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Nevada Front Page

School of Medicine in the News

Delta variant found in Nevada COVID cases has tripled

• Las Vegas Review Journal

The Delta variant of COVID-19 accounted for nearly half of the Nevada cases analyzed by the state’s public health laboratory in the past two weeks, according to a new report. The variant, first identified in India, made up about 46 percent of the analyzed cases in the latest data. Last week, it made up only about 16 percent. “Its frequency among positive cases in Nevada has tripled,” said Mark Pandori, director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno, School of Medicine. “The viruses that unvaccinated people are facing right now are the Olympic champions of infecting people.”



Hunsberger kindergarten confirmed to have cluster of Delta variant of COVID-19

• Reno Gazette Journal

Washoe County saw its first case of the Delta variant on June 2, according to Dr. Mark Pandori of the Nevada State Lab. The first case in Nevada was seen on April 26. “In Nevada we see, over the last two weeks, the Delta variant is 16.39% of all positives we analyze,” Pandori said. “I’m hearing that nationally, we are seeing it at about 20%.”


Bridging the gap between minorities and our health care system

• KOLO Channel 8 News

The Student Outreach Clinic at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine is providing services that are helping to bridge the gap between minorities and our medical systems. The clinics that take place at the Family Medicine Center at the university have been making health services easier for Northern Nevadan’s since the 90′s. They offer free clinics three to four times a month. Dr. Aaron Dieringer, a Physician at UNR said he and his team have identified that family planning services are becoming a major need in our community. “We have been able to offer IUDs as well as vasectomy’s for patients, it’s been pretty well received by the community,” Dr. Dieringer said. “We have a lot of folks who wouldn’t otherwise have access to it, so we are excited to be able to offer that as well.”


Spread of delta coronavirus variant exposes poorly vaccinated regions to renewed danger

• The Washington Post

"It has come out of nowhere," said Mark Pandori, who runs the genomics lab at the University of Nevada, Reno. "It seems to be a very successful variant and is closing in on the number 1 spot." Pandori emphasized that the number of positive cases is very low, as they are in many other parts of the country, and that the small number of breakthrough infections among those who have been vaccinated appears to confirm the immunizations' effectiveness against current variants, including delta.


Nevada health officials warn of delta COVID-19 variant evolving, push for vaccinations

• KSNV News 3 Las Vegas

Here in Nevada, Dr. Mark Pandori, director of Nevada’s State Public Health Lab, said the delta variant has made up about 15% of positive cases in the last month. “I hesitate to say worry, but I say concern is a good word because the way viruses become very, very dangerous is that they evolve,” said Dr. Pandori.


More contagious delta variant expanding in Nevada

• Las Vegas Review Journal

“We are getting so little positive cases to sequence that we are afraid that our sampling has a less probable chance of being a true representation of the population,” said Mark Pandori, director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno, School of Medicine. Delta could dominate. There is some laboratory evidence that vaccines are less effective against the Delta variant, also referred to as B.1.617.2, Pandori said in an email.


Nevada Regents OK landmark UNR Med-Renown Health deal

• Northern Nevada Business Weekly

The Board of Regents met for two days last week to hash out a host of higher education issues in the wake of a busy legislative session that saw operational budgets slashed even as personnel budgets were spared. The result was a whirlwind of new approved policies, among them finalizing a major partnership deal for the UNR School of Medicine with Reno-area healthcare giant Renown Health.


Regents approve UNR-Renown deal, faculty merit pay policy in marathon two-day meeting

• Carson Now

Roughly 10 months after initial negotiations began on a partnership deal between the UNR Medical School and Reno-area health care giant Renown Health, regents voted 12-1 to approve a landmark agreement that will tie the two parties together for the next 50 years. The final vote Friday came after a months-long process of votes across different bodies, with the deal clearing both Renown’s corporate board and the Legislature. Regents, administrators and Renown executives have hailed the agreement as “transformative,” and a major step in expanding the scope of UNR’s medical programs, teaching programs and clinical research.



Regents approve UNR-Renown deal, faculty merit pay policy in marathon two-day meeting

• Nevada Independent

Roughly 10 months after initial negotiations began on a partnership deal between the UNR Medical School and Reno-area health care giant Renown Health, regents voted 12-1 to approve a landmark agreement that will tie the two parties together for the next 50 years. The final vote Friday came after a months-long process of votes across different bodies, with the deal clearing both Renown’s corporate board and the Legislature. Regents, administrators and Renown executives have hailed the agreement as “transformative,” and a major step in expanding the scope of UNR’s medical programs, teaching programs and clinical research.



Pediatric cancer patients cared for close to home

• Galena Times

No parent wants to hear that their child has cancer. While it is very fortunate that cancer in children is a rare condition, each year parents of over 16,000 children under 19 years in the U.S. will receive that frightening news. This translates to about 35 kids per year in Northern Nevada.


UNR School of Medicine Students practice public health one patient at a time

• KOLO Channel 8 News

Statistics show this community is falling behind on vaccines, even though many people have lost loved ones to the disease. “COVID gave cases based on zip codes,” says Mirabel Dafinone, a first-year medical school student at UNR School of Medicine. She says what else the data showed her group. “And there was a correlation between Latin X Zip Codes and higher cases of COVID. So that was our initial like thought of hum…” she says. Dafinone is a member of UNR’s Medical Social Justice League. A small group of first year medical school students who wanted to make a difference in the Hispanic community.

COVID-19 vaccine clinic for Latinx community at Reno church this weekend

• KRNV News 4

The University of Nevada, Reno Nevada Public Health Training Center’s #COVIDCrew and the Medical Social Justice League (MSJ) are hosting a vaccination clinic for the Latinx community, El Gran Vacunatón, this weekend. The Medical Social Justice League (MSJ), part of the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, is made up of a group of first-year students whose goal is to address the equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. This synergistic collaboration began in January with #COVIDCrew and, to date, have assisted with over 850 vaccinations in the Latinx community.


Why class of 2021 medical school graduates are poised to become the change agents our health system needs

• Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)

Medical professionals must focus on people, not just science and disease. When their education was interrupted, this class of graduates strengthened their skills in understanding people from diverse backgrounds. In Hawaii, medical students staffed a clinic for those experiencing homelessness and conducted surveys on the impact of COVID-19 on their community. In Reno, Nevada, students spent time talking with patients by phone after discharge from the hospital.


Survey asks Nevada families about willingness to get COVID-19 vaccines for kids

• KVVU-TV FOX 5 News Las Vegas

A UNR Med survey is asking parents and teens across the Silver State and would like their honest answers: Will you fall in line for the vaccine for kids? Why or why not? "We are trying to get as much feedback as possible and share with pediatricians," said Dr. Mark Riddle of UNR Med Internal Medicine.


How bystanders can shut down microaggressions

• American Psychological Association

Responding effectively to microaggressions takes practice, and people often don’t speak up because they’re afraid of causing more harm or aren’t sure what to say, said psychologist Nicole Jacobs, PhD, associate dean of diversity and inclusion at the University of Nevada, Reno, School of Medicine.


Anthem Funds Initiative to Address Nevada’s Physician Shortage, Support Nevada’s Diverse Pre-Med Students and Promote Health Equity

• Business Wire

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Nevada’s Medicaid health plan has committed $75,000 to fund a new University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) initiative called See It To Be It. This initiative will connect aspiring physicians from populations that are underrepresented in medicine and from medically underserved communities with medical students and physicians from similar backgrounds. By supporting pre-med students as they navigate the medical school admissions process, the program will support UNR Med and Anthem’s shared commitment to preparing a diverse workforce of physicians. In turn, a more diverse medical workforce will be positioned to deliver more equitable healthcare services to multicultural, multiracial and socioeconomically diverse populations as well as to medically underserved communities.


Path cleared for clinical partnership between UNR Med and Renown

• This is Reno

“We’ve been working on this now for a year,” Schwenk said. “Literally thousands of person-hours of work have gone into this. A lot of financial, legal, organizational, governance work went into the initial drafts of the agreement up front. And then as we’ve kind of come to a final agreement, a lot of work groups have been stood up. I think we’ve got about 15 work groups that address all of the many parts of this relationship from clinical teaching to clinical research to clinical operations to faculty roles to funds flow to integrative governance positions and everything else.”


Jump in vaccinated Nevadans could land ‘knockout blow’ to coronavirus

• Las Vegas Review Journal

Paradoxically, there’s a silver lining in the dominance of troubling variants when disease numbers are declining, said Mark Pandori, director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno. “This is good news, because the numbers are actually dropping even when the more biologically infectious variants are circulating,” he said. “It also emphasizes that if vaccinations could go up, we would probably have a knockout blow here; I mean a total victory.” Pandori’s comments came at a state COVID-19 task force meeting following a report that COVID-19 case numbers, the positivity rate and other disease metrics continue to improve across the state.




Nevada Cultural Competency Training Now State Approved

• Policy & Medicine

On April 1, 2021, NRS 449 became law, which established new standards for anti-discrimination in health care in the state of Nevada, requiring implementation, completion, and maintenance of annual cultural competency training for medical facilities, facilities for the dependent, and other facilities. High Sierra Area Health Education Center (AHEC) and Nevada Primary Care Association (NVPCA) worked together to create a comprehensive training for Nevada providers to meet the new standards. This course has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and Policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education through the joint providership of UNR Med and Nevada Primary Care Association. UNR Med is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education to physicians.


Families react to vaccine endorsement for children ages 12-15

• KOLO Channel 8 News

Dr. Mark Riddle said kids are still at risk of getting COVID. The symptoms are less severe, but they can still be carriers of the virus. “By disrupting transmission in everybody you are lessening the opportunity for that virus to have a mutation,” said Dr. Riddle. Dr. Riddle said children in this group will also face fever-like side effects and soreness in the arm. They may also get hit harder after the second dose, but overall the response is good. “The immune responses were very good and sometimes even better than the adult population,” Dr. Riddle explained.