Spring 2013
News and Notes

synapse: University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

Langer joins medical school as associate dean for clinical and translational research

Robert Langer, M.D., MPH, above, has been hired in the new position of associate dean for clinical and translational research. In this position, he will help develop and advance the School of Medicine clinical research operations with a particular focus on building external grant support and improving its clinical and translational research infrastructure.

In addition, Langer will be developing mentorship programs in collaboration with senior faculty in order to advance clinical research activity. He has also been appointed as a professor of allied health sciences at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and is the principal investigator of a recently submitted five-year $20 million NIH proposal to develop clinical and translational research infrastructure across seven states in the mountain west region.

Hill hired as marketing director

Susan Hill, M.A., APR, is the new director of marketing and communications for the School of Medicine and the Division of Health Sciences. As a member of the institutional advancement team, she will coordinate the School of Medicine and the Division of Health Sciences, including marketing the clinical practice of the medical school.

Parcells named 2012 Social Worker of the Year in Nevada

Jim Parcells, director of Mojave Mental Health, was named the National Association of Social Workers' 2012 NASW Social Worker of the Year for Nevada. He began his social work career at Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services, then co-founded and subsequently directed Mojave Adult, Child and Family Services since 1992.

This organization is a Medicaid provider for severely mentally ill adults and severely emotionally disturbed children. He has served as vice president of NASW Nevada and has served on the annual conference committee for several years.

2012 Employees of the Year honored

Sherry Marcu of the Office of Academic Affairs in Las Vegas and Bill Swager of the Reno IT department were honored as classified employees of the year for the School of Medicine. Practice plan employees of the year were Denise Kelly, Department of Internal Medicine in Las Vegas and Janice Saephan, Department of Internal Medicine in Reno.

Traffic safety program earns grant

The Center for Traffic Safety Research, a collaboration between the School of Medicine and the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety in the Department of Public Safety, received approval for its grant entitled "Vehicular Crashes in Nevada: Integration of EMS Data to NDOT and Trauma Center Medical Information" for 2013. The center's goal is to provide local, state and federal agencies with valuable information to address crash and crash-related medical issues in Nevada.

School of Medicine faculty involved with the Center for Traffic Safety Research include: Deborah Kuhls, M.D., principal investigator and associate professor of trauma; John J. Fildes, M.D., co-principal investigator and vice chairman, surgery department; Timothy Browder, M.D., co-principal investigator and assistant professor of trauma; and Bill Brown, project director.

School recognizes Nevada EMS

Officials from the University of Nevada School of Medicine recognized the contributions of Nevada's emergency medical services at a ceremony held in conjunction with the Nevada Association of Counties 2012 Annual Conference in Carson City last fall.

At the NACO conference, Evan Klass, M.D., the School of Medicine's associate dean for statewide initiatives and Gerald Ackerman, director of the Nevada State Office of Rural Health, presented certificates to those county government officials in attendance to honor county EMS professionals.

The School of Medicine has a long history of partnering with State of Nevada EMS professionals. The school provides online training, has sponsored the rural state EMS conference for the past 21 years and offers technical assistance and educational programming to bolster EMS programs across Nevada through the Critical Access Hospital Flex Program.

Yan earns NIH grant

Wei Yan, M.D., Ph.D., above, associate professor of physiology and cell biology, has been awarded a $246,545 grant by the National Institute of Health for his study on the potential contributions of sperm-borne small noncoding RNAs to fertilization and early embryonic development. This is the fourth such grant he has earned from the NIH in his eight years at the School of Medicine.

Ezeanolue earns two grants to combat HIV

Echezona Ezeanolue, M.D., a pediatrician with expertise in HIV, received two separate grants to help combat the spread of HIV.

The first, a research project grant (RO1) awarded by the National Institute of Health, is in the amount of $893,375 over two years, and will test an innovative approach to increase HIV screening among pregnant women and their male partners in developing countries. Wei Yang, M.D., Ph.D., a professor with the University of Nevada, Reno's School of Community Health Sciences in Reno, is co-investigator.

The second grant is a three-year Ryan White Part D funding totaling $562,290 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration. It is held in collaboration with co-investigator David Jackson, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the School of Medicine, along with University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, Southern Nevada Health Department and other community partners. Its purpose is to provide comprehensive care for women, infants, children and adolescents with HIV in Southern Nevada.

Simulation-based training for delivering bad news

School of Medicine faculty and staff, above, collaborated on a training project to address the lack of an established method for giving bad news about catastrophic perinatal events.

The project involved using patient-actors, or "standardized patients" to play the role of patients, so medical students and residents can practice their communication skills in a safe training environment.

Existing studies have confirmed that there is significant psychological distress on the patient and physician if either is unprepared to share adverse sonography findings, so David Jackson, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology, set out to develop a communication simulation scenario for perinatal sonography. The simulation allowed four OB/GYN residents to experience two simulations, while a group of students observed from a classroom, watching a live feed.

School hosts student association

The School of Medicine hosted the national conference for the Student National Medical Association in Las Vegas in January. Nearly 80 medical/pre-medical students from across the U.S. attended the weekend event, learning about specialties, planning for the fourth year of medical school and previewed residency and fellowship programs at the medical school.