University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine names John Packham, Ph.D., as Associate Dean for Office of Statewide Initiatives

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headshot of John Packham, Ph.D.

UNR Med names John Packham, Ph.D., as associate dean for the Office of Statewide Initiatives.

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine names John Packham, Ph.D., as associate dean for the Office of Statewide Initiatives effective Jan. 2.

The announcement comes as Dr. Evan Klass, senior associate dean for the Office for Statewide Initiatives retired Dec. 31, after 10 years at UNR Med. Klass will continue as executive director of Project ECHO Nevada, an innovative healthcare program that uses teleconferencing technology to connect healthcare specialists at UNR Med with primary care clinicians in rural and urban underserved communities.

In his new role, Packham will oversee programs and technical assistance administered by the Office of Statewide Initiatives, including health workforce research and policy analysis, Project ECHO Nevada, the Nevada AIDS Education and Training Center (AETC), and, working in conjunction with Gerald Ackerman, assistant dean for rural programs and the director of the Office of Rural Health for UNR Med, the Nevada State Office of Rural Health, and the Nevada Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Program.

"I am extremely pleased that Dr. Packham has agreed to take on this critical leadership role and continue the growth and momentum of our statewide programs that began under Dr. Klass' leadership. Our statewide and rural outreach is critical to our mission as a northern Nevada medical school with a statewide vision. I am confident that Dr. Packham's leadership will help us achieve that mission and enhance the quality of life throughout Nevada by expanding our healthcare workforce and increasing access to health care," said University of Nevada, Reno, School of Medicine Dean, Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D.

Packham's strong background in health program planning, administration and development has made him a statewide health policy leader. Since 1999, he has been the principal investigator of the Nevada Rural Hospital Flexibility Program and the Nevada Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program grant programs which have received $10.1 million allowing Nevada to establish an effective, statewide technical assistance center for the state's 13 rural and frontier hospitals.

He is the co-author of more than 75 policy-related reports produced by the Office of Statewide Initiatives and currently serves on statewide and national advisory boards, including: the Public Employee Benefits Program (PEBP) Board of Directors, Health Services and Medical Care Sector Council of the Nevada Governor's Workforce Investment Board, Nevada Insurance Commissioner's Network Adequacy Advisory Council, National Association of State Offices of Rural Health Board of Directors, and the American Public Health Association's Governing Council.

Packham received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in sociology from the University of Oklahoma, and his Doctor of Philosophy degree in sociology from Johns Hopkins University. He completed a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship with the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health and the Örebro County Council, Örebro, Sweden.


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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.

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Released: Tuesday January 2, 2018 @ 7:00 AM