Reflections Jan. 2017

News & Events

For my first Reflections of 2017, I'm turning over this space to Nicole Jacobs, Ph.D., who leads the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and Melissa Piasecki, M.D., executive associate dean, for an update on exciting diversity and inclusion developments in our campus community, including the results from recently completed focus groups as well as a survey regarding mission-based diversity groups.

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine's mission is to improve the health and well-being of all Nevadans and their communities. During these times of great transition, the value of our mission is particularly important in guiding day-to-day activities and plans.

Our mission statement covers three essential parts of our identity—education, clinical service and research, or more specifically:

  1. Excellence in student education and postgraduate training that produces national leaders in medicine
  2. Excellence in clinical care of the highest quality, safety and innovation
  3. Excellence in biomedical and behavioral research with local, national and global impact

The fourth part of our mission is no less essential, and has focused activity and engagement within the UNR Med community through:

  1. A demonstrated commitment to an institutional culture of respect, compassion and diversity

To underscore this institutional promise, UNR Med made several key investments in 2016. We opened the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, led by Jacobs, and recruited Wilfredo Torres, M.D., to lead outreach and diversity efforts for students. Together, Jacobs and Torres co-chair our Council on Diversity Initiatives.

Our LCME self-study gave us the opportunity to critically assess existing diversity and inclusion efforts. A school-wide survey and several focus groups were conducted to provide stakeholders opportunities to share their perspectives, including how our mission-based diversity groups should be defined.

The results from our focus groups and survey converged: UNR Med should strengthen its commitment to recruiting Hispanic, African American, rural and low-income/first-generation faculty and students. These four groups represent our school's revised mission-based diversity categories as defined by the LCME. While recruitment will not be limited to these individuals, programs, policies and partnerships should reflect their importance in the service of our mission. UNR Med will continue to emphasize qualifications and competencies in all recruitment and selection matters, with diversity providing an opportunity to bring new perspectives to an already qualified applicant pool.

The conversation continues with renewed commitments in 2017. Jacobs is organizing "Diversity Dialogues" on the third Tuesday of every month at noon. All are welcome to join her in room 233 of Pennington Health Sciences. UNR Med will provide diversity training opportunities for students, staff and faculty. We will disseminate information from "The Center: Every Student, Every Story" and the University of Nevada, Reno's Diversity Council, as well as new initiatives and programs from UNR Med's Council on Diversity Initiatives.

We have much to be proud of and an exciting year ahead, as we develop a truly diverse, inclusive, supportive environment for all.


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: