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September 18, 2014

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UNLV forum to explore impact of M.D.-granting med school in Southern Nevada

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Leila Navidi

Dr. Attaf Dawood, a resident, and UNLV nursing student Wai Kit Tsang run through a simulation with a medical mannequin at the Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas at the UNLV Shadow Lane campus in Las Vegas on Thursday, October 4, 2012.

The economic impact of creating an M.D.-granting medical school in Southern Nevada will be the topic of a public forum Tuesday at UNLV.

An allopathic medical school in Las Vegas would generate at least $882 million for the local economy by 2030, according to a study released last week by UNLV’s Lincy Institute, which conducts and supports research that focuses on improving Nevada's health, education and social services.

Lincy commissioned Tripp Umbach, a top national health care consulting firm, to complete the study for $50,000. The Pittsburgh-based company has experience working with universities across the country in planning new medical schools; institutions include Arizona State University, Penn State University, Ohio State University Medical Center and the Cleveland Clinic.

Paul Umbach, co-founder and CEO of Tripp Umbach, will present the report starting at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Greenspun Hall auditorium. Umbach's presentation will be followed by a panel discussion with community leaders.

Nevada Regent Dr. Mark Doubrava proposed the idea for a Southern Nevada medical school in March. The Las Vegas ophthalmologist has argued the University of Nevada School of Medicine, with its classrooms at UNR, is inadequate to serve the health care needs of Southern Nevada residents.

The Tripp Umbach report found Las Vegas has an ideal market for a medical school, given a shortage of physicians and poor health outcomes. The Las Vegas metropolitan area is the largest region in the United States without an allopathic medical school.

The report concluded that the price tag for a medical school at UNLV, which would require legislative approval, would be $68 million, much less than the $220 million estimated cost for an academic medical center near UMC that was discussed earlier this year. And it recommends an allopathic medical school that trains doctors of medicine rather than an osteopathic medical school like Touro University in Henderson, which trains doctors of osteopathy.

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