Division Dialogue

Division Dialogue

November 2009

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

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

The next two years will see significant changes in facilities and leadership within the division. The new vice president for health sciences search has commenced. In addition, funding for the William N. Pennington Health Sciences Building is scheduled for occupancy in the fall of 2012. This facility will house both medical school and nursing education under one roof. As additional faculty are recruited, it will also enable us to grow the class size in both schools. However, as laudable as this goal is, it was not my sole intention when I conceived of the new facility. Rather, it was centered on the concept of multidisciplinary or trans-disciplinary education. Our current educational model for these providers occurs separately. The metaphor I have used is based on aviation. It is as though we train pilots and co-pilots separately, introducing them only immediately prior to a transcontinental flight.

Toward this end, I am going to be asking the leaders in nursing, medicine and other health science disciplines to pull together a working group to make recommendations on best practices in multidisciplinary education and training, and begin to create the necessary framework for fulfilling the true promise of this remarkable new facility. We owe the William N. Pennington Foundation and Mr. Pennington, the Redfield Foundation, the Hart Foundation, and our other generous benefactors our gratitude for their support in making this happen. The largest contributor, of course, is the State of Nevada, who invested in the future education of our healthcare work force. This vote of confidence in the University of Nevada, Reno and its leadership will transform health sciences education in northern Nevada.

News from Division of Health Sciences Units

$340,000 Supplement Awarded to the Nevada INBRE Program

The National Center for Research Resources at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded the Nevada IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) a supplement to develop a theory-based colon cancer screening program with funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The award, for $340,000 per year for two years, will support a project developed by Paul Devereux, Ph.D., associate professor at the School of Community Health Sciences. Devereux will direct the project that will be carried out in collaboration with Nevada Cancer Institute, Nevada Colon Cancer Partnership and the University of California at Davis Community Engagement Program.

The effort will implement a colorectal cancer screening project to increase cancer screening rates within the priority population of female and male adults age 50-85 in Northern Nevada. Nevada Cancer Institute’s cancer patient navigator program will be adapted into a screening navigator program to promote a continuum of services and to reduce cancer morbidity and mortality.

The Nevada INBRE is an NIH-supported project to develop biomedical research across the state with activities at Nevada’s research universities (University of Nevada, Reno and University of Nevada, Las Vegas) and colleges (Truckee Meadows Community College and College of Southern Nevada). The supplement will enable INBRE to develop a new area of community engagement that will benefit Nevadans and expand the scope of biomedical research activities in the state.

School of Medicine Releases 2009 Physician Workforce in Nevada Report

A new report, Physician Workforce in Nevada–Current Characteristics and Distribution, provides the most current data on the geographic and specialty distribution of the allopathic physician workforce, or MDs, in Nevada. Utilizing data collected by the American Medical Association (AMA) Physician Masterfile, the 2009 edition of this report released by the University of Nevada School of Medicine Office of Education and Health Services Outreach, provides a comprehensive portrait of the physician workforce in Nevada and changes in the composition of the workforce over the past decade.

While the number of licensed physicians in the state has grown over the past decade, several trends revealed in the report continue to present enduring problems for health care access, costs, and quality in Nevada requiring the attention of state educators and policymakers:

  • Nevada continues to have an extremely low number of physicians per capita versus other states, particularly when compared to neighboring states in the western region of the US also experiencing physician shortages– Nevada currently ranks 48 in the U.S. in the number of physicians per capita, a ranking that has not changed appreciably since 1990.
  • When compared with other states in the West, Nevada possesses shortages of physicians for most medical and surgical specialties– of 39 specialty areas tracked by the AMA, only five specialty areas possess higher numbers of licensed M.D.s per capita than other states in the region (cardiovascular disease, internal medicine, thoracic surgery, anesthesiology, forensic medicine)– and across most specialty areas the number of M.D.s per capita in Nevada is 50-80 percent of national per capita ratios.
  • Like many states, Nevada’s physician workforce is characterized by declining percentages of physicians providing patient care, versus employment in administration, research, and other non-patient care activities, and declining percentages of physicians in primary care versus medical and surgical specialties.
  • The physician workforce is characterized by the persistence of serious disparities across regions of Nevada – in general, the number of physicians per capita is lower in rural areas versus urban areas of the state, and the number of physicians per capita is lower in urban areas of southern Nevada versus urban areas of northwestern Nevada.

School of Community Health Researcher Investigation Sheds Light on Gastroschisis Birth Defects Cluster

Results of an investigation conducted by University of Nevada, Reno researchers, public health officials and area physicians published this week in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, indicate that Washoe County experienced a cluster of a particular birth defect, gastroschisis, during the period April 2007–April 2008. Subsequent review of medical records since the study’s conclusion indicates that while the rate is still elevated, the cluster appears to have subsided.

Gastroschisis is a birth defect that occurs early in pregnancy, characterized by incomplete closure of the baby’s abdominal wall. It is most common in births by young women, age 21 or younger. Babies with this birth defect are born with part of their intestines outside their bodies, which necessitates repair of the abdominal wall in the first week of life.

“While this is one of the largest documented gastroschisis clusters that I have found, and it is still a concern that requires further investigation, we are pleased the cluster seems to have subsided," said Leslie Elliott, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology at the School of Community Health Sciences and principal investigator of the study.

“Most importantly, because mothers sought prenatal care, our excellent physicians in the community were able to diagnose the condition during pregnancy, and then plan for and provide the immediate care required at birth to correct it.”

The investigation concluded that a baby born in Washoe County during April 2007-April 2008 was 10 times more likely to have gastroschisis than a baby born in any of the years from 1991-2005. There were 14 gastroschisis births in Washoe County during the one-year study period, and only 16 gastroschisis births in the county during the 15-year period of 1991-2005. Since April 2008, there have been five gastroschisis births in the county.

This study added significant support to the findings of other studies that certain infections, such as colds and sore throats; use of cold medications, such as pseudoephedrine; and some recreational drugs, may be contributing factors in the development of gastroschisis and is the first to find an association between gastroschisis and methamphetamine use, specifically. Case mothers were seven times more likely than control-group mothers to report methamphetamine use before pregnancy.

Recognition Luncheon for more than 375 Volunteers

The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Washoe County, or RSVP, a part of the Sanford Center for Aging, held its annual recognition luncheon at the Atlantis Resort Spa on Friday, Nov. 6.

Each year, RSVP recognizes their volunteers. More than 375 volunteers and site supervisors attended the luncheon whose theme was the golden era of music. Attendees were entertained by Dancin’ Partners, a senior couple who performed ballroom dancing, along with a “crooner.” Noted dignitaries in the audience included Gino Martini, mayor of Sparks, Nevada, Sheriff Mike Haley, representatives from U.S. Senator Harry Reid's, U.S. Senator John Ensign's and State Congressman Dean Heller’s offices. Mike Alger, Channel 2 meteorologist, sang the national anthem. Brent Boynton, news anchor for Channel 8, served as master of ceremonies.

The Amos Tinkey Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service was presented to Linda Haigh, a volunteer for more than 11 years with RSVP and with the affiliated program, Senior Outreach Services. She was recognized for her special interest and service in helping disadvantaged veterans. Linda also initiated a veterans’ outreach program at her church, South Reno Baptist, and the church was awarded the Elsie Connor Award for Senior Community Support.

Among other efforts, the church’s bible fellowship class raised over $1,000 to host a Veterans’ Day luncheon at the Carville Park Apartments and the knit and crochet group made more than 100 afghans for the veterans and other seniors.

The event was coordinated by Carole Anderson, director of volunteer services and project director for RSVP and team members Sina Ward, SOS coordinator, Mindy Peltier, volunteer coordinator, Greta Engelbrecht, administrative assistant, and Val Lykes, graduate assistant.

Orvis School of Nursing Students and Faculty Help With Family Flu Shot Day

Staff and students from the Orvis School of Nursing assisted with the dispensing of 3,000 doses of free flu shots on Oct. 17 in conjunction with the Washoe District Health Department Federal/State Point of Dispense immunization event.

With local Rotary Clubs providing volunteers, the clinics are part of an annual exercise to test the department's ability to immunize a large number of people in a short time.

Jeanne Houk, R.N., M.S.N., assistant professor, Lorraine Bonaldi-Moore, R.N.,M.S.N., M.B.A., assistant professor, Cathy Butler, R.N., M.S.N., A.H.N.C., assistant professor, and Margaret Durand, R.N., M.S., F.N.P., family nurse practitioner at the Orvis School of Nursing, and 13 Level III nursing students, volunteered at the event.

Journal of Literature and Art Seeks Submissions

The University of Nevada School of Medicine's annual journal of literature and art, The Stethoscope, is accepting submissions for publication this spring. The editors are looking for original and creative submissions from students, faculty and friends of the school and the Division of Health Sciences for inclusion in its creative heritage, including short stories, poems, essays, drawings, photography, jokes, and any other artistic work.

The subject matter can be almost anything and does not need to be related to medicine. From the whimsical to the serious, we want to see it. You will not only get to share your artistic talent with the rest of the school and add an entry to your resume, but prizes will be awarded for the best entries in each category. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, March 25, 2010. Submissions may be emailed.

Copies are available at the student lounge of the Pennington building.

Orvis School of Nursing Appoints Keating as Endowed Professor

Sarah B. Keating, R.N., Ed.D., F.A.A.N. was appointed Arthur Emerton Orvis Endowed Professor.

Dr. Keating has more than 30 years of experience in nursing education as a professor, dean and consultant in undergraduate and higher degree programs. She was instrumental in the founding of several nurse practitioner, case management and clinical nurse leader programs and the first entry-level MSN program west of the Mississippi.

Her national and international research and public policy interests lie in nursing workforce issues, community and primary health care and nursing outcomes. She is the author of numerous articles in professional journals and the text, Curriculum Development and Evaluation of Nursing. She served as project director for several federally funded nursing education grants and was principal investigator for various research studies related to nursing education and nursing outcomes.

Dr. Keating is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and recipient of many professional and leadership recognition awards. During her tenure, she will focus on the development of curriculum for the proposed doctor of nursing practice program with UNLV.

Upcoming Events

Second Annual Nevada Cancer Control Summit

The Offices of Continuing Medical Education and Profession Development have partnered with the Nevada Cancer Coalition to produce the Second Annual Nevada Cancer Control Summit, which will be held on Friday, Dec. 4 at St. Rose Dominican Hospitals San Martin Campus Conference Center in Las Vegas.

The summit will bring together key stakeholders to discuss cancer control progress and challenges in Nevada. John Ruckdeschel, M.D., director and chief executive officer of Nevada Cancer Institute, will be presenting in addition to many other expert faculty.

Major sponsors of the summit includes St. Rose Dominican Hospitals, Renown Institute for Cancer, G.I. Consultants, St. Mary’s Hospital, Nevada Cancer Institute and the Nevada State Health Division.

Women in Health Sciences Workshops to be Held on Dec. 7 in Reno and Dec. 8 in Las Vegas

Faculty and students are invited to attend the first Women in Health Sciences professional development event. The program will be held in Reno on Dec. 7 at the Pennington Medical Building, Room 12, and Las Vegas on Dec. 8, and will feature workshops and presentations from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. The event features guest speaker, Elizabeth Travis, Ph.D. speaking on Achieving Work-Life Balance.

Box lunches are provided.

This event is co-sponsored by the University of Nevada School of Medicine Office of Faculty Affairs and Development, Division of Health Sciences, Orvis School of Nursing, UNLV School of Dental Medicine and UNLV School of Nursing.

Our People

Murray S. Flaster MD, Ph.D., associate professor of neurology and medicine and stroke program director at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, was named the 2009 Neurologist of the Year by the Nevada branch of the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.

Paul G. Stumpf, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., professor, medical student clerkship director and chair of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, attended the 2009 Executive Development Seminar for Associate Deans and Department Chairs in October.

The seminar is sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges and Harvard Medical School Department of Continuing Education. The seminar is designed to enhance organizational, financial, educational and interpersonal skills for leaders in academic medicine.

Grants, Publications and Research Activities

Paul G. Stumpf, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., professor, medical student clerkship director, chair of obstetrics and gynecology, School of Medicine, authored an article entitled “Patient safety in women’s healthcare: why has our progress been so slow?” that has been accepted for publication in the journal Proceedings of the Western Pharmacology Society. This is his seventh published article addressing the important topic of patient safety in women’s healthcare.

John J. Hsieh, Ph.D., professor of biostatistics, School of Community Health Sciences, recently published two papers in international biostatistical journals. He is the sole author of the article entitled “Martingale Inference of Multi-State Markov Processes for Applications in Survival Analysis and Epidemiology”, published in the JP Journal of Biostatistics Vol.3, No.2, 2009, pp.109-144, and the chief author of the article entitled “On the Distribution of Empirical Life Table Functions”, published in the JP Journal of Biostatistics Vol.3, No.3, 2009, pp.171-186. Both peer-reviewed papers are also available online.

Ann Hubbert, Ph.D., R.N., C.T.N., associate professor, Orvis School of Nursing, co-presented, "A Tent City Settlement Created By A Community’s Homeless Subculture Includes A Foundation Of Cultural Clashes And Societal Turbulence" at the 35th Annual International Transcultural Conference in Seattle.

Diane Chau, M.D., chief of the division of geriatric medicine and program director of the geriatrics medicine fellowship, School of Medicine, was awarded the Hartford Leadership Scholar 2007-09 by the Association of Directors of Geriatric Academic Programs, and the Health Resources and Services Geriatric Academic Career Award continuation for 2010.

In addition, Dr. Chau recently published with Khine Phyu, M.D., Htun Oo, M.D., an article on “A Case of Subclinical Vitamin D Deficiency”, in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, Volume 10, Issue 3 and has co-authored with fellows, Reed Dopf, M.D. and Sreekanth Donepudi, M.D., Chapter 9 (Capacity), in the recently accepted for press McGraw Hill Geriatrics Text Book for 2010.

Neila Schumaker, M.D., program director for hospice palliative medicine fellowships, School of Medicine, received a hospice and palliative care Veterans Affairs development grant for VA HPM program 2009-10.

Nancy Roget, M.S., executive director, and Joyce Hartje, Ph.D., evaluation research manager, Center for the Application of Substance Abuse Technologies (CASAT), presented the Neuroscience of Addictions curriculum infusion package, that was developed through a NECP grant, to the Nevada Social Work Conference and to the INCASE conference in New York.

Meri Shadley Ph.D., M.F.T., L.A.D.C., associate professor, CASAT academic programs, presented the problem gambling curriculum infusion materials at the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and INCASE.

Student News

School of Social Work student named as “Outstanding Student of the Year” by the Nevada Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers

Lynette Eddy, a graduate student pursuing a masters in social work, was the recipient of the 2009 National Association of Social Workers student scholarship by the Nevada chapter at their annual conference in October.

She was nominated by the School of Social Work due in part to the passion she conveys for social justice issues. The staff and faculty believe she embodies the values, ethics and passion of a an excellent social worker. She was cited as a true humanitarian, caring about the well being and dignity of others, a consummate volunteer of her time and talents and always striving to make a difference.

Eddy’s passion for social justice is most evident in her work with people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. She has traveled to Tanzania three times to work with people infected with HIV. While many would be discouraged by the poverty, lack of resources and human suffering in Tanzania, these conditions only furthered her commitment to social justice.

Orvis School of Nursing Students Contribute to Primary and Secondary Health Prevention for Carson City Schools

Nursing students in the community health rotation have created age-appropriate, evidence-based, prevention videos for influenza, which are being shown in all schools across the district, including kindergarten to high schools.

Working with University of Nevada, Reno alumna Shelia Story, R.N., M.S.N., M.P.H., chief nurse for Carson City schools, the videos teach and reinforce primary prevention and address early detection. In addition, packets for families and teachers encourage a sustainable prevention effort through the duration of the epidemic. We congratulate the following students: Cheyenne Guillon, Annette Wright, Caitlin Holman, Makayla Wadsworth, Monica Jeffrey, Frederic Sutter, Karli Kamholz and Christine Young.

Free Graduate Student Breakfast and Massage on "Dead Day"

The Graduate Student Association will host a free breakfast for graduate students from 9:00-11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 9 or "dead day." The event will happen in the Graduate Student Lounge, adjacent to the association's offices, on the third floor of the Joe Crowley Student Union. Free 10-minute back massages will also be available to help students relax before finals.

Associated Students of the University of Nevada (ASUN) Update

Geramye Teeter, ASUN senator representing the Division of Health Sciences, reports that the ASUN Senate is consumed with Joint Vision 2017, a strategic plan for student government. A synopsis of JV 2017 is imposing a new $75 student fee that breaks down into three parts: $5 for performing arts, $25 for Student Academic Skills Center, which will bring back partially free tutoring and be a central location for an advising center, and $45 for a student activities center that would house ASUN government advisors and develop and promote more student leadership for undergraduates.

Undergraduate students would pay $75 each semester. There has been a lot of debate on the topic from both students and ASUN senators. This fee is originating from students and not University administration. ASUN is looking for as much student input on their feelings toward having a new fee. Please contact Senator Teeter.

Bierkamper Convocation Call for Abstracts

Medical and graduate students are invited to submit abstracts for the 27th Annual Bierkamper Student Research Convocation by Dec. 4 for presentation at the Jan. 19, 2010 event. Priority for abstract acceptance will be given to original unpublished basic and/or clinical research that includes development of a hypothesis, a methodical approach, collection of result and discussion.

Copyright © 2009 Health Sciences.