2024-2029 Strategic Plan

University of Nevada, Reno | School of Medicine

UNR Med Strategic Plan Home

Brief History

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) was founded in 1969 as the first public medical school in Nevada with a three-part mission of education, research and service based on the values of compassion, respect, and a commitment to serving diverse populations. For over 50 years, this mission has guided our aspirations and actions. We built residencies to train medical specialists, increased class size, and constructed facilities to achieve our educational, patient care and research needs. Since its inception, UNR Med has recruited and trained outstanding medical professionals and researchers. We continue these endeavors today.

Change is a constant in medical education and research. In 2017, southern clinical and educational activities were transitioned to the newly established UNLV Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine, allowing for an expansion of public medical education in Nevada. With our shared goal of meeting health care needs for the people of Nevada, we embrace collaborations with our partners in Southern Nevada to enhance clinical, research and educational opportunities across the state.

In 2021, UNR Med and Renown Health established Nevada’s first integrated academic health system to advance our mission of supporting the health and health care of the people in the communities we serve. The integration advances innovation, medical education, clinical research and clinical trials, and improves access to high quality, evidence-based care.

Today, UNR Med is a research-intensive, community-based medical school with campuses in Northern Nevada’s metropolitan and rural areas. With over $30 million in annual grants and contracts, our transformative and ground-breaking research not only sets us apart, but serves to attract top-tier researchers and students. UNR Med currently trains future physicians in our M.D. program, resident physicians in our Graduate Medical Education programs, physician assistants, speech pathologists and audiologists, and scientists in our Physician Assistant, Speech Pathology and Audiology and graduate degree (Ph.D.) programs. We also support combined training opportunities in medicine including research (M.D./Ph.D.), business (M.D./MBA) and public health (M.D./MPH).

In conjunction with The Office of Statewide Initiatives, the Sanford Center for Aging, and the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory, we address the needs facing every Nevadan, expand access to care and training for rural populations, and work within the University to provide interdisciplinary approaches to health care. The Student Health Center continues to provide care and education to the entire University student population highlighting the importance of service to a broader community.

Our rich history inspires us to achieve new standards of excellence, to further develop our local, regional and national reputation as an institution committed to the generation of new knowledge, and to fulfill our mission and mandate to create a health care workforce that meets our vision: A Healthy Nevada.


  • 1969: Governor Laxalt signed Assembly Bill 130, officially creating the University of Nevada School of Medical Sciences (now the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine – UNR Med).
  • 1973: Department of Speech Pathology & Audiology moved into the School of Medical Sciences; Clinical Departments and the Nevada State Office of Rural Health were established.
  • 1983: Graduate Medical Education began.
  • 1992: The Sanford Center for Aging was launched.
  • 1997: The Nevada State Public Health Laboratory moved to UNR Med.
  • 1999: The Student Outreach Clinic was created to provide care to the underserved.
  • 2001: The William N. and Myriam Pennington Medical Education building opened.
  • 2010: The Center for Molecular Medicine building opened, expanding research opportunities.
  • 2011: William N. Pennington Health Sciences building opened, including a Clinical Simulation Center.
  • 2012: Project ECHO was established.
  • 2018: Physician Assistant Studies Program welcomed its first class.
  • 2020: The Nevada State Public Health Laboratory led the effort in diagnostics and epidemiology during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • 2021: UNR Med and Renown Health Affiliation was established.
  • 2022: Governor Sisolak approved funding to construct a new building for the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory.
  • 2023: The 50th reunion of the inaugural class at UNR Med took place, and a pediatric residency was launched.