Inside Nevada Medicine

Inside Nevada Medicine

April 2009

Dean's Comments

Ole J. Thienhaus, M.D., MBA

This year, the day was March 19: Match Day! This is the day when our seniors find out whether they matched into their residency training programs of choice.

It is also the day, anxiously awaited by the residency training directors in our clinical departments, when we at the School of Medicine find out if we have been able to attract the students we placed high on the match list to join our first year residency programs.

It is almost a tradition here at our School that Match Day is a joyous occasion. And again, this year, all our students matched successfully, and most of them got into their program of choice.

We can look with pride on the places our graduates are going: Mayo Clinic, University of Texas, University of Virginia, University of Arizona, Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, University of Southern California, and, importantly, a plurality are going to our very own residency training programs here at the University of Nevada School of Medicine affiliated hospitals in Reno and Las Vegas.

Congratulations all around are in order: To our graduates and their families and our faculty and the staff who helped to smooth the way throughout the four years of training and education.

Our residency program directors also have reason to feel good: We matched for most positions and filled all other openings through the “scramble.” This is a reflection of successful leadership of graduate medical education, and it also speaks to our current residents’ projection of confidence in the quality of their training: On the application visits by prospective candidates no source of program information is more important than the testimony of current trainees.

So, again, kudos all around to a marvelous group of people who represent our school in a positive light and exemplify the esprit de corps that is essential to a successful organization.

Because I cannot list all our residents, students, faculty and staff individually here to thank them, let me just extend my gratitude to their leadership, the associate deans for medical education, Dr. Jennifer Kimmel; for student affairs and admissions, Dr. Peggy Dupey; and for graduate medical education, Dr. Miriam Bar-on.

I think I speak for the students and residents when I say that your inspired leadership has been critical to the educational success story that is the University of Nevada School of Medicine!

Ole J. Thienhaus, M.D., MBA
Dean, University of Nevada School of Medicine

Medical Education

Class of 2009 learns match results

Class of 2009 learning their match resultsFifty students matched with more than 30 different residency institutions across the country and will enter specialties ranging from anesthesiology to otolaryngology.

Nine graduates, or 18 percent, will stay in Nevada to enter into residency programs offered through the University of Nevada School of Medicine. Nearly one quarter of this year’s graduating class matched with residency programs not currently offered in Nevada.

Student to work with clinical trials at Johns Hopkins

Ryan Smith, a member of the Class of 2013, was accepted into a competitive summer research elective at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He will work with Dr. Judy Huang, a neurosurgeon who is currently involved in two clinical trials.

The first one is the use of high albumin concentrations to prevent vasospasm after subarachnoid hemorrhage and preventing secondary cerebral ischemia.

The second is the use of minimally invasive techniques and administration of tPA to remove a clot following intracerebral hemorrhage.

Student fundraiser planned for April 4 to support international clinic trips

People at the slient auction fundraiserTwenty first-year medical students are volunteering to work in free medical clinics in rural India, Nicaragua and Ecuador this spring. In addition, one of the students will be participating in Duke University’s Global Health Fellows Program in Geneva, Switzerland.

The public is invited to attend a fundraising benefit to be held this Saturday, April 4 at 6:30 p.m. in the great room on the fourth floor of the Joe Crowley Student Union at the University of Nevada, Reno. The silent action will feature items from local businesses, restaurants and vacations. Hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and entertainment will be provided.

Cost of the benefit is $25 per person, $20 per student or $10 for children 12 and under. Tickets will be sold at the door and credit cards will be accepted. Cocktail attire is requested.

Verby accepted as 'HEART' participant

Jillian Verby, Class of 2009 will participate this month in the Humanistic Elective in Alternative Medicine, Activism and Reflective Transformation (HEART) fourth-year elective program in Ben Lomond, Calif.

She is one of 25 students selected from across the country to experience this program which will incorporate humanistic values into medical education and practice.

McKinley earns Regents' Scholar Award

Eryn McKinley, Class of 2009, is the graduate student recipient of the 2008-09 Regents’ Scholar Award from the University of Nevada, Reno.

The Regents’ Awards recognize distinguished academic accomplishments, leadership ability, and service contributions, as well as, the recipient’s potential for continued success. She serves multiple leadership roles in the Student Outreach Clinic, where she simultaneously served as board member, secretary and clinic manager.

Internal medicine residents receive research grants

In collaboration with the Nevada INBRE program, research grants were awarded last month to three Las Vegas internal medicine residents—a first for the School of Medicine and IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence or NBRE.

The goal is to expand research infrastructure into the residency programs to develop individuals who will go on to perform research in their chosen specialty for three months of protected time. The residents all have a research mentor who will provide assistance and guidance during the research process.

They will also have the opportunity to participate in a clinical epidemiology and study design intensive research course offered by the Clinical and Translational Study Center at the University of California Davis in Sacramento.

The three proposals that received funding include: “Physician directed management of hyperglycemia in TPN patients is superior to current ad hoc management” with principal investigator Nischala Nannapaneni, M.D. and mentor Michael Jakoby, M.D., chair of the internal medicine department in Las Vegas; “Ischemia in hibernators” with principal investigator Kartika Shetty, M.D. and mentor Frank van Breukelen, Ph.D.; and “Catch CAD Study” with principal investigator Nirmal Sunkara, M.D. and mentor Chowdhury Ahasan, M.D., Ph.D.


Biochemistry department's work featured in textbook

Kunio Misono, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Biochemistry, reports that work from his lab, specifically the X-ray structures of the ANP receptor determined by his lab, is featured in the university-level textbook, Biochemistry by Garret and Grisham.

The March 2009 cover of The FEBS Journal shows an illustration of the receptor structures solved by X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy, also from his lab.

Yan selected as Regents' Rising Star

Wei Yan, M.D., Ph.D.Wei Yan, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, was selected as the Regents’ Rising Star for 2008-2009.

He performs novel genomic work on spermatogenesis and has novel ideas about a male contraceptive approach from his genomic studies of what makes sperm work.

According to the department chair, Kenton Sanders, Ph.D., Yan is a master at transgenics and becoming quite an expert on epigenetics – a very hot topic now about how gene expression is regulated.

Palwick poem published

Susan Palwick, Ph.D., clinical adjunct faculty in Reno, had the poem “Pneumonia Admission, 10 Y.O. F” published in The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine.

Palwick’s passion for narrative medicine, which she teaches to medical students here, arises from her combination of literary training and immersion in the complex, multifaceted stories at the hospital where she volunteers as a chaplain.

Pixley article published

John Pixley, M.D., associate professor and director of the rheumatology and immunology division of the Department of Internal Medicine in Reno, working in collaboration with members of the animal biotechnology department at the University of Nevada, Reno, had his article, “Immune ontogeny and engraftment receptivity in the sheep fetus” recently published in Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy.

Epter, Bar-on present workshop

Michael Epter, D.O., program director for emergency medicine and Miriam Bar-on, M.D., associate dean for graduate medical education, presented a workshop entitled “Starting a New Emergency Medicine Program—The ABCs” at the National Council on Residency Directors in emergency medicine meeting.

Bar-on to present at combined meeting in April

Miriam Bar-on, M.D., and Maryellen Gusic from Penn State College of Medicine will be presenting a workshop entitled “Navigating the Successful Mentoring Relationship” at the combined Association of Pediatric Program Directors and Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics annual meeting in Baltimore this month.

Health literacy and aging workshop offered next month

The Nevada Geriatric Education Center, a joint program of the School of Medicine and the Sanford Center for Aging, presents a faculty development series workshop on April 23 and 24 from noon to 4:30 p.m. both days in Reno and Las Vegas.

The workshop is designed to provide participants with tips and tools to improve communication with older adults so they can make appropriate health decisions.

Contact Diann Jones at (775) 682-8470 for workshop location information and to register.

Tenure and promotion workshop set for April 7

Planning for a promotion in the next few years?

Mark your calendar to attend the brown bag promotion workshop for tenure and tenure track faculty on April 7 from noon to 1 p.m. in the Jones Conference Room in Reno with pictel to Dean’s Conference and Family Medicine in Las Vegas. Register at (775) 784-6777.

'Revitalize Your Teaching' workshop planned for April 9

Save the date for the “50 Ways to Leave Your Lecture: Revitalizing Your Teaching” brown bag workshop on April 9 from noon to 1:30 p.m. in Pennington 214 with pictel to the Las Vegas pediatrics conference room.

Trudy Larson, M.D., professor with the Department of Pediatrics in Reno, offers this interactive faculty development workshop designed to invigorate your teaching materials.

Register at (775) 784-6777 or

Faculty scholar award applications now available

The Sanford Center for Aging’s Faculty Scholar Award honors faculty who have made exceptional contributions to the fields of gerontology or geriatrics through their teaching, scholarship, research, public service or practice.

Nominations for the 2009 recipient are now open through April 15.

School Notes

Speech pathology and audiology department earns eight year reaccreditation

The Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology earned an eight-year reaccreditation from the Council on Academic Accreditation, an arm of the American Speech Language and Hearing Association, for the second consecutive period.

Thanks are due across the spectrum including the School of Medicine, the University of Nevada, Reno Division of Health Sciences and the community for their contributions to this successful process.

Family medicine department in Las Vegas receives five year reaccreditation

The Department of Family Medicine in Las Vegas received their accreditation letter following an American Council on Graduate Medical Education site visit last fall.

They were awarded five years of full continued accreditation, the maximum cycle length given. Congratulations for the hard work of the program director, chair, faculty, residents and staff in the department.

Construction progressing at Las Vegas facility

Construction on the collaborative simulation center in Las Vegas is moving forward at a rapid pace. On March 26, presidents from the three collaborating institutions: the School of Medicine, University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Nursing and Nevada State College School of Nursing along with the University of Nevada, Reno provost, the vice president of health sciences and Dean Thienhaus toured the facility.

Construction has reached the dry wall phase along with installation of electrical work and the infrastructure for the necessary technology to run the simulations and to also capture learner performance for self assessment and feedback.

Thanks to those who helped with exhibit

Many thanks to faculty members Terry Henner, Savitt Library director and Gina Sella, education outreach coordinator in the Office of Student Affairs, for their hard work and efforts in bringing the “Changing the Face of Medicine” exhibit to Reno.

The exhibit is only visiting 60 medical schools in the U.S. and the grant (application originally written in 2004) was quite competitive.

Free dementia caregiver training offered in Fallon

The Sanford Center for Aging, Nevada Cooperative Extension and the Nevada Geriatric Education Center (a joint program between the Sanford Center for Aging and the University of Nevada School of Medicine) will hold two free conferences for caregivers of those suffering from dementia in Fallon on Wednesday, April 8.

Hospice Foundation of America teleconference on April 29

Join more than 120 health care professionals and representatives from four leading hospices for The Hospice Foundation of America's 16th Annual National Bereavement Teleconference at the United Healthcare Marlon Auditorium, 2716 N. Tenaya Way in Las Vegas on Wednesday, April 29 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The topic is diversity and end-of-life care and is presented by the University of Nevada School of Medicine and the Nevada Geriatric Education Center.

The objective is to provide practitioners with current information on loss and grief. A discussion on ways of understanding diversity and how cultural histories, traditions and beliefs can affect end-of-life care will be addressed at both the local and national level.

Continuing education units, or CEUs, will be provided for healthcare professionals. Registration fee is $50 for attendees with CEUs and $35 for those not wanting CEUs.

Breakfast, lunch, and refreshments will be provided.

To register, please visit the Web site or contact Allan Froman at (702) 671-2381.

Family Medicine department offers obstetrics training in Sparks

The University of Nevada School of Medicine will hold an Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics training course in Sparks, Nevada on May 6 and 7 which is open to health care practitioners across the state.

This two-day certified training program is designed to help prevent and manage emergencies in obstetrical care and delivery.

Parkinson's disease conference planned for April 21

The Nevada Geriatric Education Center, in partnership with the American Parkinson Disease Association, presents “Parkinson’s Disease: Sharing Wisdom” on Tuesday, April 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the fourth floor of the Joe Crowley Student Union on the University of Nevada, Reno campus.

Continuing education credits are available and there the registration fee is discounted if received before April 8.

Contact Diann Jones at (775) 682-8470 for more information.

Grant writing workshop offered in Las Vegas

The University of Nevada Cooperative Extension will offer a “Nuts and Bolts of Grant Writing” workshop in Las Vegas on the following dates: Wednesday, April 22 and Thursday, May 21 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lifelong Learning Center, 8050 Paradise Road.

Additional classes are being offered during the summer months as well. Contact Sandy Bean or call (702) 257-5502 for additional information and to register.

A $5 fee will be assessed the day of the class to cover the cost of materials.

Nevada Rural and Frontier Health Data Book now available

A newly released University of Nevada School of Medicine report documents the diverse features of health and health care in rural and frontier counties of Nevada.

The Nevada Rural and Frontier Health Data Book 2009 Edition contains a wide range of current information on the demography, population health, and the health care delivery system in rural and frontier regions of Nevada.

It includes important data for public policy makers, health care professionals and administrators, rural health care advocates, and residents of rural and frontier Nevada.

Nevada Cancer Institute hosts free lecture series in Las Vegas

Nevada Cancer Institute announces its free 2009 community lecture series targeted to the community at large, patients fighting cancer, cancer survivors and their families.

The next lecture in Las Vegas features Wolfram Samlowski, M.D., head of the section of melanoma, renal cancer and immunotherapy at Nevada Cancer Institute, who will be talking about “Identifying Risks Leading to Melanoma” on Wednesday, April 8, from noon to 1 p.m.

To register, email Lisa Emrich or call (702) 821-0071.

Nevada Cancer Institute offers new physician-focused publication

Nevada Cancer Institute’s Pathway is a new physician-focused news and resources publication.

In the current issue, read about the institute’s discoveries in gene therapy and reducing toxicity in chemotherapy and about the clinical trials program at Nevada Cancer Institute.

Status of LCME accreditation visit

Visit the School of Medicine Web site for an update on the progress of the LCME accreditation visit in 2009.

State job openings at the School of Medicine

Visit the University of Nevada, Reno Web site for a current list of state jobs at the University of Nevada School of Medicine.

Subscribe to Inside Nevada Medicine

Copyright © 2009 University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine.