News from Southwestern Vermont Health Care


Community organizations send six students to Governor's Institute

Six Mount Anthony Union High School students were selected to attend the Governor's Institute of Vermont (GIV) Winter Weekends of Feb. 5-7 and Feb. 19–21 at Goddard College in Plainfield. Their participation was made possible with support from Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC), in collaboration with Global-Z International, The Lightning Jar, and the Community College of Vermont. GIV engages students in advanced, hands-on learning in subjects ranging from the arts to STEM and inspires them to pursue careers in fields they might not otherwise consider.

"The health and vitality of the Bennington community and its surrounding area is so important to SVHC," said James Trimarchi, PhD, SVHC's director of planning. "Partnering with GIV, Global-Z, The Lightning Jar, and Community College of Vermont to provide these growth opportunities to students is a great way to show our commitment to the community and ensure we have a high quality workforce for the future."

"This is a tremendously important program providing high school students with access to critical STEM and entrepreneurship skills," Dimitri Garder, CEO of Global-Z and interim director of The Lightning Jar, a collaborative work space. "Supporting this program allows us to further our mission of promoting entrepreneurial development and the creative economy."

Through GIV, students gain knowledge of their choice of one of the subjects offered, networking opportunities, and an impressive addition to their college and employment applications. The following students have been selected to attend: sophomore Taylor Brandmeyer for Debate and National Issues, freshmen Jayden Buck and Lucas Longtin for Astrophotography, junior Noa Chaney for Acting Masterclass, junior Mia Prouty for Entrepreneurship, and junior Faith Sullivan for Global Issues Dialogue. Four of the six students are also members of the Emerging Leaders program, which is supported by a Vermont Department of Labor internship grant.

Erika Nichols-Frazer, development director for GIV, notes that this is the largest number of Mount Anthony students to attend Winter Weekends in recent years.

"Thanks to generous support from Bennington area partners, the Governor's Institutes of Vermont is thrilled to have a record number of Bennington area students attending our Winter Weekend programs this year," said Nichols. "We applaud the members of the Bennington community and the dynamic team at Mount Anthony Union High School for their concerted efforts in encouraging Bennington students to explore learning opportunities outside of the school setting, prepare themselves for the future, and for helping students gain access to these incredible opportunities."

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center hosts blood drive March 31

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center is hosting an American Red Cross Blood drive 11:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Thursday, March 31, 2016 in its employee cafeteria.

This drive provides an opportunity to make a double donation of red blood cells. Red blood cells are the most frequently used blood component and are needed by almost every type of patient requiring transfusion. Double red cell donation is done with the help of a special machine which collects the red cells but returns most of the plasma and platelets to the donor. Choosing to donate double the red blood cells is a way to make a greater impact during a single donation. To learn more, search "double red blood cell donation" at

In addition, Red Cross blood donor eligibility requirements have changed recently. Those who have been deferred from donating in the past are encouraged to check their eligibility again. The website has more information about eligibility. Potential donors can also call 1-800-RED CROSS for more information about whether they are eligible to donate.

To make an appointment to donate, visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or text bloodapp to 90999 to download the app to your smartphone. As always, walk-ins will be accommodated as well. Those who are unfamiliar with the SVMC campus may stop at the information desk for directions to the drive.

SVHC Announces three new members to its Board of Trustees

Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) has announced the appointment of Richard Ader, Kathleen Fisher, and Sue Maguire to its Board of Trustees.

"These individuals have unique skills and experiences and will make tremendous contributions to our Board of Trustees," said David Meiselman, the board chair. "I am delighted to welcome them and eager to see what we can accomplish together."

Ader is the founder of U.S. Realty Advisors, LLC and a recognized real estate expert. He is a graduate of the University of Vermont and serves on the Board of the University of Vermont Foundation and as Chairman of the Advisory Board to the College of Arts and Sciences. Ader is the owner of the Bennington Tennis Center. He became aware of the hospital when a family member was a patient in the emergency department.

"I was impressed with SVHC's service, doctors, and leadership. This is a very exciting time in the health care industry, and hospitals are right at the center of it," Ader said. "I am eager to bring my experience in business to this distinguished group."

Fisher is head of the Wealth and Investment Planning at Bernstein Private Wealth Management in New York City. In this role, she leads the team responsible for developing and communicating asset allocation advice and investment strategies for the firm's high-net-worth clients. Fisher joined the firm in 2001 as a senior portfolio manager and member of Bernstein Private Wealth Management's Private Client Investment Policy Group. She was appointed a National Managing Director in 2009.

"With my background in investment management, I've seen how industry change affects industry participants, and I can draw on my past experiences in thinking about issues that are relevant to SVHC," Fisher said. "I'm very excited and honored to have the opportunity to get involved with this important organization."

Maguire, a native of Hoosick Falls, NY, has lived in North Bennington, VT, for nearly 40 years. She recently retired as principal of Mount Anthony Union High School in Bennington and a leader in the full-service community school model, in which health care services play a significant role. She has presented on the full-service school to audiences at Harvard University; to the American Youth Policy Forum in Washington, DC; and on ABC News. In addition, she is the author of Inside Full Service Community Schools, 2002, with Joy Dryfoos.

"Health care has been an interest of mine for many years. Easing access to health care for students, which is so fundamental to their ability to learn, was a big part of my work in education," said Maguire. "I am pleased for this opportunity to represent the interests of children and families while serving on the hospital board."

Board members are nominated by the board's Nominating Committee and voted on by the entire board. In selecting new SVHC board members, the nominating committee looks for candidates who exemplify SVHC's values, can be counted on to actively participate in board work, and have leadership capabilities. SVHC looks for candidates who represent the communities the health system serves and have special expertise in fulfilling board duties.

SVMC unites with local organizations to bring comfort to cancer patients

Members of the Cancer Center Community Crusaders (known as the 4Cs) and the Quiet Valley Quilters have joined forces to support patients at Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center. In October, the three organizations worked together to provide 14 handmade quilts to cancer patients whose treatment had ended who had transitioned to hospice care. The quilters are preparing quilts for six additional patients now.

Cancer patients and staff build deep relationships throughout their appointments, sometimes over many years. Once a patient has transitioned to hospice care, they no longer come to the Cancer Center. Both patients and staff feel that separation.

"Giving one of these beautiful quilts to a patient is a way of recognizing the significance of their journey and to continue to be there with them. It communicates that they are not alone," said Charlene Ives, MD, a medical oncologist at the Cancer Center.

The idea to give quilts arose more than a year ago. The staff had been giving personal gifts to patients to acknowledge their last treatment. These special gifts were meant to mark the transition between the end of treatment and the start of hospice care. Honoring this transition seemed to help both patients and staff cope with the separation. Ives became aware of other cancer treatment centers providing transition kits, which included quilts. She brought the idea to the Breast Care Program Leadership Team for consideration. This group includes physicians, nurses, volunteers and others.

Avis Hayden, a former SVHC employee, was part of this group and a member of the Quiet Valley Quilters Guild. She felt the Guild might be interested in providing quilts for these transition kits. She researched similar programs around the country, including Peace Health in Oregon. The staff there provided the details necessary to launch a program here in Bennington. Hayden introduced the idea to the Quiet Valley Quilters Guild — to date more than a dozen quilters have worked to sew blocks for the quilts.

Hayden worked with the Cancer Center Community Crusaders to help fund the project. When approached with the project, Hayden said, "The 4Cs were very receptive. We couldn't do this without their financial support. The Guild members provide a substantial amount of the fabric and certainly the time in design and sewing — but the larger pieces of fabric necessary for the quilt backs would have been a financial burden for Guild members had the Four C's not stepped in."

"Most of our committee members are survivors or caregivers. So when Avis came to us with the idea of supporting patients with handmade quilts, it really resonated with us," said Joanne Holden, a member of the Cancer Center Community Crusaders.

Hayden also worked with the Quiet Valley Quilter's Guild to organize quilters. More than a dozen quilters sew blocks for the quilts. The Group holds workshops a few times a year to assemble the blocks and finish the quilts, said Wendy Sharkey, the guild's spokesperson.

The staff at the Cancer Center will choose a quilt for each patient transitioning to hospice care, just as they have chosen special gifts in the past.

"We will do this as a team. We hold each other up," Ives said. "The quilts stay with the patients' families after the patient passes away. It is a way of remembering this time in their loved one's life."

Jill Robart, CDE, achieves renewal of Certified Diabetes Educator® status

The National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE) has granted Jill Robart, of the Diabetes Education Department at Southwestern Vermont Health Care, renewed status as a CDE. In order to be considered, Robart completed experience hours, continuing education, and a rigorous exam.

Robart earned her bachelor of science in Nursing at Southern Connecticut State University in 1992 and received her first CDE certification in 1995. She worked as a visiting nurse and diabetes educator in New Haven, CT, before moving to Vermont in 2002. She has worked at SVMC for 10 years and as a diabetes educator in primary care offices since 2012.

Diabetes Education is designed to give patients the knowledge to manage their condition, reduce risks of complications, and enjoy the highest level of wellness possible. Educational topics include understanding diabetes, monitoring blood glucose levels, the importance and impact of nutrition, and healthy lifestyle choices. Education occurs in primary care offices around the region and on the SVMC Campus in Bennington.

In addition to Robart, SVMC's Diabetes Education team consists of three diabetes educators: Rachael Rodney, Paula Haytko, and Kristin Irace. Those interested in additional information can call 802-447-4564. For scheduled classes about managing diabetes, call 802- 447-5319 or visit

SVHC Foundation announces two new members to its Board of Directors

Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) Foundation has announced the appointment of Kathryn Brooks of Dorset, VT, and Scott Seidel, of Arlington, VT, to its Board of Directors.

"The SVHC Foundation will certainly benefit from Katie's and Scott's enthusiasm, their experience, and their understanding of both SVHC and the region," said SVHC's Vice President for Corporate Development Leslie Keefe.

Brooks draws on rich experience in advertising and sales. She founded, owned, and operated Cat Country Radio and cofounded Vermont Wood Pellet manufacturing plant in Rutland County, VT. In addition to her work on the SVHC Foundation Northshire Regional Advisory Board, she has served on several community boards and advisory boards, including The Women's Business Owners Network, Manchester Parks and Recreation, Riley Rink, The Collaborative, Green Mountain Academy for Lifelong Learning, The Dorset Theatre Festival and the Rutland Regional Chamber of Commerce.

"I am honored by the invitation to join the SVHC Foundation Board of Directors," Brooks remarked. "Since I moved to the area 30 years ago, I've always been impressed by the high quality care at SVHC. I've seen this excellence first hand, and I'm thrilled to be part of such a great organization."

Scott Seidel divides time between Arlington, VT and Springfield, NJ. He has been a commercial real estate broker and developer with Cardinal Land Properties, his family company, since 1979. He also has been a licensed real estate broker in Vermont since 1993. In addition, he is the emergency management coordinator for the Town of Springfield. In that role, he oversees the town's emergency operations plan; heads the auxiliary police unit and other volunteers; and coordinates police, fire, department of public works, and administration resources and chairs the Fourth of July committee. He is a founding member of Springfield H.O.P.E., a non-profit that aims to provide financial aid to those in need, and the chairman of the Springfield Mayor's Day at Baltusrol committee, which provides scholarships to high school seniors in Springfield. He is a trustee of the Arlington Rescue Squad Board and serves on the board of the Battenkill Valley Health Center.

"Health care is such an important service in any community. It affects us all," said Seidel. "The hospital, with its affiliation with Dartmouth-Hitchcock, is poised to make significant progress in health care delivery for this region, and I am happy and privileged to be involved."

Members of the SVHC Foundation Board of Directors are nominated by members of the group or health system and are voted on and approved by both the members of the Foundation Board and the SVHC Board of Trustees. SVHC Foundation's mission is to engage in development and fundraising activities exclusively for the support of the Southwestern Vermont Health Care Corporation.

Malcolm Paine, MD, of SVMC OB/Gyn takes on statewide leadership role

Malcolm Paine, MD, has been elected to a three-year term as vice chair of the Vermont section of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). In this new role, Paine will attend advisory council meetings and serve as the legislative contact for the organization.

"I am excited about taking on this role. Being involved in ACOG gives me even better access to the best scientific evidence," said Paine. "What I learn will inform the care we provide in our practice and help shape care for women in the local region, in our state and nationally."

Paine is a member of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Putnam Physicians at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington, VT. He received his medical degree from the University of Glasgow in Scotland and completed residency training in obstetrics and gynecology at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Hanover, NH. He is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and has served on the medical staff at SVMC since 2012.

Based in Washington, DC, ACOG was established in 1951 and has more than 58,000 members providing health care for women. The College serves as an advocate for quality health care for women, sets standards of clinical practice and continuing education for its members, promotes patient education and involvement in medical care, and educates members and the public of the changing issues facing women's health care.


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