Fall 2016
Surgery's 100th Graduate

synapse: University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

Jennifer Mitchel and Robert Wang

Operation Graduation

Jennifer Mitchel, M.D., Ph.D., the surgery department's 100th residency program graduate and the first otolaryngology residency graduate, with Robert Wang, M.D., otolaryngology program director. Photo by Edgar Antonio Nunez.

Surgery Department Celebrates Milestone

Story by Anne McMillin, APR

The School of Medicine's Department of Surgery hit significant milestones this summer when it graduated its 100th program participant and its first otolaryngology resident.

John Fildes, M.D., department chair, said achieving this benchmark is a testament to the department's resiliency in overcoming challenges beginning with its inception in the early 1980s, the loss of its longtime chairman last year and continuing with the current transition to UNLV.

"Through all of it, we have triumphed and been financially successful while earning teaching awards and continuing our scholarly activity through publishing. Success is part of our DNA," he said.

The department's first general surgery graduate, Terry Lewis, M.D., completed training in 1984. Two years later, the department had doubled its graduates and continued that trend through 1994. By 1995, the graduates increased to three annually and then to four by 2008. For the past four years, the department has graduated five general surgery residents.

Along the way, residency training in plastic surgery, orthopaedics and otolaryngology developed as did fellowships in acute care surgery, colorectal surgery, hand and microsurgery and minimally-invasive and bariatric surgery, each adding well-trained surgeons to Nevada's workforce.

Robert Wang, M.D., the otolaryngology resident program director, said that his specialty is one of the more difficult to get started and is only one of three such residencies established in the U.S. in the last decade.

"We are fortunate to have the first otolaryngology residency program in Nevada," he said, adding that the department's faculty dedicated to the specialty have been instrumental in getting the training program established.

Matthew Ng., M.D., and Paul Johnson, M.D., general otolaryngologists; T.J. O-Lee, M.D., the first fellowship-trained pediatric otolaryngologist in Nevada, and Wang worked together to build the program to its current complement of five trainees.

This summer, Jennifer Mitchell, M.D., Ph.D., the department's first otolaryngology graduate, who was also identified as the department's 100th trainee, was honored to be selected as such.

"I was impressed with being in the operating room from the first day; it led me to feeling very competent in there. I was given the room to be creative and it was a good residency experience overall," she said, adding high praise for Wang and Ng.

"I'm very grateful to Doctors Wang and Ng for the hard work they put into this ENT residency program. This is a very exciting time for Las Vegas as the care of patients is getting better with this program," she said.

Department of Surgery Student-Selected Honors

Outstanding Clinical Department in Las Vegas: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2011, 2010, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005

Outstanding Resident in Las Vegas: Corey Richardson, M.D. (2015, 2014, 2013, 2012); John Brosious, M.D. (2011); Randy St. Hill, M.D., (2010); Michael Casey, M.D. (2009); Christian Kaufman, M.D., (2008); Richard Baynosa, M.D. (2006)

Outstanding Professor in Las Vegas: Jennifer Baynosa, M.D. (2012); Michael Casey, M.D., (2011, 2010, 2008); Deborah Kuhls, M.D., (2006)

Outstanding Community Faculty in Las Vegas: Matthew Ng, M.D. (2007)

Outstanding Full-Time Professor in Las Vegas: John Fildes, M.D. (2016)