Reflections Oct. 2016

News & Events

I had the privilege of giving my sixth State of the School address on September 15. I appreciated very much the large attendance, including representation from Las Vegas, UNR and our community partners, and also those who viewed it online. I consider it to be the greatest honor to come before the entire membership of UNR Med to report on our many successes, discuss the exciting developments that are in play and describe the upcoming challenges that we face.

This year was particularly notable because we have been presented with an extraordinary opportunity to take an excellent medical school with a 47-year history of success to a new level of distinction. This opportunity comes to us through the following formula:

Strategic Planning + Branding Project + Renown Affiliation + Las Vegas Transition Agreement + Faculty Forward = LCME

Let me take apart this formula a bit.

Strategic Planning

We are nearing the end of a robust Strategic Planning process, led by Melissa Piasecki, M.D., executive associate dean, that has involved dozens of committee leaders and members and hundreds of UNR Med faculty and staff members who gave input. We have developed a comprehensive set of initiatives and a sequence for their implementation, organized according to five broad themes: graduate medical education, expanding undergraduate curriculum, student and faculty recruitment, research and scholarship, and internal and external representation.


We have also finished an intense branding exercise, guided by our consultants from KPS3, which led to a new name, a new logo and new branding tenets. We are about to embark on a roll-out campaign that will involve new signs, media coverage, marketing and communications, social media and many more items that will carry the new look of our brand.

+Renown Affiliation

The affiliation with Renown Health that was developed two years ago set out a series of tasks that were predicted to require 5-8 years to complete. We have essentially already completed all of those tasks, several years ahead of schedule. New collaborations, plans for new residency programs and residency expansion, investments by Renown Health in UNR academic programs, and clinical integration and growth opportunities seem to pop up daily. We have now embarked on the next level of integration and investment that will bring a whole new set of opportunities as we develop a full academic medical center in Reno.

+Las Vegas Transition Agreement

A comprehensive transition agreement with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas was signed recently by UNR, UNLV and NSHE leaders. The agreement describes a complex and detailed process for transition of our Las Vegas campus, faculty and staff members, clinical practices, student teaching capacity, and residency programs to UNLV. The value system that drove this successful negotiation most strongly is the protection of the careers of faculty and staff members, the quality of patient care being delivered, and the maintenance of full capacity for excellent teaching. We will continue to have a strong student affairs presence in Las Vegas, with a small cohort of third-year students continuing to benefit from clinical teaching in 2017-2018 and fourth-year electives continuing beyond that. Most of the state funding that supported medical student teaching in Las Vegas will be transferred to Reno over the next two years to develop the same outstanding clinical teaching, clinical departments and faculty roles that our students have always enjoyed.

+Faculty Forward

Finally, Faculty Forward is a comprehensive survey of faculty, administered by the AAMC, of career satisfaction. The survey was first conducted in 2013 and repeated earlier this year. We responded to the results of the first survey with several new professional development and mentoring programs. The results of the 2016 survey reflect the success of those programs, and give us some new ideas for ways to enhance faculty career development and satisfaction. It was very pleasing to see that we had improved in so many areas from 2013 to 2016.


So, this formula now brings us to our accreditation process. The School of Medicine has been continuously accredited since 1969, for a total of seven cycles of accreditation. We are now into a new cycle, with a full self-study and student institutional assessment due next July, a site visit scheduled for Oct. 22-25, 2017, and a decision due in February 2018. This accreditation could not come at a more perfect time. It gives us a structured approach to understand and clearly describe who we are, who we serve, our values, our culture, our programs, our resources and our success. I am excited by the opportunity to use the Liaison Committee on Medical Education accreditation process as the pivot that will take us in new and exciting directions.

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine is entering a new phase of growth and success with new affiliations, new programs, new sources of support, a new vision and new goals, but all with the same positive and supportive culture, the same values of excellence, quality and professionalism, and the same commitment to a healthy Nevada.


Julie Ardito
Senior Director, Advancement and Engagement
Office: (775) 784-6006

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine is a community-based, research-intensive medical school with a statewide vision that has served Nevada for more than 48 years as its first public medical school. UNR Med's vision is a healthy Nevada, supported by our mission: establishing excellence in medical education, medical care, research and community engagement, while committing to a culture of respect, compassion and inclusion. Through targeted growth and investment in research, clinical services, education and outreach, UNR Med is a resource for improving healthcare regionally and across the country. For more information, visit:

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