Division Dialogue

Division Dialogue

Spring 2014

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

Interprofessional Education

Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D.

Interprofessional education (IPE) is a topic about which there is considerable discussion but also great uncertainty. Every single health professions organization is exploring ways to incorporate more IPE into its curriculum and accreditation requirements. The Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC)—with members from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the American Dental Education Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health, and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine—was formed to promote and encourage efforts that would help prepare future clinicians for the team-based care of patients. In 2009, the IPEC released a report, Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice that defined competencies for interprofessional collaborative practices that are taught in the health professions. The report stresses that we need to move beyond profession-specific education efforts and engage students in interactive learning with each other.

I am encouraged to see several exciting IPE initiatives in the Division of Health Sciences that are creating educational experiences to provide our students with the opportunity to learn and work together.

  • The recent fourth annual “Navigating Health: Cultural Considerations in Health Care” event provided an opportunity for all Division of Health Sciences students to participate in workshops that share common threads among our disciplines with respect to health and cultural disparities.
  • The Office of Medical Education has recently created a new Interprofessional Education Council with the Orvis School of Nursing to design and implement new IPE curricular activities.
  • The School of Social Work has redesigned their curriculum to include the use of standardized patient scenarios that provide the opportunity for the students to practice social work skills with interprofessional teams. A case study for the SW 712 graduate course involves nursing, psychiatry and psychology professionals contributing their insights on their approach to specific health conditions.

In the early 1970’s, when the School of Medicine started, IPE was in the forefront with the development of an interprofessional curriculum for preprofessional students. This innovative approach was directed by Dr. DeWitt (“Bud”) Baldwin, a nationally known interprofessional scholar and educator and one of founders of the health sciences program and the University of Nevada School of Medicine.

We are pleased to welcome Dr. Baldwin back to campus to take advantage of his IPE expertise.

I invite you to join me on April 29 at 5:30 (details below) for a discussion with Dr. Baldwin on the evolution, implications and future of IPE at the University of Nevada, Reno and across the nation.


News from Division of Health Sciences Units

Honors, convocation and hooding ceremonies celebrate graduates

Coming soon: the season of celebration, of endings and beginnings, as the Division of Health Sciences welcomes friends, family and community partners to its pinning, hooding and commencement ceremonies:

  • Orvis School of Nursing Hooding and Pinning Convocation
    10 a.m., May 15 at the Joe Crowley Student Union Ballroom
  • School of Social Work Hooding and Pinning Ceremony
    11:30 a.m., May 15 at Nightingale Hall, Church Fine Arts
  • CASAT Advanced Certificates, Master’s Specializations and Minors Ceremony
    2 p.m., May 15 at the Joe Crowley Student Union Theatre
  • Division of Health Sciences Spring 2013 Commencement
    Undergraduate Ceremony
    8:15 a.m. (8 a.m. lineup), May 16 at University Quad
    Advanced Degree Ceremony
    5 p.m. (4:45 p.m. lineup), May 16 at University Quad
  • School of Medicine Hooding Ceremony
    1 p.m. (12:30 p.m. lineup), May 16 at Lawlor Events Center
  • School of Community Health Sciences M.P.H. Hooding Ceremony
    3 p.m., May 16 in Room 102, Pennington Health Sciences Building

DHS symposium highlights best of interprofessional education

DeWitt "Bud" Baldwin, M.D.

DeWitt “Bud” Baldwin, M.D., founding director and professor emeritus (1971-1983), Division of Health Sciences, School of Medicine and Scholar-in-Residence for the Accreditation Council for the Graduate Medical Education, will join Vice-president and Dean Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D., for a conversation about “Interprofessional Education for the Health Sciences: A Look at the Past and a Plan for the Future.” Topics will include a retrospective review of the evolution of the interdisciplinary education, best practices for implementation, models of successful programs and future perspectives for improving health care.

The event will be held on Tuesday, April 29, at 5:30 p.m. in Room 222, Pennington Health Sciences Building. A reception will precede the event starting at 5 p.m.

Please register to attend the event.

School of Social Work receives accreditation for eight more years

The School of Social Work received notification from the Council on Social Work Education that the school’s baccalaureate and master’s degree programs have been have been accredited for another eight years. The school had been preparing for the process by participating in a year-long self-study which also included a site visit from the national committee.

Goutham Menon, Ph.D., director of the School of Social Work, said, “It is important for us to continue to be reaccredited. The faculty and staff have contributed significant time and effort towards this end. It is based on this effort that we received accreditation without any concerns by the accreditation body”.

New gastroenterology fellowship program in Las Vegas receives accreditation

The University of Nevada School of Medicine’s Las Vegas internal medicine department has announced that a new specialty fellowship in gastroenterology will begin this spring. “I am very happy to announce that our fellowship in gastroenterology has been accredited,” said John Varras, M.D., department chair. “The fellowship will be in partnership with University Medical Center and the VA Medical Center, and we are very excited about the opportunity this brings to enhance care, research and teaching.”

This is the first such gastroenterology training program in Nevada. The program’s goal is to provide highly-trained GI specialists for the Las Vegas area within three years. The new fellows begin the three-year fellowship program this July with monthly rotations at the VA and University Medical Center. The first year of the fellowship focuses heavily on gaining clinical expertise in hospitalized patient care and becoming proficient in endoscopic procedures, according to fellowship director Christian Stone, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor and chief of the section of gastroenterology. Read more about the gastroenterology fellowship.

DHS students attend fourth annual cultural considerations event

Cultural Considerations Event
DHS students participate in a workshop that simulated the aging process at the 2014 Cultural Considerations in Health Care event.

Division of Health Sciences students and faculty participated in “Navigating Health: Cultural Considerations in Health Care,” an interdisciplinary event created by students for students. The goal of the two-day forum held Feb.24 and 25 was to provide health sciences students an educational experience in cultural awareness and its applications to health services, research and policy. A record total enrollment of 757 attended the 17 sessions, including such topics as transgender issues, cultural differences in pain, health communication, challenges in the ER, implicit and explicit biases, tobacco dependence, addiction, aging and poverty.

The keynote address by author and Harvard professor David Hemenway, Ph.D., on “Navigating Policy into Protection: Success Stories in Injury and Violence” was attended by more than 200 students and faculty. The forum was sponsored by the Division of Health Sciences and High Sierra Area Health Education Consortium with participation from DHS student organizations.

New rural residency program accredited for Winnemucca

The Department of Family and Community Medicine in Las Vegas is pleased to announce the successful accreditation of the rural track family medicine residency at Humboldt General Hospital. The three-year training program is organized in a “one-two format” with the first year completed in common with the other family medicine residents in Las Vegas, while the second and third years are completed in the rural setting of Winnemucca.

The accreditation review committee commended the program without citations for its demonstrated substantial compliance with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education's Institutional and/or Program Requirements for Graduate Medical Education.

“SimMom” visits Renown Medical Center for training exercise

The new SimMom birthing simulator that was recently acquired for the Orvis School of Nursing and School of Medicine Simulation Center was utilized recently at Renown Medical Center. Two groups of labor and delivery nurses and a medical resident participated in two scenarios.

Earle Oki, M.D. and nurse educator Laura Oki of Renown, in conjunction with Kirk Bronander, M.D., director of simulation education; Alisha Fong, simulation specialist; and Kelly Farley, simulation coordinator for the School of Medicine, organized the successful event that received many positive comments. Photos of the event can be found at the Simulation Center Gallery.

Burkin muscular dystrophy research in forefront with pharmaceutical companies

Pioneering research by Dean Burkin, Ph.D., is at the center of strategic agreements between the University of Nevada, Reno, Prothelia, Inc. and Alexion, and may lead to a protein replacement therapy for a rare form of muscular dystrophy.

Burkin, a professor and pharmacological researcher with the University of Nevada School of Medicine, and his team discovered that administering laminin-111, a naturally occurring protein, prevents muscle damage in mouse models of muscular dystrophies. The therapy holds promise as a possible treatment for congenital muscular dystrophy in humans. The patented laminin-111 therapy was licensed to Prothelia in 2008.

The three parties have entered into an agreement through which Alexion has an exclusive option to acquire privately held Prothelia and license laminin-111 directly from the University upon the achievement of specified research and development milestones. In addition, through Prothelia’s introduction of Alexion to the University, the University and Alexion have entered into a sponsored research agreement to accelerate further research on the patented therapy conditioned on the outcome of certain development research to be performed by Alexion.

Nevada Department of Transportation awards safety grant to School of Medicine

The Nevada Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety awarded a grant to the School of Medicine for the 2013-2014 grant year to continue maintaining a previously established database that combines car crash scene data with trauma hospital data for traffic safety research.

The grant allows for data from 2012 and on-the-scene death information to be added to the database to provide a more complete picture of the factors that might put individuals at risk for traffic-related injuries and the economic impacts of those injuries. In addition, statistical analysis and models will be used to identify predictive factors for traffic-related injuries.

The School of Medicine has collaborated with the Office of Traffic Safety over the last several years to establish the statewide database of medical and crash scene information regarding traffic-related injuries in Nevada. Motor vehicle crash records from 2005 to 2011 have been linked to trauma records from the four Nevada trauma centers: University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, Renown Regional Medical Center, St. Rose Dominican Hospital and Sunrise Medical Center. Audrie A. Chavez, MPH, is the project director for the Center for Traffic Safety Research at the University of Nevada School of Medicine. Read more about the Traffic Safety Grant.

School of Community Health Sciences faculty visit University of New Mexico School of Medicine to discuss interprofessional education

Trudy Larson, M.D., professor and director, School of Community Health Sciences (SCHS) and Melanie Minarik, Ph.D., and Julie Smith-Gagen, Ph.D., faculty members of SCHS, visited the University of New Mexico School of Medicine (UNMSOM) to explore effective ways to integrate public health education into the medical curriculum and to discuss interprofessional initiatives for health sciences education in general. Craig Timm, M.D., senior associate dean for education, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, hosted the visit and organized a succession of meetings with health professionals from medicine, nursing, public health and allied health. The group came home with numerous ideas about exciting and effective ways to expand integrated and interprofessional education and hope to implement some of these ideas in the coming year.

Wellness and Weight Management Clinic celebrates 10th year of healthy weight loss

The University of Nevada School of Medicine’s Wellness and Weight Management Clinic in March celebrated its 10th anniversary of offering medically supervised long-term weight loss programs. The clinic currently supports 200 patients, with 10 percent having lost and maintained the loss of 80 to100 pounds, while discontinuing numerous medications.

Karmella Thomas, RD, clinic coordinator, said that in the confusing maze of media and web-based nutrition misinformation, a registered dietician is crucial for deciphering evidence-based nutrition from medical myth. “We are fortunate to provide the Health Management Resources program, which is the most successful evidenced-based medical weight-loss program,” she said. “In addition, our clinic’s registered dietitians have been integral in improving the quality of life for 200 patients.” Read more about the Wellness and Weight Management Clinic.

To learn more about the programs offered at Wellness and Weight Management Clinic call (775) 784-4474. Many insurance plans are accepted and offer coverage for weight loss and wellness services.

School of Medicine launches new EMR and Practice Management System

After months of training and installation, all of the School of Medicine clinical practices in Las Vegas went live with the new computerized practice management application called Centricity Business (CB) in September. Three of the clinics joined the associated electronic medical records (EMR) application called Centricity Practice Solution (CPS) in October. Following this Las Vegas launch, the Reno clinics went live with CB in December, followed by Family Medicine in Reno which launched CPS in March. All other clinics will be following in the latter half of 2014.

“These launches required full participation from and training for physicians and staff of our clinical practices,” according to Thomas Miller, assistant director of information technology for the School of Medicine. “The CB will allow us to improve our billing, reduce the number of denied claims, improve accuracy of coding and reduce instances of miscoding. And, the CPS will help us improve the quality of our patient care by providing a means for electronic communication with our partners in serving our patients (imaging centers, laboratories, etc.) and with our patients directly as we look to roll out a patient portal in the upcoming months.”

By implementing the CPS, the school will be able to apply for Meaningful Use incentive dollars from government-based insurance plans. The compiled data eventually will facilitate research both internally and via participation in the Medical Quality Improvement Consortium.

Pediatric and allergy clinic relocates to Renown campus site

The University of Nevada School of Medicine in February moved its pediatrics clinic from its former location near Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center to the Renown Regional Medical Center campus.

Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D., Dean of the School of Medicine, said the move is an opportunity for the pediatric faculty physicians to be closer to the Renown Children’s Hospital, so as to facilitate close working relationships with pediatric subspecialists and hospital pediatricians.

The clinic includes physicians James Winder, M.D., pediatrician; Vincent Loffredo, M.D., pediatrician; Anju Riar, M.D., pediatrician; and Amanjit Dhatt, M.D. allergist and immunologist. The new location is at 901 East Second Street, Suite 201, in Reno. To make an appointment, call (775) 784-6522.

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