Spring 2013
Class Act

synapse: University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

Chris Goodwill and Alex Watson

The Class of 2016, as represented here by officers Chris Goodwill and Alex Watson, is making an impact in the lives of patients through its work with the Student Outreach Clinics. Photo by Matt Lush.

Class of 2016 eager to serve

By Matt Lush

Last summer, 69 medical students participated in the School of Medicine's annual White Coat Ceremony, and were officially welcomed to the medical school as the Class of 2016. These medical students were selected out of a pool of 948 applicants.

While admission to medical school is more competitive than ever, there remains a friendly camaraderie among the members of the Class of 2016, according to the class leaders.

"We all want to do well, but we're not hyper-competitive," said Alexandra Watson, the Class of 2016 secretary.

"What sold me on the University of Nevada School of Medicine was the tight-knit atmosphere. The familial environment really appealed to me."

The Class of 2016 is the second class to begin their medical education in the William N. Pennington Health Sciences building, and is the first class to learn under the new curriculum.

"Students learn through case studies and clinical problems so new facts and information have relevance," said Melissa Piasecki, M.D., senior associate dean for academic affairs at the University of Nevada School of Medicine.

"We emphasize team based learning-students enjoy this type of learning environment and learn skills that will later translate into being great doctors on a health care team."

Like previous classes, members of the Class of 2016 are utilizing the Student Outreach Clinic-a monthly medical clinic for the uninsured population of Washoe County-to further their training and to give back to the community.

"My passion in medicine is to make a difference in the well-being of others," said Chris Goodwill, a Student Health Committee representative.

"Before graduation, I hope the Class of 2016 can continue to make an impact in the community."

Watson agrees, and notes that the Student Outreach Clinic was one of the reasons she chose to study medicine.

"I knew I would gain valuable clinical experience each year through the different programs and through the Student Outreach Clinic. I volunteered at the Student Outreach Clinic when I was an undergraduate, and just decided to go for medical school when I was a sophomore."

The Class of 2016 is a diverse group, comprised of 21 undergraduate majors representing 20 universities and colleges.

"This class presented with a breadth of experiences, attributes and characteristics that have enhanced the richness of our student cohort. The unique qualities include a variety of non-traditional students, first-generation students, students who were raised and educated in rural areas and students from varied cultural and ethnic backgrounds," said Kris Nelson, director of student services.

Some students come from underserved areas and underrepresented populations in medicine. The age range is 18 to 45, with the average age being 24.

Members of the Class of 2016 previously held occupations as a violinist, investment realtor, Marine Corps navigator and organic gardener instructor.

Twelve languages are spoken by members of the Class of 2016, including Persian, Urdu, Korean and French.