State Representative Updates
Rhode Island State Representative Update
As we begin to emerge - albeit very cautiously from coronavirus restrictions - ever respectful of possible threats by viral variants, we find ourselves with full operating room and office hour schedules approaching pre-pandemic levels.
As the RI representative to the New England Surgical Society, the Rhode Island surgical community in particular and our RI community at large await the culmination of the merger of the two largest health systems in the Ocean State - Lifespan and Care New England - and Brown University and its Warren Alpert Medical School to create an integrated academic health system. Its impact on local surgical care and global research is anticipated to be exponential.
On an even more patient centered level I am privileged to announce that three of our outstanding surgical attendings - Drs. Marcoandrea Giorgi, Andrew Luhrs and Elizabeth Renaud - have recently become members of the NESS. These gifted surgeons represent our future.
Our past is reflected in those NESS colleagues who have passed away in the last 12 months including Drs. Carmine J. Capalbo, George N. Cooper, Jr., Richard R. Dyer, and Louis N. Pernokas. Their legacy prevails in those of us who had the privilege of learning from these great surgeons and in those residents of the Ocean State who were the beneficiaries of their dedication to patient care.
Marlene Cutitar, MD
Rhode Island State Representative
Vermont Representative Update
It is my distinct privilege to assume the positon of Vermont State Representative of the NESS. I am truly appreciative of the opportunity to serve in this role and I would like to thank Dr. Ed Borrazzo, who preceded me in this position for all of his efforts in representing the state of Vermont.
Similar to the rest of the world, the practice of surgery in Vermont has been severely impacted during the past 18 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, our surgical providers have continued to adapt and excel in delivering high-value care to our patients and supporting our academic mission to educate the next generation of surgeons. At this time, I will update the NESS on some of the recent accomplishments of Vermont surgeons with the acknowledgement that this update is far from being all-inclusive, but is intended to highlight the remarkable record of accomplishments.
There is a growing concern that current surgical training provides inadequate operative experience. The number of cases performed by graduating chief residents has decreased over the past 15 years and fellowships are reporting decreased preparedness in their incoming trainees.
To address this, Dr. Carlos Marroquin has developed a novel surgical simulation approach using human organs (livers, kidneys, pancreatae, lungs, and hearts) from organ donors that were unfit to transplant. Organs that are not transplantable are diverted to our facility for use in education exercises. The organs are perfused with a pigmented solution via roller pumps to provide an approximate organ perfusion pressure, tissue perfusion, and blood supply within the organ.
UVM surgical faculty have found open surgical simulation utilizing human organs provides meaningful and realistic opportunities to practice surgical techniques before a resident is allowed to perform a highly complicated and challenging procedure on a living patient. Incorporating this simulation model into surgical training provides residents with greater opportunities to develop the necessary skills while preserving the public trust in a safe educational environment which fosters confidence and competence.
University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine Department of Surgery Faculty Highlights
Margaret A. Tandoh, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery and Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, was invested as the inaugural Richard L. Gamelli, M.D. '74 Green and Gold Professor in Surgery during a virtual ceremony held remotely on September 22, 2020.
Dev Majumdar, PhD, Assistant Professor, received notice that his manuscript describing the interactions between SARS-CoV2 virus proteins and human host cell RNAs was accepted for publication in the highly prestigious journal Cell (impact factor 38). This work provides a critical insight into how the SARS-CoV2 virus acts to evade host cell immune defenses and provides a roadmap for the development of potential therapeutics. This research was a collaborative effort with Dr. Mitch Guttman at the California Institute of Technology, and Emily Bruce and Jason Botten in the Department of Medicine who conducted key experiments for this work in UVM’s BSL3 laboratory.
Gary An, MD, Professor & Vice Chair of Research, and Chase Cockrell, PhD, Assistant Professor, of the An-Cockrell Lab at UVM Larner College of Medicine are participants of a multi-institution research team led by the University of Pittsburgh that recently secured a $22 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Bioelectronics for Tissue Regeneration (BETR) program. The project is titled: “REPAIR: Regenerative Electronic Patch through Advanced Intelligent Regulation.” The An-Cockrell lab will receive $2.8 million over the term of the award.
Faculty Granted Emeriti Status in 2021
Bruce Leavitt, MD, FACS– Professor, Division of Cardiothoracic, Department of Surgery (32 years). Upon reflecting on his retirement, Dr. Bruce Leavitt writes, “I have always felt that the friends that I have made through the New England Surgical Society have been very close to me and I treasure all of those friendships. Once one retires, a surgeon goes and looks back at his or her career. I have valued all of my interactions with my colleagues, hospital staff, surgical residents, medical students, and most important patients. However, my affiliation and participation as well as my close friendships in the New England Surgical Society has been one of the highlights of my life and for that I cannot ever forget or repay our wonderful society.”
Donna Millay, MD– Associate Professor, Division of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery (31 years).
Faculty & Resident Awards
AOA Faculty Award: Fuyuki Hirashima, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, UVMMC and Matthew Siket, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery, Division of Emergency Medicine
The Harry E. Howe, MD & Theo O. Howe Outstanding Teacher of Surgery Prize: Margaret Tandoh, MD, FACS Associate Professor, Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, Richard L. Gamelli Green and Gold Professor in Surgery, Division of Acute Care Surgery, UVMMC
"This award recognizes and honors excellence in teaching in the Department of Surgery."
Gary An, MD, FACS, Professor of Surgery in the Division of Acute Care Surgery, was elected to membership in the Society of University Surgeons (SUS) in February 2021.
Stas Amato, MD was awarded podium presentation, ACS Excellence in Research Award, and publication in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons for the following manuscript: Amato SS, Benson JS, Murphy S, Osler TM, Hosmer D, Cook AD, Wolfson DL, Erb A, Malhotra A, An G. Geographic Coverage and Verification of Trauma Centers in a Rural State: Highlighting the Utility of Location Allocation for Trauma System Planning. Journal of the American College of Surgeons, 2020 Oct 3.
ACSVT ABSTRACT PRIZE WINNERS
1st- Cost-drivers of Elective Colon and Rectal Surgery: A retrospective cohort analysis - Stephen Ranney, MD – Chief Resident
2nd - Patient Factors Associated With High Opioid Consumption Following Common Surgical Procedures Following State Mandated Opioid Prescription Regulations - Autumn Sacklow, MD - PGY3
2nd - Examining the Impact of Covid-19 Visitor Restrictions and Communication Modalities on Family Member Satisfaction with Communication in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit - Emma Dunne - medical student
2nd - Predictors of Code Status Discussion in Adult Patients Presenting for Elective Surgical Procedures - Tessa Cattermole, MD – PGY3
Graduating Residents Fellowships
John Konen, MD - Colon & Rectal Fellowship at the University of Massachusetts
Colleen Kerrigan, MD - Breast Fellowship at the University of Toronto
Tovah Moss, MD - Critical Care Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin
Adam Paine, MD - Cardiothoracic Fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital
Doug Reed, MD, 2020 chief resident who completed the Mastery of Surgery Program at UVM.
Minimally Invasive Surgery Fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh
Mitchell C. Norotsky, MD
Vermont State Representative