Spring 2015
Dean's Perspective

synapse: University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

By Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D.

Thomas SchwenkBeing connected to our Nevada communities

The University of Nevada School of Medicine is a community-based school. Technically this means that we do not have an owned university teaching hospital nor health insurance or health system structure within which to meet our teaching and research missions. We need to build these partnerships with hospitals, health care institutions and community physicians. It also means that we have a particularly strong commitment to serving the community through these and other partnerships.

What it really means is that we are particularly aware of our critical role as a member of the community, of our mission to serve the community, and of our need to engage the community in achieving our missions.

This issue of Synapse focuses on several outstanding examples of our community commitment and service.

In this issue, you will learn about how our students serve patients without health insurance through the Student Outreach Clinic, how our students help provide medical care to two major public events for which Nevada is famous and how the old anatomy lab that many alumni will remember has now been repurposed as a facility to train practicing physicians in new surgical and medical procedures. We highlight the NIH-funded clinical and translational grant held by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for which we are a major partner, and how it has brought together prominent investigators from both institutions.

Perhaps most importantly, we describe the initiative to develop an office, called the Office for Community Faculty, to support the many community physicians who will be involved in building out the full clinical teaching capacity of the School of Medicine in Reno.

The Office for Community Faculty is an example of a much larger topic, which is the exciting impact that a full medical school has on its community. If you are an alumnus of the School of Medicine practicing in Reno, you will have the opportunity to be more involved in medical student and resident teaching. If you are a patient in Reno, you will benefit from medical students and residents invested in your care.

Everyone will benefit from an increased volume of clinical research improving the quality and outcomes of care that is provided. The community will benefit from its reputation as home to a top medical school that is training the next generation of Nevada’s physicians. We will all benefit from Nevada’s reputation as a place where public medical education is strong, where businesses want to locate and people want to live.

All of these exciting developments contribute to the School of Medicine’s mission to improve health and health care in Nevada.

Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D.

Professor, Family and Community Medicine
Dean, University of Nevada School of Medicine
Vice President, Division of Health Sciences