Reflections from the Dean

News & Events

Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D., dean of the Univeristy of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

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.

As dean of the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, I shared this message and more during UNR Med's 2018 State of the School Address held Sept. 24. The theme for the annual address was "Unrivaled History. Unlimited Future," consistent with the theme of the year-long, community-wide celebration that ends on our milestone 50th anniversary date of March 25, 2019.

This year, UNR Med has emerged as essentially a "new" school with a 50-year tradition. We have grown and changed dramatically over those 50 years, but always with a fundamental commitment to serving Nevada. Here are some of the ways we do that:

  • UNR Med alumni represent a quarter of all physicians practicing in northern Nevada, helping to meet the area's health care needs with well-trained physicians in a broad range of specialties.  
  • 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 health care professionals in the region. The first class of 24 students began their education in July 2018 and will graduate work-force ready in 2020.  
  • 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 the 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 the primary care needs of patients in Elko and its surrounding area.  
  • UNR Med has surpassed its goal of increasing clinical community faculty members from 775 in 2017 to more than 1,100 in 2018. Clinical community faculty members 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.   ·       The School of Medicine has purchased a building at 745 West Moana Lane where we will create 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's endowments, which are designated to support medical student scholarships, faculty teaching and research, are currently valued at more than $50 million.  
  • 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 advances science globally, provides research training for undergraduate, graduate and medical students, and fuels the northern Nevada economy.  
  • Diversity and inclusion continue to remain at the forefront of UNR Med's faculty, staff, student and resident recruitment and retention. The medical school class of 2022 consists of 40 women and 30 men, and students range in age from 20 to 42 years old.

We are deeply embedded in our community and have experienced tremendous growth in critical partnerships that support new teaching, research and service programs. These programs will enhance our students' training and help to address the critical shortage of physicians and healthcare professionals in Nevada. As a fully accredited institution, we can now focus on clinical expansion, new training programs, expanded basic science and new clinical research investments.

Thank you for being a part of our past 50 years, and for helping shape our next 50. Our future is truly unlimited.

Watch the full UNR Med 2018 State of the School Address.


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.

Released: Monday October 1, 2018 @ 8:00 AM