Program Overview

The Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship at the University of Vermont Medical Center is a close-knit, academically rigorous program which aims to foster the development of excellent academic neonatologists through an emphasis on clinical care of critically ill newborns, research, and teaching.  

To meet this aim, we provide a comprehensive three-year curriculum comprised of both didactic and experiential learning. Fellows are expected to think critically and gain expertise in scholarly activity during throughout their training. Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine and Larner College of Medicine faculty work with fellows to establish a Scholarship Oversight Committee and delineate a research plan during the first year of training.  Additional faculty from Vermont Oxford Network (VON) and the Cochrane Collaboration provide direct mentoring and teaching.  Our fellows participate extensively in their own quality improvement projects, as well as those through the division and VON. Fellows participate in education about evidence-based medicine and become authors on Cochrane Neonatal Reviews. As a small fellowship training program, scholarly activity is individualized to meet each fellow’s career and research goals. Fellows in our program are actively engaged in clinical, translational, and global health research in Vermont and throughout the world.  Along with the American Board of Pediatrics we support fellow involvement in global health research, and we work in close collaboration with VON and other non-profit organizations directed at improving health for neonates around the world.

Close mentoring with attending physicians allows for an emphasis on high-quality, evidence-based healthcare. Our rural setting allows for unique experiences with neonatal developmental and medical follow-up as well as transport medicine. Our program has the strength of bigger academic centers but the ability to work one-on-one with attendings who are nationally and internationally known. Upon completion of the program, fellows are-prepared for both academic and non-academic careers in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine.

A Brief History of Our Program

The NICU at the University of Vermont was established in the early 1960’s by Dr. Jerold F. Lucey, one of the fathers of modern Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. The importance of regionalization, particularly in a rural state like Vermont, proved life-saving and visionary. Although a small program, the University Of Vermont Division Of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine has made a large contribution to the field.

As a pioneer in neonatal care, Professor Lucey was known for the seminal work regarding the use of phototherapy to prevent kernicterus in infants with jaundice. Dr. Lucey was responsible for the introduction of transcutaneous oxygen monitoring which was also able to demonstrate the physiologic effects associated with handling of these infants and became one of the seminal articles in understanding developmental care. He also helped organize many of the first clinical trials of surfactant in the prevention and treatment of respiratory distress syndrome. After the early surfactant trials, the University of Vermont was an original member of the NICHD Neonatal Network and afterwards went on to form the Vermont Oxford Network, a voluntary collaboration of neonatal intensive care units formed to improve the care of newborns worldwide. Currently, with over 1,200 members, faculty member Professor Jeffrey Horbar runs what has become the premier network in quality for newborn care. 

Currently at the UVM Medical Center NPM Fellowship 

The 29-bed NICU is the only level III unit in Vermont. Renovations to create a single room-based unit are in the planning stage, with a goal to support exemplary family-centered care and high staff satisfaction. The division includes six board-certified neonatologists, three NPM fellows, and ten advanced practice providers. Our neonatal-perinatal subspecialty fellowship training program is directed by Deirdre O’Reilly, MD, MPH. In addition to heading the NPM fellowship, Dr. O’Reilly is implementing real-time telemedicine consultations at community hospitals to help assess newborn infants at risk for hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. Dr. Charles Mercier is Chief of the Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics.  He has led efforts to create follow-up of extremely low birth weight infants in VON and continues this work in efforts to organize the region to improve the quality of follow-up care. Roger Soll, MD, remains editor of the Cochrane Neonatal Collaborative Review Group and president and director of clinical trials at VON. This group has created systematic reviews of over 300 clinical problems and published these reviews on the NICHD website. As director of global health at VON, Danielle Ehret, MD, MPH, has developed a database for resource-limited settings. On the leadership team for the NIH-supported Advancing Clinical Trials in Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome Collaborative, Leslie Young, MD, serves as principal investigator for a multicenter clinical trial assessing a new regional care model for neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome management. In addition to her time in the NICU, Whittney Barkhuff, MD, PhD, follows high-risk patients in the NeoMed clinic after discharge. Her academic interests also include the emotional well-being of parents with children in the NICU and infants with complex genetic disorders.