Winter 2019
Class Chat

synapse: University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

Joe Hollen

After retiring from a rewarding career in emergency medicine, it is my distinct honor to serve as your 2018-20 School of Medicine Alumni Association president. Over the next two years, my hope is that you can become - and most importantly feel - more connected to our wonderful school than ever before.

This year is especially important, as it is the year in which the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine celebrates 50 years. This celebration presents many opportunities to reconnect with students, staff, colleagues and alumni. If you haven't already done so, please consider attending a special event or engaging online by visiting

I would like to personally invite you to join me Saturday, March 16, for the 50-year Golden Gala celebration. Held at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno, the event will feature tributes to the school's past, present and future - a story you all helped to write.

When you do visit your alma mater, I anticipate you will be pleasantly surprised to see the facilities and programs available to today's students, residents and practicing physicians. Graduates from as recently as 2009 tell me they hardly recognize the campus and are filled with pride for our school and the opportunities available to our current students.

I especially appreciate those of you who are still practicing and teaching our students. Whether it is teaching, providing financial support or sharing other types of participation, thank you for remaining involved. Your efforts truly make a difference in the lives of our patients, our learners and our communities.

Finally, I want to give special thanks to Leonard Walker, assistant director of financial aid and scholarships, who works with each student to help them intelligently manage their finances and gain awareness of the impact of potential debts. With the national average for medical school debt approaching $200,000 per student, efforts like Leonard's keep the average debt of UNR Med graduates much lower than average.

I am excited about what the next two years will bring, and I look forward to seeing each of you at future events.

Joe Hollen, M.D.

School of Medicine Alumni Association President

UNR Med Class of 1973 Scholarship Endowment Challenge established

As members of the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine's charter two-year class, James A. Moren, M.D., and Kent C. DiFiore, M.D., have made the first two gifts toward the establishment of this fund in honor of their class being five years from their 50 year reunion and of the School's 50th anniversary in March. The endowment will support medical students for generations to come. Other members of the Class of 1973 are encouraged to give to the fund. To learn more about supporting UNR Med students, contact Shari Netzel, director of development, at (775) 682-6077 or

David Zucker, M.D. '74, UNR Med clinical professor and pediatrician for Pediatric Associates, was selected for the 2018 Healthcare Hero Lifetime Achievement award by Nevada Business magazine. For more than four decades, Dr. Zucker has served the Reno community as a pediatrician. As community faculty for the School of Medicine, Dr. Zucker has mentored and countless medical students and received numerous awards from the health care community.

Susan Desmond-Hellmann, M.D. '82, '78 (premedical), CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, delivered the commencement address to The Ohio State University's largest ever class graduating class in May 2018 in Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Desmond-Hellmann left graduates with two big lessons: question yourself and question what other people tell you. Ohio State awarded Dr. Desmond-Hellmann an honorary doctorate degree in science.

Matthew L. Boulton, M.D. '87, '80 (plant biology/zoology), was celebrated as the School of Medicine Distinguished Alumnus during the 2018 Homecoming Gala and homecoming football game. Dr. Boulton is senior associate dean for global public health and professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on childhood immunization and vaccine preventable diseases in developing countries, and
public health capacity building in epidemiology, health IT and lab sciences in low-resource settings. Dr. Boulton and his wife, Chitra, have four children and live in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Craig Clark, M.D '92, has joined WVU Medicine Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in Charles Town, West Virginia. A board certified orthopaedic surgeon and member of the Jefferson Medical Center medical staff, Dr. Clark brings over 20 years of practice experience to WVU Medicine, specializing in total joint replacement, sports medicine and general orthopaedics.

Mark Stovak, M.D. '95, '90 (biology), UNR Med professor of family medicine and sports medicine fellowship assistant director, has been selected as a member of the NCAA Committee on Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sport. The 22 member committee hears drug test appeals, decides on medical exceptions for banned drug usage, recommends rules to protect athlete health and produces or reviews consensus statements for medical best practices. Dr. Stovak serves as a head team physician for the Nevada Wolf Pack.

Jennifer Hagen, M.D. '93, '98R, '16F, UNR Med senior associate dean for faculty and professor of internal medicine, has been selected as one of three 2018 Alpha Omega Alpha (AΩA) Fellows in Leadership. The AΩA Fellow in Leadership recognizes and supports mid-career physicians to develop them as outstanding leaders who exemplify professional values. As a Fellow, Dr. Hagen will spend a year honing leadership skills and expanding her knowledge base with a focus on servant leadership and leading from within.

Jeremy Matuszak, M.D., '07R, '08F, '00 (biology), medical director at Reno Behavioral Healthcare Hospital, was named 2018 Healthcare Hero Educator by Nevada Business magazine. As director of residency training for the School of Medicine, Dr. Matuszak received the Outstanding Department Faculty Award for Excellence in Resident Teaching in 2010 and 2013.

Courtney Caron '09 (speech pathology and audiology) has established a self-sustaining audiology clinic at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi in southeastern Africa. As a long-term volunteer with Sound Seekers, a charity that helps deaf and hearing impaired people, Caron built the clinic from the ground up - from selecting the equipment and creating patient forms to obtaining government permits and training local clinicians. Caron is a clinical audiologist for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Las Vegas, and encourages fellow audiologists to consider volunteering abroad.

Derek Beenfeldt, M.D. '11, '93 (civil engineering), division chief of primary care for Renown Health and UNR Med clinical assistant professor, was named 2018 Healthcare Hero Physician by Nevada Business magazine. In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Beenfeldt oversees the clinical and operational decision making for the 18 location, 90 provider primary care group of Renown Health and serves as community faculty for the School of Medicine.

Jeffrey Dorrity, M.D. '13, has joined Prairie Lakes Healthcare System as an ear, nose and throat physician at the Ear, Nose, Throat, & Facial Plastic Surgery Clinic in Watertown, South Dakota. Dr. Dorrity treats patients of all ages with a wide range of ear, nose and throat conditions including ear and hearing conditions, nose and sinus diseases, throat and voice disorders, cancer of the head and neck, thyroid and parathyroid disease and obstructive sleep apnea. Dr. Dorrity lives in Watertown with his wife Camie and their children.

Dustin Holland, M.D. '14, MPH '14, has been named medical director of a new community paramedicine program at Hendricks Regional Hospital in Danville, Indiana. Created in collaboration with local emergency medical services (EMS) agencies, the program brings vital social service professionals and resources to patients' doorsteps, helping reduce non-emergency EMS calls, while connecting residents with the assistance they need. Dr. Holland, an emergency medicine and EMS physician, and his wife, Kathleen (Cornfield) Holland, M.D. '14, MPH '14, '09 (biology), a pediatrician, attended UNR Med prior to completing their residencies at Indiana University in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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