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April 25, 2014

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OTHER VOICES:

It’s a historic day for public medical education in Nevada

At the Board of Regents meeting in Elko in September, the Health Sciences System Committee directed the presidents of UNR and UNLV, along with the UNR medical school dean, to develop plans to create full-scale, four-year allopathic campuses in Reno and Las Vegas, ultimately resulting in a separate, independent, freestanding UNLV School of Medicine.

As a result of the Health Science Systems Committee’s directive, a Memorandum of Understanding was entered into by the Nevada System of Higher Education, UNR, UNLV and the School of Medicine. The memo was discussed Dec. 5 and unanimously endorsed by the full Board of Regents. The memo focuses on designing, financing and building a major facility to create full clinical and basic science teaching and research capacity in Las Vegas. The memo also focuses on creating full clinical and basic science teaching and research capacity in Reno.

As a result of the unanimous vote, the Health Sciences System Committee directed UNR, UNLV and the School of Medicine to form campus-specific committees with broad stakeholder support to focus on facilities, staffing, time frames, Liaison Committee for Medical Education accreditation, funding (both private and state), operating and capital requirements for each phase of campus development. The committees will also focus on Graduate Medical Education and the partnerships necessary with teaching hospitals and community physicians, as well as increasing the number and quality of residencies and fellowship training. These committees will report back to the Health Science System Committee at our next meeting in March.

The development of each campus, which leads to a separate, independent allopathic M.D.-granting UNLV School of Medicine, will be entirely dependent on available resources, both private and state. It is time for Las Vegas and the entire state to wholeheartedly support this critical endeavor. Financial support and expertise from Las Vegas and Nevada will result in significant economic impact as well as dramatic changes in medical education, research, training and patient care, leading to a healthier Nevada.

I am grateful for the enthusiastic support from my colleagues as well as leadership from the Nevada System of Higher Education, UNLV, UNR and the School of Medicine. I would like to thank members of the Clark County Commission, Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, Clark County Medical Society, and members of the public who took time to attend our meeting and extend their support. We need support and guidance from all Nevadans. Please join us as we turn this dream into reality.

Regent James Dean Leavitt is the chairman of the Health Sciences System Committee and former chairman of the Nevada Board of Regents.

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