We’re excited to celebrate our Graduate Medical Education program through a blog series that will culminate with GME Appreciation Day on February 16. Get to know the names and faces of our program! The GME department is comprised of residents, fellows, program directors, associate program directors, program administrators and GME office staff.
I have a great job. I thoroughly enjoy, value, and feel privileged to participate in daily patient care and medical education, two of our core academic missions at The UVM Medical Center.
I am honored to have a leadership role in educating and developing the careers of our residents and fellows. I fully subscribe to the notion that academic medical centers, like our own, often provide the highest quality care and that the educational environment and atmosphere of inquiry contribute to this. I like being constantly challenged by the curiosity of learners. Residents never cease to make me more thoughtful in my approach to patient care, seeking answers to questions I never thought to ask, and helping me continue to be a lifelong learner. The energetic, enthusiastic, and professional approach of our residents and fellows in their patient care, conference presentations, and interactions with one another is contagious and makes us all better at what we do.
What I Do
My responsibility as DIO (Designated Institutional Official) and Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education (GME) is to ensure that we have the highest quality residency and fellowship programs possible and that these programs have superb accreditation status. I also make sure the medical center meets all of its institutional requirements and maintains an optimal clinical learning environment for our trainees.
In support of this, I focus on strategic planning. I go beyond the “traditional” medical knowledge and patient care competencies we expect of our future physicians to develop programming and curriculum in more universal and equally critical areas, such as quality improvement, patient safety, high value care, professionalism, communication and team building skills, cultural competency, and population health.
We must educate our residents and fellows in these areas in ways that are innovative, interesting, and respect the time commitment necessary to achieve competency in their own particular specialty area.
Before I Became DIO and Associate Dean
For twenty-two years, I was the Residency Director for Internal Medicine. I miss the close mentoring relationships I had with my residents, supporting them through the successes and challenges of their varied roles as physicians, learners, and family members, helping them progress through their career paths, teaching them and working with them side by side in patient care.
Prior to that I completed my own residency and chief resident year in Internal Medicine. I won’t point out all of the changes that have occurred in graduate medical education over the past three decades, but I will say that one of my fondest recollections, especially of my internship year, was the degree of “ownership” I had of my patient’s care, the intense and close bonds that formed between my patients and their families and myself, and the amount I learned on a daily basis from each and every patient.
As medical education evolves with regulations on duty hours, more time spent away from the patient due to requirements of the electronic medical record, and more emphasis on supervision and working in multidisciplinary teams (all important and valid), we must ensure that we never lose sight of the value of this fundamental professional interaction.
In my DIO role, I oversee all of our GME programs and strive to succeed in our education mission. Through this I have gained opportunities to collaborate with residents from numerous specialties and problem solve and plan. I also value being able to support program directors as they encounter challenges in their own jobs or with their residents or fellows, and explore opportunities to plan new residency programs or expand existing ones where the need is clear. I actively partner with senior leaders who are supportive, insightful, and embrace the many initiatives I present.
Abundant Opportunities to Collaborate and Improve Education
I firmly believe our residents and fellows must be excellent teachers, and I engage with our medical school and its new Teaching Academy to accomplish that goal as well as plan educational programming across the continuum of undergraduate medical education and GME here and across the UVM Health Network. I collaborate with wonderful colleagues in the Dean’s Office and with our faculty. I would be remiss if I did not mention the fantastic GME office staff I work with daily, all of whom share the same values and dedication to GME.
Now, can you see why I love my job?
Mark A. Levine, MD, is a primary care internal medicine physician at The University of Vermont Medical Center. He is also Professor of Medicine at the Larner College of Medicine at UVM. He has served as Designated Institutional Official and Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education since 2014, as Vice Chair for Education in the Department of Medicine since 1992, and is a past Program Director for the Internal Medicine Residency.