Michael LaMantia, M.D., M.P.H., Rosemary Dale, Ed.D., A.P.R.N., and Robert Gramling, M.D. pose with Holly and Bob Miller (Photo: Dave Seaver)
More than 150 people gathered for a formal investiture ceremony honoring the University of Vermont’s newest endowed faculty members and recognizing the donors who made the positions possible on August 21, 2018 at the UVM Alumni House. Michael LaMantia, M.D., M.P.H., was invested as the inaugural Holly and Bob Miller Chair in Memory and Aging and Rosemary Dale, Ed.D., A.P.R.N., was invested as the first Holly and Bob Miller Professor in Nursing Leadership.
Holly and Bob Miller – respected Vermont philanthropists and longtime supporters of healthcare in the Burlington area – have made a $6 million gift to UVM to permanently endow three faculty positions. The Miller Chair in Memory and Aging will focus on issues related to memory and aging, the Miller Professor in Nursing Leadership will advance the field of nursing leadership; a third will address clinical practice in nursing. Counting this most recent gift, the Millers are the largest contributors to Move Mountains: The Campaign for the University of Vermont who are residents of Vermont, and the third largest contributors overall.
LaMantia is a nationally-recognized expert in the care of older adults, particularly those with cognitive impairments such as Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias. A board-certified internist and geriatrician, as well as a fellow of the American Geriatrics Society, LaMantia was recruited to UVM in 2016 from the faculty of the Indiana University School of Medicine as associate professor of medicine and neurological sciences and head of geriatric medicine and was appointed director of the Center on Aging in December 2017.
“Dr. LaMantia is a quintessential physician-scientist,” said Rick Morin, dean of UVM’s Larner College of Medicine. “His research is grounded in the experiences of his patients and his desire to make those experiences better.”
LaMantia oversees a robust research program that focuses on how older adults – particularly those with dementia and delirium – are cared for in the emergency department. This work fits into his larger effort to understand the healthcare delivery challenges that face vulnerable seniors and apply evidence-based solutions to these problems, an area of his research currently funded by the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health. LaMantia also serves as the medical director for Long-Term Care Services at the UVM Medical Center. In all his roles, he works with community, University, state, and clinical care partners to improve the health and well-being of older adults across Vermont and the northern New York.
Dale, who is chair of the Department of Nursing in the UVM College of Nursing and Health Sciences, has been associated with UVM since 1976. She spent twenty-five years as the Chief Nursing Officer at the University of Vermont Medical Center, ten years as dean of the School of Nursing at UVM, and twelve years in private practice at Vermont Internal Medicine. She returned to UVM full-time in September 2010 to assume her current position. In 2014, Dale launched the Appletree Bay Nurse Practitioner Primary Care Clinic in Burlington. This College of Nursing and Health Sciences faculty practice provides healthcare to thousands of local residents and serves as an educational venue for graduate students and others. Dale has served on numerous boards in the community including at Champlain College, United Way of Chittenden County, Mater Christi School, Vermont Catholic Charities, Visiting Nurses of Chittenden and Grand Isle, and the Vermont Health Foundation. The American Association of Nurse Practitioners named her the Vermont Nurse Practitioner of the Year in 2016.
“By establishing one of only a handful of nurse practitioner-led faculty practices in the country, Dr. Dale is helping pioneer a model that can improve access to health care at a time when we are challenged by a shortage of primary-care providers, particularly in rural communities,” said Patty Prelock, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.
“Endowed professorships and chairs are incredibly important for recruiting and retaining the best thinkers, the most creative researchers, and the most effective teachers,” observed UVM President Tom Sullivan. “These exceptional faculty members in turn create a dynamic and engaging academic environment that attracts outstanding students to UVM.” Since the beginning of the Move Mountains campaign, donors have created sixty-three new endowed faculty positions at the University.
In addition to the professorship and chair created by their most recent giving, the Millers have previously endowed the Holly and Bob Miller Chair in Palliative Medicine in the Larner College of Medicine at UVM, and donated a large commercial property to the UVM Medical Center. In recognition of the latter, the Medical Center has named in their honor its new inpatient facility that is currently under construction and expected to open next summer.
Beginning in 2019, the UVM Academic Health Sciences – including the Medical Center, the Larner College of Medicine, and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences – will host an annual “Miller Day” that will bring together leaders in the medical fields where the Millers have directed their philanthropic investments, in particular palliative care, nursing, and memory and aging.
UVM Foundation President and CEO Shane Jacobson said “Thanks to Holly and Bob’s farsighted generosity, UVM will always have world-class specialists to help address one of the most significant and enduring questions of our modern society: how do we best care for one another, especially as we age? We are so grateful to them.”
Find more information about the University of Vermont Foundation.
(This article was adapted from a press release produced by Ben Yousey-Hindes of the UVM Foundation.)