Inside Nevada Medicine

Inside Nevada Medicine

May 2009

Dean's Comments

Ole J. Thienhaus, M.D., MBA

Within an uncertain economic environment, it bears emphasizing, again, that the University of Nevada School of Medicine keeps its focus on excellence and continued growth.

One great example of our commitment to research comes from a notable honor bestowed on one of our faculty in the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology: Wei Yan, Ph.D., was chosen as this year’s Regents’ Rising Star from University of Nevada, Reno.

He is being honored for his novel genomic work on spermatogenesis. He has developed innovative ideas about a male contraceptive approach, based on his genomic studies of the ways sperm cells work. Dr. Yan is a master at transgenics and has created more than a dozen animals at UNR in only a few years. Congratulations!

I also had a chance to tour our new Simulation Center in Las Vegas where the School of Medicine, side by side with the nursing schools of UNLV and the Nevada State College, will start instruction this coming fall. This is a state-of-the-art facility and a showcase for the integrated approach to training of health care professionals that we aim for in Nevada.

In April, I went on a tour of our partner schools in Thailand, sponsored by our partners, and I was amazed to learn of the degree of active educational collaboration in trauma surgery, pediatrics and emergency medicine that we are jointly pursuing.

For trainees and faculty of our school, the opportunities to learn about tropical diseases, especially parasitoses, are tremendous. Besides, it is most instructive for us to learn about a very different model of health care delivery as we begin to look at fundamental reforms in that area here in the U.S.

Finally, a look ahead to May 15when we will celebrate a special day at the School of Medicine. That day we are hooding our medical school graduates in the course of a touching and meaningful academic ceremony at the Lawlor Events Center in Reno.

There is great pride involved, most deservedly on the part of our graduates and their families, but also among the faculty and staff who have played such an important role helping the graduates get where they are: On the cusp of applying the knowledge and skills acquired in four intensive years of studying to the actual practice of medicine. If I had to pinpoint one single moment of top significance in the annual cycle of medical school life, I would choose the recitation of the Hippocratic Oath at the hooding ceremony.

As we are looking forward to that special ceremony once again, I hope to welcome as many of our faculty, alumni, supporters, students and staff as possible. There simply is no better way of experiencing the excitement and positive energy that animate the University of Nevada School of Medicine than to be part of launching our senior class into physicianhood!

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

Medical Education

Students honor anatomical donors with memorial service

First year students from the University of Nevada School of Medicine honored individuals who participated in the anatomical donation program with a memorial service on April 25.

Family and friends of those who donated their bodies to medical research and education were invited to attend the service which was held at Walton’s Funeral Home Chapel in Reno.

Class of 2009 hosts annual senior class golf tournament

University of Nevada School of Medicine’s Class of 2009 will host its annual senior class golf tournament Wednesday, May 13 at the Lakeridge Golf Course in Reno. The shotgun start is at 8 a.m. and the festivities will last throughout the day.


Burkin paper accepted for publication by National Academy of Sciences

Dean Burkin, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmacology, and his research team have had an article accepted for publication in the high impact journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This paper identified laminin-111 as therapeutic in the mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (the most common form muscular dystrophy).

Co-authors Praveen Gurpur, M.D., Ph.D., and Jachinta Rooney, Ph.D. are postdoctoral scholars in his lab. A video produced on this research paper may be viewed online.

Yan finds insight into male chromosomes

University of Nevada School of Medicine scientists in the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology have discovered insight into the reproductive workings of the male sex chromosome that may have significant implications for male infertility and contraception.

This important discovery has been published in Nature Genetics, one of the highest-ranking journals in the field of biomedical research based upon the impact factor.

Goodman elected as inaugural Fellow of Hospital Medicine

Phil Goodman, M.D., professor of internal medicine and biomedical engineering, was elected among the first group of the Society of Hospital Medicine’s Fellows of Hospital Medicine, one of only two in northern Nevada and of five total in the state.

This designation is for physicians who have devoted their career to hospital medicine.

Gillis publishes, presents this spring

Marin Gillis, Ph.D., director of the Division of Medical Humanities and Ethics, has had several articles printed and presentations made this spring including:

Marin Gillis and Inma de Melo-Martín, “Ethical Issues in Human Stem Cell Research: Embryos and Beyond,” in C. Hanks, ed., Technology and Values: Essential Readings;

Richard Pretorius, Marin Gillis and Sandra Bertman, “Medical Education and the Visual Arts,” a panel presentation for the Society for Arts in Healthcare in Buffalo, New York; and

Marin Gillis, Pamela Brett-MacLean and Gerri Frager, ”Effective Strategies to Incorporate Arts Education into the UGME Curriculum,” a panel presentation for the American Association of Medical Colleges Western Regional Conference, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Las Vegas faculty members review books

Amy Ellwood, MSW, LCSW, professor of family medicine and psychiatry in Las Vegas, reviewed the book A Therapist’s Guide to Understanding Common Medical Conditions by Andrew Kolbasovsky for the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Family Medicine Journal.

Ellwood and Gregory Brown, M.D., associate professor and chair of psychiatry in Las Vegas, reviewed The Insanity Defense by E. Fuller Torrey for the Annals of Behavioral Science and Medical Education. Ellwood also reviewed The Porn Trap: Essential Guide to Overcoming Problems Cause by Pornography by Wendy Maltz and Larry Maltz in the same issue of Annals of Behavioral Science and Medical Education.

Academic hooding is May 15

Academic Hooding CeremonyThe time for the hooding ceremony for our graduates is fast approaching. This is an important occasion for them, and it is a time to recognize their accomplishments and to acknowledge the part that you as faculty have played in their success. It is a time for all of us to celebrate.

Our students become ambassadors for our school. Please show them how proud we are of them by attending this notable event. I encourage each of you to participate in this final celebration with our students.

The Class of 2009 Academic Hooding Ceremony will take place on Friday, May 15 at 1 p.m. in the Lawlor Events Center in Reno. There will be a special seating area for medical school faculty. Please attend and wear your academic regalia.

School Notes

Nevada State Health Laboratory's role in swine flu surveillance

The Nevada State Health Laboratory has an active role in the current state swine flu testing efforts by providing diagnostic for state health authorities including Washoe County Health District, Southern Nevada Health District, Carson City Health Authority, Nevada State Health Division, private health care providers and citizens.

Working with the Centers for Disease Control and other state and local health authorities, the laboratory is fulfilling this role for the citizens of Nevada concerned about this new threat of swine flu that can be transmitted human-to-human and has been identified in Mexico, the U.S. (including Nevada) and several other countries.

Influenza testing is usually screened using rapid test kits from a clinician’s office, hospital or commercial lab. Upon a positive screen, the sample is sent to the state health laboratory for more sensitive subtyping to further characterize the sample and detect if a person has flu A or flu B, and which type of flu A. If the laboratory identifies a sample that is positive for flu A, but is unable to subtype it further, that sample is shipped by overnight carrier to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta for further testing. The Nevada State Health Laboratory will soon receive swine fu testing confirmation kits from the CDC so that the subtype test may be done locally, shortening the confirmation time by two or three days.

In response to the current situation, the lab instituted enhanced operation procedures which include shift changes to increase capacity and ensure rapid and timely testing results in the midst of this swine flu outbreak.

Division of Medical Humanities co-hosts reception to honor artists

The Division of Medical Humanities and Ethics and the Renown Medical Center healing arts program will host a reception for Seth Bellister and Kyle Yamamoto, two artists in residence students who are graduating this year.

This reception, which is free of charge, is open to the public and light refreshments will be served. It will be held on Tuesday, May 12 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Pennington foyer in Reno.

Clinician's ceremony honors students, residents and faculty

The School of Medicine held its annual clinician’s ceremony on March 27 in the Joe Crowley Student Union Ballroom in Reno to honor members of the Class of 2011, current residents and faculty members.

Awardees for the professionalism in medicine were selected by their classmates and include: Jyoti Desai (respect), Benjamin Stump (integrity), Kelly Bridges (altruism), Andrew Tomlinson (duty) and Vanessa Wong (humility).

Humanism and excellence in teaching awards were presented to residents Saman Hayatdavoudi, M.D., and Katie Julian, M.D., both with the internal medicine department in Reno and Jon McCaleb, M.D., family medicine department in Reno.

In Las Vegas, Kate Martin, M.D., of the family medicine department and Wright Jones, M.D. and Charles (Randy) St. Hill, M.D., with the surgery department were honored.

For these honors, all of the previously mentioned students and residents were inducted into the Gold Humanism in Medicine Honor Society along with Dean Ole Thienhaus, M.D. and Miriam Bar-on, M.D., associate dean of graduate medical education.

'Race for the Cure' is this weekend in Las Vegas; October in Reno

The Annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is this Saturday, May 2 at the Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas with registration beginning at 6 a.m. Come on out and support our team for this annual fundraiser to fight breast cancer and help research efforts to find a cure.

Mark your calendars for the 11th Annual Susan G. Komen Northern Nevada Race for the Cure on October 4 beginning at 9 a.m. on the University of Nevada, Reno quad.

As in years past, the School of Medicine and University Health System will field a team. Sign up online and join our team, “Save Second Base.” Anyone can sign up on the team including family, friends, students, residents, physicians and UHS staff members.

Faculty Affairs & Development to hold workshops

The Office of Faculty Affairs and Development will hold workshop sessions in May and early June in both Reno and Las Vegas on different subjects of interest to faculty.

A new faculty orientation is planned for May 19 at the School of Medicine in Las Vegas, room 504 with pictel to Reno, Pennington 214. Academic curriculum vitae workshops will be held on May 29 in Las Vegas (venue to be determined) and June 12 in Pennington 214. All workshops are schedule as brown bag lunches from noon to 1:30 p.m. on the respective dates.

Please sign up for both of these classes by calling (775) 784-6777 or via email.

Alumna continues to excel

School of Medicine alumna, Carla Ellis, ‘07M.D., a current resident at Johns Hopkins in pathology, continues to make us proud! She is featured on the department’s web site for her research project.

Continuing medical education offerings at Nevada Cancer Institute

Nevada Cancer Institute (NVCI) in Las Vegas is offering several continuing medical education opportunities in May. All meetings are held at NVCI:

Arthur T. Skarin, M.D., associate professor of medicine at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute will be presenting the “Changing treatment paradigms in non-small cell lung cancer” lecture at noon on Thursday, May 7.

Nicholas Vogelzang, M.D., chief of genitourinary oncology at Nevada Cancer Institute, will discuss genitourinary cancers on Tuesday, May 12 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Lin-Chi Chen, M.D., Ph.D., medical oncologist at Nevada Cancer Institute, will be presenting at the Thursday, May 21, Tumor Board meeting at 8 a.m. (continental breakfast will be served). The topic will be “Head and Neck Cancer.”

Igor Puzanov, M.D., MSCI, assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, will be presenting “Melanoma 2009: Status Quo or Real Progress” at noon on Friday, May 22.

For more information on the CME offerings above and to register, email Diane Terrano or call (702) 822-5163.

Trainings offered in Caliente, Mesquite for caregivers of those with dementia

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 two conferences for caregivers of those suffering from dementia in Caliente on Wednesday, April 29 and Mesquite on Thursday, April 30.

Elder care training class offered in Reno

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 workshop on caring for older adults in Reno on Tuesday, April 28.

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.

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