Spring 2015

synapse: University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

Hidenobu Shigemitsu

Catching your breath

Hidenobu Shigemitsu, M.D., administers a pulmonary function test to Maria Marin at University Medical Center in Las Vegas. The test measures how effectively the lungs take in and release air and how well the lungs move gases such as oxygen from the atmosphere into the body’s circulation. Photo by Edgar Antonio Núñez.

New fellowship begins this summer

Nevada’s first and only pulmonary and critical care medicine fellowship accredited by the American Council on Graduate Medical Education begins this July on the University of Nevada School of Medicine’s Las Vegas campus with the first three fellows entering the three-year training program.

The fellowship will be held at University Medical Center, the Veterans Administration Southern Nevada Healthcare System and the Mike O’Callaghan Federal Hospital at Nellis Air Force Base.

“The three training sites give us an unparalleled breadth of unique training opportunities,” said Hidenobu Shigemitsu, M.D., professor of medicine and fellowship program director.

The training will focus on the inpatient and outpatient practice of pulmonary medicine and the care of patients in the intensive care units (ICU) of the three participating hospitals.

Fellows will care for patients presenting with lung diseases including asthma, COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension and lung cancer along with critically ill patients in the ICU.

Fellows will work within multi-disciplinary teams in the ICU, be required to be active in research and expected to become the referral of choice for patients needing their expertise.

“The fellowship will help create a robust platform to build research, advance patient care, and bring an academic pulmonary and critical care medicine practice in Las Vegas and Nevada,” Shigemitsu said, adding that the goal is to keep fellows in Las Vegas and Nevada upon completion of their training.

Expanding public medical education in Nevada

With Nevada ranked 38th nationally in measures of health care quality and 48th in primary care physicians per capita, major initiatives are required to improve the state’s health status. A statewide steering group reporting to the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents has developed plans to address these issues through new and expanded public medical education programs.

Comprised of leaders from the University of Nevada, Reno; the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; the University of Nevada School of Medicine, the chancellor of NSHE; and state business leaders, the committee has recommended the creation of a new, independently accredited allopathic (M.D.-granting) medical school at UNLV, growth of the University of Nevada School of Medicine into a full four-year campus in Reno and expansion of graduate medical education (GME) statewide.

These plans have been endorsed by the Board of Regents.

Expansion of GME training programs is essential as the most direct way to influence new physicians to stay in Nevada to practice medicine; more than 80 percent of physicians who attend medical school and complete their residency in Nevada will stay.

Expansion of the medical school and GME training pipelines is critical to improving the state’s health statistics.

In response to these recommendations, the School of Medicine launched new hospital affiliations with Renown Health in Reno and MountainView Hospital in Las Vegas with the aim of expanding GME statewide.

The Nevada Legislature currently is considering budget enhancement requests to support these initiatives.