Inside Nevada Medicine

Inside Nevada Medicine

March 2009

Dean's Comments

Ole J. Thienhaus, M.D., MBA

Times are tough – to put it mildly. As students, staff and faculty of the School of Medicine, we are obviously not immune to the economic crisis around us.

So it is not surprising that I hear, directly or second-hand, how worried people are on our campus—Is my department going to survive? Will I still have a job next year? What’s going to happen to my residency?

These are just a few examples of queries that have reached me recently. Uncertainty breeds anxiety and anxiety can easily mutate into depression, despair, suspiciousness, anger and frustration. This is only to be expected and I can safely say that these emotions are liable to affect senior administrators as well as everybody else.

And yet, when all is said and done, I feel confident that we—the School of Medicine, the University, medicine in Nevada–will not only survive, but come out of the crisis stronger than before.

Our collective resiliency is challenged. Many of us do more than just cope: we adapt and grow new initiatives.

Yes we have lost some faculty, but others, both new and established, have stepped forward to meet the challenge.

For instance, Dr. Evan Klass, whose dedication and energy are exemplary, has been named medical director for the multispecialty clinic at the Plaza.

Our child psychiatry fellowship director, Dr. Erika Ryst, scored an unprecedented “zero deficiencies” on the RRC site visit resulting in five-year reaccreditation.

We have an outstanding pool of applicants for both our medical school freshman class and for our residencies. We are interviewing highly competitive candidates for taking on the chairmanship of our Department of Pathology who are vying for a chance to reinvigorate that critically important program in our school.

State-of-the-art new buildings are coming on line. Later this year, we will move into the Simulation Center in Las Vegas, and we are beginning construction of the molecular medicine building on the Reno campus.

No, I don’t mean to be Pollyannaish. The national and global recession is affecting us deeply and painfully: our state, our community, our partner hospitals, not to mention our patients and our families, our friends, ourselves. In my job, I sometimes feel like channeling President Obama who faces a seemingly insurmountable mass of problems.

But I do insist that we are positioned to weather this storm. We have a very lean but outstanding team of administrative experts, who help me steer this ship.

On the fiscal side, I look to Jean Regan and Kim Quinn, on the operations side, Blain Claypool and our practice plan leadership.

There is no department or residency, no program or unit on some sort of short list of things to eliminate. Rather, as many of us gradually learn to adjust certain priorities in our personal lives, we can also recalibrate our professional expectations and work schedules so as to thrive in a universe of sharply declining resources.

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

Medical Education

Match Day is March 19!

Members of the Class of 2009 will learn where they will receive their residency training on Thursday, March 19 at ceremonies in Reno and Las Vegas.

The National Resident Matching Program is a private, not-for-profit corporation that provides an impartial venue for matching applicants’ and programs’ preferences for each other by reviewing their individualized rank order lists.

The ceremonies will be held at the Pennington Medical Education Building Foyer in Reno at 9 a.m. and in conference rooms E and F in Las Vegas at 2040 West Charleston Boulevard at 8:30 a.m.

All are welcome to attend this exciting moment in a fourth-year student’s medical education journey.

Bierkamper winners announced

Two University of Nevada School of Medicine students were recognized recently for excellence in research at the 26th Annual George G. Bierkamper Student Research Convocation.

This year’s graduate student Bierkamper award went to Rosie Dixon for her research on “Chlamydial Infection Causes Loss of Oviduct Pacemaker Cells and Inhibits Oocyte Transport.” Dixon, a fourth-year graduate student, worked with Sean Ward, Ph.D., of the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology as her mentor.

Chad Watts received the medical student Bierkamper award for his presentation entitled, “Outcomes of Ulnar Collateral Ligament Reconstruction With Abnormal Bone Excision.” Watts, a second-year medical student, worked with Glenn Fleisig, Ph.D., of the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Ala.

Student fundraiser planned for April 4 to support international clinic trips

Twenty 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 entire Class of 2012 is rallying around their classmates to help raise funds to support this trip.

The public is invited to attend a fundraising benefit to be held 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.

Students to present at ACP conference in May

Working in conjunction with Nevin Wilson, M.D., and Mary Beth Hogan, M.D., both of the Department of Pediatrics in Reno, Chaithra Prasad, Class of 2009, has had her research abstract entitled, "Effect of evaporative (swamp) coolers on skin test sensitivity to dust mites and molds in a desert environment" accepted as a poster finalist at the American College of Physicians’ “Internal Medicine 2009” conference in Philadelphia next month.

Erik Maki, Class of 2011, will have his research abstract "Accuracy of Self-Reported Height and Weight in Postmenopausal Women" presented at the same conference. Maki completed a clinical research rotation with Doina Kulick M.D., Department of Internal Medicine in Reno, last summer and completed this research project under her mentorship.

Students present at Western Regional Society of Academic Emergency Medicine

Kristi Stanley and Brian Pierson, both with the Class of 2011, presented their research projects on cardiac arrest at the Western Regional Society of Academic Emergency Medicine meeting in Park City, Utah this month.

These projects were also accepted for presentation to the National Society of Academic Emergency Medicine in May and will be published in the journal Academic Emergency Medicine.

They have been working with David Slattery, M.D., assistant professor, Department of Emergency Medicine.


Zamboni named president of ASRM

William A. Zamboni, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Surgery, University of Nevada School of Medicine, was elected president of the American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery at their annual business meeting earlier this year in Hawaii.

Bar-on co-authors paper on educator portfolios

Miriam Bar-on, M.D., professor of pediatrics and associate dean for graduate medical education, co-authored a paper entitled, “Evaluating the Performance of Medical Educators: A Novel Analysis Tool to Demonstrate the Quality and Impact of Education Activities” that was published in the January 2009 issue of the AAMC’s journal Academic Medicine.

Spogen, Dulaney present at national conference

Daniel Spogen, M.D., chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine in Reno, and his assistant Angela Dulaney, co-presented recently at the Association of Departments of Family Medicine national conference in New Orleans on the subjects of “The Family Medicine Track,” “Dilemmas in Family Medicine” and “Achieving Mission Alignment.”

Gillis, Piasecki to present at AAPP annual meeting

Marin Gillis, LPh, Ph.D., director of the Division of Medical Humanities and Ethics and Melissa Piasecki, M.D., associate dean for faculty affairs and development, have been accepted to present a paper entitled, “Developing a Case-Based Program Addressing Errors in Reasoning in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,” at the annual meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry, in San Francisco on May 16-17.

Ellwood co-authors chapters in sex therapy guidebook

Amy Ellwood, MSW, LCSW, professor of family medicine and psychiatry has co-authored two chapters in A Clinician’s Guide to Systemic Sex Therapy with Gerald Weeks, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy at UNLV.

The chapters are entitled “Assessment Within the Intersystems Approach” which addresses the biphasic assessment process and taking a sexual history and “Treatment Principles, Strategies and Techniques” which covers treatment from the first phone call to treatment of specific sexual dysfunctions and treatment concerns of sexual minority clients.

Ellwood and Weeks are two of three board-certified sex therapists in Nevada.

Swager selected as fellow

Patti Swager, M.Ed., director of the Nevada Geriatric Education Center in Reno, has been selected as a Fellow of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE).

Being an AGHE Fellow is an honor that recognizes outstanding leadership in gerontology and geriatric education. Swager was honored based on her teaching and leadership in the field of aging and her service to the association.

She was inducted at the AGHE annual meeting last month in San Antonio, Texas.

Tenure and promotion workshop set for April 7

A brown bag lunch workshop on promotion for tenure and tenure-track academic faculty and chairs will be held April 7 from noon to 1:30 p.m. with pictel between the Jones Conference Room in Reno and the Dean’s Conference Room in Las Vegas.

It will be presented by Melissa Piasecki, M.D., professor and associate dean for faculty affairs and development. RSVP by calling (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. RSVP via phone at (775) 784-6777 or via email.

School Notes

Synapse magazine relaunched for School's 40th anniversary

Synapse, the School of Medicine magazine last published in the 1980s and 1990s, returns after a 10-year hiatus in time to celebrate the School’s 40th anniversary this month.

The magazine is slated to be published twice a year and will feature news regarding the School of Medicine that may be of interest to students, faculty, staff and alumni.

The main feature of the spring 2009 premiere issue of the new edition is the school's 40th anniversary milestone, which takes a look at the school's origins and details some of the institution's future plans and developments.

The edition also features the school's newly formed acute care surgery fellowship in Las Vegas, the first of its kind in the United States, and the work of allergy specialists and researchers in Reno.

Synapse is designed, written and produced by the communications office at the University of Nevada School of Medicine.

Volunteer judges needed for international science fair

Volunteer judges are needed to participate in the 2009 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Reno on May 12 and 13.

Faculty, staff and students with expertise in biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, chemistry, microbiology and medicine are encouraged to apply to judge this science and engineering fair for high school teens from across American and 57 other countries.

Apply online or call Liz Boen at (775) 348-3932.

'Changing Face of Medicine' exhibit features faculty speakers

Several faculty members from the School of Medicine will be guest speakers at the "Changing the Face of Medicine: Celebrating America's Women Physicians," an interactive, multimedia traveling exhibit that honors the lives and achievements of American women in medicine, on display at Northwest Reno Library, 2325 Robb Drive,in Reno now through March 26.

Anton Sohn, M.D., retired chairman of pathology and founder of the History of Medicine Program will speak at the exhibit on March 5; Trudy Larson, M.D., professor of pediatrics will speak on March 12 and Cheryl Hug-English, M.D., MPH, medical director of the UNR Student Health Center will talk on March 19.

All talks will run from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Two interactive kiosks traveling with the exhibition offer access to the National Library of Medicine's "Local Legends" web site, which spotlights outstanding women physicians from every state, and to the web site created for the larger exhibition at the National Library of Medicine.

The Reno appearance of this exhibit is a collaborative effort among the Washoe County Library System, University of Nevada School of Medicine and Savitt Medical Library.

More rural elder care workshops offered this month

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) held a free community workshop on caring for older adults in Elko on Feb. 19.

Additional workshops are planned this month for Thursday, March 5 in Boulder City and Friday, March 6 in Moapa.

Confidential hotline provides help for those with gaming addiction

The University of Nevada School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in Las Vegas is conducting a research study named “Brief Intervention for Problem Gambling Line” which provides a free confidential hotline for those struggling with a gaming addiction.

Help for those who want to quit tobacco use

The Nevada Tobacco Users’ Helpline (800) QUIT NOW or (800) 784-8669, is a free resource for state residents struggling with tobacco addiction.

The helpline provides free counseling sessions and treatment services (if needed) to any Nevada resident 18 years or older who wants to quit their tobacco use.

Organ Donor Awareness Day encourages organ and tissue donations

Hearts are a traditional symbol of Valentine’s Day, but they also hold a special symbolic significance in health care as the red heart is the official logo for organ donation.

This Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, marked the observance of National Organ Donor Awareness Day and encouraged everyone to give the most precious gift they have to offer.

Call for submissions to The Stethoscope

The School of Medicine's annual journal of literature and art, The Stethoscope, is now accepting submissions for publication this spring.

Editors are looking for original and creative submissions, including short stories, poems, essays, drawings, photography, jokes, and other artistic work, from students, faculty, and friends of the School. The subject matter need not be medically related. From the whimsical to the serious, we want to see it!

Prizes will be awarded for the best entries in each category. Deadline for submissions is Wednesday, March 25. Submissions may be emailed to Michael at or Jamie.

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.