Spring 2017
UNR Med Receives More Than $4 Million for Graduate Medical Education

synapse: University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

Doctors and Nurses at the Elko Hospital

Funds will help to increase Nevada’s physician workforce

By Anne McMillin, APR and Susan G. Hill, APR

Last fall, Governor Brian Sandoval announced approval of $10 million in funding for graduate medical education (GME) programs in Nevada, with $4.1 million of the total going to expand University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine residency programs in Reno and Elko. The grant distribution follows the recommendations of the Nevada GME Task Force for the funding, which was approved during the 2015 legislative session.

Nevada’s position near the bottom of all states in physicians-per-capita is attributed largely to the critical shortage of GME positions available in the state. Nevada currently lacks the GME positions to accommodate all of the medical students who graduate each year.

“After this initial support, the programs in Reno will continue under the support of the School of Medicine, Renown Health and the Sierra Nevada VA Health Center. The programs in Las Vegas will transition to the sponsorship of UNLV in July 2017,” explained Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D., dean of UNR Med.

“Altogether, the state of Nevada is benefitting tremendously in new and expanded training programs made possible by this start-up support, eventually leading to new physicians who will serve the state.”

UNR Med’s program grants include support for expanding geriatric medicine, family and community medicine, adult psychiatry and internal medicine GME programs in northern Nevada.

Geriatric Medicine

Expands the existing geriatrics fellowship program from three to 4.5 residents per year starting in July 2017. Recruitment efforts to attract those new resident candidates already are well underway. This funding also will enhance trainee experiences by integrating community clinical training at sites such as the Sanford Center for Aging’s Geriatric Specialty Clinic.

Family and Community Medicine
$1.4 million

Funding will improve the primary care physician workforce in rural northern Nevada through a robust program based in Elko.

The new residency training program will graduate two residents per year with residents spending the first year of the three-year program at Renown Health before moving to Elko’s Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital for the final two years of training.

To support the residents in Elko, a search is in progress for a site program director, according to Dan Spogen, M.D., family and community medicine chair.

Elko-based residents will treat the patient population that is not employed by the mining industry, which provides its own health care professionals.

“About half the population, those not employed by the mines, do not have health coverage so we will fulfill that need with residents working out of Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital,” Spogen explained.

Residents will see patients across the primary care spectrum from pediatrics to obstetrics and gynecology and get hands-on experience in administering ICU lines, ventilation, and more procedural experiences than they might receive in a non-rural residency setting.

The Elko residency training program will incorporate telemedicine technology to provide health care services and build a patient base in northeastern Nevada, according to Spogen. This summer, Spogen, Jaren Blake, M.D. and Arthur Islas, M.D., all with the Reno family medicine department, will rotate to Elko on a periodic basis to see patients.

Adult Psychiatry

This funding will allow UNR Med to partner with Renown, Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services, the VA, Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center and Mojave Mental Health Services to increase the number of locally trained psychiatrists from four to six annually beginning with the entering resident class of July 2017 and continuing for the next four years, growing the program from 16 to 24 residents.

“This funding will grow clinical resources alongside the growing number of residents,” said David Carlson, M.D., assistant dean for graduate medical education.

Additional monies will be dedicated to improving access to mental health care services throughout northern Nevada via telemedicine.

Internal Medicine
$1.7 million

Will assist in the training of five new residents per year through an intensified and diverse ambulatory primary care experience based at Renown Health. See Resident Roundup for more information.

For more information, visit the UNR Med GME Website.