Division Dialogue

Division Dialogue

Fall 2013

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

Gratitude and manifestation

Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D.

I write this as the first major snow storm of the winter is subsiding. The end of one year and the start of the next inevitably cause both reflection and anticipation. These needs are perhaps as ancient as our gatherings around the fires that made the long winter nights warmer and less lonely.

Here are some of my reflections.

I am full of appreciation for your work that is making so much difference in the lives of our students, and the quality of life of our communities. Under your guidance and with you inspiration, DHS students may be found in all sectors of the health care enterprise, often even before they graduate. They are completing meaningful internships and projects that contribute to better outcomes in every aspect of health and health care-volunteering in student-run free community clinics, reaching out to homeless shelters, investigating ways to resolve health disparities, assessing the health care needs of communities, providing critical training for rural counselors and clinicians, supporting elders in their homes, and enhancing the physical fitness and independence of clients. In all ways our students are learning skills, learning how to serve and learning values that will last their entire careers.

I am grateful for the opportunity to work in a field that is thriving, meaningful and appreciated. Whenever surveys are done regarding Americans' job satisfaction, I'm reminded that many people are not so fortunate as we are to make differences in the lives of our patients, clients, and communities. By the same token, surveys taken in the U.S. over the past decade consistently have shown health care professionals to be the most highly rated in terms of trust, esteem and ethical behavior.

I could not ask for a better group of people with whom to work every day, a better mission to serve, and a better opportunity to make a difference. We are entering a new era in health care with many unchartered territories, new populations of people to serve, new sources of illness, disease, misery and dysfunction to address, and new ways to disseminate accurate and reliable information to guide life decisions. I am proud of all that the Division of Health Sciences is doing to advance knowledge, improve practice and enhance the health and health care of Nevada.


News from Division of Health Sciences Units

Peter Reed selected as Sanford Center for Aging director

Peter Reed

The Division of Health Sciences has named Peter Reed, Ph.D., MPH as director of the Sanford Center for Aging and professor of Community Health Sciences. Reed brings a commitment to service and collaboration, built upon nearly 20 years of experience in the field of aging that bridges research, practice, policy and organizational leadership.

"I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join the University of Nevada, Reno and community and state that is ripe with potential for partnerships and collaborations to explore innovative approaches to supporting older adults in maintaining independence and control in their everyday lives," Reed said.

"Nevada's population is rapidly aging and has known challenges in its health care and social service workforce meeting present and future demands. Given these transitions, I believe there is a demographic imperative to bridge disciplines and link institutions, service agencies and providers of all types to foster a fully-integrated and comprehensive system of supports. I look forward to contributing to progress that enhances quality of life of older Nevadans," he added.

School of Social Work implements and practices interprofessional education

Social Work work group Students from Social Work
In the picture to the left, Cathy Butler and Erin Snell helped students analyze the case. In the picture to the right, Shannon Aldworth (third to the right) worked with students on how to use a concept map to organize and prioritize the client's issues.

This fall semester, students in Social Work 712 course taught by Gloria Messick Svare, Ph.D., associate professor, School of Social Work,engaged in a series of interprofessional experiences with nursing, psychiatry and psychology. Using a case study developed by Shannon Aldworth, MSN, RN and Erin Snell, LCSW, MBA from the Center of Hope of the Sierras-a local treatment facility for women and men with eating disorders-social work students learned about how other health-related professionals conceptualize complex case material. Thanks to the professionals who gave their time and expertise, students gained insights into how professionals from other disciples think. Thanks to Cathy Butler, MSN, RN, AHNC, Orvis School of Nursing and her nursing students; Melissa Piasecki, M.D., senior associate dean for medical affairs, School of Medicine; and Jane Fisher, Ph.D., professor of psychology, director of Nevada Caregivers Support Center for their participation.

UNSOM State Office of Rural Health receives national Award of Merit

Daniels, Clark, Ekbald
Left to Right: R. Scott Daniels, secretary, NOSORH, Keith Clark, director, rural programs and NEAHEC, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Scott Ekblad, president, NOSORH.

The School of Medicine's Nevada State Office of Rural Health received the 2013 Award of Merit from the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) during a ceremony on Oct. 30 at the organization's annual conference in Asheville, N.C.

"I'm honored that our office was recognized with this award," said Gerald Ackerman, director of the Nevada State Office of Rural Health. "It means even more because of the amount of respect I have for our peers around the country who have recognized us."

The NOSORH presents its Award of Merit to a State Office of Rural Health that has made a significant contribution in the field of rural health. The committee considers important benefits to rural health, innovative programs, unusual contributions, or activities that have advanced State Offices of Rural Health. (see full story)

The Nevada State Office was commended for its work in forging collaborations with and on behalf of rural veterans. "Whenever NOSORH has needed someone to talk on the work that can be done between veterans and State Offices of Rural Health, it has turned to the Nevada State Office," according to NOSORH executive director Teryl Eisinger.

Additionally, Eisinger praised the Nevada State Office for managing the annual Western Region Flex Conference, one of the oldest regional Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (Flex) meetings in the country, which brings together hospital administrators, state Flex coordinators, and experts in policy and health care. Eisinger also cited the Office's willingness to share its work with other State Offices of Rural Health, including its health careers resource, which provides information to people considering a career in health care in the state.

School of Community Health Sciences: A long-standing tradition of service to community

No matter the name of the degree or decade in which it was conferred, alumni of the current School of Community Health Sciences have a long tradition of service to the community. From relatively humble beginnings in the 1970s to an institu­tion of nearly 800 undergraduate students and 60 graduate stu­dents today, the School of Community Health Sciences continues to produce skill-based students who "speak" health and understand how to look at population health statistics and then use those statistics to provide a picture of the community's health.

"Graduates know the vocabulary of payers, insurance companies, health disparities and ethics so they can go into any environment dealing with health and give that company or agency a better understanding of the processes in the workplace. They have the 'whole health' picture, including the socio-economic, edu­cational and cultural impacts on health," says Trudy Larson, M.D., director of the School of Community Health Sciences. See the full story as published in Nevada Silver & Blue.

UNSOM to implement new Multiple Mini-Interview process in 2014

The Office of Admissions and Student Affairs will be implementing a new interview process, the Multiple Mini-Interview (MMI) measure, for applicants applying to medical school in 2014. In the past, eligible medical school applicants to the University of Nevada School of Medicine (UNSOM) have received two (2) interviews: one conducted by a UNSOM admissions committee member and one conducted by a current second, third or fourth year medical student.

Based on extensive research of alternative interview models as well as observing and receiving feedback from fellow medical schools who have been utilizing MMI, the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs determined to move forward with MMI. Research indicates that the MMI increases the inter-rater reliability, decreases conscious and unconscious biases and provides medical schools with assessments that are customized to the school's specific mission, objectives and goals.

The review and implementation process has been extensive. Kris Nelson, M.A., director of admissions and student services, Ann Diggins, M.A.,director of student and educational affairs and admissions staff visited two schools in 2012 to observe their implementation processes and strategies of the MMI. The University of Arizona, Tucson School of Medicine has had the MMI implemented for two years and the University of California, Davis School of Medicine three years. Both schools shared outcomes, best practices, strategies and processes to assist in successfully implementing the MMI. (read more)

In 2013, Peggy Dupey, Ph.D., associate dean of admissions and student affairs; Beverly Neyland, M.D., assistant dean of admissions; and Kris Nelson began committee presentations to inform department heads, clerkship and block directors, and key leadership the facets of the MMI. This included Town Hall meetings on both the Reno and Las Vegas campuses ,conducted by Kris Nelson and Dean Schwenk, that introduced keynote medical school speakers from UC Davis and the University of Northern British Columbia who presented outcomes and successes of the MMI implementation at the respective institutions.

If you would like to learn more about the MMI, please visit the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs' website or contact Kris Nelson at (775) 682-8356. Faculty involvement and participation in this process is essential, faculty are encouraged to fill out this survey, to identify the top five (5) attributes that they believe are most important for medical school candidates to possess and want UNSOM to measure in the MMI.

RSVP program honors senior volunteers at annual recognition luncheon

The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), an outreach program of the Sanford Center for Aging, held its annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon November 7, 2013 to honor volunteers for their community service. Approximately 300 guests attended the event according to Scott Trevithick, director of RSVP.

Through a video greeting, Nevada's senior senator and senate majority leader Harry Reid thanked volunteers for their service and recognized the Sanford Center for Aging and the University of Nevada for their sponsorship of RSVP. Certificates from Senator Reid and Senator Heller were presented to honorees. Volunteers from RSVP help children achieve their potential, keep seniors independent, distribute food to those in need, care for veterans, promote safety and strengthen our community in other ways.

The luncheon was made possible through the generosity of presenting sponsor Senior Care Plus, gold sponsors Saint Mary's Regional Medical Center and the Senior Citizen Advisory Committee of the City of Reno; and silver sponsors Lend-A-Hand Senior Services, Donate Life Nevada, Infinity Hospice Care, Lakeside Manor, Senior Coalition, NV Energy, Visiting Angels, and The Arbors; and Bronze sponsors.

NGEC celebrates 21 years of service

Patricia Swager
NGEC director, Patricia Swager addresses residents of Atria at celebration

The School of Medicine's Nevada Geriatric Education Center (NGEC) celebrated 21 years of serving the state's population of older adults by improving health care through provider education with a reception on Wednesday, Oct. 16 at Atria Summit Ridge in Reno.

Special presentations were offered by University of Nevada, Reno Executive Vice President and Provost Kevin Carman, Ph.D.; Thomas Schwenk, M.D., vice president of the Division of Health Sciences and Peter Reed, director of the Sanford Center for Aging. The Nevada Geriatric Education Center's mission is to improve the health care delivered to older adults by providing education, information and resources to healthcare professionals and faculty.

Sanford Center conducts chronic disease self-management training in Kansas

The Sanford Center for Aging, in collaboration with Stanford University and the state of Kansas facilitated a 6-day "Master's Training" in the Chronic Disease Self-management and Diabetes Self-management Programs in Wichita, Kansas. Participants from Kansas and Utah were trained by Stanford authorized T-Trainers, LuAnne Steininger, and Susan Harris, Ph.D., academic coordinator for the gerontology academic program, both of whom have been working with various partners within the state of Nevada to offer these person centered, evidence based programs throughout Nevada via the Sanford Center for Aging.

Student News

Orvis nursing students conduct research and help community organizations

Congratulations for another semester of inspiring research and community engagement by Orvis School of Nursing, Level Three, Community Nursing class, directed by Cathy Butler, MSN, RN, AHNC, assistant professor, Orvis School of Nursing. Each student team worked with community groups to assess needs, diagnose interventions and determine appropriate outcomes and were mentored by Orvis School of Nursing faculty. Listed below are the organizations and outcomes that were accomplished:

  • International Students, UNR: Developed brochure and pamphlet on American slang to enhance communication/ reduce anxiety of international students
  • Carson City Senior Center, F.I.S.H.: Provided educational information and demonstrations Meals on Wheels regarding earthquake preparedness and safety for senior citizens (faculty sent her comments)
  • Step 2 Program: Developed resource pamphlet and PowerPoint on nutrition, exercise, immunizations, growth charts, parenting tips, domestic violence and substance abuse to at risk women
  • Reno/Sparks Family Shelter: Provided educational information on child development, dental hygiene, nutrition, hand washing, crockpot recipes to homeless families
  • Casa de Vida: Provided educational information on effects of substance abuse, infant car seat safety, breastfeeding, and nutrition to homeless, pregnant young women
  • Reno/Sparks Indian Colony: Developed booklet ("Soar into Wellness"), refrigerator magnet( "Soar into Wellness Daily 10-minute Workout"), and Website to promote sustainability ("Soar into Wellness Clinical Presentation"); resources addressed - physical activity for well, disabled, homebound and chairbound individuals and wellness activities - coping with stress, breathing exercises, mindfulness, relaxation, meditation, yoga, guided imagery, self-care tips

Student social work association hosts college fairs for local high school students

The Undergraduate Student Social Work Association (USSWA) planned and hosted two college fairs at Sparks and Hug high schools. In addition to USSWA, the UNR Upward Bound office and Center for Cultural Diversity participated along with 15 other college recruiters. Over 400 high school students attended the Hug event and several hundred attended the Sparks High School. The event was developed in response to needs that were identified by social work students who volunteer at the respective schools.

"Gerontology Awareness" event held by gerontology student group

Associated Students of Gerontology Club
Members of the Associated Students of Gerontology Club at awareness event

The Associated Students of Gerontology (ASG) club held their annual "Gerontology Awareness" event at the Knowledge Center on November 13th. The club members discussed the importance of gerontological literacy, the Gerontology Academic Program (GAP), and invited students to join the ASG club. The club also provided hot beverages (with a complimentary ASG mug) and nutritious snacks to students as they made their way to classes and study groups. More than 70 students connected with the ASG club representatives. This event was co-sponsored by the ASG Club via fundraisers, the ASUN, and the Sanford Center for Aging.

ROTC Army Nurse program provides great opportunities to future nurses

By Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps Nurse Cadets Todd Okazawa and Tyler Park,
University of Nevada, Reno

The U.S Army's Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) is one of the best ways to become a nurse. The ROTC program here at the University of Nevada, Reno, working with the Orvis School of Nursing, offers an incredible opportunity for nursing students by annually reserving two seats into the nursing program.

Students earn their spots into the nursing program while also contracting with ROTC to lead down a path to success with hard work, motivation and determination.

Orvis School of Nursing offers a four semester accelerated program for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. During both fall and spring semesters, ROTC searches for smart, eager and dedicated pre-nursing students to become future Army nurse officers. These nurses will be commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army once fulfilling their degree and ROTC requirements. It is a challenging path, with a large number of obligations, however it is extremely rewarding.

Danielle Hewitt, an active Army nurse states: "To be an Army officer is a challenge in itself to juggle academics along with the requirements of ROTC. Add the stresses of nursing school and at times it can feel truly unmanageable. At the end of it all, I know the payoff to be an Army nurse corps officer treating the very people who are defending this country is so very rewarding!"

To inquire about recruiting, please contact Todd Gniotczynski at (775) 682-7472 or at tgniotczynski@unr.edu. For more information on the UNR Wolf Pack Battalion, visit the ROTC offices in Edmund J. Cain Hall.

Copyright © 2013 Health Sciences.