It has been over three months since I arrived in Vermont from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota to lead the physician practice at the UVM Medical Center and the Larner College of Medicine at UVM. I continue to meet a lot of people and learn about the hospital, the university and the Burlington community. Some days I feel like I am drinking from a fire hose!
I spent 22 years at the Mayo Clinic, most recently as chair of the Department of Surgery, so it’s been quite a while since I have had to adjust to a new environment. I am learning quickly about the culture here, and I feel like I am in the right place. I look forward to exploring the local terrain and becoming an active member of the community.
I would like to share my first impressions of my new professional home.
First, I can assure you that it is not any warmer in Vermont than it is in Minnesota.
Second, people here are extremely proud of what they have accomplished, and they should be. Our clinicians, staff, researchers and teachers are first-rate. To have access to this kind of quality in a rural area like Vermont is truly a boon for the people in our communities and our region. The people I meet are nonetheless curious about what I bring to the table. I have found an openess to new ideas and, frankly, no one has yet said to me, “been there, done that!” I have attended several “grand rounds” – research or clinical care presentations by physicians in various specialties – and I have been very impressed by the quality and depth of those presentations. I have also participated in a surgical intervention in the operating room, where I could see first-hand the expertise and the dedication of the OR team.
As I settle in, I am grateful for the support of my team and the warm welcome from my new colleagues in both clinical and administrative roles. I am impressed by the leadership of the UVM Medical Center CEO Dr. John Brumsted and Dr. Rick Morin, dean of the College of Medicine. Our efforts toward the integration of our greater health system – the UVM Medical Center Partners – are picking up, and there are many things we are doing well. We are also learning as we go and adjusting. I am excited to face with my colleagues the challenges that the vast number of changes in our health care system will bring on our missions of patient care, education and research.
Claude Deschamps, MD, is a thoracic surgeon, president & CEO of the University of Vermont Medical Group and senior associate dean for clinical care at the Larner College of Medicine at UVM.