(Image courtesy of Vermont Medical Society)
Four Larner College of Medicine faculty were honored recently at the Vermont Medical Society’s annual meeting, including Stephen Leffler, M.D., Frank Ittleman, M.D., Barbara Frankowski, M.D., M.P.H., and Eliot Nelson, M.D.
Leffler was named president of the 2,000-member Vermont Medical Society (VMS). A professor of surgery at the University of Vermont (UVM) and chief population health and quality officer for the UVM Health Network, Leffler is the former chief medical officer at the UVM Medical Center and a current board member for OneCare Vermont. In his role as president, he is responsible for leading the Society’s public policy efforts in Montpelier and Washington, D.C., focusing on the organization’s 2019 priorities, including bolstering prevention efforts for Vermont’s youth, supporting the practice of primary care, and reducing administrative burdens facing Vermont physician practices.
“This is both a great and a difficult time to be a physician in Vermont,” said Leffler. “Our state is routinely named as the healthiest in the country, physicians have a strong voice within our communities and we are starting to turn the tide on the opioid epidemic. At the same time, physicians face increasing data-collection pressures and social isolation, as we are busier than ever, yet seeing fewer patients. VMS can be a collective voice to our state to advocate for what our patients and practices need to be healthy and successful.”
After receiving his medical degree from UVM’s College of Medicine, Leffler completed residency training in emergency medicine at the University of New Mexico and then joined the UVM faculty in 1993. He later earned a Master of Health Care Delivery Science degree from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. Leffler also provides patient care in the UVM Medical Center’s Emergency Department and spends much of his time at partner hospitals in the UVM Health Network.
2018 VMS Award Recipients
Ittleman, a UVM professor of surgery in the division of cardiothoracic surgery, was awarded the Distinguished Service Award – the highest award VMS can bestow upon one of its members – in recognition of the exceptional impact he has had on his patients and his valuable contribution to the science and art of medicine in Vermont. Well-regarded for his decades of clinical service as an extraordinary cardiothoracic surgeon who saved the lives of countless Vermonters, he is also well known for his dedication to the healing arts through the written and spoken word, as well as through the visual arts. In recent years, he and his wife created the Lemon Fair Sculpture Garden in Shoreham, Vt., in order to bring joy and healing to Vermonters. Ittleman, who also serves as a faculty associate in development for the UVM Foundation, is a former director of the UVM division of cardiothoracic surgery and has served in numerous leadership positions during his extensive career at UVM. He earned his medical degree at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and began his career at Case Western Reserve University and other hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio, before joining the UVM faculty in 1980.
Frankowski, a UVM professor of pediatrics, was awarded the Physician of the Year Award, which is granted annually to a Vermont physician who has demonstrated: outstanding performance in the quality of care given to his/her patients; skillful and compassionate patient care; and, dedication to the welfare of his/her patients in accordance with accepted principles of good medical practice. Specifically, Frankowski was recognized for her exemplary service as a pediatrician, going far beyond the clinic walls into schools, homes and the communities of the children and families she serves. She established and led student health initiatives in the Burlington School District for decades, teaching youth about puberty, emotional health, the dangers of drugs and the importance of safer sex practices. Frankowski also created school-based health clinics in Burlington, allowing youth to be seen by a pediatrician where they spend the majority of their time. She has had a powerful impact on a local, state and national level while serving patient needs day to day.
Nelson, a UVM professor emeritus of pediatrics, was one of three recipients of a VMS Founders’ Award, which is presented to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, vision, and achievement in improving the health of Vermonters and all Americans. He and Governor Phil Scott and Senator Philip Baruth were recognized for excellent service to the people of Vermont in their role in advancing landmark gun violence prevention legislation in Vermont. Nelson was honored for his deep caring for the youth of Vermont and his staunch, consistent advocacy for firearm injury prevention.
For more information about the Vermont Medial Society, visit www.VTMD.org.
(This article was adapted from press releases produced by Jill Sudhoff-Guerin at the VT Medical Society.)