Spring 2012
Facts and Figures

synapse: University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

Internist Lonnie Empey and student Shally Garg

Internist Lonnie Empey, D.O., a School of Medicine preceptor in Mesquite, Nevada, mentors students including Shally Garg, Class of 2012. Photo by Keith Clark

Rural preceptors

One of the University of Nevada School of Medicine's charter pillars at the time of its establishment in 1969 was to educate and train physicians to serve Nevada and especially, the rural areas outside of Reno, Las Vegas and Carson City.

To help meet the health care needs of rural Nevadans, the School of Medicine has called upon a generous cadre of physicians practicing in rural communities to take in medical students and residents and expose them to the challenges of patients in the state's less-populated communities.

Nevada has long had challenges in health care due, in part, to its vast geographic distances and other distinguishing characteristics of its rural areas that have important impacts on population health, the availability of hospital and other health care resources and, in many cases, basic access to health care services. Rural preceptors help educate tomorrow's physicians to these sensitivities.

  • Of the 5,899 physicians practicing in Nevada, only 277 do so in rural communities
  • School of Medicine preceptors serve in 28 rural communities across Nevada, Montana and California
  • The School of Medicine has 89 rural preceptors, 19 of which are alumni
  • Dr. G. Norman Christensen of Ely, is the School of Medicine's longest serving rural preceptor. He first accepted students in 1971 and continues mentoring them to this day
  • 100 percent of medical students complete a rural rotation
  • 100 percent of second-year family medicine residents in both Las Vegas and Reno complete a rural rotation during their residency training
  • 100 percent of the School's BS-MD students complete a rural rotation with a health care professional between their second- and third-year of undergraduate studies

Source: Office of Medical Education, Nevada State Office of Rural Health