year and now has approximately twenty members. Key support has come from College of Medicine faculty Dr. Elizabeth Bonney and Dr. Margaret Tandoh, and College of Medicine director of admissions Tiffany Delaney.

“It’s more than a social thing,” Veal says. “We’re facilitating connections that are helping advance the academic careers of our students.” He adds, “I hate when people think of minority as solely being race. We’re here for under-represented groups, people of lower socio-economic class, people of color, LGBTQ students.” Small picture, the group wants to open up opportunities at UVM. Big picture, they hope to play a part in giving the healthcare field a more diverse face.

The UVM MAPS chapter has connected with College of Medicine faculty and students for one-day shadowing experiences and on-going mentorships. They’ve traveled together to a conference in Maine and the recent Harvard event, connected a student with a summer internship at Brown University, and learned from a focused day together in the Rowell Hall Clinical Simulation Lab. Future plans include working with UVM medical students to help provide healthcare to migrant farm workers in Vermont.

“We’re a university that has a hospital and a medical school right on our campus. That’s something that not even Harvard has,” Veal says. “The fact that we can utilize that resource is amazing.”

Both Samen and Pothiawala graduated from Chittenden County high schools, but say they’ve discovered a much wider world even if college is just miles from home. Pothiawala has her eye on dental school someday, but brings diverse academic interests to the table with a major in management information systems in the School of Business Administration. Samen hopes for a future as a pediatric physician. She grew up in New Orleans before her family moved to Vermont, and living through the turmoil of Hurricane Katrina inspired her interest in medicine. “During the evacuation we went from shelter to shelter. I saw the doctors and nurses caring for people in that situation, and they became my heroes,” she says.

Veal is a Michigan native, who admits that aside from a generous scholarship offer, he wasn’t strongly drawn to UVM. That has changed dramatically during his years here, as he’s thrived with the mentorship he’s received from College of Medicine faculty and fallen hard for the Burlington/Vermont landscape and ethos.

Veal tells a story about a MAPS meeting with a group of admitted ALANA students. One young man’s lukewarm take on UVM — his opinion that Boston University would have more to offer — reminded Veal of himself four years ago. He shared his own experience and eventually persuaded the student to join UVM’s Class of 2018. Admittedly, that sort of admissions director’s dream isn’t going to happen every day. But it is a ripe illustration of what the fast-rising UVM chapter of the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students is all about — connecting student-to-student to make the most of all the university has to offer undergrads interested in the medical professions.

Novice Neurosurgeons Train On Brains Printed In 3-D

A simulated patient at the University of Malaya makes use of different
materials to mimic the look and feel of   human tissue. Credit / Courtesy of Vicknes Waran

There’s no such thing as too much practice when it comes to brain surgery. But it’s hard for beginner neurosurgeons to get real hands-on experience. Most residents learn by watching and assisting experienced surgeons.

Newbies can practice on cadavers or use simulators, of course. But neither of those alternatives is quite the same as operating on a real, live patient, for better and for worse.

That’s why 3-D printers might help the doctors do a better job. At the University of Malaya in Malaysia, neurosurgeons are using 3-D printers to make realistic skulls and brains that residents can use to hone their skills.

Learn more online.

Nicholas Wilkie: Medical Student, App Creator

Imagine you’re a physician with a disaster-relief group. You’ve bounced over bad roads to get to a remote cholera clinic, leaving behind Internet and cell-tower access. You keep careful medical records of patients by typing the information into your shirt-pocket smartphone. Once in range, your phone (and those of your colleagues at other remote clinics) uploads these records to a central server, where the data may not only benefit your patients in the future, but also help decision-makers monitor the outbreak all over the region.

Thanks in part to UVM medical student Nicholas Wilkie, that scenario may soon be reality. As a volunteer with the humanitarian-aid organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders), Wilkie is developing software that stores cholera patients’ medical records on a smartphone.

The third-year student, who is also a veteran programmer, was inspired to write to MSF in June 2011, after hearing Professor of Surgery Bruce Leavitt, M.D.’81 share his experiences with MSF in Nigeria and Sri Lanka. In those field hospitals, Leavitt says, the patient’s surgical record consisted of handwritten notes in manila folders. “At the end of the day, they’d pile them up in a room in a corner,” he recalls. Wilkie approached Leavitt with his idea.

Getting the green light from Doctors Without Borders

Wilkie then found his way to Thang Dao, MSF’s Switzerland-based director of information services. His timing was fortuitous, as MSF was in the process of changing how it managed patient information. Soon he had written a crucial piece of software, one that gets central computers running OpenMRS and far-flung Androids to talk to each other. “It will send electronic health information in a cogent way to the server and record it the way that we want it to,” Wilkie explains.

Dao was so impressed that he invited the student to meet with him and his colleagues in Geneva to discuss adapting the design for doctors responding to cholera outbreaks. “We are one of the few organizations in the world that can deal on a large scale with cholera epidemics,” said Dao. “What was missing for us was how to collect data quickly, and closest to the sources of contamination — which is to say in the villages.”

“Nick is one of these people who can launch himself in very thick snow and make a track for us,” says Dao.

Reposted from the UVM College of Medicine website.

Save the Dates for Puppy Happy Hour

The College of Medicine Student Council is proud to announce that Puppy Happy Hour has finally arrived! Dogs from Therapy Dogs of Vermont will be in the Dana Medical Library classroom from 6:30-7:30pm on Wednesday April 23rd. Please stop by for some puppy love!

Puppy happy hour is a stress reduction program aimed towards giving students an opportunity to take their minds off school with the benefit of therapy dogs.

How to Access the Library after 9pm


All active UVM Faculty/Staff and FAHC Resident House Staff have access to the North Concourse (door on the Concourse that leads into FAHC) and to the West door that faces Converse Hall. Library access is automatically assigned.

However, these doors lock at 9:00pm; after which you will need either an authorized UVM ID or an authorized FAHC Proximity Card.

Residents can go to the CatCard office for a UVM ID that can be swiped from the FAHC side to get in to the concourse after 9pm.

FAHC personnel can contact FAHC Security to request a Proximity card for access through the North Concourse door into FAHC.

Both doors are limited to library hours only: it is not 24×7 access.

Match Day!

Match Day, class of 2012. Danielle Scribner.

Congratulations to all our 2014 graduates!

Match Day is the culmination of four challenging and arduous years and, in some ways, is the most exciting day of the Medical School experience. Students receive notice of their residency matches beginning at Noon (EST) p.m. on the third Friday of March.

By UVM tradition, names are randomly selected by the Associate Dean for Students and, as each person receives the envelope, he or she places a dollar in a fishbowl. The last person called gets to keep all the money as a reward for their patience in the face of high anxiety.

The medical school sponsors a reception for students immediately following the Match Day Ceremony. The celebration then continues at a variety of local establishments.

To be announced: Class of 2014 students and their matching residencies. Use this link to view the Class of 2014 Match Day, streaming LIVE. Photo Gallery will be posted shortly after the event.