Giving Newsletter September 2019

Giving - Making a Difference

Giving Newsletter
Hope Brayton | Photo Credit: Patrick Judeinstein

The Power of Palliative Care: A Daughter’s Testimony

Within 24 hours of my 83 year-old father's car accident, a palliative care team visited him in the ICU at UVM Medical Center. His comments, along with his Do Not Resuscitate order, triggered their visit. I did not know what palliative care, other than at the end of life, could be. I now believe it is the future of modern medicine.
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Philanthropy seeded the incredible growth of palliative medicine at UVM Medical Center and its transformative offerings for patients, families and caregivers. At the helm is Bob Gramling, MD, DSc, who in 2016 became the inaugural holder of the Holly and Bob Miller Endowed Chair in Palliative Medicine and chief of the new Division of Palliative Medicine. Holly and Bob’s gift to establish the endowed professorship supports palliative medical education, clinical care and research.

To learn more or make a gift, contact Yael Friedman at (802) 656-4306 or Yael.Friedman [at]
Micah Dudash

Creating Meaningful Moments for Families at End-of-Life

There are few things as precious as the bond between a young child and their caregiver. For a parent facing an end-stage cancer diagnosis, the thought of disrupting that bond is intensely painful. Ali Waltien, MA, CCLS, one of eight child life specialists at the UVM Medical Center, has launched a pilot program called the Legacy Project to offer caregivers a way to preserve their connection with their child or children.

Ali works with husband-and-wife team Micah and Kelly Dudash to offer professional photography sessions and videos that document anything and everything the caregiver wants to share. “It’s a very powerful experience to be a part of,” says Ali. “We make it a conversation, asking the parent about their child’s birth, their favorite memories, what has brought them happiness in life.” The Legacy Project is funded by a grant from the Victoria Buffum Endowment Fund, established in 2002 to augment programs that enhance care delivery for Hematology/Oncology Clinic patients and families.

The Legacy Project is an important part of Ali’s mission of supporting and empowering children who are going through a stressful medical experience, whether their own or a loved one’s: “These photos and videos give children access to a parent or grandparent after they’re gone. It’s not the same as having them here in person, of course, but it’s a way to maintain that connection and give them a sense of who their caregiver was, even if they aren’t old enough to remember them clearly.” It’s another way that the UVM Medical Center cares for adults, too—participating in the program gives patients a sense of control during what can be a chaotic time. In Ali’s experience, “It’s cathartic to have their love for their child or grandchild immortalized.”

Ali’s goal is to someday give access to this program to anyone who is interested. She says, “We’re limited by cost because professional-grade videography is so expensive, but we never, ever want to turn anyone away.”

To learn more about the Buffum Fund or to make a gift to support the expansion of the Legacy Project, please contact Ginger Lubkowitz at (802) 656-3849 or Ginger.Lubkowitz [at]
Ned Rimer ’83 (bottom row, center) and UVM Rescue Members

Philanthropy Helps Save Lives and Shape Leaders

For many college students, squeezing in a part-time job is a challenge. For the students of UVM Rescue, putting in 40 hours or more a week—unpaid—is a calling.

UVM Rescue is an Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulance that’s fully staffed and operated, on a volunteer basis, by UVM students. After an intensive three-month training period to become Vermont-certified EMTs, many squad members go on to reach the Advanced EMT level, enabling them to administer medications, initiate IV therapy, and perform advanced airway procedures. Twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, the squad is ready to respond to medical emergencies or structure fires on campus and beyond, providing backup to surrounding towns and standing by to assist at community and athletic events.

Intense training and high-pressure situations lead to tight bonds among the squad members. Alumni of the program come back yearly for reunions, and many of them give back financially to support the program.

Ned Rimer ’83 is one of those alumni. At his graduation, he interrupted his processional to respond, in cap and gown, to a man in cardiac arrest. Now a professor of Health Sector Management at Boston University, Rimer calls his time with UVM Rescue “a pivotal part of my UVM education. I developed my confidence, empathy, creativity, and leadership while responding to medical emergencies throughout the Burlington area, and I am eternally grateful to UVM and the belief it has in its students.”

Gifts from Ned and others supply everything from upgraded Power Load stretchers to uniforms and CPR training kits…and the impact of their generosity is lasting, as squad members graduate and go on to volunteer in other communities. Ned supports UVM Rescue because he knows “it is doing remarkable work in the UVM community while also shaping future leaders.”

To learn more or make a gift to UVM Rescue, contact Deb Dever at (802) 656-3416 or Deborah.Dever [at]
Debra Leonard, MD, PhD; Mark Fung, MD, PhD; Rick Page, MD

Investing in Excellence

Their careers at the UVM Larner College of Medicine started a half-century apart, but Mark Fung, MD, PhD, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, shares a special connection with the late Roy and Lorraine Korson: on August 5, he was invested as the inaugural Roy Korson, MD and Lorraine Korson, MS Green & Gold Professor of Pathology.

Dr. Fung, like the Korsons, has a deep commitment to improving the lives of patients and their families. He’s a nationally recognized expert in transfusion medicine—making blood transfusions and organ transplants safer and studying the effectiveness of stem cell infusions—and is known for his dedication to teaching and mentoring medical students, researchers and residents.

Those same values were the bedrock of the Korsons’ life and work. They met as undergraduates in their native Philadelphia in the 1940s, and settled in Burlington when Roy began his career at UVM in 1949. After serving in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during the Korean War, Roy resumed his work in clinical pathology, studying the origins of cancer, while teaching in the Pathology Department. Lorraine, who received her master’s in zoology, authored or co-authored many papers on cellular metabolism as a researcher here in the Departments of Biochemistry and Pathology.

Debra Leonard, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Pathology, describes Dr. Fung as “a quintessential clinician-scientist. His research is grounded in the experiences of his patients and his desire to make those experiences better.” Dr. Fung is a recognized clinical leader, currently serving as director of the HLA/Histocompatibility Laboratory and the Stem Cell Processing Laboratory.

An endowed professorship is a great honor for a faculty member, but it represents more than professional accolades. The Korsons’ transformational gift will provide enduring support for Dr. Fung’s work and ensure that the Larner College of Medicine will be home to exceptional pathologists for years to come.

See a complete list of Larner’s endowed professors and chairs here.

Fundraising Fun on the Fairway

To spin or not to spin? Golfers who reached the 12th hole of the UVM Children’s Hospital Annual Golf Classic were confronted with the Wheel of Fortune/Misfortune. Those who bought a spin could win an automatic hole in one…or end up having to tee off with a child’s putter.

Tournament organizers didn’t need luck to ensure a successful day, though. Now in its 29th year, a loyal cadre of volunteers, players, and sponsors makes the tournament a winner. All told, their efforts raised $167,000 for the children’s hospital. “It’s an important event for us,” said Events Supervisor Jackie Woodwell. “Everyone who participates helps make the UVM Children’s Hospital not only more advanced in terms of research and technology, but also a more comfortable and welcoming place.”

With 48 teams in the mix this year, volunteers—many of whom were former patients or their family members—were crucial to keeping things running smoothly. “It’s humbling to have so many patients and families come back to help out,” says Jackie. “And we’re incredibly grateful to all our sponsors, from long-time lead sponsor Farrington Construction to our returning and first-time sponsors and our generous in-kind donors.”

Whether you’re a scratch golfer or can barely make it through a round of miniature golf, there’s a way for you to get involved with next year’s tournament. Says Jackie, “It’s a really fun way to support kids and families. All of the proceeds support the UVM Children’s Hospital, providing everything from cutting-edge equipment to gas cards and meal vouchers for families facing unexpected medical expenses.”

To learn more about UVM Children’s Hospital fundraising events, contact Jackie at (802) 656-4393 or Jackie.Woodwell [at]

Move Mountains Creates New Vistas

On June 30, the eight-year Move Mountains campaign officially came to a close. Throughout the campaign, gifts to the Academic Health Sciences have removed financial barriers for our learners; augmented academic and clinical excellence among our faculty; pushed scientific discovery forward; enhanced program support for patients and families; transformed our health care environment; and changed how medical education is conducted.

It’s truly extraordinary what can be accomplished when people with common interests and passions come together in support of a shared goal. Without our partnerships with you—our donors, colleagues and friends—these achievements would not have been possible.

Thank you.

“Patients at the hospital are also neighbors, families, friends and our children’s classmates. We are a closely connected community. Charitable giving to UVM Medical Center is an investment in the wellbeing of our entire community, which we are proud to be a part of.”
–Steve Leffler, MD, Interim President, UVM Medical Center

“It is powerful to see the extraordinary investment and dedication of our donors translate directly into new opportunities for our students, new pathways in our research, and new approaches in our teaching. Philanthropy is helping us prepare a generation of skilled, compassionate, socially responsible physicians who will help create a healthier world.”
–Rick Page, MD, Dean, UVM Larner College of Medicine

“Philanthropic support of UVM’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences during the campaign demonstrated how deeply beloved the College is and how central the nursing profession is to patient- and family-focused care. The College is well-positioned to play its important role in the national nursing landscape.”
–Scott Thomas, PhD, Interim Dean, UVM College of Nursing and Health Sciences
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University of Vermont Medical Center

Kevin McAteer
Chief Development Officer
Academic Health Sciences
111 Colchester Ave
Burlington, VT 05401
(802) 656-4469
Kevin.McAteer [at]
© 2019
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