Division Dialogue

Division Dialogue

January 2010

A Message from Vice President John A. McDonald, M.D., Ph.D.

John A. McDonald, M.D., Ph.D.

A new year – a time to reflect on what was accomplished in the year past, and what lies ahead.

A year ago I wrote that one of our division goals is the creation of inter- and trans-disciplinary programs in education, scholarship and research. Toward this end, Richelle O'Driscoll organized a division-wide assembly featuring Dr. Pamela Mitchell from the University of Washington to help us develop a shared vision and goals. The administrative reorganization of the division is largely complete, facilitating the further reorganization under the VP/dean model. We are well positioned to integrate administrative functions in one central unit. Unfortunately the ongoing budget crisis continues to threaten our ability to carry out our missions. Thus far, state supported and self-supporting centers have borne the brunt of cuts, but there is little more to give without eroding our ability to teach our increasing student numbers.

Despite these challenges, significant progress has been made. In the field of aging, Dr. Jane Fisher and her working group completed a thoughtful review of aging programs across campus and exemplars in other universities. We secured new space in the clinical portion of the new Center for Molecular Medicine to house a multidisciplinary clinical, research and teaching facility—the Center for Healthy Aging. Also, a search is underway for a new director for the Sanford Center for Aging to lead and coordinate university wide projects and studies in aging. Fundraising for the new William N. Pennington Health Sciences Building was successfully completed, paving the way to a new era of nurses and physicians sharing their education. This model was recently highlighted on National Public Radio by Dr. Atul Gawande, our Foundation speaker in 2009.

Student retention from fall to spring semester was at an all time high, thanks in part to our dedicated and hard working student advisors, Laurie Beck and Jen Laslo, and our enrollment continues to increase.

A lot of hard work remains to be done. Knowing the leadership, faculty, staff and students in the division, I am absolutely confident we are up to the task. Tough financial times mean new opportunities as well as challenges. We have to continue to redesign ourselves to diminish our dependence on state support—like foreign oil—it is a much appreciated commodity that can become scarce quickly and unpredictably. We have extraordinary models of self-sufficiency in place, like CASAT, that exemplifies how this is possible. And, the most important asset we have is you – our hardworking, dedicated faculty and staff, and committed students.

News from Division of Health Sciences Units

Nevada universities to offer new Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree

Next fall, the University of Nevada, Reno and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas will join the ranks of other prominent universities in the country, such as Purdue, Duke and John Hopkins, in offering a new advanced degree for nurses, the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree (DNP).

“The DNP program is essential to provide nurse practitioners with the increased skill set to provide the best health care for Nevadans, in partnership with physicians and hospitals,” said Carolyn Yucha, dean of UNLV’s School of Nursing. “DNP graduates will work hand-in-hand with physicians as part of primary care teams, or where appropriate, specialty services.”

Patsy Ruchala Ph.D. R.N., director of University of Nevada, Reno Orvis School of Nursing, added that the DNP will also provide education in evaluation of practice and care delivery models and other administrative skills.

“The profession needs a higher level of preparation for leaders who can design and assess care, especially with the shortage of nursing personnel and the national concerns about the quality of care and patient safety,” she said. “The program will also help fill that need.”

New clinical evidence-based resource at Savitt Medical Library

A trial access has started at the Savitt Medical Library for a new clinical decision support tool, DynaMed. This can be reached through the Savitt Medical Library.

DynaMed is an important evidence-based clinical reference tool created by physicians for use primarily at the 'point-of-care' with clinically-organized summaries for more than 3,000 topics. Updated daily, it monitors the content of over 500 medical journals and systematic evidence review databases. You can gain access to DynaMed during this trial period by using user ID: nevada and Password: physician once you reach the EbscoHost login screen. Your opinions on its merit are solicited for evaluation of this product prior to acquisition. Please refer your feedback or address any questions to thenner@med.unr.edu

School of Medicine Interdisciplinary Grand Rounds now accessible statewide

The School of Medicine has begun, as of December 2009, to make its monthly Interdisciplinary Grand Rounds accessible statewide. The presenters are speaking in the Simulation Center on the Shadow Lane campus in Las Vegas. The lectures and discussions are available statewide through tele-education set-up. In Reno, the sessions take place at the Pennington Building and in the Nelson Building downtown. This new opportunity for integrated learning was inaugurated on December 15, 2009 with a panel discussion of Spirituality in Medicine. Three clergymen (Catholic, Muslim, Jewish) participated in an interactive program moderated by our Las Vegas based Chair of Psychiatry, Dr. Greg Brown.

The next presentation will be on January 19, 2010, and is titled Dilemmas in HIV: Where doing the right thing costs too much. On February 16, the topic will be Sleep and Stress Management. Beyond February, topics will be announced. The discussions will take place every third Tuesday of the month at 12 noon. Dr. Miriam Bar-on, M.D., associate dean for Graduate Medical Education, is the coordinator of this informative series of educational events.

New public health course to be offered in Toronto, Canada in May

The School of Community Health Sciences and Extended Studies will be offering to new course “Health Care Management, Public Health and Health Policy in Canada” (CHS 495 R/695 R) that will combine online instruction with site visits to health care facilities and provincial health agencies in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on May 24-29, 2010. This three credit course will provide students with a real-world introduction to health care, public health practice and health policy in Canada and identify the main components and issues of the organization, financing and delivery of health services and public health systems in Canada in comparison to the U.S., including the impact of health systems on population health. John Packham, Ph.D., director of health policy research, Center for Education and Health Services Outreach, University of Nevada School of Medicine, will lead lectures, field trips and tours throughout the program. To preregister, call Extended Studies, (775) 784-4062 or (800) 233-8928.

RSVP program receives donation

The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), part of the Sanford Center for Aging, received $1500 in funds from the Dermody Foundation to be used for volunteer mileage reimbursement and a website enhancement that will enable volunteers to record their monthly volunteer hours online. Also, the RSVP Senior Outreach Services Program collaborated with Home Instead to provide gifts for 100 of our low income seniors this Christmas. Eye exams and glasses for 10 clients were also secured through the Red Cross.

The Legacy Corp respite care volunteer program is up and running with 10 volunteers. Each volunteer has completed 25 hours of training, provided in collaboration with Jane Fisher, Ph. D., UNR professor of psychology, and the staff at Nevada Caregiver Support Center. These volunteers are now providing in-home respite for caregivers who provide 24 hour care for a loved one.

Upcoming Events

George Bierkamper Student Research Convocation set for January 19

The 27th Annual George G. Bierkamper Student Research Convocation will take place on Jan. 19 from 8 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. in Reno’s Pennington 16 and via pictel at the Pediatric Conference Room in Las Vegas. Medical and graduate students will showcase their talents in original scientific research.

Sanford H. Barsky, M.D., chair of pathology, School of Medicine. will be giving this year’s lecture on “Pseudomyxoma Peritonei and the Repayment of the Debt” beginning at 5 pm.

Geriatric suicide topic of January 20 of grand round series

Jerry Reed, Ph.D., MSW, the director of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center in Washington D.C. will speak on the topic of geriatric suicide during two programs on Jan. 20, 2010. The first program, “Health Literacy and Aging: Geriatric Suicide” will be presented from noon to 1:30 p.m. as part of the Nevada Geriatric Education Center’s Health Literacy and Aging Faculty Training Series, and the second program, “Geriatric Suicide: Evidence and Application” will be from 3:45 to 5:30 p.m. as part of the Division of Health Sciences and Psychiatry Grand Rounds.

These programs will both be offered live in Reno at the Pennington Building, Room 16, and via interactive video in Las Vegas at the Clinical Simulation Center, Room B121 and several rural communities across Nevada. To register for the Reno and Las Vegas sites, please call Diann Jones at (775) 682-8470. For registration at the rural sites in Elko, Winnemucca, Ely, Pahrump and Lovelock, please contact the Northeastern Area Health Education Center at (775) 738-3828.

Both CEUs and CME are available.

NGEC offers free training related to dementia on January 15

The Nevada Geriatric Education Center will be offering a free training for caregivers on “Medication Management, Medication Alternatives and Legal Considerations for Persons with Dementia” on January 15 from 12 to 4:30 pm in Room 104 at the Mathewson Knowledge Center. The program has been approved for CEU’s for long term care administrators, nurses and social workers for 3.0 hours. For more information, call (775) 682-8470.

Winter wilderness medicine workshop is February 19-21

The Sixth Annual School of Medicine Winter Wilderness Medicine EME Conference will be hosted at Lost Trail Lodge in the Donner Lake background from Friday, Feb. 19 through Sunday, Feb. 21, 2010. Ten hours of CME/CEU will be devoted to practical topics in winter wilderness medicine with hands-on experiences. Attendance is limited and participants must be able to snowshoe or ski approximately four miles of mostly level terrain to the location site. Cost is $700 or $600 for allied health/nursing and $500 for non-medical guests. Contact David Fiore, M.D., dfiore@med.unr.edu or (775) 784-6180 to register.

Our People

Miriam Bar-on, M.D., associate dean for graduate medical education and professor of pediatrics, School of Medicine, was elected to the membership of the American Pediatric Society. Membership in this society is “reserved for individuals residing in the USA or Canada who have distinguished themselves as academic leaders, teachers, researchers and who contributions to academic pediatrics have garnered national and international recognition.”

Betty D. Dodson, Ph.D., director of the gerontology academic program, has been selected as a Fellow for the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE). Fellow status is an honor conferred by the AGHE which recognizes outstanding leadership in gerontology and geriatrics education by established scholars/educators. She will be recognized at the 36th Annual Meeting of AGHE to be held March 5, 2010 in Reno.

Jamie T. Anderson, M.S., M.A., director of the Division of Interdisciplinary Medical Education, was recently selected for the University of Nevada, Reno’s Graduate Advising Award for 2010.

She will compete with the finalists from University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the Desert Research Institute for the Regents’ Graduate Academic Advisor Award which will be announced in May 2010 at the Honor the Best ceremony. Anderson received a cash award in addition to being recognized for her excellence in advising. She has been with the medical school for more than 20 years.

Elizabeth Fildes, Ed.D., was recently recognized by the Nevada Cancer Coalition as a recipient of the Extra Mile Award for her work to ensure that all Nevadans have access to quality tobacco cessation counseling and resources. She is founder and principal investigator of the Nevada Tobacco Users’ Helpline.

Daniel Kirgan, M.D., FACS, chief of surgical oncology, was elected to the board of governors of the American College of Surgeons as governor-at-large representing the college’s fellows in Nevada. Governors act as a liaison between the college’s regents’ board and fellows and as a clearinghouse for the regents on general assigned subjects and local issues. His term is through 2012.

Deborah Kuhls, M.D., associate professor of surgery, has accepted the additional duties of Assistant Dean for the Office of Medical Education in Las Vegas. In this role, Dr. Kuhls will be responsible for facilitating the integration of the Simulation Center training into the curriculum of third and fourth year students. She will be leading the integration of basic sciences into the clinical rotations and addressing issues of coordinating placement of students at clinical training sites with other schools. She will be participating in, and providing leadership to key educational committees within UNSOM. In addition, Dr. Kuhls will participate in medical education professional organizations as well as representing the School to the community.

Grants, Publications and Research Activities

Kenton Sanders, Ph.D., professor and chair of the University of Nevada School of Medicine’s Department of Physiology and Cell Biology and Christine Cremo, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Biochemistry, recently received a $10.2 million, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health through the Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) to continue research into smooth muscle plasticity.

Susan Palwick, Ph.D., associate professor of English and clinical associate professor at the University of Nevada School of Medicine has published a poem, The Triune Goddess in the ER, in the University of Virginia School of Medicine’s journal, Hospital Drive, which encourages original creative work that examines themes of health, illness, and healing.

Lorraine Bonaldi-Moore, R.N., M.S.N., MBA, assistant professor, Orvis School of Nursing, recently published an article “The Nurse's Role in Educating Postmastectomy Breast Cancer Patients” in the peer reviewed journal Plastic Surgical Nursing.

Amy Ellwood, M.S.W., LCSW, professor of Family Medicine and Psychiatry, School of Medicine, published an article “Safety and Respectful Treatment of Medical Students and Residents” in the January 2010 issue of Academic Psychiatry.

The Association for Gerontology in Higher Education(AGHE) recently accepted the following abstracts for presentation at their upcoming conference:

  • Neila Schumaker, M.D., program director for hospice palliative medicine fellowships, School of Medicine, Diane Chau, M.D., chief of the division of geriatric medicine and program director of the geriatrics medicine fellowship, School of Medicine, Khine Phyu, M.D.; Sreekanth Donepudi, M.D. “Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) Approach to Teaching Geriatric Pain Management in a Long Term Care Setting” The students demonstrated enhanced knowledge of pain management and feedback regarding IDT teaching methods improved.
  • Diane Chau, M.D.; Patricia May, M.D.; Sreekanth Donepudi; Khine Phyu, M.D. “Teaching Geriatrics to Surgery Trainees using Case Based and Web based education” Over a 12 month period, 24 surgery learners worked in interdisciplinary care sessions with geriatrics teachers to better integrate geriatrics into specialty care.
  • Diane Chau, M.D.; Reed Dopf, M.D.; Khine Phyu, M.D. “Use of Personality Profile Testing using MBTI to Create High Performing Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) Education Among Medicine Learners”

    Improved IDT dynamics were noted with use of the Myers Brigg Personality Test (MBTI). Evaluations showed greater understanding of how to negate conflicts and create high performing teams.


Copyright © 2010 Health Sciences.