Fall 2012
Development News

synapse: University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

Thomas L. Schwenk receives a donation from Florence Jameson

Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine, receives a donation from Florence Jameson, M.D., president of the Nevada State Medical Association, to support student scholarships. Photo by John Ries.

Nevada State Medical Association supports students

By Christina Sarman

The School of Medicine recently benefitted from the generosity of the Nevada State Medical Association, which formalized an annual scholarship to benefit Nevada students pursuing their medical education at the state's only public medical school.

Cassandra Puccinelli, a second-year medical student who wants to become a surgeon, has been selected as the first recipient of this scholarship.

"This generous donation and the medical association's commitment to scholarship have enabled me to attend to my studies and pursue my goal of becoming a conscientious and skilled physician," said the Elko native.

"This gift enables students to pursue specialties at which we excel and not merely those that allow us to repay our student debts in the most rapid manner."

Puccinelli added that her favorite class thus far has been anatomy.

"I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the physical relationships that exist between the structures of the human body. As a surgeon, I will take advantage of those relationships to help patients in a real and quantifiable way," she said.

Florence Jameson, M.D., president of the NSMA, presented Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D., with the scholarship award at the Dean's Dinner on May 17.

"As we continue to grow our class size and the price of tuition increases in accordance with associated costs, we are especially grateful to NSMA and other donors who consider supporting our scholarship program. They are instrumental in creating a new generation of physicians who will ultimately care for us and our communities," said Schwenk.

NSMA is Nevada's oldest and largest physician advocacy organization. Since 1875, it has met annually for 105 years to discuss the needs of Nevada physicians.

Larry Matheis, NSMA executive director, said that the association has always supported Nevada medical students with scholarships.

"The revised program supports medical students who are training in the state's medical schools. The NSMA believes that this policy supports students and helps create the medical education infrastructure vital to our state's future."

According to Peggy Dupey, Ph.D., associate dean of student affairs and chair of the school's scholarship committee, scholarship support helps the school to attract the most competitive students to stay in Nevada for their training and also assists many Nevada students with medical education costs that are prohibitive given their families financial situation.

In the 2012-2013 academic year, the School of Medicine was able to provide nearly $930,000 in scholarship support to more than 80 percent of its 253 students. The average award of $4,486 helps to soften the annual and increasing tuition bill of $20,700.

Recent School of Medicine graduates have accumulated an average debt of $121,284.