Professor is now new med officer

For 18 years, Dr. Stephen Leffler’s job has been in the fast-paced emergency department of Fletcher Allen Health Care. Now he’s picking up the pencil. Leffler officially stepped into his role as the new chief medical officer on Oct. 3 and said he looked forward to the move. “The responsibility is humbling,” Leffler said. “I’m a little anxious, a little scared.” The position may be new territory, but Leffler said Fletcher Allen Health Care is his second home. Leffler received his undergraduate and graduate degrees at UVM. He did his residency at the University of New Mexico and then returned to Vermont to be an emergency department doctor, he said. In 2006, Leffler jumped into the position of medical director of the emergency department. In this job, Leffler said he had dual responsibilities as a doctor and an administrator. “My job is about 50-50 right now,” he said. “It’s going to be 75-25 [in the new position].” Leffler said he wants to change the hospital by asking the employees what can be better. “I want to go back to the doctors and nurses and ask where things could be improved,” he said. “Fletcher Allen is already successful.” Leffler said he has experience tweaking systems in the hospital. As the medical director of the emergency department, he built a program to quickly transport heart attack victims from central Vermont to Fletcher Allen. It’s been very successful, Leffler said. “It’s about specifics and big ideas, and you’re constantly having new challenges,” he said. Leffler said he has made room for Dr. Ray Keller to move from assistant medical director to interim director of the emergency department.