“From the beginning, I had a strong desire to help people and a great interest in science. During a work-study program in college, I was able to accompany resident doctors on their rounds at the Leahy Clinic. And that's what did it!”
Sen. Patrick Leahy
Sen. James Jeffords
Rep. Bernard Sanders
“TIRELESS ADVOCATE FOR HEALTH CARE FOR ALL VERMONTERS”
"You don't say 'No' to Mimi," says a colleague admiringly of Mimi Reardon, who is known and loved throughout her adopted Vermont for her extraordinary dedication to the health care of all Vermonters, especially for pioneering the statewide Area Health Education Center Program (AHEC) in 1996.
A community-based network designed to promote rural health educational opportunities and address health care workforce challenges across Vermont's 14 counties, AHEC operates with a Program Office at the University of Vermont (UVM), College of Medicine, where Reardon is Associate Dean for Primary Care, and the Northeastern Vermont AHEC (St. Johnsbury), Champlain Valley AHEC (St. Albans) and Southern Vermont AHEC (Springfield). Each is independent and not-for-profit, governed by a board of local leaders which includes area health care practitioners.
"The purpose is to improve Vermonters' health," says Reardon. "We have a broad reach. We recruit and work to retain Vermont's health care force, from nurses and doctors to personal care attendants and physical therapists." She is particularly proud of the AHEC MedQuest program, in which ninth and tenth grade students spend six days learning about a variety of health careers. Medical students from UVM serve as some of the staff.
"By 'shadowing' nurses, being in the operating room, observing social workers, for example, they get to see, hear, smell and touch medicine," comments Reardon, who is a strong proponent for careers in medicine, especially for women.
"Medicine is marvelous. If you have a deep interest in working with people, you can help them through scientific knowledge to keep healthy, or when they're ill, to attempt to cure them," she says. "I get such satisfaction from helping people and working with the students."
For Reardon, listening is the prerequisite for good doctoring but cautions that, "Paying attention to the patient can be a challenge because the busier we get the less we listen. We have to listen."
It was medicine that attracted the Massachusetts native to Vermont, in 1963, as a young medical student at UVM, College of Medicine. Except for a subsequent residency in internal medicine at New York's Albert Einstein Bronx Municipal Health Center and a hematology-oncology fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles County Harbor General Hospital, she has lived and worked in her adopted state.
Nominating her as a Local Legend of Medicine, Vermont's congressional delegation - Senators Patrick Leahy (D) and Jim Jeffords (Ind.) and Rep. Bernie Sanders (Ind.) - was unanimous in their praise: "Dr. Reardon serves the people of Vermont so steadfastly and with great distinction; her dedication is borne out of an abiding love for our state."
In addition to the AHEC Program, she has long served the Vermont Medical Society, of which she is a past president and recipient of the Society's Distinguished Service Award. She helped to found (and was president for nine years) the Vermont Program for Quality in Health Care. A member of Alpha Omega Alpha, the national, honorary medical society since 1966, she was elected a Master of the American College of Physicians in 1998, the group's highest honor. Also, she received the UVM, College of Medicine Alumni Association Community Service Award and their A. Bradley Soule Award.
President, Vermont State Medical Society
Founding member and first President, Vermont Program for Quality in Health Care, Inc.
Becomes first Associate Dean for Primary Care, University of Vermont
Receives Distinguished Service Award, Vermont Medical Society; elected Master, American College of Physicians
Receives Laureate Award, Vermont Chapter of the American College of Physicians/American Society of Internal Medicine
Presented with Founders Award, Vermont Medical Society
University of Vermont