Project Medical Education

A Bridge Between UNR Med and Our Community

Students demonstating a medical procedure


Medical schools like the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR Med) are classified as community-based. That label doesn't come close to describing the critical importance we place on being fully-engaged with our community, and finding many different approaches to support that engagement. One of those approaches is Project Medical Education (PME).

PME is now in its seventh year of existence, with the 10th session having just closed last Wednesday, Feb. 5. Its fundamental purpose is to give community, business, health care and political leaders an intense one-day look at the life of a medical student, what it takes to train Nevada's future doctors, the many components of a fully-developed and successful medical school, and the excitement we all feel in being part of UNR Med.

PME Nevada is adapted from an Association of American Medical Colleges program that has been adopted now by about 80 medical schools across the country. Each program has a certain local flavor but they all have the same common purpose: to educate their communities and community leaders about the value of academic medicine, medical schools and medical education.

We seek to constantly answer the question: What is the value proposition for public medical education in Nevada?

Medical education is a complex enterprise because it fulfills a complex set of missions. We seek to advance science-both biomedical and clinical-in ways that lead to improved medical care. UNR Med is responsible for a substantial portion of the pipeline that leads to expanding the physician-and now physician assistant-workforce in Nevada, whether through teaching students, training residents and fellows, appointing community physicians to our faculty, or providing continuing medical education for practicing physicians.

And now, through broadened clinical practices and new clinical facilities, we are expanding our clinical services to fulfill our obligation to fill gaps in the access to medical care in northern Nevada, particularly for underserved patients seeking primary care.

To accomplish these missions requires an "all hands on deck" mobilization of community resources, and partnerships with as many community teachers and health care facilities as possible. As a public educational institution, we have an obligation to partner with every health care resource possible if it helps to expand our programs, accomplish our goals and serve the health needs of our community. We enjoy broad and strong support from the Sierra Nevada VA Health Center, Renown Health, Saint Mary's Medical Center, Northern Nevada Medical Center, Community Health Alliance, Reno Behavioral Hospital, the Nevada Health Centers in Elko and Carson-Tahoe Medical Center, to name just some of our most important partners. There are many more.

At the end of the day on Feb. 5, we had the great pleasure of bringing a dozen community leaders into UNR Med as honorary members. They were "admitted" to medical school, learned medical skills, observed medical care, and "graduated"-all in one day! They seemed to particularly treasure their white coats! This group now totals more than 120 graduates who connect us to so many corners of our community.

Medical education is the foundation and future of our health care system. It's important that we provide our community leaders the opportunity to explore the complex, collaborative process managed by UNR Med for the benefit of our community. To accomplish our missions requires enormous expertise, commitment and resources on the part of our faculty and staff members, and the knowledge and support of every corner of our community. PME brings it all together to create a Healthy Nevada.

Media Contacts

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

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

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, Nevada's first public medical school, is a community-based, research-intensive medical school with a statewide vision for a healthy Nevada. Established in 1969, UNR Med is improving the health and well-being of all Nevadans and their communities through excellence in student education, postgraduate training and clinical care, research with local, national and global impact and a culture of diversity and inclusion.

Released: Monday February 10, 2020 @ 5:00 PM