Spring 2012
Student Spotlight

synapse: University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

Nicki Joslyn, executive director of Student Outreach Clinic

Nicki Joslyn is executive director of the Student Outreach Clinic in Reno. Photo by Anne McMillin

'Nevada was the perfect fit for me'

Born on a Navy base in Washington state, Nicki Joslyn, Class of 2014, has spent the majority of her life in Reno. She attended the University of Nevada, Reno, majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology.

Synapse: What made you decide upon a career in medicine at the University of Nevada School of Medicine?

Joslyn: When I was 12 years old my best friend was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. My mom is a registered nurse, so she was able to help provide me with some information relevant to diabetes. I had always been passionate about science, but after this experience I was intrigued to really understand the applications it could have. The mixture of science and critical thinking affirmed my decision to pursue a career in medicine.

Gina Sella in the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs provided me with opportunities as an undergraduate to become involved with the medical school.

Finally, professors here are more interested in seeing you grow and understand the principles of medicine, than they are to publish. I feel so strongly about understanding the science behind medicine that Nevada was the perfect fit for me.

Synapse: What is your current area of clinical or research interest and what steered you toward it?

Joslyn: I was lucky to work with faculty surgeon John Gosche, chair of pediatric surgery at University Medical Center. Dr. Gosche is currently investigating the etiopathogenesis of biliary atresia using sea lamprey as a model. I took a bioinformatics approach to identify highly conserved portions of type IV collagen genes in the sea lamprey so in the future we will be able to develop a polymerase chain reaction for the gene or to predict the amino acid sequence to identify an antibody.

Synapse: You've been quite involved with the Student Outreach Clinic.

Joslyn: The Student Outreach Clinic has been the most incredible part of my medical school experience. I am currently the executive director, so I have the opportunity to learn how a clinic functions and how to establish networks within the medical community. I've been lucky enough to follow patients throughout their various treatment plans. Patients are beyond grateful to have access to health care and that can be a driving force to try to do more for them. In addition to the patient care, the clinic managers and others, board members put forth so much of their time and effort that it is a unique experience in itself to watch the clinic transform and grow.

There are quite a few changes going on at the clinic right now. Recently, we have established a partnership with the Northern Nevada Medical Center radiology department. Ordering imaging services for our patients has become much more efficient and they have been wonderful to work with. We also launched an electronic medical records system. This transition has been an ongoing process over the past semester, so we are excited to see the impact it will have on the clinic. Not only will patient information be more easily accessed for the clinic, but patients will be able to interact with their patient care online in the near future. The clinic is constantly working towards transforming and growing, so I'm really excited.