NSHE Notes
by Chancellor Dan Klaich

October 26, 2015

Public medical education took a giant step forward last week when the Nevada Legislature's Interim Finance Committee released $18.2 million to continue development of UNLV's medical school, as well as $3.8 million to expand UNR's medical school. These funds were appropriated by SB 514 and are critical for showing stability and state support for our medical programs that will be so important to medical school accreditors.

Improving access to high-quality medical care is among Nevada's most pressing needs.  The demands on our public health care systems are expanding the role that NSHE's medical schools must play in the years ahead.  The Nevada System of Higher Education is a critical part of the infrastructure necessary to address gaps in services, physician shortages, and general access to quality health care professionals for all Nevadans. Gov. Brian Sandoval and the Nevada Legislature continue to acknowledge and support NSHE's role and took a bold step toward enhancing public medical education this past legislative session.

The state has wisely invested $26.7 million to develop a separately accredited, full-scale, research-intensive, M.D.-granting (allopathic) medical school at UNLV.  The community has also stepped up and provided full four-year tuition scholarships for all 60 students in the 2017 charter class. In addition, the Engelstad Family Foundation has committed to supporting 25 scholarships for the following three consecutive classes. The result will be the creation of a new medical school in Las Vegas that will help improve access to state-of-the-art medical care for our state's largest population center.  Over time, this investment will also help grow and diversify the economy of Southern Nevada and move forward UNLV's Top Tier initiative.

At UNR, the state has invested $6 million to support the University of Nevada School of Medicine's (UNSOM) research-intensive program, where the majority of Undergraduate Medical Education (UME) is accomplished in northern Nevada in close partnership with RenownŽ Health. In addition, new clerkship rotations will be created in surgery and obstetrics/gynecology; rural outreach will be enhanced; and advising services for medical students will be expanded.

The state is also spending $10 million to expand Graduate Medical Education (GME) residency and fellowships and has continued its sponsorship of existing UNSOM GME programs and future sponsorship of the UNLV School of Medicine GME. This commitment will boost our efforts to retain more of the physicians that we train right here in Nevada.  

Getting to this stage took numerous people, a remarkable number of meetings, and countless hours of work. I'm proud of our accomplishments and am incredibly thankful for the support of Gov. Sandoval, the Nevada Legislature, and our bountiful community supporters who have been our valued partners in making medical education a top priority for our state.

Much has been accomplished.  Even more work remains to be done as we do our part in developing an expanded health care network for the New Nevada.