Division Dialogue

Division Dialogue

January 2011

A message from the Deans

Denise Montcalm, Ph.D., Interim Dean of Health Sciences, and Cheryl Hug English, M.D., Interim Dean, School of Medicine

Denise Montcalm, Cheryl Hug English

As we begin this New Year we face some difficult challenges. However, with challenge comes opportunity.

We want to take a moment to assure you that the leadership of the Division of Health Sciences and the School of Medicine is positioned to advocate and provide continuity during these financially trying times as we look ahead to the 2011 legislative session and its budgetary outcomes.

Our goal is to uphold the collective mission of the Division of Health Sciences, while preserving the qualities that make each of its component schools, centers and programs effective and successful. We are all committed to providing quality education to our students and residents, promoting and fostering research and providing clinical expertise and service to our communities.

The strength of this Division lies within its faculty and its students. As we work together, we will be challenged to “think outside the box” in order to successfully navigate the growth and expansion of our new Division. We are confident that we will meet the financial and developmental needs successfully. We have phenomenal faculty, terrific staff and the best students and residents. There is no time like the present to demonstrate what we are capable of as we continue our efforts to advance our university’s mission and serve our state and its citizens.

Together, we will work through the next year of budget considerations and further shape this Division to be the leader in educating the next generation of Nevada’s health professionals.

News from Division of Health Sciences Units

Record undergraduate enrollments for Fall 2010

The Division of Health Sciences undergraduate programs reached a record high with 1,601 enrollments in declared majors during the fall semester. The following indicates the enrollments for each school:

  • School of Community Health Sciences: 507
  • Orvis School of Nursing: BSN, 179; RN to BSN, 26; Pre-Nursing, 532
  • School of Social Work: BS SW, 74; Pre-Social Work, 171
  • School of Medicine: Speech Pathology and Audiology, 112
  • Total: 1,601

Emergency medicine earns reaccreditation

The emergency medicine residency program recently received the maximum accreditation cycle of five years from the American Council for Graduate Medical Education at its first site visit since inception in 2006.

Pelter awarded NIH grant

Michele Pelter, RN, M.S.N., assistant professor, Orvis School of Nursing has been awarded $377,000 from the National Institutes of Health to study detection of ischemia, a condition that can lead to heart attacks.

Over the two-year course of the study, Pelter will work with two local cardiologists, Dr. Richard Ganchan and Dr. Anita Kedia, who will serve as consultants on the study. She wants to see if different monitoring of patients experiencing symptoms of possible ischemia could lead to better care. Ischemia occurs when there is a plaque rupture, and the body responds by forming a clot in an effort to stop the bleeding. But, this causes blockage in the coronary artery, the heart starts to suffer from lack of blood flow, and if the clot doesn't dissolve itself or isn't cared for medically, it can lead to a heart attack.

"The rupture creates a local injury and sets in motion a series of physiological processes," Pelter explains. "Sometimes the clot gets washed away, but then it does it again. It can come and go."

Department of Psychiatry expands services

The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences is broadening its menu of services in both Las Vegas, Reno and rural Nevada. In Reno, the clinical practice now offers a regular electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) service through Renown Regional Medical Center. This service, which offers help to patients with otherwise refractory severe depression, was started by Nathan Mason, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry, and is currently run by Mark Broadhead, M.D. and Ole Thienhaus, M.D.

In Las Vegas, Alison Netski, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry, will serve as a regular onco-psychiatry consultant to the Nevada Cancer Institute. The department’s practice is also the designated sole provider of substance abuse diagnostic and treatment services for patients insured by the Health Plan of Nevada.

Finally, in the new year, the department’s outreach to rural communities is intensifying. Through on-site services and tele-health connections, departmental clinicians will serve as consultants to five rural counties that have recently been forced to manage without that expertise.

Cultural Considerations in Health Care event to be held Feb. 15, 16

The Division of Health Sciences will hold the first annual Cultural Considerations in Health Care, an interdisciplinary event, on Feb. 15 and 16. The event will provide students and faculty in the health sciences an educational experience in cultural awareness and its application to health services, research and policy. Students from the University of Nevada School of Medicine, School of Social Work, School of Community Health Sciences and Public Health Coalition, with co-sponsorship of ASUN Flipside, developed and planned the following activities:

Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011, 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.
JCSU Ballroom: Complementary and Alternative Medicine

The American Medical Student Association of the University of Nevada School of Medicine will host Tara Finley of Finley Center for Acupuncture and Naturopathic Medicine for a program about complementary and alternative medicine. Since an estimated 40 percent of all patients in Western culture include non-Western methods in their health care decisions, it is important that future health care professionals gain awareness of the processes and issues surrounding CAM.

3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
JCSU Ballroom: Linguistic Issues in Health Care

In collaboration with Community Health Sciences and Social Work, the University of Nevada School of Medicine student group, the Diversity Consortium will be coordinating a simulation which demonstrates how language issues affect health care delivery and access. In this activity, students will experience first-hand what it is like to be a patient with limited English proficiency.

4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
JCSU Ballroom - Health Considerations Among Immigrant Populations

The School of Community Health Sciences and the Public Health Coalition, with co-sponsorship of ASUN Flipside, will conduct a workshop on cultural awareness that will allow students to identify and acknowledge their own cultural heritage, including values, biases and subjectivity and how it impacts their attitudes in health services, research and policy.

Following the workshop, scenes from the documentary, The New Americans, will be screened and a post-screening discussion will be held to discuss barriers to health faced by immigrant populations. At the end of this experience, students will recognize the linguistic and cultural competencies necessary to work with immigrant populations and people of a wide variety cultures.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
JCSU Ballroom - Bridges Out of Poverty and Safe Zone Training

The School of Social Work will be hosting the program Bridges Out of Poverty, a simulation on the culture of poverty. Additionally, Social Work will be sponsoring Safe Zone Training, a program which increases awareness of GLBTQ culture and is applicable to all fields of health.

Our People

Mary Sanders, Ph.D., of the Division of Endocrinology, Nutrition and Metabolism, recently returned from a visiting scholar tour to Taiwan where she taught more than 500 students in five cities.

“It was a wonderful experience. I shared information on medical integration of physical activity into patient care, metabolic syndrome, active aging across the lifespan and assessment,” she said. “My experience was rich with learning and building relationships. Tzu-Chi Buddhist Medical University is grounded in core values that include compassion, unselfish giving, mercy and joy. Their medical education, which includes the "silent mentor" program, honors the people and the families of the people who donate their bodies for learning.”

Sanders was invited by the National Taiwan University in Taipei as an international visiting scholar in part due to the support by Quang Nguyen, M.D. and Sachiko St. Jeor, Ph.D.

Thomas Hunt, M.D., associate professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine - Las Vegas, has achieved a Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) in Hospice and Palliative Medicine (2010 to 2020) in addition to being board certified in family medicine.

The American Board of Family Medicine, in a joint venture with the American Board of Internal Medicine and eight other ABMS specialty boards, offers a CAQ in hospice and palliative medicine. The CAQ is designed to recognize excellence among certified family physicians who emphasize the care of seriously ill and dying patients with life-limiting illnesses in their practice. The field of hospice and palliative medicine is based on expanding scientific knowledge about symptom control when cure is not possible and appropriate care during the last months of life.

The Nevada Public Health Association recently elected new officers for the coming year. John Packham, Ph.D., health policy research director, School of Medicine, was elected president-elect. Daniel Cook, Ph.D., assistant professor, School of Community Health Science, will serve as vice president of the Northern Nevada Chapter and Melanie Minarik, Ph. D., MPH, graduate program director and lecturer, School of Community Health, will serve as member-at-large.

James Pennington, lead perinatal sonographer and clinical instructor of obstetric ultrasound for the Department of OB/GYN - Las Vegas, has been nominated to the board of governors of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine. The institute is the largest organization of its kind with all medical imaging modalities of ultrasound meeting in one organization. It is an accrediting body that provides standards and guidelines for the practice of diagnostic medical ultrasound around the globe.

Pennington is a guest lecturer to first through fourth-year OB/GYN residents and has been a speaker for the past five years at national conferences. He presides as chairman of the Committee for the Practice of Ultrasound.

Ray Plodkowski. M.D., chief, Division of Endocrinology, Nutrition and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, completed the requirements and successfully passed the American Board of Physician Nutrition Specialists Examination and is now a board certified physician nutrition specialist. This is in addition to his specialty board certification in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism.

Submissions being accepted for literature and art journal

The School of Medicine's annual journal of literature and art, The Stethoscope, is accepting submissions for publication this spring. Original and creative work from the students, faculty and friends of the School of Medicine and the Division of Health Sciences will be accepted. This includes, but is not limited to, short stories, poems, essays, drawings, photography, jokes and quotes. The subject matter does not need to be medically related.

The deadline for submissions is March 20.

Submissions and questions may be emailed to Michael Tanner, Alia Moore or Brittany Dye.

Grants, Publications and Research Activities

  • Catherine McCarthy, M.D., associate professor of family and community medicine, received a $5,000 grant from the Samuel Harris Fund for Children’s Dental Health for her proposal on prenatal and postnatal early childhood caries education programs for parents and caregivers.
  • Raymond Plodkowski, M.D., chief of the endocrinology, nutrition and metabolism division, was a co-author on the Lancet article, "Effect of naltrexone plus bupropion on weight loss in overweight and obese adults (COR-I): a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial". Greenway, FL, Fujioka K, Plodkowski, RA, Mudaliar S, et al. August 21, 2010; Volume 376, Pages 595 - 605. The Pennington Institute at Louisiana State University, The Scripps Institute in San Diego, the University of Nevada School of Medicine and the University of California San Diego were the lead sites for this 34 site pivotal obesity study.
  • Nageshwara Gullapalli, M.D., FACP, assistant professor, Department of Internal Medicine, recently co-authored and published, “Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system blockade in high-risk hypertensive patients: current approaches and future trends” in Therapeutic Advances in Cardiovascular Disease, December 2010 4: 359-373.

Copyright © 2011 Health Sciences.