Community Faculty News

Community Faculty News

May 2017 | Issue 9
University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

UNR Med Upcoming Events

Alumni Association Mixer

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Wild River Grille
17 S. Virginia Street

As the Class of 2017 graduates this week, we welcome these medical students into the alumni ranks of the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine. We are proud of what they've accomplished and look forward to seeing all that they will achieve and the countless lives they will touch in their careers as physicians. The School of Medicine Alumni Association is hosting a celebration for the Class of 2017 tonight at the Wild River Grille. If you are available, please stop by and join us in a toast to our newest alumni! 

For more information about the Mixer, please visit:

As community faculty and alumni, your achievements and contributions continue to make us proud, too! We welcome the opportunity to share your recent honors, awards and career news in an upcoming issue of Synapse. Please send your updates to:

Hooding Ceremony

Friday, May 19, 2017
12:30 p.m. processional line-up, President's Room 1 & 2
1:00 p.m. Ceremony
Lawlor Events Center

Clinician's Ceremony

Wednesday, June 21, 2017
5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Milt Glick Ballroom, Joe Crowley Student Union

Students and Residents Show Appreciation

UNR Med Community Faculty Lapel Pin designed by Keely Smith, MS2.
UNR Med Community Faculty Lapel Pin designed by Keely Smith, MS2.

University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine students and residents showed their appreciation to the community faculty who dedicate their time to teaching the next generation of health care professionals as part of the UNR Med Office for Community Faculty's Appreciation Breakfast held on April 28th.

Medical students presented community faculty members with a gratitude video and lapel pins, recognizing them as "The Heart of the School of Medicine." To watch the appreciation video, please visit the Office for Community Faculty website.

We invite community faculty members who were unable to attend the Appreciation Breakfast to stop by the Office for Community Faculty located inside Renown Regional Medical Center (next to the Sierra Tower information desk) to pick up your lapel pin and UNR Med badge pull. Or, contact the OCF at or (775) 682-8390 to have your pin and badge pull delivered.  

Once again, we thank you for your time, wisdom, and commitment to our students and residents.

Survey: Tell Us What You Think

Tell us what you think!

The Office for Community Faculty (OCF) is seeking your input by means of a community faculty assessment survey. Thank you to those who have already completed the survey. Your feedback will be used as we make future strategic planning decisions for UNR Med community faculty. For those who have not yet had the opportunity to take the survey, we hope that you will find the time to do so. The survey takes only 5 minutes and all responses are anonymous. If desired, names of the survey participants are placed into a drawing for one of three $25 Amazon gift cards. (Note: Your name will be kept separate from your survey responses).

Click on this link to begin the survey. The survey closes on May 24, 2017.

We appreciate the Washoe County Medical Society and the Nevada State Medical Association for their support of this survey. We ask that you please forgive any cross-postings.

Should you have any questions about the survey, contact Dr. April Heiselt, Director, UNR Med Office for Community Faculty at (775) 682-8390 or via email at

Community Faculty Spotlight

Celestine Hernandez, M.D.
Celestine Hernandez, M.D., The Elko Clinic; Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

Every day our community faculty illustrate their commitment to educating future physicians through their passion for teaching and examples of excellence. The Office for Community Faculty would like to shine the spotlight on one of the greatest assets of the School of Medicine, our community faculty. YOU are making a difference.

This month's spotlight is Celestine Hernandez, M.D., The Elko Clinic; Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine.

How long have you been serving as a Community Faculty member?

I became a community faculty member in 2003 and have served ever since (14 years).

How do you serve as a Community Faculty member?

I am a preceptor to third-year medical students.

What is your favorite part about being a Community Faculty member?

My favorite part about serving as a community faculty member is having the opportunity to mold a medical student to truly care for and understand their patients.

What would you tell other physicians who are thinking about serving as Community Faculty members?

Precepting gives me a sense of fulfillment that I hopefully, have helped somebody along the way, and they can have this feeling too.

Why do you continue serving as a Community Faculty member with the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine?

It is my way of paying it forward. Coming from the Philippines for my Pediatric Residency in Cook County Hospital in Chicago, I was paired with a senior resident who patiently showed me how to be a caring pediatrician and taught me everything she could. And, I had an attending physician who made sure I didn't get culture shock. The great experience they gave me is what I want to give and teach the medical students who rotate with me in Pediatrics. I tell them that when it's their turn, they have to do the same!

Teaching Tips from the Office of Faculty Development

Teaching Tips

By being a physician preceptor, you have assumed an important role in the professional development of our UNR Med medical students and residents on their paths to becoming competent doctors and independent practitioners, respectively. When one considers the complexities of any given day in the practice of medicine, selecting what to teach can be daunting. What will be of highest value to your learner? How do you address his or her needs while keeping up with a busy practice? Our "Teaching Tips" series will help you address questions like these, whether you are a seasoned clinician-educator or a new faculty member.

Learning is a shared responsibility. The responsibility for what your students or residents learn while working with you is not yours alone. A key feature of adult learning is that learners are proactive in identifying their own learning needs. Additionally, to become competent, independent practitioners, our students and residents must develop skills in self-directed, problem-based learning which includes reading about their patients and finding the best evidence related to diagnosis and treatment. These skills are emphasized in our UNR Med medical education program objectives (MEPO) that guide all content and assessment for the medical education curriculum:

Practice-Based Learning and Improvement: Demonstrate the ability to investigate and evaluate one's care of patients, to appraise and assimilate scientific evidence, and to continuously improve patient care based on constant self-evaluation and life-long learning. These program objectives will be posted on the School of Medicine website in July and are adapted from medical education literature (see Englander, et al., Acad Med, Vol. 88, No. 8 / August 2013).

Here are some prompts you can use to guide self-directed learning:

Have you seen patients like this before? What questions do you have after seeing this patient? What do you want to/need to set as a learning activity after seeing this patient?

After you ask these questions a few times it is likely that the learner will anticipate this and state what he or she wants to learn as a part of the patient presentation. An important step in reinforcing a learner's independent learning is to follow-up at your next session. For example: "Last time we met we suspected that Mrs. Y might have rheumatoid arthritis and you were going to learn more about the diagnostic testing for RA. What did you learn? Do you think it changes what we should order for her lab tests?"

Physician Assistant Studies Program Update

As an update to the story we ran in the March issue of the Community Faculty News, the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine has voluntarily withdrawn its current application for accreditation of its new Master of Physician Assistant Studies program and is reapplying for accreditation in September 2017. The decision will delay instruction previously scheduled to start in May 2017 until summer 2018.

"We came to the decision based on input from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, Inc. The only way to introduce new and expanded curriculum that will most benefit our students in the long-term is to withdraw our application and resubmit a new application for accreditation," said Brian Lauf, founding director of the PA program. "Our number one priority is to ensure our inaugural class has the most advanced and innovative teaching resources available to them to prepare them as highly skilled healthcare providers."

With the creation of new UNR Med departments, including OB/GYN, and expansion of existing departments such as Pediatrics, the School has the opportunity to enhance the previously planned curriculum to offer PA students a more robust educational experience. The program will submit the updated curriculum in its new application for accreditation with an anticipated timeline: application submission (September 2017), site visit (November 2017) and ARC-PA accreditation consideration (March 2018) with anticipated instruction beginning in summer 2018.

"The response to the program has been phenomenal and we continue to be committed to the highest level of education and ensuring PA students are the most sought after for employment at local clinical practices upon graduation," said Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D., Dean of UNR Med.

The initial 24 selected applicants to the PA program will retain their existing placements, if they choose. As the program moves through the new accreditation cycle, it will provide updates and information about the new timeline to the selected applicants. The program will be located at the University of Nevada, Reno Redfield Campus in south Reno.

Did You Know?

Text Books

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine offers Grants-In-Aid benefits to its community faculty members. Community Faculty are eligible for six academic credits per semester.

Learn more about this benefit at or by contacting the Office for Community Faculty at (775) 682-8390 or by email at

The Office for Community Faculty: Supporting those committed to educating tomorrow’s health care professionals. Copyright © 2017 University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine.