Spring 2014
Community Leaders Get to be 'Medical Student for a Day'

synapse: University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

Eric Guideng

Eric Guideng, representing Congressman Joe Heck, visits one of the medical school’s surgery research labs at the Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas during Project Medical Education. Photo by Edgar Antonio Núñez

Interactive workshops held in Las Vegas and Reno

By Anne McMillin, APR

The University of Nevada School of Medicine hosted the inaugural ‘career of a medical student in a day’ informational program, called Project Medical Education Nevada, for selected elected officials and government and community leaders in both Las Vegas and Reno in September 2013.

The Las Vegas program was held Sept. 11 at the Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas, while the Reno event was on Sept. 12, William N. Pennington Health Sciences Building on the School of Medicine campus.

The Project Medical Education program was developed from the Association of American Medical Colleges model and is designed to create a more accurate knowledge base among opinion leaders and policymakers to make insightful decisions about future funding sources for medical education.

Medical education is the foundation and future of our state and nation’s health care systems. It is a complex, collaborative process that requires substantial intellectual and financial resources. Medical schools and teaching hospitals are national resources that provide essential benefits to the public through the four intertwined missions of educating and training tomorrow’s doctors, conducting research to find tomorrow’s cures, providing the world’s most advanced care to millions of Americans and finally, delivering vital services to communities including care for the uninsured.

Coordinated by Richelle O’Driscoll, the Division of Health Sciences and School of Medicine’s director of public affairs, the seminars guided about a dozen community leaders at each location through a compressed syllabus of the four-year medical school experience including the admissions process, anatomy laboratory, the teaching process from a faculty perspective, research opportunities, clinical shadowing experiences of the third- and fourth-years of medical school and culminating in the residency match process where students learn when they will receive their resident training following medical school graduation.

In addition to formal presentations in a didactic setting, much like medical students experience, Project Medical Education Nevada participants participated in hands-on sessions with standardized patients where they had to deliver bad news, had a chance to practice suturing exercises and observed a birthing simulation using patient models.

“The initial comments from our participants in both ends of the state were overwhelmingly positive and accomplished our goal of sharing the amazing work that takes place at the University of Nevada School of Medicine,” O’Driscoll said, adding that the participants’ interaction with medical students was the highlight of the entire experience.

Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Dan Klaich praised the Project Medical Education Nevada experience as a “wonderful opportunity to mix with key folks and to acquire a keen insight into medical education.”

Comments provided by other participants on the Project Medical Education program offered similar perspectives:

“Visiting the lab and seeing the research being conducted was very interesting. It is one thing to hear about grants and research findings in press releases, but quite another to see where it is all happening.”

“The rotations through the simulation lab, clinic, etc., were very valuable as it allowed me to get a real sense of what a medical education requires.”

“I was paired with an exceptional student who explained a lot about what he is going through with the residency matching and his responsibilities as a fourth-year student.”

“The program and information was outstanding! Gaining a better overall understanding of School of Medicine programming and logistics was valuable for me and others who are in decision-making positions.”

“Clinic shadowing of students…it was good to see them in action and to see their interaction with patients as well as their preceptors.”

Participants in Las Vegas included James Oscarson, Assemblyman District 36; Christina Boyle from Sen. Dean Heller’s office; Regents Ron Knecht and Kevin Melcher; Lianne Nishida-Costello from Sen. Harry Reid’s office; Edith Fernandez of Congressman Steven Horsford’s office; Eric Guideng with Congressman Joe Heck’s office and University of Nevada, Reno Provost Kevin Carman.

In Reno, participants were Ashley Carrigan with Sen. Heller’s office; Kelly Ann Scott, executive editor at the Reno Gazette-Journal; Klaich; Amber Joiner, Nevada Dept. of Health and Human Services; Susan Lisagor with Sen. Reid’s office; Helen Lidholm, CEO of St. Mary’s Hospital; Stacy Burton, vice provost of faculty affairs at UNR; Larry Trilops, vice president of ambulatory services at Renown Health; Don Sibery, Renown Health’s interim CEO; Bruce James, president and CEO, Nevada New-Tech, Inc., and Jewel High, special projects director at Renown Health.

Due to the success of the inaugural Project Medical Education Nevada program, 2014 dates have been set for Sept. 22 in Reno and Oct. 1 in Las Vegas.