Nevada System of Higher Education
Health Sciences System Newsletter 
August 2012
The Health Sciences System (HSS) was established by the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents in 2006. Its purpose is to address Nevada's community health issues through a system-wide effort to integrate and expand the education of health professionals and to foster collaborative research in health and health care.  Through collaboration among the NSHE institutions and a broad range of external partners, the HSS intends to be a catalyst for improvement in the health and wellness of Nevada.  Visit us at:
Students from the UNLV School of Dental Medicine to offer free clinic to school children 

Students from the UNLV School of Dental Medicine are sponsoring a Sealants for Smiles day on Saturday, September 15th.   Free screenings, fluoride varnish, sealants and cleanings for elementary and middle school-aged children will be provided. Please click on the link below for more information, including how to make an appointment. 



Nevada State College conducts mental health training for Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Crisis Intervention Team

With a common goal to educate police officers on how to best interact with the mentally ill population in Southern Nevada, the Nevada State College (NSC) School of Nursing recently presented "Hearing Voices," a schizophrenia simulation, for Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) Crisis Intervention Team members.


The 90-minute simulation is designed for healthcare providers and public safety officers to increase awareness of the symptoms of schizophrenia and identify ways to enlist cooperation from people with schizophrenia. A total of 40 officers participated in the simulation during sessions held at the LVMPD headquarters. 


Conducted by Amy J. Chaffin, an associate professor of nursing at NSC, and Candice Desrosiers, a NSC alumna and geropsychiatric nurse at Southern Hills Hospital, the hands-on presentation included an overview of the illness followed by the rotation of participants through six stations. Each station required participants to attempt a simple task such as counting change or completing a registration form while listening through headphones to recordings simulating auditory hallucinations.


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School of Medicine microbiologist receives $600,000 to refine new test for deadly bacterial  infection melioidosis
Dr. Aucoin

David AuCoin, microbiology professor at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, earns $600,000 grant for new rapid test for point-of-care diagnosis of deadly bacteria infection melioidosis. Photo by Theresa Danna-Douglas


A new rapid test to diagnose melioidosis, a difficult infection to treat - and classified as a biothreat by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - is being optimized and tested by University of Nevada School of Medicine researcher David AuCoin. 


A $600,000 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases grant through the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program recognizes the potential of AuCoin's work and supports making the new rapid test for point-of-care diagnosis of melioidosis available to countries where the disease is endemic, and expanding.

Melioidosis, also called Whitmore's disease, is predominately an infectious disease of tropical climates, especially in Southeast Asia and northern Australia where it is widespread. The bacteria causing melioidosis are found in contaminated water and soil. It is spread to humans and animals through direct contact with the contaminated source and has a high mortality rate.


UNR's School of Community Health Sciences to aid in new Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority of Reno project

The University's School of Community Health Sciences will help design and collaborate in a training program for employees of the Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority of Reno (REMSA) under a new project that will provide an alternative to ambulance service and urgent care visits for patients with lower acuity and chronic disease situations in Washoe County. The School will also assist in the complex evaluation of this innovative project.


"There are elderly or ill people in our community, for instance, who may fall and end up having to call an ambulance for assistance getting up," explained Trudy Larson, director of the University's School of Community Health Science, who will also serve on the REMSA Partners Advisory Committee. "This program will allow REMSA to establish a new nonemergency phone number that folks like these can call, and REMSA will have specially trained teams waiting to assist them, without having to dispatch a full ambulance team and vehicle."


The $9.8 million project, called the "REMSA Community Health Early Intervention Team," is federally funded by a Health Care Innovation Award, awards aimed at delivering better health, improved care and lower costs to people enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. Specifically, the REMSA project aims to result in fewer nonurgent emergency department visits, ambulance transports, hospital admissions and hospital readmissions. It also aims to reduce unreimbursed emergency department costs, and ultimately, to improve the overall health care and continuity of care in our community. 


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HSS Spotlight:  College of Southern Nevada

      As CSN students flood the College of Southern Nevada's three campuses this fall 2012 semester, CSN will also welcome students to a new four-year degree program.

      The CSN Bachelor of Applied Science in Medical Laboratory Science is the second four-year degree program at the college, following the start of the Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene in fall 2003.

      "We have state-of-art equipment, highly trained faculty and solid clinical partnerships ready to provide students in our new program with a world-class education," Clinical Laboratory Science Program Director Heidi Schneiter said. "We need the community to know that we are now offering this degree and that there are well-paying jobs available in this field, awaiting qualified graduates that pass their national certification exams."

      Medical laboratory scientists, who conduct lab testing and often serve in supervisory positions, are in high demand. There were more than 40 positions open locally in 2011 with a statewide expected growth rate of 9.4 percent between 2011 and 2015, according to CSN Division of Workforce & Economic Development data. The median wage is $31.85 per hour.

            The new degree program is housed in the CSN Ralph & Betty Engelstad School of Health Sciences, which prepares more than 8,000 students to provide the highest standard of care for our community in hospitals, homes, clinics and offices throughout the state. These students consistently achieve high first-time pass rates on licensure and certification examinations, often with scores of 90 percent or higher.
            Named in honor of gaming mogul, Ralph Engelstad, and his wife, the school received a generous $8.2 million donation from the family's foundation in 2008. The gift expanded the school and led to the creation of a state-of-the-art cardiorespiratory science training center. In addition, the donation funded planning for a third four-year degree, a Bachelor of Science in Cardiorespiratory Sciences Degree, expected to come online in the near future.
            "We are incredibly proud to bear the Engelstad family name," CSN Health Sciences Dean Patricia Castro said. "The family has been a catalyst that has launched CSN health sciences programs to that next level."
            The school was honored last year when the CSN Department of Nursing was selected to take part in a national study to determine if simulated clinical experiences, as a replacement for a portion of the time spent in traditional clinical education, better prepare nurses for the field.

            The National Council of State Boards of Nursing selected CSN among 10 prestigious nursing programs across the country to take part in the study. CSN joined educators at Johns Hopkins University, Florida International University, Ivy Tech Community College, Johnson County Community College, Lancaster General College, Metropolitan Community College Penn Valley, University of South Carolina, University of Southern Mississippi and Washington State University in this important study and presented on the first-year of data this summer.
            "CSN's selection to take part in this project speaks to the national reputation of quality our nursing program has established," Castro said.
            In addition, the nursing program just completed a three-year U.S. Department of Labor grant project in collaboration with The Valley Health System to move all didactic nursing courses online to provide greater access.
            "Through this collaborative partnership, we have been able to expand the nursing program and increase opportunities for Southern Nevadans to train in a high-demand, high-wage field," Castro said.
            CSN health sciences students provide more than a million hours of uncompensated health care to Southern Nevada through service learning and clinical opportunities each year. CSN also provides a majority of the health care workforce in Southern Nevada, including approximately a third of all nursing graduates.
            The school includes 30 allied health programs taught by more than 80 full-time faculty members. These include a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene, 12 associate degree programs, eight certificates of achievement programs and nine certificates of completion.
            Some of the high-demand professions for which the school provides training include:  Radiation Therapy, Health Information Technology, Phlebotomy, Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Veterinary Technician, Nursing, Medical Office Assisting, Occupational Therapy Assistant, and Physical Therapist Assistant.






Did you know: 
The Nevada System of Higher Education has 150 distinct Health Sciences programs throughout eight institutions with an estimated total of 18,000 enrolled students. 
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