Melissa Piasecki, M.D., longtime executive associate dean, named as acting dean for University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

Jennifer Hagen, M.D., senior associate dean for faculty, assumes acting executive associate dean position

A side-by-side headshot of Dr. Piasecki and Dr. Hagen

Left: Melissa Piasecki, M.D., a longtime member of the UNR Med senior leadership team and professor of psychiatry, was recruited to the role of acting dean at UNR Med following the retirement of Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D., who retired Aug. 31, after 10 years as dean. Right: Jennifer Hagen, M.D., has been appointed as acting executive associate dean. Photos by Brin Reynolds/UNR Med. 

University of Nevada, Reno President Brian Sandoval announced that Melissa Piasecki, M.D., a longtime member of the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) senior leadership team and professor of psychiatry, was recruited to the role of acting dean at UNR Med. With this appointment, she will also serve as the Chief Academic Officer for Renown Health under the recently-formalized affiliation agreement between UNR Med and Renown, effective September 1, 2021. As acting dean, Piasecki will provide leadership continuity following the retirement of Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D., who served as dean for 10 years before stepping down on August 31.

"I want to thank Dr. Piasecki for her enduring leadership and strategic contributions to UNR Med and to her passion and commitment to the faculty, staff and learners," Sandoval said. "She has been integral to developing UNR Med's partnership with Renown and, under her leadership, will continue to build out the affiliation to advance health and health care through world-class medical education, clinical research and patient care for our community and our state."    

Piasecki has served UNR Med for 26 years in teaching and leadership roles, most recently as executive associate dean. She previously held a combined role of two positions - the executive associate dean and senior associate dean for academic affairs, and oversaw the increased growth of the School of Medicine with larger, more complex academic programs, and expanding partnerships and affiliations.  

"It's with great pride and optimism that I step into the role of acting dean. I have a deep appreciation for what makes our medical school community special - our commitment to our learners, our missions and our community. Never before have these qualities mattered so much as we continue to adapt to our changing environment and capture the opportunities before us," Piasecki said. "Along with our outstanding senior leadership team at UNR Med, I will continue to build our community ties and the Renown integration. I look forward to our school's next cycle of strategic planning and to developing and recruiting new leaders to UNR Med."   

Piasecki received her medical degree at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and completed residency in psychiatry at University of Vermont and a fellowship in forensic psychiatry at University of Hawaii. She teaches medical students and residents, as well as physicians in practice and legal professionals. Her current research is in implicit attitudes. She has published in the areas of addiction, suicide prevention, forensic psychiatry, communication skills and problem based learning.  

The University has hired an executive search firm to launch a national search for the next dean.  

Piasecki announced that Jennifer Hagen, M.D., is recruited  as acting executive associate dean until the completion of the dean search. In her new role, Hagen, will focus on advancing community partnerships, academic and clinical outreach, and representation of UNR Med to a wide range of external constituents.  

"I want to thank Dr. Hagen for accepting this position at this time and continuing to enthusiastically support the growth and success of our school of medicine, our faculty and learners," Piasecki said. "She has been a key contributor to UNR Med's success and will continue to help guide our future through her commitment to the school's academic, research and clinical achievements.  

Hagen has served UNR Med for 22 years in a variety of leadership roles spanning medical student, resident and faculty education, most recently as senior associate dean for faculty. Since 2018, Hagen has overseen UNR Med's Office for Faculty, a department created to support faculty in their teaching roles, encourage faculty engagement and promote overall faculty excellence, through the Office of Faculty Development, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Office for Community Faculty and the Office of Professional Recruitment.  

Hagen is a proud alumna of the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine and received her graduate training in internal medicine and geriatrics at UNR Med and is board certified in both specialties.   

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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: Thursday September 16, 2021 @ 8:00 AM