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Medical residency program for Reno gets green light

A partnership between Renown Regional Medical Center and the University of Nevada School of Medicine has been given the final green light from the state board of regents. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports that the project is expected to increase the number of medical residencies in Northern Nevada by fifty percent in coming years.

Right now, there are roughly a hundred residency slots in Northern Nevada. Thomas Schwenk, Dean for the University of Nevada School of Medicine, says this formal partnership with Renown will bump that number to 150 residencies in the next several years. Their initial focus will be on positions in neurology, along with geriatric and pediatric medicine.

"That will increase the number of students in Reno," Schwenk says, "the number of residents in Reno, increase the amount of clinical research in Reno, change how medical practice is conducted. It's so much higher level than anything we've ever had, really, in the entire history of this school."

The University of Nevada School of Medicine has worked with Renown in the past, but Schwenk says this is a strategic alignment meant to keep medical students in Reno for all of their education and training.

Often, students will complete their first two years of study in Reno before moving to Las Vegas for residency programs there. Schwenk says keeping those future doctors up north for their residencies will encourage them to stay here post-graduation.

"Now in the North," he explains, "we would have a pipeline for students who would stay mostly in Reno for their clinical education as medical students. Then, they could stay in Reno for the primary care residency program."

Renown has committed $5 million to the project over the next three years. The University of Nevada School of Medicine has submitted a budget request to the state and is waiting to see how it fares in the next legislative session which kicks off in February.

Michelle Billman is a former news director at KUNR Public Radio.
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