UNSOM Health Watch: Medical Education Expanding In Nevada

Jul 6, 2015

Dr. Tony Slonim (L) is president and CEO of Renown Health, and Dr. Thomas Schwenk is dean of the School of Medicine.
Credit Richelle O'Driscoll

This is the University of Nevada School of Medicine Health Watch. In this installment, we're talking about medical education expansion at the University of Nevada School of Medicine and the role that Renown Health will play in these efforts. Joining us is Dr. Anthony Slonim, president and CEO of Renown health and University of Nevada School of Medicine dean, Thomas Schwenk. Leading this discussion is Richelle O'Driscoll, director of public affairs for the Division of Health Sciences and School of Medicine. 

This interview explores how the University of Nevada School of Medicine is moving forward with expanding its Reno campus to a full four-year program. 

Right now, medical students in Nevada get their basic science education in Reno. Then they head to Las Vegas to complete their clinical residencies. 

"They have to go for surgery education, obstetrics and gynecology, and they go for many other disciplines as well," says Dean Tom Schwenk. "So all of that has to be built out in Reno with new teaching relationships with community physician groups."

To do that, the University of Nevada School of Medicine will be getting $5.5 million from the state over the next two years. Setting up a full campus in Reno means that students won't have to travel south to complete their studies.

The school will be partnering with Renown Regional Medical Center to design physician training programs. Schwenk says that already, Renown's Institute of Neurosciences is set to house the school's department for that field of study. 

"It will certainly support research that is growing and might lead to new approaches to the care of neurologic diseases," Schwenk explains. "Eventually, I think it will lead to a neurology training program, so we will actually have a pipeline of of new neurologists coming into the community." 

Down south, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas will be getting $27 million from the state to start up its own medical school.

Statewide, Nevada ranks low nationally for its number of doctors per capita, and officials expect that shortage to be exacerbated by the steady population growth projected over the next several years.