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Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Mort Wasserman

Dr. Wasserman believes the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program is “incredibly valuable.” A current professor of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, Dr. Wasserman spent two years at the University of Washington as a Clinical Scholar and also earning his Masters in Public Health.

Wasserman learned of the Clinical Scholars Program through a direct mail brochure and was immediately intrigued. He applied and was accepted. While at the University of Washington, Wasserman spend dedicated time researching a unique and unusual topic: the way clinicians communicate with mothers when they bring their infants in for a well-check up. Wasserman was fascinated with how the style of communication a clinician adopts can impact the level of care. The research resulted in several papers, many of which are still quoted today.

In addition to being a Professor at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, Dr. Wasserman is the Director of  Pediatric Research in Office Settings (PROS), the practice-based research network (PBRN) of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). He received a BA degree from Williams College, an MD from Jefferson Medical College, trained in pediatrics at UVM and Children’s Hospital of Boston.

After completing the Clinical Scholars program, Wasserman pursued a career in academic medicine and research. He has been a general pediatrician in the UVM Department of Pediatrics, conducting primary care research, teaching, and providing primary care. 
He’s also spent a great deal of time researching preventive services and the care of common conditions in pediatric primary care. 

An extremely accomplished clinician and researcher, Wasserman served on the 1985 AAP Task Force on Collaborative Research that lead to the creation of PROS, oversaw the first PROS study, and was appointed as the first PROS Director in 1990.

Wasserman credits the Clinical Scholars Program with several major takeaways, one of which is research. “As a Scholar, I learned all about research methodology. I really learned how to do research, which gave me a foundation that’s been absolutely pivotal to my career.”

Dr. Wasserman currently serves on advisory committees for the PBRNs of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Psychiatric Association. More recently, Dr. Wasserman has become involved with explicit programs to improve the quality of pediatric healthcare.  He is one of the founders of the National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality (NICHQ) and serves on the NICHQ Board of Directors. Within Vermont, he helped to create the Vermont Child Health Improvement Program (VCHIP) – a quality improvement collaboration between UVM, Vermont primary care practitioners, and Vermont state government. 

“The mentorship and networking opportunities the Clinical Scholars Program offers are stellar,” Wasserman says. When asked if he would recommend the program, Dr. Wasserman reported confidently, “Yes. I do and I will continue to recommend the Program. It’s an incredibly valuable experience. One that provides individuals with the skills they need to excel in this field.”

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