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

Annual report on institution, medical education, clinical and research developments

Dr. Thomas L. Schwenk, dean of the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, delivers UNR Med’s 2018 State of the School Address, Monday, Sept. 24 at the Basin Street Stadium Club at Mackay Stadium.

Dr. Thomas L. Schwenk, dean of the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, delivers UNR Med’s 2018 State of the School Address, Monday, Sept. 24 at the Basin Street Stadium Club at Mackay Stadium. UNR Med photo by Brin Reynolds. 

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 50th Anniversary, a year-long, community-wide celebration that leads up to UNR Med's milestone anniversary on March 25, 2019.   "This year, UNR Med is emerging as essentially a 'new' school with a nearly 50-year tradition and history of educating future physicians. We are deeply embedded in our community and have experienced tremendous growth in partnerships through new teaching, research and service programs that will enhance our medical students' training, and help to address the critical physician shortage in Nevada," said Schwenk. "As a fully accredited institution, we look to move toward more clinical expansion, research developments of local and global impact, new partnerships and community engagement."   Schwenk reported developments in the past 12 months in the following areas:

  • UNR Med alumni represent a quarter of all physicians practicing in northern Nevada, helping to meet the area's health care needs with more available physicians and health care services.
  • UNR Med, in partnership with Renown Health, launched the first Physician Assistant Studies Program in the Nevada System of Higher Education to address the shortage of providers in the region. The first class of 24 students began instruction in July 2018 and will graduate work-force ready in 25 months.
  • UNR Med created a new department of OB-GYN and opened a new Women's Health Center, an outpatient clinic on campus that provides obstetrical, gynecological and midwifery care to women in Reno and northern Nevada.
  • In collaboration with community health care partners, UNR Med launched a Reno-based department of surgery to keep pace with the increasing level of student interest in surgical careers. The department's programs provide medical students with enhanced hospital and clinic-based education at Renown Health, the VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System and offices of northern Nevada-based surgical groups.
  • In partnership with Nevada Health Centers, UNR Med started a new Elko Family Residency Program - expanding the school's rural campus and commitment to providing high quality health care to rural Nevadans. The program has four residents and will expand to six residents in July 2019, serving primary care needs of Elko patients.
  • UNR Med has surpassed its goal of increasing clinical community faculty members from 775 in 2017 to more than 1,000 in 2018. Clinical community faculty are pivotal in UNR Med student and resident education as they guide learners with practical knowledge and skills in a wide variety of practice environments.
  • All UNR Med clinical clerkships are provided in northern Nevada for the first time since early in the school's history. Clerkships include neurology, internal medicine, family medicine, psychiatry, pediatrics, OB/GYN and surgery.
  • In 2016, UNR Med spent $37.4 million in state funds to support teaching and medical research with a total economic contribution of $153.3 million to northern Nevada, including employing nearly 1,200 northern Nevadans, according to the 2017 UNR Med Health Policy Brief.
  • The School of Medicine is purchasing a building at 745 West Moana Lane with plans to base a new integrated multispecialty practice group to provide patient-centric clinical services to the community. The new multispecialty practice is projected to open late 2019 or early 2020.
  • UNR Med has expanded scholarships to cover more than 40 percent of students' tuition - an increase from 35 percent in 2016.
  • UNR Med's endowments, which are designated to support medical student scholarships, faculty teaching and research, are currently valued at more than $50 million and increasing.
  • UNR Med is the leading biomedical research institution in Nevada. Faculty scientists generated nearly $240 million in research funding over the past decade, supporting research that enhances the quality of life and further fuels the northern Nevada economy.
  • Diversity and inclusion continues to remain at the forefront of UNR Med's faculty, staff, student and resident recruitment and retention. The class of 2022 consists of 40 women and 30 men (60 percent women). Students range in age from 20 to 42 years old.

Media Contacts

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

Tessa Bowen
Communications Manager, Advancement and Engagement
Office: (775) 682-9254

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 50 years. The state's first public medical school, UNR Med fosters a healthy Nevada through excellence in medical education, medical care, research and community engagement, within a culture of respect, compassion and inclusion. Through targeted growth and investment in research, clinical services, education and outreach, UNR Med is improving the future of health care. For more information, visit our 50th anniversary website.