Filled with ever-evolving pandemic safety protocols and guidelines, research breakthroughs, new students, a ceremonial ground breaking, and age-old traditions with creative twists – 2021 was a remarkable year to say the least.
Through it all, University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine staff, faculty, medical students, graduate students, and alumni persevered and remained committed to our mission of providing excellence in education and research that helps advance the quality and accessibility of patient care, and benefits our communities.
Here, we present a look back at the year through photos featuring some of the many moments that took place during the last 355 days. We encourage you to explore the true breadth of life at Larner this year by visiting http://med.uvm.edu and following us on social media on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
Click on individual photos for additional information about the scenes and individuals displayed.
Matches Were Made & We Bade Farewell to the Med Student Class of 2021
On Friday, March 19, 2021, Class of 2021 medical students participated in Match Day – learning where they’d be spending the next few years of their medical training as resident physicians. At the time, the widespread COVID-19 vaccination campaign was in the early stages, so students celebrated virtually with people in their social isolation pods, and linked in for a tropical-themed celebration via Zoom.
Read more about Match Day 2021 and watch a video of the event.
By May 23, with many more people across the U.S. vaccinated, Larner was able to organize a hybrid Commencement Ceremony. Some students, families, and guest speakers participated in-person in the ceremony in UVM’s Patrick Gymnasium, while others tuned in virtually via livestream and Zoom. The hybrid Commencement model was the first-of-its-kind at the College, with in-person students donning their own hoods, while those at home had family members and friends help drape their hoods over their heads.
Read more about Commencement 2021 and watch a video of the ceremony.
A New Class of #UVMFutureDocs Began Medical School
On August 9, Larner welcomed 124 new medical students to the College as a part of the Class of 2025—a selective group chosen from a record 8800 applicants. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and end-of-summer Delta variant surge, their Orientation Week looked a bit different from past years, but the excitement remained, and so did some of our favorite traditions. There were white-coat try-ons, community service outings, the Student Interest Group and resource fair, and, of course, the “I’m a Med Student And…” photo booth!
Read more about the medical student Class of 2025 and Orientation Week.
Two months later, these same mask-wearing students proudly marched down the aisles of Ira Allen Chapel and onto the stage to receive the first white coat of their medical careers at the annual White Coat Ceremony, held on Friday, October 8.
Read more about White Coat Ceremony 2025.
Graduate Students Shined in Labs & Classrooms Across Campus
The fall of 2021 also marked a return to campus for many graduate students who had been conducting their studies and research virtually during the first year of the pandemic. UVM also greeted new graduate students who were eager to contribute to biomedical research at UVM. From research about the link between skeletal muscle and illness, to adolescent brain and cognitive development, to using machine learning to study cancer growth, to the study of viral loads in different variants of SARS-CoV2, these students’ efforts are contributing to scientific discoveries that impact how we prevent, diagnose, and treat disease.
The Larner College of Medicine collaborates on several interdisciplinary and cross-departmental graduate programs. These include Master’s degree programs in biochemistry, medical science, microbiology and molecular genetics, pathology, pharmacology, and public health programs, and the bioengineering, neuroscience, clinical and translational science, and cellular, molecular, and biomedical sciences Ph.D. programs delivered in partnership the UVM Graduate College, Professional and Continuing Education, College of Arts & Sciences, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, College of Nursing & Health Sciences, and College of Engineering & Mathematical Sciences.
On Wednesday, December 15, fifty-three graduate students from these programs were recognized at the annual UVM Graduate Hooding Ceremony for completing their degrees in August and October or pending graduation in January 2022.
Learn more about these programs.
Larner Scientists Remained Devoted to a Tradition of Research Excellence
From Monday, October 25 through Wednesday, October 27, Larner celebrated the achievements and hard work of its scientific investigators during the annual Dean’s Celebration of Excellence in Research. Among the highlights this year were renewals of major grants, including a T32 National Institute on Drug Abuse grant, and the Northern New England Clinical and Translation Research award.
Among the many other 2021 research accomplishments were a $7 million National Cancer Institute (NCI) grant to develop a new intervention for chemo-induced neuropathy awarded to Associate Professor of Neurological Sciences Noah Kolb, M.D., and colleagues; hundreds of peer-reviewed publications like a study in JAMA Psychiatry by Professor of Psychiatry Sarah Heil, Ph.D., that reported findings from a National Institutes of Health-funded study on the impact of co-location of contraceptive services with opioid treatment programs; a British Medical Journal study by the RAPID Trial group, including Mary Cushman, M.D., M.Sc., which found that a high dose of an inexpensive and globally available blood-thinning medication reduces the risk of death in hospitalized patients who are moderately ill with COVID-19; and the launch of a UVM Vaccine Testing Center polio vaccine trial by Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Ross Colgate, Ph.D., M.P.H., that aims to help fully eradicate the virus.
Learn more about research being conducted at Larner.
Medical Education Continued Amidst the Pandemic
After a year of hybrid learning opportunities, COVID-vaccines and greater understanding about viral spreads allowed Larner medical students to make a return to the classroom and clinics.
Highlights included the resumption of in-person Standardized Patients interactions in the UVM Clinical Simulation Laboratory, participating in a vaccination education campaign for migrant farm workers in Vermont, and the new “Look at Larner” program for aspiring medical students from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine, developed and hosted by Class of 2024 medical students Mialovena Exume and Warrick Sahene.
A Couple of Special Visitors Came to Campus
There’s always something interesting happening at Larner and on September 10, the halls of the College were abuzz with rumors of a certain well-known individua
There’s always something interesting happening at Larner and on September 10, the halls of the College were abuzz with rumors of a certain well-known individual with unruly white hair and an impassioned Brooklyn-accented voice. While back home in Vermont, 2020 presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders requested a special meeting with Class of 2025 medical students and spoke with them about the future of healthcare in Vermont and the country and their important role in it. Before the Senator began his speech, the students surprised him, bursting into a rendition of “Happy Birthday” to acknowledge the 80th birthday he had celebrated just two days prior.
Recently, the College had a visit from another high-profile individual – Mitchell Wolfe, M.D.’95, M.P.H., the chief medical officer of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Long before he was one of the highest-ranking public health officials in the country, Wolfe was a medical student at Larner. During his first visit to campus in 26 year, he met with first- and second-year medical student, caught up with some of his Class of 1995 medical school classmates who work at UVM and the UVM Medical Center, and took part in a panel discussion with Vermont Commissioner of Health Mark Levine, M.D., and Larner leaders regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, global health equity and healthcare delivery, and the impact of climate change on public health.
* Wolfe’s visit to the College was in a personal capacity as a Larner alum and not in his official role with the CDC.
We Celebrated a Groundbreaking & Reaccreditation
The Larner campus skyline has taken on a new shape with the construction of the four-story, 62,500-square-foot Firestone Medical Research Building. Although the project began last year and the final beam was placed on April 27 – when several faculty, staff, graduate students, and medical students were invited to sign it – a groundbreaking celebration had to be delayed due to COVID-19 safety guidelines until September. It was worth the wait!
Read more about the Firestone Medical Research Building and the ceremonial groundbreaking celebration.
Larner capped off this remarkable year with a celebration of the news that the College received full accreditation from the Liaison Commitee on Medical Education (LCME) for another eight-year term, through 2029. The reaccreditation process involved 18-months of self-study, a virtual site visit, and the hard work and dedication of over 300 faculty, staff, and students. On December 13, Dean Richard Page, M.D., and leaders of the College thanked the community for their hard work and dedication with a drop-by celebration in the Hoehl Gallery, where, following short remarks, community members received their choice of a celebratory ice cream, commemorative ice scraper, and, of course, face masks!
Learn more about Larner’s LCME accreditation.
We Look Forward to 2022
It’s been a difficult year, but it’s also been a remarkable year and we wouldn’t have made it through as a College community without the support of one another and our commitment to professionalism, drive, dedication, and compassion. As this year ends, we look forward to 2022 and the hurdles and obstacles we’ll overcome together, the successes we’ll celebrate, and the discoveries we’ll make.