50 years of service

Unrivaled history. Unlimited future.

A Half Century

Since 1969, the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine has prepared more than 3,100 students, residents and fellows to lead the way to better health. We pride ourselves on widespread outreach with a local touch, providing patient care and clinical training in Reno and throughout our rural communities. And the research generated in our own backyard is changing and saving lives around the world.

However, none of it can make a difference without the support of our community – local physicians inviting students into their practices, patients allowing learners to observe, donors providing much needed scholarship and research funding.

Our work is influenced by a commitment to excellence, community engagement and spirit of adventure. Join us as we celebrate 50 years of better health and health care for the state of Nevada – and for each of us.

Oral History Videos

To commemorate the School of Medicine's unrivaled history, we're recording oral histories of our faculty, staff and students. We invite you to enjoy the stories we've collected so far. If you're interested in sharing your UNR Med story, contact Brin Reynolds, multimedia specialist, at (775) 682-7347.

Melissa Piasecki
Melissa Piasecki, M.D.

"An opportunity you wouldn't expect"

Dr. Eagle
Kim A. Eagle, M.D., M.A.C.C. & Thomas R. Kozel Ph.D.

"Chance of a lifetime"

Dr. Lori Rawson
Lori Rawson, M.D.

"You forget how exciting it is"

Janet & Jerry Zebrack
Janet & Jerry Zebrack

"A good way to go through life"

Laz Peraza & Ryan Allen
Laz Peraza & Ryan Allen

"It's the community"

Visesh Ravikumar
Visesh Ravikumar

"A good fit"

Kevin M. Dinwiddie, M.D.
Kevin Dinwiddie, M.D.

"Nevada is deep in my heart"

Gerald Ackerman
Gerald Ackerman

"Rural health care - that's my passion"

Jennifer Hagen
Jennifer Hagen

"All of this is in our backyard"

Keith Clark
Keith Clark

"The importance of what we do"

Danielle Eaton
Danielle Eaton

"Our work has national implications"

Hugh Collett, M.D.
Hugh Collett

"Zoom! It was there"

Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D
Thomas Schwenk, M.D

"Our people support each other"

Neda Etezadi, M.D.
Neda Etezadi, M.D.

"Our potential is unlimited"

Timothy Baker, M.D.
Timothy Baker, M.D.

"The best memories"

Examine Our History

Since opening our doors in 1969, UNR Med has made great strides toward achieving our vision of A Healthy Nevada. Here's a look back at some of key moments in our history.

1958

Dr. Frederick Anderson, chairman of the University of Nevada Board of Regents and Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), moves to start a medical school in Reno, Nevada.

Dr. Frederick Anderson Portrait
1964

The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) designates the University of Nevada, Reno campus as the most likely facility to support a new medical school.

Vintage UNR Quad Photo Vintage UNR Quad Photo
1967

The Nevada State Medical Association votes to support a medical school in Reno.

State Support Nevada State Medical Board Support Nevada State Medical Board Support 3
1968

The second floor of Morrill Hall on the south end of the University of Nevada, Reno Quad becomes home to the medical school offices.

Morrill Hall 1968 Morrill Hall 1968
1969
  • The Nevada System of Higher Education's Board of Regents approves a two-year medical school, based in Reno.
  • Businessman, investor, pilot and philanthropist Howard Hughes pledges $6 million in support of the new medical school.
  • March: Gov. Paul Laxalt signs Assembly Bill 130, officially creating the University of Nevada School of Medicine.
  • Led by Dean George Smith, M.D., 14 full time faculty members and more than 200 community physisians begin laying the groundwork for the new school from their new home base in the Mackay Science building.
Gov. Paul Laxalt signs Assembly Bill 130
1971

August: The University of Nevada School of Medicine accepts a charter class of 32 students.

UNR MEd Charter Class UNR MEd Charter Class
1973

May: The first two-year class completes their classroom studies and matriculates to other institutions to finish the clinical portion of their medical degrees.

First Two Year Class First Two Year Class First Two Year Class
1977

April: The Nevada Legislature passes Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 18, approving the conversion of the school from a two-year to a four-year, medical degree-granting institution

1978
  • Clinical departments are established in Reno.
  • The Office of Rural Health is created.
First Clinical Departments First Clinical Departments
1979

July: The first family medicine residents begin their rotations in Reno.

1980

May: The first four-year class of 36 students graduates with medical degrees.

1989
  • Joseph Hume, Ph.D., discovers new chloride channels in the heart and is published in the journal Science.
  • The internal medicine residency program is created in Las Vegas.
1990

An early intervention clinic for patients with HIV and AIDS opens to serve northern Nevada

1992
1993

The School of Medicine is selected for the Robert Wood Johnson generalist initiative award, a grant which helps modify the curriculum to a focus on primary care focus.

Robert Wood Johnson generalist initiative award Robert Wood Johnson generalist initiative award Robert Wood Johnson generalist initiative award
1995

A statewide practice plan is created to integrate the School of Medicine's patient care clinics.

Resident performing an exam Resident performing an exam
1996

The pediatrics residency program is established.

Pediatric Dr. Holding a child upsidewn
1997

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services State Health Division transfers the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory to the School of Medicine.

Nevada state Public health lab sign Nevada state Public health lab sign
1999
  • Medical students establishes the Student Outreach Clinic to provide medical care for indigent patients.
  • The School of Medicine's trauma unit at University Medical Center in Las Vegas is designated as a Level I unit.
  • A psychiatry residency program is established in Reno.
UNR logo embroidery UNR logo embroidery UNR logo embroidery
2002
Pennington Medical Education Building Pennington Medical Education Building
2003
  • The family medicine clinic opens in Reno.
  • A plastic surgery residency program is created in Las Vegas.
2005

Child psychiatry fellowship is established in Reno.

Child psychiatry decorative Child psychiatry decorative Child psychiatry decorative
2006
  • Emergency medicine and sports medicine residency programs are established in Las Vegas.
  • A geriatrics fellowship program is established in Reno
2008
  • May: The department of surgery creates the first acute care surgery fellowship program in the U.S.
  • July: A sports medicine fellowship program is established in Reno.
Sports Medicine Fellowship Decorative Sports Medicine Fellowship Decorative Sports Medicine Fellowship Decorative
2010
  • Spring: The clinical simulation center celebrates its grand opening in Reno.
  • August: The opening of the Center for Molecular Medicine heralds a new era of research for Nevada.
the Center for Molecular Medicine Building the Center for Molecular Medicine Building
2012

The University of New Mexico's Project ECHO, which uses videoconferencing to conduct virtual clinics with community providers, is adopted by the University of Nevada School of Medicine in an effort to reduce health care disparities in rural Nevada.

Project Echo NEvada
2013

The NSHE Board of Regents approves a detailed plan for public medical education in Nevada. The long-term strategy includes the development of a four-year medical school at UNLV.

public medical education in Nevada public medical education in Nevada
2015
  • Fall: The Sanford Center for Aging Geriatric Specialty Clinic opens.
  • December: The Office for Community Faculty opens inside Renown Regional Medical Center.
Office for Community Faculty Staff photo
2016
  • April: The joint role of University of Nevada School of Medicine Nell J. Redfield Chair of Pediatrics and Renown Children's Hospital pediatrician-in-chief is established.
  • May: An OB/GYN clerkship is established in Reno.  
  • June 2016: The University of Nevada School of Medicine is renamed as the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, adding "Reno" to more closely align the medical school with its parent university.
CMM building CMM building
2017
  • February: UNR Med launches a Reno-based department of surgery.
  • March: The Mick Hitchcock, Ph.D. Endowed Chair in Medical Biochemistry is established.
  • May: UNR Med names an associate dean of diversity and inclusion.
  • July: Las Vegas-based residencies and clinical practices transition ownership to newly established UNLV School of Medicine, allowing the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine to focus on northern and rural Nevada.
    • The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine ranks 13 on list of nation's top 20 most affordable medical schools.
    • The State of Nevada allocates funding to create a Reno-based OB/GYN department Reno.
  • September: The Office for Community Faculty welcomes its 1,000th clinical community faculty member.
    • The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) invites UNR Med and eight other Pathway Leaders to participate in a Patient Safety Collaborative.
  • October 2017: The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) conducts a full site visit of the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine to assess the institution for accreditation renewal.
Medical Students in class Medical Students in class Medical Students in class
2018
  • March: UNR Med is granted full accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) through 2026. The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine is Nevada's only public medical school accredited by the LCME.
  • April: The new Physician Assistant Studies Program is awarded provisional accreditation.
  • July: The Physician Assistant Studies Program welcomes an inaugural class of 24 students.
UNR Physitians assistants examination UNR Physitians assistants examination
2019

March 25, 2019: The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine celebrates its 50th Anniversary

UNR med 50th celebrations group on football field UNR med 50th celebrations group on football field UNR med 50th celebrations group on football field
50th Anniversary News

There is no shortage of incredible stories at UNR Med. After all, we're a complex, living organism made of faculty and staff members, students, community faculty members and leaders, hospital partners, alumni and donors.

With each student we recruit, each class that graduates, each new community faculty physician and each partnership negotiated. With each paper that's published, each grant that's funded, each discovery made. With each patient who benefits from our care, each family who is supported and consoled. We're getting better all the time.  

Accomplishments, growth focus of University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine 2018 State of the School Address

sosa 2018 speech

RENO, Nev. - (Sept. 24, 2018) 

Nevada's first medical school, with a 50-year history of producing the next generation of physicians and health care professionals, is expanding with new departments, programs, partnerships and investments as a result of its transition to a fully northern Nevada-based medical school.

This was the message that Dr. Thomas L. Schwenk, dean of the University of Nevada, Reno, School of Medicine, delivered at UNR Med's State of the School Address. A crowd of 245 attended the annual event at Basin Street Stadium Club at Mackay Stadium at the University of Nevada, Reno.   

The theme for the annual address was "Unrivaled history. Unlimited future," consistent with the theme of the school's 50 Anniversary, a year-long, community-wide celebration that leads up to UNR Med's milestone anniversary on March 25, 2019. 

Read More

News Archive

50th Anniversary MicrositeUNR Med's triple physician legacy

Ribcage illustration
Support our Growth

We pride ourselves on widespread outreach with a local touch, providing patient care and clinical training in Reno and throughout our rural communities.

And the research generated in our own backyard is changing and saving lives around the world. However, none of it can make a difference without the support of our community-local physicians inviting students into their practices, patients allowing learners to observe, donors providing much needed scholarship and research funding.

To learn more about supporting the School of Medicine's unlimited future, please contact Shari Netzel, director of development, at snetzel@unr.edu or (775) 682-6077.

Skeleton Hand