Division Dialogue

Division Dialogue

Fall 2011

Message from Vice President Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D.

Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D.

The health care sector of the U.S. economy is the only sector that grew in the last few years.

  • Health care provided 14.3 million jobs for wage and salary workers.
  • Ten of the 20 fastest growing occupations are health care related.
  • Health care will generate 3.2 million new wage and salary jobs between 2008 and 2018, more than any other industry, largely in response to rapid growth in the elderly population.

This growth has fueled tremendous student interest in the various academic programs of the Division of Health Sciences, resulting in significant enrollment gains.

As is the University as a whole, the Division of Health Sciences is experiencing record growth in undergraduate student enrollment this fall. The total undergraduate enrollment this year for the Division of Health Sciences is 1849, compared to 1562 last year, most of which was in Pre-Nursing (126 more students) and Community Health Sciences (98 more students).

While it is exciting to see the enthusiasm that students have for careers in health related professions, it is important that we support their efforts and provide the education and training that will prepare them to enter the workforce. Our responsibilities as educators go far beyond the classroom. In addition to our teaching, our students need guidance, advisement, career counseling and mentoring to help them achieve success throughout their academic journey. We need to make sure that our students are well suited for the careers that they have chosen and fully understand the many opportunities and options that are available and needed in health care related professions.

We hope that their passions are ignited and the flame is sustained as they become the health care professionals of tomorrow!


News from Division of Health Sciences Units

The University of Nevada receives a $10-Million grant to establish a new Center of Biomedical Research Excellence

Under a $10-million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH, National Center for Research Resources), the University of Nevada School of Medicine and the University of Nevada, Reno will establish a new Center of Biomedical Research Excellence that focuses on the cell biology of signaling across membranes. The center will train and support young biomedical researchers to conduct research to better understand how cells and cellular compartments communicate with each other and how defects in such communication may trigger disease.

Christopher von Bartheld, M.D., professor, Department of Physiology & Cell Biology, School of Medicine, is the principal investigator and program director who will establish the new NIH Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE). The co-director is Grant Mastick, Ph.D., Developmental Neurobiologist and Associate Professor in Biology. Researchers in several disciplines will contribute to this center, including project leaders Qi Wan, M.D., Ph.D., from the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology at the University of Nevada School of Medicine (UNSOM), Tom Kidd, Ph.D., Patricia Berninsone, Ph.D., and Chi-Yun Pai, Ph.D. from the Department of Biology at the College of Science at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), and Hanna Damke, Ph.D., from the Department of Biochemistry (College of Agriculture, Biotechnology, and Natural Resources and UNSOM). The NIH has funded only seven new COBRE programs nationwide in the last two years (2010-2011). Read this story at Nevada Today

AHEC receives grant to support rural activities

The Area Health Education Center received a grant in excess of $100,000 from the Health Resources and Services Administration to support health education and outreach in Nevada's rural communities including a new rural residency program in Winnemucca, development of mental health services and training, rural training for medical students and residents, science enrichment programs for teens and a summer camp and other health career development programs for children interested in health careers.

School of Social Work, Nevada Training Partnership help fill gaps due to budget cuts

Responding to the need for professional development training to rural Nevada child welfare workers hard hit by travel budget cuts, the Nevada Training Partnership (NTP), a child welfare training grant program offered by the School of Social Work, found a solution. Working with the UNR Office of Instructional Design and the State of Nevada's Division of Child and Family Services, the NTP coordinator, Jennifer Massie, M.S.W., and child welfare trainers, Patty Neely, M.S.W., Aaron Blackham, M.S.W., and visiting trainer, Sandy Lowery, M.S.W., presented ten full days of training on a variety of subjects to rural child welfare workers via the University's WIMBA Virtual Classroom.

The project was successful due to the close collaboration between the State of Nevada Division of Child & Family Services and the School of Social Work. The project resulted in 468 continuing education units earned by 27 rural child welfare workers in 6 rural offices throughout the state resulting in a savings of $27,322 in travel dollars. By providing these trainings on-line, child welfare workers were able to save 600 hours of travel time, enabling more time to directly serve Nevada's children and families.

The Nevada Training Partnership was also invited to present this project to a national audience via Webinar to the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute at the University of Albany, School of Social Welfare as a national model. Trainings via Wimba will now be integrated throughout the NTP's child welfare training calendar as an on-going solution to child welfare training needs.

School of Medicine to increase its residency program by 25%

Working with partner hospitals University Medical Center of Southern Nevada and Renown Health, the University of Nevada School of Medicine will be increasing its physician training program capacity by 25 percent beginning in 2012, thanks to a reallocation of residency positions by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently announced this redistribution of more than 1,300 medical education slots under the Affordable Care Act's unused residency slot redistribution program. A total of 58 hospitals nationwide, including UMC and Renown, are receiving additional residency positions, based on their applications for need.

"Because Nevada has a very low medical resident-to-population ration, we ranked in the top ten states nationwide to receive additional positions. The majority of these positions will be used to expand primary care residency programs," said Miriam Bar-on, M.D., associate dean for graduate medical education, who, working in collaboration with UMC and Renown officials, spearheaded the effort for the School of Medicine. "This redistribution means we have the potential to increase our graduate medical education program of medical residents and fellows from 283 to 354, an increase of 25 percent."

For Nevada, this reallocation translates into 50 new positions at UMC in Las Vegas and 21 at Renown in Reno. The University of Nevada School of Medicine trains its resident physicians at both hospitals. Residency programs provide new physicians additional clinical training beyond their medical degree in their chosen specialty field and last a minimum of three years.

Faculty simulation workshops create new interprofessional scenarios for health sciences curriculum

Teams of faculty from the Division of Health Sciences (DHS) along with staff from the Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas created four new interprofessional scenarios that can be utilized in future classes. The scenarios were demonstrated during the final workshop of the faculty development series Simulation 101: Creating and Utilizing Simulation Training in Health Sciences Curriculum. Thirty-nine faculty, representing all units in DHS, attended the four workshops to assist and prepare health science faculty with creating, developing and integrating effective interprofessional simulations into their curriculum.

Each workshop provided faculty with new skills and foundation related to using simulations. The faculty also worked in interprofessional teams to create a variety of simulation scenarios that were demonstrated and tested by actual students from medicine, nursing, social work and community health sciences. Workshop faculty leaders were Kirk Bronander, M.D., associate professor, School of Medicine and Kim Baxter, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, assistant professor, Orvis School of Nursing.

Shapiro selected to chair Department of Internal Medicine in Reno

Daniel S. Shapiro, M.D., has been selected to be the chair of the Department of Internal Medicine, Reno, School of Medicine. Dr. Shapiro graduated AOA from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC) School of Medicine and completed both his Infectious Disease and Clinical Microbiology fellowships at the same institution. He completed his Internal Medicine training at the Massachusetts General Hospital as well as a research fellowship at the NIH. He has served on the faculty of the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and is currently the Director of Microbiology Laboratories at the Lahey Clinic, with teaching experience in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at BUSM. He has a substantial publication record with a particular expertise in emerging and novel pathogens, including expertise in bioterrorism. He has served as an author of several clinical practice guidelines in bioterrorism, and has presented nationally and internationally on this topics.

Faculty Affairs and Development team with Continuing Medical Education

The School of Medicine Office of Faculty Affairs and Development (OFAD) and the Office of Continuing Medical Education (OCME) recently held an open house to announce and celebrate the teaming of the two offices. Faculty and staff from Division of Health Sciences schools and departments explored the numerous resources that are available such as books and training videos from the OFAD medical education library and upcoming Continuing Medical Education events. Although they will continue in separate locations (OFAD in the Pennington Annex and OCME in the Nelson Building), they will collaborate on many projects. To learn more about resources to expand your professional development, contact either office OFAD (775) 784-6777 or OCME (775) 784-4791.

RSVP volunteers "pledge to serve", work at UNR football games, collaborate with nursing students

A Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) member, Phil Elewski of the Senior Auxiliary Volunteer Effort program (SAVE), recently was part of a September 11th "pledge to serve" in which Governor Brian Sandoval visited the Nevada Volunteers office in Reno to make his pledge. So many Americans were inspired to volunteer in numerous ways immediately after 9-11. Through his pledge, the Governor was hoping to encourage all Nevadans to sign a pledge to volunteer in the upcoming year from 9/11/2011 to 9/11/2012. RSVP is an outreach program of the Sanford Center for Aging.

RSVP is collaborating with UNR Athletics at this year's home football games. Several RSVP volunteers will be at each of the UNR football games selling programs and a portion of those program sales will be rebated back to the RSVP program. This is a great partnership in that Athletics has volunteers to sell the programs old and our volunteers who enjoy football receive entrance into the home games, plus the monies benefit the program itself whose federal funds were recently reduced.

The Senior Outreach Service, an RSVP program, has collaborated with the Orvis School of Nursing, whereby the RSVP volunteers serve as liaisons between homebound clients and third-year nursing students provide blood pressure and other medical screenings. Three professors and ten students are involved in the project.

School of Social Work receives award

The Schools of Social Work at both UNR and UNLV were awarded the Alicia Smalley Community Advocate Award by the Nevada Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. The UNR School of Social Work was recognized for its efforts during the spring of 2011 to protect social work education in the wake of state-level budget cuts and University threats to eliminate the program. Mary Hylton and Beatriz Aguirre, president of the UNR Undergraduate Student Social Work Association, accepted the award on-behalf of the school.

Upcoming Events: NGEC offers lecture on Osteoporosis on November 10

The Nevada Geriatric Education Consortium is offering a lecture on "Osteoporosis Update" by Roxana Aminbakhsh, M.D., Geriatric Fellow, University School of Nevada School of Medicine, on November 10, 2011 at 12 noon to 1 pm. The lectures are open to all health sciences students and faculty. The lectures will be broadcast over interactive video in Battle Mountain, Elko, Ely, Eureka, Gardnerville, Hawthorne, Henderson, Las Vegas, Lovelock, Pahrump, Reno, Winnemucca, and Yerington. CME's and CEU's are available. The program is free, however, you must register by contacting Diann Jones (775) 682-8470

Thienhaus receives AACAP's Robert Cancro Academic Leadership Award

Ole J. Thienhaus, M.D., chair of the Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, recently was honored with the Robert Cancro Academic Leadership Award from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) meeting. The Robert Cancro Academic Leadership Award recognizes a currently serving General Psychiatry Training Director, Medical School Dean, CEO of a Training Institution, Chair of a Department of Pediatrics, or Chair of a Department of Psychiatry for his or her contributions to the promotion of child and adolescent psychiatry. Dr. Thienhaus also presented, "A Geriatric Psychiatrist Discovers Child Psychiatry," at the AACAP's 58th Annual Meeting held in Tornot, Canada.

In other news, Dr. Thienhaus recently announced that he has accepted the position of Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, effective March 1, 2012. He has been with the University of Nevada School of Medicine since January 1996. Under his leadership, the Department of Psychiatry initiated a Psychiatry residency program in Las Vegas and a Child and Adolescent Fellowship program in Reno. Both residency programs and the fellowship program received accreditation for five years. Dr. Thienhaus served as the interim dean of UNSOM for two years and has been a Senior Examiner for the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology for over 25 years

Spogen elected to Board of Directors of AAFP

Daniel Spogen, M.D., family medicine chair in Reno, was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

Hogan invited to China as visiting professor

Mary Beth Hogan, M.D., pediatrics professor, has been invited to perform a pediatric allergy/immunology visiting professorship in China where she will present multiple pediatric allergy topics to both Yuying Children's Hospital, Wenzhou Medical College and the Children's Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine.

This professorship invites pediatric allergists with international reputations to present cutting edge research to pediatricians at medical schools in China, a country experiencing an epidemic in pediatric allergy and asthma. Currently, allergy faculty is not present in the Chinese medical schools.

Yearly research presentations and group discussions are arranged to expose and educate Chinese medical students in the field of allergy/immunology. Hogan has been invited to present her latest research involving the early onset of pollen allergy in children with allergic rhinitis and asthma.

School of Medicine faculty speak at HIV conference

The Nevada AIDS Education and Training Center at the School of Medicine held the 12th Annual Autumn Update: Networking for HIV Care conference on October 22-23 at the Resort at Squaw Creek. Expert HIV presenters included AETC/UNSOM faculty: Trudy Larson, M.D., director, School of Community Health Sciences; Sujatha Pitani, M.D. and Steve Zell, M.D.

Svare speaks at National Guardianship Association meeting

Gloria M. Svare, Ph.D., associate professor, School of Social Work and Jeanne Wendel, Ph.D., professor of economics, College of Business, collaborated and presented "Presenting Your Case for Funding: How to Develop Statistics that Work" at the National Guardianship Association in Minneapolis, MN.

Grants, Publications and Research Activities

  • Diane Chau M.D., chief of the Division of Geriatric Medicine and program director of the geriatrics medicine fellowship, School of Medicine and Christianne Bishop. M.D., geriatrics fellow, co-authored an article, "What is Our Duty to Malingerers?" that will be published in the November 2011 issue of Annals of Long Term Care: Clinical Care and Aging.
  • The Center for the Application of Substance Abuse Technologies (CASAT) was awarded two new state contracts from Nevada Works. These grants help dislocated workers and unemployed individuals return to college and to prepare to enter the behavioral health workforce. the Behavioral Health Workforce Initiative for Adult and Dislocated Workers (BHWI-DW and BHWI-A) contracts began October 1st and end June 30, 2012 for a combined total award of $278,821.The overall goal of the Behavioral Health Workforce Initiative for Adult and Dislocated Workers will be to build and strengthen the behavioral health workforce and expand its career entry tracks into the profession.
  • Daniel M. Cook, Ph.D., assistant professor, School of Community Health Sciences, Paula V. Moulton, MPH, Teresa M. Sacks, MPH, health analyst, Sanford Center for Aging, and Wei Yang, Ph.D., assistant professor, School of Community Health Sciences, co-authored a collaborative research study, “Self-reported Responses to Medication Therapy Management Services for Older Adults: Analysis of a 5-year Program” that will be published (in press) in the journal of Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy. The study assessed patient behavioral outcomes from the SCA’s clinical service program, Medication Therapy Management (MTM), including actions following receipt of a pharmacist report.
  • The Nevada AIDS Education and Training Center has been awarded a contract with the Nevada State Health Division to write the 2012-2014 Statewide Coordinated Statement of Need and Comprehensive Care Plan for HIV services in Nevada. Faculty engaged in this one-year project are Jennifer Bennett, MPH; Patty Charles, DrPH; Trudy Larson, MD; and Barb Scott, RD, MPH.
  • Elissa Palmer, M.D., and the faculty of the Department of Family Medicine in Las Vegas were recently awarded a major HRSA grant to support the development of family medicine residency training in Winnemucca.
  • Gloria M. Svare, Ph.D., associate professor, School of Social Work and Jeanne Wendel, Ph.D., professor of economics, College of Business, recently co-authored and published a book chapter entitled, Economic Considerations of Aging in the nursing textbook The Nurse's Role in Promoting Optimal Health of Older Adults: Thriving in the Wisdom Years (255-285) F.A. Davis Company.

Student News

Orvis School of Nursing students support community health event

The Orvis School of Nursing again supported Carson City's annual "Homeless Connect" event. Senior nursing students assisted with providing clinic services for physical exams and management of chronic illnesses often experienced by this vulnerable population. The OSN also provided health prevention interventions for hypertension (screening and motivational counseling) and smoking cessation. The following nursing students volunteered their time and skills: Nikolett Fouassier, Ankita Jigar, Angela Lambert, Stephanie Prather, Heather Schofield, and Sienna Smith-Sager. Assistant Professor Laura Padilla volunteered as the faculty for our students.

Social Work student club wins Thornton Peace Prize

In May of 2011, the student leaders of FUSED, an undergraduate social work student organization, were awarded the prestigious Thornton Peace prize at the University of Nevada, Reno's annual Honor the Best Ceremony. FUSED was founded in January 2011 in response to the proposed reduction, and in some cases, elimination of health and human services for Nevada's neediest residents. The mission of FUSED is to support education, health and social services for Nevada residents through community organizing and peaceful political action.

During its short tenure, FUSED has had numerous impressive accomplishments. In March of 2011, FUSED leaders held a Lobbying 101 training session on campus, which was attended by approximately 40 UNR students. This lobbying training event was followed by student testimony in front of the Nevada Legislative Joint Subcommittee on Higher Education. Six of the FUSED student leaders provided poignant testimony at this hearing. In April 2011, FUSED leaders organized a full-day lobbying event at the Nevada State Legislature. During this event ten students traveled to Carson City and met with 13 different legislators to discuss raising revenue rather than making cutes to social services and education. FUSED also held a second lobbying day in April during which time they handed out petitions to every legislator in support of raising revenue. Notably, in April three FUSED leaders also provided testimony in front of the Nevada State Senate and Nevada State Assembly in regards to the higher education budget. Finally, in conjunction with several other groups, FUSED played an integral role in organizing a three day campout on the legislative grounds during the final days of the 2011 legislative session.

Social Work student awarded Access Assistantship Award

The School of Social Work successfully competed for one of ten UNR Access Graduate Assistantship Awards. This award was used to hire Yesenia Carrizales to develop and implement recruitment strategies for both the BSW and MSW programs. Carrizales brings prior experience in mentoring young people and incredible passion for the profession to this position. As a BSW alum and current MSW student, Carrizales is also knowledgeable about both programs. She will work with the School in this capacity through May 2012.

DHS Student Center, Computer Lab and Student Lounge move to Orvis Building

The Division of Health Sciences Student Center has moved to the original Orvis Building south east of the quad. Offices for Laurie Beck, Jennifer Laslo and Marissa Perea are located in Room #104 on the lower floor. Please contact us at askDHS@unr.edu or call (775) 682-5930 to schedule an advising appointment to select classes for the Spring 2012 semester.

The computer lab has also moved to the Orvis Building, Room 107a and should be open next week. We will have 14 computers and a printer available to students. Please bring your own paper to print. We also have a new student lounge located in Room 107b. It will be a place to relax, check your Web Campus or eat a snack. Both the lounge and computer lab will be open approximately 8am to 6pm Monday - Friday.

Copyright © 2011 Health Sciences.