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Author Michael Moss Exposes How the Food Giants Hooked Us

By Andrea Estey 

Have you ever snacked on a bag of salty, crunchy chips and gotten the feeling that you just couldn’t stop? You’re not alone. That irresistible sensation is completely by design. It’s just one of the ways the processed food industry tempts us to eat more of “the food we hate to love,” as author and journalist Michael Moss illuminated at the 2017 Aiken Lecture on Nov. 1.

Drawing on his best-selling book, “Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us,” Moss took the audience, sitting in a packed Ira Allen Chapel, on an exposé of this “unholy trinity,” the ingredients the trillion-dollar industry “relies on to make their products easy, irresistible, and cheap.”

Moss used potato chips as an example. The satisfying “mouthfeel” you get, said Moss, is exactly what the industry is after; chips can be as much as 50 percent fat. Another key part of the chip equation is their crunch: The industry has figured out that the more noise a chip makes, the more of them you’ll want to eat.

And consumers seem to be paying the price. According to the NIH, more than one in three adults, and one in six children and adolescents, are considered to have obesity in the United States. Those numbers have big implications – some estimate associated healthcare costs at more than $150 billion nationwide.

“Crawling around the food system is like reading a detective story,” said Moss, whose work as an investigative reporter with the New York Times on the dangers of contaminated meat won him a Pulitzer Prize in 2010.

What Moss has unearthed in his food systems detective work is lots of deliberate product development, and marketing, to make us consume more. Some tactics, says Moss, echo those used by big tobacco. (In fact, Philip Morris owned Kraft Foods until 2007.)

Moss points to Lunchables as a case study. In addition to the salty, fatty chow inside every package, it’s marketing that makes the product so successful with children, said Moss. “Lunchables give kids the feeling of empowerment.”  Their slogan: “Lunchtime is All Yours.”

Where do we go from here? Moss said the work starts when we’re young, when our strongest food memories and associations are formed. “In talking with kids, we need to help them see information about food as empowerment.”

Since information is power, when you’re reading an ingredient list, Moss suggested paying attention to what order things are listed (the biggest item comes first, and the smallest comes last). “You have to be careful in the grocery store,” said Moss, as he walked through the ingredient list of a frozen broccoli, potato and cheddar dinner, in which broccoli was the very last ingredient.

As for the larger food industry, Moss hopes produce growers and the makers of other whole foods will have fun marketing their goods, as processed foods titans have, rather than preaching. Moss worked with an ad agency to test this fun-first approach, and developed a marketing campaign for the much-loathed vegetable, broccoli. Taking a page out of the processed food industry’s handbook, the campaign was built on a fictitious brand battle, pitting broccoli against kale, the trendy vegetable of the moment. One ad from the campaign read: “Broccoli: Now 43 percent less pretentious than kale.”

During his visit to campus, Moss also spoke with a group of 25 food systems students. He seemed to speak to them as he ended his talk with a call for exposing the truth behind the things we eat. “We have to take an investigative reporting approach to food systems.”

-Andrea Estey is a writer and digital content strategist for the University of Vermont. 

 

Trading Aspirin for Asparagus: A Prescription for Healthy Food

By Charlie Mitchell

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Do you believe this old saying? If we, as a state, ate a healthier diet, would we experience fewer issues, and probably spend a lot less on healthcare?

If that logic follows, shouldn’t we be trading Cortlands for Cortisone? Asparagus for aspirin?

The rubber is starting to hit the road on state-wide healthcare reform. With an increasing focus on keeping populations healthy through preventative and holistic care, hunger and food systems advocates are finding willing partners in doctors and hospitals.

As the debate rages on over healthcare and the immense cost of preventable diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, we should consider a simple paradox. This was pointed out to me in a conversation with Katy Davis, Hunger Free Vermont’s Nutrition Education Outreach Manager:

While 98 percent of children in Vermont have access to healthcare, 14 percent live in food insecure households.

What does this say about the way our system functions (or fails)? What can doctors do to treat our diet-related disease if we can’t afford to buy the food we need to stay healthy? As Davis says,“if you don’t have access to enough food for a healthy life, that’s going to directly impact your health as well as future outcomes.”

So what can doctors do to help patients who might be hungry? Since 2010, Children’s Health Watch, a national advocate, has been working to introduce the Hunger Vital Sign™ to as many communities as possible. It’s two simple questions that provide a pulse on whether a family is struggling with food insecurity.

Since 2011, Hunger Free Vermont has encouraged health providers to incorporate this screening, which takes all of two minutes, into their normal routine. They’ve developed a strong relationship with UVM Medical Center, who has embraced this practice wholeheartedly, and much of Davis’ time is spent training medical personnel in every corner of the system to use this technique and help them understand what to do next.

When a doctor determines that a patient may be struggling with food insecurity, there are many ways to address the problem. Ideally, they can be referred to a one-on-one case manager or social worker that can meet with the patient separately and provide support in accessing all of the community resources available. This could be as simple as locating the nearest food shelf, identifying a transportation issue, or enrolling in government programs, such as SNAP or WIC.

A Health Care Share and Prescription for Healthy Food

Medical centers are also partnering with nonprofits pioneering the “Health Care Share” across the state, a program that provides families who suffer from diet-related illness with free weekly vegetables during Vermont’s growing season. Vermont Youth Conservation Corps has been the main coordinator of the program, and now six health communities are distributing a total of over 500 shares every year.

Charlotte Sullivan, a Bristol resident and Health Care Share recipient at the Mountain Health Center, is very grateful for the program. Since her income had changed recently, she had been forced to adapt her shopping habits by opting for cheaper vegetables and cutting back on fruit. “Now I can afford to eat the way I want to eat,” she said at a pickup in September.

It means a lot to her that her doctors value healthy eating as much as she does. She does believe that regular vegetable doses are “medicinal” and a “necessity,” and she’s gratified that the system is starting to value these as much as other over-the-counter medications. Community and connection are important to putting the “care” in healthcare. “I feel healed already,” she told me, smiling with her box of produce in her arms.

These programs hope to amass the data to prove that fresh food is a better medicine than pharmaceuticals, so that insurance companies will pitch in to make healthy food access a reality through healthcare coverage.

If the capacity for follow-up within the medical community is more limited, there are many other community resources doctors can direct patients to. United Way’s 2-1-1 hotline provides 24-7 support with a variety of issues, and Hunger Free Vermont’s vermontfoodhelp.com is a widely-used online resource to help people access the benefits they qualify for.

Because health providers are some of our most trusted personal and community relationships, they may be the first touch point for someone who needs help.

“You can’t tell by what someone’s wearing or what kind of car they’re driving what’s going on with someone,” Davis says. This is why she feels strongly about “habituating folks to that [screening] process” and “not only asking the folks who you think might be struggling, but really asking everyone.”

The momentum is building. UVM School of Medicine’s Vermont Child Health Improvement Program (VCHIP) spearheads a network of 49 medical providers called CHAMP (Child Health Advances Measured in Practice) that are taking on the two-item hunger screening as well as a screening for parental depression as their main focus this year. The nine-month project should yield important data across a huge swath of providers about the efficacy and complications of the screening process.

As the national healthcare debate rages on in Washington, to the dismay of many who believe that progress is being undone, Davis reminds us that as a state, “we are on the train to integrated care,” and “Vermont is going to move in that direction anyway.”

She seems to be right.

“There’s no stopping us from being pioneers in that regard,” she says. “There’s definitely a lot of ground to be covered still,” but for now, “full steam ahead, we have to keep moving.”

-Charlie Mitchell is studying Food Systems at Middlebury College. He is on the management team of Middlebury Foods and serves on the board of ACORN, the Addison County Relocalization Network.

Learn about UVM’s Master of Public Health Online Program

Author Michael Moss to Speak at UVM Aiken Lecture Nov. 1

Best-selling author and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael Moss will be the keynote speaker at the 2017 George D. Aiken Lecture Series on Nov. 1 at the UVM Ira Allen Chapel.

Moss is the author of the New York Times’ bestseller, “Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us.” His writing focuses on the food industry in context of health, safety, nutrition, politics, marketing, corporate interests, and the power of individuals to gain control of what and how they eat.

uvm Aiken lecture

“Some of the most profitable food companies of the last half century are knowingly manipulating salt, sugar, and fat to addict us to their products. And it’s working,” Moss says. “The industry rakes in a trillion dollars a year. Meanwhile, one in three adults, and one in five kids, is clinically obese, and the total economic cost of this health crisis is approaching $300 billion a year.”

At UVM, he will share how food scientists are manipulating the chemical structure of products, and how companies are adapting marketing techniques from tobacco companies. Moss will offer an objective and sweeping take of the problems, and the many solutions.

Moss is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter formerly with the New York Times, keynote speaker and occasional guest on shows like CBS This Morning, Dr. Oz, CNN, and The Daily Show. He has been a reporter at The Wall Street Journal and an adjunct professor at the Columbia School of Journalism. He continues to report on the processed food industry and is currently at work on “HOOKED: Food and Free Will,” for Random House.

The UVM Aiken Lecture Series

The University of Vermont’s George D. Aiken Lectures are a permanent tribute to the former Dean of the United States Senate and Governor of Vermont for his many years of service to the people of the state and nation. Supported by an endowment created by George and Lola Aiken and held annually at the University of Vermont, the lectures, which began in 1975, provide a platform for distinctive views on critical American issues and is the University’s major annual public-policy forum. The tradition of keeping the Aiken Lectures free and open to the public endures.

The lecture series will stress four areas of public service for which Senator Aiken is best known, namely, foreign and public affairs, energy and the environment, food systems and health, and economic development for the purpose of making Vermont, the nation and the world a better place to live and work.  There will be an annual rotation of these topic areas by the corresponding College at the University: Arts and Sciences, Agriculture and Life Sciences, Engineering and Mathematical Science, Education and Social Services, Environment and Natural Resources, Nursing and Health Sciences, Medicine, and the Grossman School of Business Administration.

The Aiken Lecture Series will be at the UVM Ira Allen Chapel at 5:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Parking is available at the UVM Gutterson Garage. Visit learn.uvm.edu/aiken to learn more.

 

Mongolia: The Great Wall of China, Traditional Mongolian Medicine and Cultural Immersion

Introduction toAugust_1994_81 the culturally appropriate and sustainable, integrated health system of Traditional Mongolian Medicine in Mongolia (TMM) and Cultural Immersion. Didactic content  includes the history of Mongolia. an introduction to TMM; examination of historical, environmental, social, and political forces that impact the health of Mongolians. Study includes visits to the Institute of Traditional Mongolian Medicine, Lake Khuvsgul to study the specific health care needs of the Tsaatan, ethnic reindeer herders of the north and to the Altai Mountains of the west to study the health care needs of the Kazakh nomads who hunt with trained Golden  Eagles. Community, family and individual health will be observed in urban and rural settings.

 

 

 

 

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A Birthing Doula Shares the Significance of End of Life Care

Birth doula Francesca Arnoldy realized the power of end of life care when her grandfather was dying at his home in Massachusetts. During his final days, his wife and primary caregiver—Arnoldy’s grandmother—was sleep-deprived, scared, and emotional.

end of life doula program

Francesca Arnoldy

“I went to Massachusetts to see my grandfather, and I didn’t realize how close he was to dying until I got there,” says Arnoldy, who graduated from UVM in 2003. “I immediately jumped into my doula role so my grandmother could get some sleep. I kept a one-woman vigil and read him poetry and talked to him on a spiritual level.”

Her grandfather died the following morning surrounded by his family. “It was an eye-opening experience, and I was blown away how similar it felt to the sacred space of birthing,” Arnoldy says. “With the right end of life care, I realized that people can find a sense of peace, comfort, and trust.”

Arnoldy eventually spearheaded the development of UVM’s new online, eight-week End of Life Doula Professional Certificate Program and is also the lead facilitator of the program.  Developed in association with the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine, UVM Continuing and Distance Education, and Cabot Creamery, the program will start in September.

A graduate of the UVM College of Education and Social Services Human Development and Family Studies Program, Arnoldy lives in Hinesburg with her husband and two children. She pursues a number of endeavors, including birth work as a certified labor doula and childbirth educator.

After her grandfather’s death, she completed training programs in hospice and end of life care, extending her focus beyond the childbearing years to support peaceful and personalized end of life care.

The Role of a Doula

Doulas empower clients, ease anxieties, and help ensure people’s days are lived fully and that time spent is personally affirming and meaningful.  Similar to birth doulas, end of life doulas are non-medical professionals who offer support and provide caregiver relief.

“The work is different for each client. Doulas can sense who needs support, who needs a break, and who needs to talk,” Arnoldy says. “We’re also dedicated to honoring the goals of the clients.”

The new UVM program is designed to prepare graduates to meet the growing demand for end of life support and teaching essential skills to assist clients with compassionate care, including emotional, spiritual, informational, and physical support.  These services complement the care provided by family members and other palliative and hospice professionals.

“Death matters. It’s a meaningful, emotionally-complex, natural part of life. Doulas understand the importance of the experience, for the person dying and for those being left behind,” she says. “Those who have felt well-supported and find closure with a loved one’s death talk about the experience with reverence, even through their grief and pain. Doulas can provide a hand to hold, a listening ear, and nonjudgmental, compassionate understanding during the dying process—aiding comfort, relieving anxiety, while helping to shift our culture’s fear of death into empowerment.”

Learn more about the UVM End of Life Doula Professional Certificate.

UVM Is: Jean Harvey Mentoring the Next Generation of Nutrition and Food Professionals

A one-credit elective opened Professor Jean Harvey’s eyes to the world of nutrition.

While pursuing a biology degree at Penn State in the 1980s, Professor Harvey enrolled in a one-credit nutrition course. It wasn’t long before she switched majors and decided to focus her studies on nutrition instead.

Professor Harvey, a registered dietitian with a doctorate in epidemiology, began teaching at UVM in 1991 and chairs the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences. She talked to UVM Continuing and Distance Education about how nutrition and food sciences have changed over the past 25 years, the rewards of mentoring students, and her advice to recent graduates.

What was the focus of nutrition sciences when you first started teaching at UVM?

When I first came to UVM in 1991, nutrition was mostly focused on dietetics and it was very clinically focused. If you weren’t studying to be a dietitian, you could study nutrition science to learn things like how nutrients are metabolized, or what a deficiency looks like at a cellular level. At the time, the public’s interest in nutrition was mostly about how to read a nutrition facts table or how to follow a vegetarian diet. It was really basic nutrition education back then. Students were focused on clinical nutrition to address things like eating disorders, and there was a growing interest in sports medicine.

How has the UVM Nutrition and Food Sciences Program evolved?

Now our program is much broader. We are a community-based program, and students do most of their clinical work and internships in the community. Students are focused more on food and social justice, and they are looking more at hunger issues than eating disorders. Students want to know where their food comes from, and they want to know about things like preservatives and additives.  We have a lot more students interested in food science who want to work in the food industry.

What are some of the greatest rewards of your career?

For me, it’s mentoring the students.  I’ve also had the good fortune of working with graduate students who have pushed me and helped me see things from different perspectives. My work makes me feel like we’re accomplishing something, and we’re sending out students—our ambassadors—to make the world a better place.

How and why do UVM students make you hopeful for the future?

I find some of my students to be very entrepreneurial. We’re teaching them to be critical thinkers and to think outside of the box to help address issues like food shortages and how climate change will affect our food. There are so many problems out there, and we want our students to have hands-on, experiential learning so they can experience real nutrition and food issues happening in everyday life.

What have students taught you?

The students at UVM have shaped who I am. I’ve also learned that all students are different and each one has a unique set of strengths and challenges. As a professor, I wish we had more time to spend with students to truly understand who they are as people.

What advice would you give students once they earn their degree?

Keep your options open for as long as possible. Go out and get some experience, and figure out what path you want to follow.

-Our “UVM Is” series celebrates University faculty, educators, and the campus community.

To learn more, visit UVM Continuing and Distance Education at learn.uvm.edu.

 

What Kind of Care Do Patients Want at the End of Life?

What happens when there’s nothing more a doctor can do? A new wave of research sheds light on what patients want at the end of life.

Despite increasing awareness that more care isn’t necessarily better care at the end of life, many Americans still receive significant medical care in their final days. On average, patients make 29 visits to the doctor’s office in their last six months, according to a recent article in the New York Times, We’re Bad at Death. Can We Talk?

“In their last month alone, half of Medicare patients go to an emergency department, one-third are admitted to an I.C.U., and one-fifth will have surgery — even though 80 percent of patients say they hope to avoid hospitalization and intensive care at the end of life,” the Times reports.

In addition, “Many of the palliative care programs that do exist are underfunded and understaffed. And the availability of services remains uneven across the United States: Nearly 90 percent of hospitals in New England have palliative care services compared with about 40 percent in the South. According to the Center to Advance Palliative Care, essentially all hospitals in Vermont, New Hampshire and Montana have a palliative care team, but only a third in Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi do.”

UVM is establishing a new End of Life Care Doula Professional Certificate to fill this growing health care need. End-of-life doulas complement the work provided by palliative care professionals and hospice professionals, providing care for patients in hospitals, senior care facilities, and homes.  End-of-life doulas support clients with compassionate care in a number of ways, including emotional, spiritual, informational, and physical support, which greatly helps to ease the burdens faced by both the client and the family.

Read The York Times story, We’re Bad at Death. Can We Talk?

Learn about UVM’s End of Life Doula Professional Certificate Program

Jan Carney Weighs in on the Merits of Online Public Health Education

Professor Jan Carney, MD, MPH, associate dean for Public Health at the Robert Larner MD College of Medicine at UVM, talks about the power of online public health education in an interview with healthgrad.com.

The California-based website, which covers health care employment, asked Dr. Carney about whether online Master of Public Health degrees are as worthwhile as traditional MPH degrees.

Dr. Carney, who leads UVM Master of Public Health online program, says online education is tremendously valuable.

“Actually, with the growth and availability of new teaching technologies, our experience is that many students find substantial advantages in the online MPH environment. They have the flexibility to work while completing their studies,” she says. “In addition, they have the benefit of being able to find relevant public health experiences, as a part of the curriculum, wherever they live and not just in the physical location of the academic program. Students are generally more engaged in online learning and our faculty are creative and experienced teachers.”

The 42-credit online graduate program at UVM gives students the opportunity to explore public health and policy issues while gaining a strong foundation in population health sciences.

This program is ideal for students who want to learn more about:

  • Environmental public health
  • Social and behavioral sciences in public health
  • Public health law and ethics
  • Epidemiology

As far as what students can gain from UVM’s online Master of Public Health program, Dr. Carney says, “Learning about policy and advocacy is also an important part of our program and crucial to health improvements in many areas. Gaining a population perspective from the study of public health affords students the opportunity to develop the academic and practical skills needed to really make a difference in health, whether in communities, states, or entire countries.”

Read the full story on healthgrad.com.

Learn more about the UVM Master of Public Health Program.

 

 

The Rise of Tick-Borne Illnesses in Vermont

Summer is officially here, and that means tick season is in full swing in Vermont.

For the past decade, Lyme disease has been on the rise in New England. When the Vermont Health Department started tracking the disease in 1990, they found only 14 cases in the state, according to Bradley Tompkins, an infectious disease specialist.

In 2015, nearly 500 people caught Lyme disease in Vermont, and the state had the highest incidence of Lyme disease in the United States that year.

The rate of tick-borne diseases tends to decrease the farther north you go, says Tompkins, who teaches a Public Health Informatics course at UVM.  Vermont can expect to see anywhere from 400 to 600 cases this year, he says.

Higher Rates in Southern Vermont and Lake Champlain Valley

Bennington County near the Massachusetts border has the highest incidence of tick-borne illnesses in Vermont, including Lyme and Anaplasmosis, which can be fatal if not treated properly.

“There is a northward southward trend we see,” he says. “The three southern Vermont counties, Rutland, Windham, and Windsor, have high rates, but as you gradually move north you start to see a decrease, with the exception of the Lake Champlain Valley.”

Meanwhile, the Northeast Kingdom has a low rate of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. But it’s only a matter of time before the region catches up with the rest of the state. Because of changing weather patterns and warmer winters, it wouldn’t surprise Tompkins if the incidence of Lyme disease increases in the Northeast Kingdom over the next decade, especially because the region’s habitat and large deer population are desirable for ticks.

“Ticks don’t like colder temperatures because it decreases their ability to survive,” Tompkins says. “If it’s very cold but there is a lot of snow cover, that can insulate and protect ticks. A bad winter for ticks means that it’s very cold but there’s not a lot of snow. Due to the emerging weather trends we’re seeing in northern New England, the disease is creeping north.”

 Tick-Borne Illnesses in Vermont ‘Here to Stay’

Tick season typically starts in mid-April and extends through November, with peak activity happening in late May and early June. Tompkins says there is a lull in late summer and early fall, but it picks up again in October and November.

“Until there is a vaccine or method of wide-scale control of tick-borne pathogens, personal prevention is the only tool in our toolbox,” Tompkins says. “Tick-borne diseases are here to stay in the state. Nothing is 100 percent effective in terms of prevention, so it’s important to be vigilant after spending time outdoors.”

 Tips from the Vermont Department of Health

  • Take extra precautions in May, June and July, and later in October and November when ticks come out for one last meal before winter. This is when most infections occur.
  • If you do enter a tick area, walk in the center of the trail to avoid contact with overgrown grass, brush and leaf litter.
  • Wear long pants, long sleeves and long socks.
  • Tuck pant legs into socks or boots and tuck shirts into pants to keep ticks on the outside of your clothing.
  • Light-colored clothing will help you spot ticks more easily.
  • Remember that ticks prefer wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.

Learn more about tick season and prevention

Learn about UVM’s Master of Public Health Program.

Lynn Sipsey Finds Herself Drawn to the Art and Science of Medicine

 Lynn Sipsey, right, during a summer global health trip to Vietnam in 2015.

Medical student Lynn Sipsey was studying to become a scientific illustrator when she decided to shift gears and pursue a career in medicine. Lynn, who completed the UVM Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program and is now a student at the Larner College of Medicine at UVM, talks about the rewards of medicine and the power of empathy.

You majored in fine arts and scientific illustration and minored in biology as an undergraduate. How did you make the leap from art to medicine?

When I started my undergraduate program, I was certain that I would ultimately go to a graduate medical illustration program. Medicine wasn’t even on the radar. However, by the time I had finished my degree, I had taken more biology courses than were required and accidentally minored in biology. I found that to become a better scientific illustrator, a thorough understanding of the subjects was required.

What drew you to medicine?

As I spent more and more time learning those foundational concepts, I realized how much I loved biology. After some time working as an illustrator, I knew that I loved the educational aspect of the work, but I never really got to see the direct impact of my work. Sitting in a studio drawing all day was wonderful, but it did not feel gratifying—I still wanted to use my knowledge base to educate, to make meaningful connections, and be able to see the impact of my work in people’s lives.

What kind of illustrations did you create?

My portfolio has a wide breadth of subject matter, style, and medium. I had made model eggs for the Birds of Vermont Museum, had a diagram published in a scientific journal, and had collaborated with a ceramic artist who bought the rights to some botanical illustrations.

Why did you choose UVM?

I grew up in Lincoln, Vermont. As a scientific illustration major, medical school didn’t seem like a possibility, but I had several wonderful mentors that encouraged me to consider it.  When looking up post-bac programs, UVM was at the top of my list. The in-state tuition can’t be ignored, but also I had read about the quality of the advisors in the program, and knew of several of the students that went on to the Larner College of Medicine at UVM. When entering the program, I wasn’t sure whether I was interested in a PA, RN, NP,MD, or DO track. I liked that UVM’s program had flexibility and that I was able to tailor my schedule to my goals as they became clearer.

What are some similarities between illustration and medicine?

Though many see art and science as a dichotomy, my experience has shown they are two interdependent entities. Scientific innovation is not possible without creative thinking, and artistic expression wanes without observation and the scientific method. Both scientific illustration and medicine seek to reach similar goals: to use scientific knowledge and artistic skill to repair nature’s deficits, and to create a more “ideal” specimen. A large part of medicine is observation. The patient’s story is the single best tool for diagnosis, followed by physical exam. Both of these are tools that can be carried further with astute observation and directed inquiry.

Tell us about your respite caregiver internship at Howard Center in Burlington.

I was working as a respite care giver for the developmentally disabled. Serving a diverse client population—ranging from those in need of total personal care, and medication administration, to sex offenders and individuals requiring behavioral modification—was a rich and challenging experience. I practiced being present, compassionate, and patient. My belief in the inherent worth and dignity of every individual and the human capacity for growth and development became a clear value. I found the art of medicine. Like my studio practice, there is no absolute protocol to reaching a solution, each situation and subject must be regarded with the utmost care. Acute awareness, empathy, and understanding must be brought to each client every day.

What do you enjoy most about being a medical student at UVM?

Active learning and integration are really emphasized in the curriculum here. Many of the faculty are genuinely invested in student wellness and quality of education provided to us.

What do you find most rewarding about medicine?
It is a privilege to be present in difficult times in people’s lives, it is an even greater privilege to be in a position to help people through these times. I also really love patient education—just taking the time to make sure the patient actually understands what will be happening to them and why. Education empowers patients to take better care of themselves and make decisions that make the most sense for them.

Learn about the UVM Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program.

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