Spring/Summer 2018
Honors and Awards

synapse: University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

Dean Schwenk receives Washoe County Medical Society Community Service Award

Washoe County Medical Society President Andrew V. Pasternak, IV, M.D. (left) presents University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine Dean Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D. (right) with a Community Service Award during the Washoe County Medical Society's 112th Inaugural Dinner January 13 at the Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel.

Dean Schwenk and UNR Med's Dr. Bronander Receive Awards

Stories by Julie Ardito, APR and Tessa Bowen

Dean Schwenk receives Washoe County Medical Society Community Service Award

The Washoe County Medical Society honored University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine Dean Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D. with a Community Service Award during their 112th Inaugural Dinner on January 13. Dr. Schwenk was recognized for his leadership and role in UNR Med's transformation to a full four-year medical school in Reno, while maintaining statewide operations and improving rural medicine outreach.

When Schwenk arrived in Nevada in 2011, the medical school was split with students completing their first two years in Reno and their last two years in Las Vegas and Reno. UNR Med's Class of 2021, on the other hand, will complete the majority of their third and fourth-year clerkships in northern Nevada at local physician and hospital partner locations, rotating through neurology, internal medicine, family medicine, psychiatry, pediatrics, OB/GYN and surgery.

"This has taken an incredible amount of work, effort and political savvy," said Andrew V. Pasternak, IV, M.D., president of the Washoe County Medical Society. "The WCMS Board is excited about this opportunity and greatly appreciative of the work of Dr. Schwenk and UNR Med to help increase the pipeline of physicians in our community and combat our current physician shortage."

UNR Med's focus is to educate the next generation of physicians and healthcare professionals to help improve access and elevate Nevada's ranking among states in physician workforce capacity.

According to Schwenk, UNR Med is distinguished by having both a strong basic science research base and being embedded in the real world of clinical practice as well as strong community engagement. Clinical community faculty physicians are critical to UNR Med students' education as they teach practical knowledge and skills and role model professional attributes in a variety of practice environments. UNR Med welcomed its 1,000th clinical community faculty member in August 2017.

"This award belongs to the entire UNR Med community of faculty and staff members, students and residents, and is yet another sign that UNR Med is a world-class destination for excellence in research and education," Schwenk said.

UNR Med's Dr. Bronander honored as NCET's 2018 Educator of the Year

Kirk Bronander, M.D., professor and medical director of simulation, was named the 2018 Educator of the Year by Nevada's Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (NCET). Dr. Bronander's recognition symbolizes the quality education that is essential to the success of medical students becoming tomorrow's leading physicians, and the foundation of UNR Med's educational system.

"Dr. Bronander embodies the best of medical education," said UNR Med Dean Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D. "He uses the highest of technologies to teach the most personal of physical examination and clinical skills, all combined with a dedication to the learner. He is an exceptional educator and innovator."

Bronander splits his time teaching internal medicine to UNR Med medical students in the classroom and the School's high fidelity simulation lab, and at Renown Regional Medical Center where he is a patient care physician educator teaching resident physicians at the bedside.

He is an early adopter and advocate of using technology in his teaching. As the medical director of simulation at UNR Med, Bronander has used state-of-the-art mannequins for more than a decade to imitate real life clinical scenarios, teaching medical students how to care for patients facing life-threatening situations including heart attacks, opioid overdoses, etc. "We don't expect pilots to fly without simulation. We shouldn't expect our doctors to practice without simulation either," Bronander said.

Bronander serves on the national editorial board of Simulated Patients in Internal Medicine, as well as the Simulated Internal Medicine Patient Learning Experience Committee, where he is involved with creating virtual patient cases for medical students across the country.

He also serves as UNR Med's director of third and fourth-year and directs the Clinical Reasoning in Medicine course, a mandatory class for third-year medical students. His excellence as an educator has been recognized nationally and statewide. Nationally, Bronander has received the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award. He has also received the Nevada Educator Healthcare Hero Award and the UNR Med Outstanding Full-Time Professor Award in 2017.