The Robert Larner, MD College of Medicine at University of Vermont, Burlington, VT

My experience makes all the difference to you.

Fourteen years of on-the-job training.

From manuscript preparation to editorial assistance.

Not long ago at a university not far away, I worked in the academic offices of The Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine, University of Vermont.

I started in a small department that focused on, among other things, clinical trials. During that time, I prepared many manuscripts for a renowned hepatologist. My most memorable was a review article on Autoimmune Hepatitis. N Engl J Med 2006; 354:54-66 [PMID: 16394302].

As I read the first draft I became concerned. I expected something stronger from as prolific an author as Dr. K. Several revisions later the manuscript was accepted. The published article contained 4,000 words, 1 figure, 4 tables, and 100 references. It was not only a work of art but also a testament to the revision process. Even prolific writers create underwhelming drafts.

The process is its reward. ~ Amelia Earhart on tenacity

Moreover, I was thrilled to have been acknowledged for Editorial Assistance.”

I boasted to my husband, “My name was in New England Journal of Medicine. Beat that!”

He replied, “I can’t.”

Test, assess, refine, and reiterate.

User-centric forms collect better data.

Over time, I became the coordinator of a few fellowships and one residency program. Each program adhered to the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).  

ACGME created program-specific milestones to measure what they decreed the six core competencies — patient care, medical knowledge, professionalism, and interpersonal and communication skills, among others. The faculty would implement the milestones to assess each trainee, intermittently, to merit unsupervised practice. They were given a 10-day window in which to submit their assessments. The program director would then use aggregate data for bi-annual and annual reports.

Some members of the faculty were submitting their forms beyond the 10-day window. This reflected negatively on our program. I felt compelled to do something.

To be fair, the first iteration of some ACGME milestones was cumbersome. And, unfortunately, our program’s first iteration was one. To complete their assessments, the faculty would scroll through several screens of dense criteria that funneled to choosing one of nine radio buttons and one text box. No wonder they were resistant! I knew that refining the form would afford more, timely data, so I did.

The result?

The refined user-centric forms enabled us to collect an increased amount of timely data. This reflected well on our program.


Life is for service. ~ Fred Rogers

To get attention and click-throughs, I experimented with tone and length.  I recall one physician teasing, “TEN words! I am not reading more than TEN words!” Through testing, assessing, refining, and reiterating, I learned to designed short, polite emails.

As a UVM webmaster, I maintained my division’s website. I also wrote instructions/directions, meeting minutes, and mini-manuals.

Soft Skills

  • Dependable
  • Effective communicator
  • Loves to learn
  • Positive attitude
  • Self-motivated
  • Strong work ethic

See more at



Let’s collaborate.

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