Division Dialogue

Division Dialogue

Spring 2016

Message from Vice President Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D.

Community partnerships bring benefits for a healthy Nevada

Dean Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D.

Creating a healthy Nevada is a grand vision that requires the efforts of all organization, university and community. Achieving that goal has inspired all of the schools and centers at the University of Nevada, Reno's Division of Health Sciences to work with partners statewide to create new and innovative collaborations.

Two recent examples shine brightly as partnerships that will pay big health dividends for our state.

The first is CHIRP, the Children's Health Information and Registry Project, a $2.5 million joint project between the School of Community Health Sciences and Renown's Child Health Institute. CHIRP will collect, organize and store health data from a variety of sources from all children born in Washoe County as of January 1, 2016 through their 18th birthdays.

This information will have tremendous value in measuring the overall health of children in Washoe County. It will be a key to understanding and then solving the problems that might impact the health of Northern Nevada children.

The data will be accessible for a wide variety of uses: to help inform public policy and provide reports for health care professionals, provide a longitudinal record for parents and provide the backbone for clinical and interventional research. Following the five years of support provided by the grant, CHIRP will aim to find permanent funding to continue this registry.

At the other end of the age continuum, the recently-opened Sanford Center for Aging Geriatric Specialty Clinic offers another example of what can be achieved through partnerships. The clinic was purposefully intended to be an interdisciplinary, collaborative process. A set of eight committees was formed to explore and develop all aspects of the clinic's vision, mission, core values, philosophy, clinical services and business model. Representatives from nearly 20 departments/programs within the Division of Health Sciences and other colleges/programs at the University served on these committees, including family medicine, internal medicine, social work, nursing, speech pathology, pharmacology and statewide initiatives.

One of the committees focused on how to integrate the clinic's services within the larger northern Nevada community. The community partners committee was comprised of 18 members representing social service agencies, health care organizations, medical providers, volunteer organizations and media. This group represented the interests of the community to ensure that the clinic's services would be complementary to those already in existence, and not duplicative nor a threat to current providers.

Because the new Sanford Center clinic also is charged with serving rural/frontier parts of Nevada, a designated committee was formed to address rural outreach. In addition to representatives from within DHS, this committee included rural health care providers and social services providers who operate within rural parts of Nevada. This rural focus also helped to draw the attention and support of the EJC Foundation, a private philanthropic foundation based in Elko and focused on providing services to elders throughout Nevada.

Making significant improvements in the overall health of Nevadans is a worthy and achievable vision. When the Division of Health Sciences programs join with like-minded groups and philanthropic organizations, we leverage our influence and the whole becomes much larger than the sum of the parts as we work to improve health and healthcare in Nevada.

News from Division of Health Sciences Units

School of Medicine takes Top Gun Jeopardy Competition honors

Top Gun Jeopardy Competition Winners

Congratulations to the winners of this year's Society of Critical Care Medicine's Top Gun Jeopardy competition, including three surgery critical care fellows from the University of Nevada School of Medicine. Shown in this photo of the Southwest team: front row, left to right: Purvi Patel, UNSOM, and Keneeshia Williams, University of Arizona; back row, left to right: Chad Katona, UNSOM; Patrick McGrew, UNSOM; and Matt Singer, University of Arizona. They competed against teams from the University of Minnesota and University of Hawaii.

Norma McCormack Family Medicine Award established

Longtime Reno resident Roger McCormack has pledged to establish the Norma McCormack Family Medicine Award in honor of his late wife, Norma, who passed away in 2015. The first recipient will be announced this spring.

Two of the couple's three children now practice family medicine, so the family is familiar with the financial hurdles facing physicians going into residency. Recipients of the Norma McCormack Family Medicine Award will be fourth-year medical students who have matched into a family medicine residency program.

New Physician Assistant program coming in 2017

As our community prepares for significant population growth with the addition of companies like Tesla, Jet.com and Switch, the University of Nevada School of Medicine and Renown Health are continuously working together to combat the shortage of healthcare providers in our region.

The latest effort will be seen in 2017 with the start of a new Master of Physician Assistant program. This full-time program will last 27 months and include academic and clinical skills courses as well as supervised clinical practice. Students are required to have at least 2,000 hours of healthcare experience before applying and because there is no residency needed after graduation, they can immediately begin working right here in northern Nevada upon completion of the program.

Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment Offered at Sanford Center

The Sanford Center Geriatric Specialty Clinic has developed a multidisciplinary and comprehensive geriatric assessment to evaluate an older person's physical, cognitive and mental health, along with socio-environmental circumstances.

The Sanford Center comprehensive geriatric assessment differs from a typical medical evaluation by addressing a patient's overall short-and long-term goals/priorities and general well-being, as opposed to specific illnesses or diagnoses. In addition, the assessment incorporates a multidisciplinary team including a geriatrician, pharmacist, social worker and support staff. Patients and their care partners move through the clinic "stations" and meet with members of the assessment team during the course of a four-hour appointment.

Master in Nursing program ranked #8 in affordability

The Orvis School of Nursing was ranked eighth most affordable online nurse educator programs, according to Best Master of Science in Nursing Degree.com. Schools were ranked only if they offered an online advanced degree in nurse education, and ratings considered in-state tuition and fees to come up with the rankings.

Preview Day offers glimpse into medical school

Preview Day 2016

The School of Medicine hosted undergraduate students from the University of Nevada, Reno, UNLV and Nevada State College who are interested in medical school on its Reno campus in January.

About 50 students from these three institutions attended the annual day-long event designed to introduce them to the admissions process through a series of workshops and presentations by faculty and staff at the School of Medicine.

Sanford Center launches Faculty Fellows program

The Sanford Center for Aging launched the first Faculty Fellows program to support full-time, assistant-level academic and clinical faculty in pursuing aging-related research. Two recipients were selected to receive two years of support in order to develop a robust aging research program. The scholarship developed under this program will help ensure faculty become more competitive in producing publications, seeking external funding and securing tenure, while at the same time advancing the study of aging across multiple disciplines.

Congratulations to the first recipients of the Faculty Fellowship awards:

  • Ruben K. Dagda, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmacology
  • Erin Grinshteyn, Ph.D., MS, assistant professor of community health sciences

School of Medicine opens new Office for Community Faculty

Office for Community Faculty Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

The School of Medicine opened its Office for Community Faculty with a ribbon-cutting event on Dec. 15 in the Sierra Tower of Renown Regional Medical Center. Through a generous donation from Renown Health, the Office for Community Faculty will serve as the center for engagement between the School of Medicine and any physician or physician group wishing to become involved in the education and training of Nevada's incoming physicians. For more information, please visit med.unr.edu/ocf.

Center for Traffic Safety Research receives traffic safety grant

The Nevada Department of Public Safety - Office of Traffic Safety awarded a grant in the amount of $190,289 to Deborah A. Kuhls, M.D., FACS, FCCM, principal investigator, and Nadia Fulkerson, MPH, co-investigator, University of Nevada School of Medicine's Center for Traffic Safety Research, to continue maintaining its previously-established database for the 2015-2016 grant year.

In order to obtain an overall understanding of lives lost and human and economic costs of traffic-related injuries, the Center for Traffic Safety Research created a database from multiple sources residing in standalone systems. This linked database uses 2005-2013 Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) crash records and statewide Nevada trauma center data.

HMR Weight Management Services has been named a No. 1 Best Fast Weight-Loss Diet

A program offered by the University of Nevada School of Medicine's Wellness and Weight Management Center and created by HMR Weight Management Services has been named a No. 1 Best Fast Weight-Loss Diet in U.S. News & World Report's Best Diets of 2016 rankings.

This is the first year the magazine has published the Best Fast Weight-Loss Diet category. HMR also held its position as the No. 2 Best Weight-Loss Diet in the annual rankings list for the second year in a row. HMR programs focus on helping people lose weight quickly while teaching the healthy lifestyle skills needed for long-term weight management. The Wellness and Weight Management Center is the state's only provider of the HMR program.

Nevada Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities training program

Are you a graduate student or health professional in a field related to neurodevelopmental disabilities such as autism, intellectual disability or Downs Syndrome?

Are you a parent of a person with a neurodevelopmental disability?

Are you passionate about expanding your expertise and becoming a leader to help those with neurodevelopmental disabilities?

The Nevada Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental (NvLEND) is pleased to announce the recruitment of 14 trainees from diverse professional disciplines from across Nevada for the 2017 class (August 1, 2016-June 30, 2017). Trainees will participate in a minimum of 325 hours of training over a one-year period that includes interdisciplinary didactic seminars, clinical experiences and leadership projects. This training program is led by the Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities (NCED) housed in the University of Nevada, Reno College of Education and is conducted in collaboration with faculty from the University of Nevada, Reno, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and community professionals from diverse healthcare and education disciplines. Please view the NvLEND website for more information and a link to the online 2017 application.


Division Dialogue is a service of the Division of Health Sciences, University of Nevada, Reno and is published quarterly. Faculty, staff, residents and students are encouraged to submit items of division-wide interest to Editor Christy Jerz. Please submit your news by the 15th of each month. Copyright © 2016 Division of Health Sciences.