Fall 2009
Alumni Notes

synapse: University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

Health sciences building.

The Health Sciences Building will be part of the educational hub for medical and nursing student training in northern Nevada by 2011. Artist rendering courtesy Sheehan Van Woert Bigotti Architects.

Construction continues to advance

The University of Nevada School of Medicine announces significant progress on the construction of the state-of-the-art 59,000-square-foot health sciences building.

This building and the Pennington Medical Education Building, will form the educational hub for medical and nursing students on campus. The school has legislative approval for the capital expenditure, the only new construction authorized for the University in Nevada’s last session.

The school also received a commitment for a naming level gift to nearly complete the funding for the building’s construction, which is scheduled to begin in January 2010 with occupancy slated for fall 2011.

The building will integrate recent advances in instructional technology and “green” building methods while making the interdisciplinary model a reality. Its new anatomy lab has cadaver tables and associated computers and will incorporate automatic technology to film and record dissections. The lab will allow community physician access for surgical reviews and training in new techniques.

The building’s technology includes automatic tracking systems so that lectures can be filmed, archived and retrieved in video streaming mode. Lecture halls will have a third high resolution screen and employ wide aspect technology that integrates video and microscopic photography.

The simulation lab will house all computerized patient mannequins and a central control area for equipment used in monitoring, tracking and operating simulators. Three group rooms adjacent to the simulation lab are classrooms with video streamed in from the labs. The rooms have operable walls with capacity for 120 students engaged in team-based learning through online modules, testing and group discussion.

Although still one of the smallest medical schools in the country, this new resource will allow the school to double its class size from what it was for most of the past 25 years, 52 students, to more than 100.

In addition, the building’s construction will move Nevada toward collaborative health sciences education through a shared teaching environment for medicine and nursing.

The new Health Sciences Building represents, along with the Center for Molecular Medicine which is already under construction, a marked improvement of the environment for teaching, research and collaborative service to the public.

Contact Stefanie Scoppettone, development director at (775) 682-9143 to learn more about this campaign. The school thanks its supporters for their continued interest.


Banquet to celebrate school’s 40th anniversary

This is a milestone year for the University of Nevada School of Medicine as it celebrates and honors its 40th anniversary as a medical and research institution.

Susan Desmond-Hellman, M.D., Ph.D.

Desmond-Hellmann. Photo courtesy University of California, San Francisco

The school started as a fledgling two-year program and has developed into the robust and expanding academic and research institution it is today.

Plans are in place to celebrate the school’s history and future this September.

Alumni, faculty and friends of the School of Medicine are invited to the 28th Annual University of Nevada, Reno Foundation Banquet, sponsored by The Whittemore Family Foundation, on Sept. 24 at the Nugget Hotel Casino in Sparks. It will honor the school’s anniversary and serve to align the University’s focus with the nation’s need to address a shortage in medical workers.

The featured guest speaker is Atul Gawande, M.D., who served as the senior health policy advisor to President Bill Clinton and is the director of the World Health Organization’s Global Challenge for Safer Surgical Care. A renowned general surgeon, Gawande is a New York Times best-selling author and contributor to New Yorker magazine.

Prior to the banquet, the University of Nevada School of Medicine Alumni Association will host a special reception for alumni and faculty, where it will present the inaugural outstanding alumni award.

The association’s first recipient is one of the school’s most notable and accomplished alumna, Susan Desmond-Hellmann, M.D., MPH. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Nevada, Reno and medical degree from the School of Medicine, graduating in 1982.

She completed her clinical training at University of California, San Francisco and is board-certified in internal medicine and medical oncology. She also holds a master’s degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley.

Desmond-Hellmann has had a remarkable career in the biotech industry and was president of product development at Genentech until her appointment as chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco earlier this year. She served as associate adjunct professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at UCSF, volunteered her time and expertise on numerous boards, and was listed in Fortune magazine’s Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Business in 2001 and from 2003 to 2008.