Division Dialogue

Division Dialogue

Summer 2009

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

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

May was a very exciting and busy time for the Division of Health Sciences, with a myriad of recognition ceremonies and graduation. This time of year provides us with the energy and enthusiasm to continue in our chosen profession of education. The new graduates eagerly stepped across the stage to end one journey and continue on the next, well prepared by your and their collective efforts.

Speaking of journeys, as you are all aware, the legislature ended in June, leaving higher education funding with the task of grappling with supporting our core missions and maintaining the many fine programs within the institution. This has required all of us to contribute and share in ways that we have not had to until now. The entire university leadership and I deeply appreciate the support that all of the health sciences units have provided. The sacrifices made, particularly by our centers, have allowed us to maintain essential educational programs.

The need for a more diverse source of funding for the university has never been greater. To address this need, we are continuing to work towards strengthening our infrastructure to support these efforts. It has been encouraging to see the new grant proposals that have been submitted by the Division of Health Sciences faculty. We look forward to hearing about more successful outcomes.

A year has passed since we were organized as a Division of Health Sciences. While it takes time to develop trust and a shared mission, vision and culture, I have observed a greater sense of collegiality and enhanced interdepartmental/disciplinary communication. New opportunities are being explored and even implemented, such as the planning and development of an Aging Center at the new CMM building that will provide numerous interdisciplinary educational and research opportunities for both faculty and students across all our disciplines.

Summer is a time to reflect, rejuvenate and prepare for the onslaught of new students arriving in the fall, ready to begin their academic journeys. I look forward to seeing you in August, with renewed spirit and passion to teach and inspire the next group that will be walking across the stage, all too soon. Thank you again for as President Glick puts it, “suspending disbelief” for the past year as we reorganized.

News from Division of Health Sciences Units

Dr. Atul Gawande to Speak At Foundation Banquet in September

Plan to attend and help celebrate the School of Medicine’s 40th anniversary at the 28th Annual University of Nevada, Reno Foundation Banquet on September 24, 2009. Renowned general surgeon, Dr. Atul Gawande, author and director of the World Health Organization’s Global Challenge for Safer Surgical Care will be the featured speaker.

Dr. Gawande is one of the most influential voices on healthcare reform in America today. He received the Mac Arthur fellowship, known as the “genius prize” for the fresh and unique perspective of his written work and he imaginative approach to finding ways to improve surgical practice. Dr. Gawande’s insights from his book “Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance” are sure to captivate an audience as he talks about the high stakes challenges he faces as a surgeon and explores the universal struggle to perform well—what it takes to excel in any area of human endeavor.

Tickets are $200 each or $2,000 for a table. Tickets can be purchased by contacting Jeanne Corbit at jcorbit@unr.edu.

Scholars in Aging Recognition Ceremony honors Chau, GAP graduates

Diane Chau, M.D., chief of the Division of Geriatric Medicine and program director of the geriatrics medicine fellowship at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, was honored along with 10 students who received the Gerontology Academic Program (GAP) certificate at the Scholars in Aging Recognition Ceremony May 4,held in the Joseph Crowley Student Union Ballroom. The event was a collaborative effort of the Sanford Center for Aging and the Gerontology Academic Program.

Joining students and parents at the ceremony were representatives of Nevada’s entire congressional delegation and from the governor’s office. Dr. Chau was recognized as the Sanford Center for Aging Faculty Scholar for 2009. The award honors UNR faculty who have made exceptional contributions to the fields of gerontology or geriatrics through their teaching, scholarship, research, public service or practice. Dr. Chau was at a conference and unable to attend. Neila Schumaker, M.D., associate professor and program director for hospice palliative medicine fellowships, School of Medicine and a colleague of Chau, accepted on her behalf.

School of Medicine Adds New Faculty Members

The University of Nevada School of Medicine added three new faculty members to its ranks this month, two of whom are former residents with the school’s residency programs.

Kate Martin, M.D., joins the faculty of the Department of Family and Community Medicine in Las Vegas as an assistant professor where she will practice the full scope of family medicine including inpatient, outpatient and obstetrical care and work with the residency program. A graduate of the University of Nevada School of Medicine, she completed her residency training with the department where she is now a faculty member. During her residency, Martin was twice the recipient of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award and received a grant from the American Academy of Family Physicians for her research project.

Alison Netski, M.D., joins the Department of Psychiatry in Las Vegas as assistant professor and associate residency director. A 2001 graduate of the School of Medicine, she completed her residency, serving as chief resident, at the University of Maryland. She is board certified in psychiatry and a member of the American Psychiatric Association and the Nevada Psychiatric Association.

Jeremy Matuszak, M.D., joins the Department of Psychiatry in Reno as an assistant professor, specializing in child and adolescent psychiatry. He earned his medical degree from the University of California San Diego and completed his residency with the University of Nevada School of Medicine.

Joint Ph.D. Degree in Public Health Approved

A collaborative Ph.D. degree in Public Health was approved by the Regents in December of 2009. This unique venture involves UNR’s and UNLV’s Schools of Community Health Sciences in a manner that still allows students to chose the university to attend, but involved more choice for graduate faculty and courses. UNR’s School admitted two students for fall 2009 in Environmental and Occupational Health Programs. Applications next year will also include the Social Behavioral Health Programs. Two other programs in process are Epidemiology/Biostatistics and Health Services Administration and Policy.

Nevadaworks Awards CASAT Funding for Addiction Workforce Initiative

The Center for the Application of Substance Abuse Technologies (CASAT) was awarded funds from the Nevadaworks Adult Workers program to implement the Nevada Addiction Workforce Initiative (NV-AWI). The overall goal of the Nevada Addiction Workforce Initiative (NV-AWI) is to build and strengthen the substance abuse treatment workforce. This goal will be achieved by helping students move efficiently and quickly through the education and certification/licensing processes necessary to enter the substance abuse treatment workforce in Nevada. The NV-AWI project will provide tuition assistance and sponsor internships for students. Students interested in completing the Addiction Treatment Services minor and/or certificate and seeking employment in the substance use disorders field may qualify for the NV-AWI project. Contact Terra Hamblin at (775) 784-6265 or thamblin@casat.org for more information.

School of Community Health Sciences Launches Self Study for Accreditation

The School of Community Health Sciences (SCHS) has begun the initial Self Study Process for accreditation of the Master of Public Health Programs by the Council on Education of Public Health (CEPH). An on-site consulting visit in March from a CEPH representative launched the process. Paul Devereux, Ph.D., associate professor, SCHS, will lead the self study process. Final accreditation is expected to be achieved in spring 2010. This accreditation is now the gold standard for MPH Programs and students and faculty are extremely committed to quality professional education and the goal of accreditation.

CASAT Recognizes Exemplary Students from Academic Program

Carly Nystrom, an undergraduate in Biology with a minor in Addiction Treatment Services, and Debra Kamka, a licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC) in Reno, were recognized at he Center for the Application of Substance Abuse Technologies (CASAT) completion ceremony this May. Nystrom, who was just accepted into the University of Nevada School of Medicine, served as the president of the Student Organization for Providers of Addiction Services (SOPAS )and as the first undergraduate teaching assistant for CASAT’s academic program.

Kamka, who completed her undergraduate certificate in the inaugural graduating class of 1996 and her master’s degree in counseling and educational psychology (CEP) with an addiction treatment specialization in 2001, was awarded the inaugural Gary Fisher "Scholarship to Service" Award. As a founder and the Clinical Director of Quest Counseling, Debra was honored for her passionate commitment and service to providing addiction treatment to adolescents.

The Gary Fisher Award is named after the founding director of CASAT. Dr. Fisher wrote and administered the initial grant that created CASAT in 1994. He served as the Executive Director of CASAT until 2006 and remains committed to CASAT and the addiction treatment and prevention field through his teaching and publishing. The Gary Fisher Award will be awarded annually to a previous student who completed an academic program with CASAT and who now serves the local community in the addiction and/or prevention field.

In total, CASAT honored 38 students at a completion ceremony on May 14, 2009, on the University of Nevada, Reno campus. The CASAT academic program offers undergraduate minor and certificate programs, as well as graduate certificate and specialization programs.

Division of Health Sciences Faculty Senate Representatives

The Division of Health Sciences is well represented on the University of Nevada, Reno Faculty Senate with a total of seven senators. The Faculty Senate is the governing body for faculty, representing all academic and administrative units within the university. Faculty senators are advocates for faculty welfare. They help make decisions about campus policies, make recommendations to the university president, gather faculty opinions on current issues and share information about the Senate's activities with their constituents. You are encouraged to contact any of the senators with any of your concerns and issues that may need to be addressed with the senate.

Division of Health Sciences Senators (representing units other that School of Medicine):

  • Eric Albers, Ph.D. associate professor, School of Social Work, eric@unr.nevada.edu
  • Julie Hogan, Ph.D., director of prevention, Center for the Application of Substance Technologies, jhogan@casat.org

School of Medicine Senators

  • Doina Kulick, M.D. assistant professor, Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, dkulick@med.unr.edu
  • Leah Skladeny, Ph.D. associate professor, Department of Speech Pathology & Audiology, School of Medicine, lskladany@med.unr.edu
  • Kami Larsen, M.D., assistant professor, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, klarsen@med.unr.edu
  • Amy McFarland, education coordinator, Division of Interdisciplinary Education, School of Medicine, amcfarland@med.unr.edu
  • Thomas Kozel, Ph.D., professor, Department of Microbiology and Research, tkozel@med.unr.edu

Our People

Jessica Younger, executive assistant to the vice president and Richelle O’Driscoll, director of internal and external affairs, Division of Health Sciences, joined President Glick and Provost Marc Johnson and wife, Karen at the Relay for Life event held April 27 at Mackay Stadium. The “Health Division Hoofers” team contributed to the over $4000 that was raised by the university community at this event.

Marin Gillis, Ph.D., director of the Division of Medical Humanities and Ethics, has had several articles printed and presentations made this spring including:

Marin Gillis and Inma de Melo-Martín, “Ethical Issues in Human Stem Cell Research: Embryos and Beyond,” in C. Hanks, ed., Technology and Values: Essential Readings;

Richard Pretorius, Marin Gillis and Sandra Bertman, “Medical Education and the Visual Arts,” a panel presentation for the Society for Arts in Healthcare in Buffalo, New York; and

Marin Gillis, Pamela Brett-MacLean and Gerri Frager, ”Effective Strategies to Incorporate Arts Education into the UGME Curriculum,” a panel presentation for the American Association of Medical Colleges Western Regional Conference, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Marin Gillis, “Arts in Medicine at the University of Nevada School of Medicine,” Poster Presentation, American Association of Medical Colleges Western Regional Conference, Santa Fe, NM. Apr 2009.

Dean Burkin, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmacology, and his research team have had an article accepted for publication in the high impact journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This paper identified laminin-111 as therapeutic in the mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (the most common form muscular dystrophy).

Co-authors Praveen Gurpur, M.D., Ph.D., and Jachinta Rooney, Ph.D. are postdoctoral scholars in his lab. A video produced on this research paper may be viewed online.

University of Nevada School of Medicine scientists in the Department of Physiology and Cell Biology have discovered insight into the reproductive workings of the male sex chromosome that may have significant implications for male infertility and contraception.

This important discovery has been published in Nature Genetics, one of the highest-ranking journals in the field of biomedical research based upon the impact factor.

Kate Sheppard, Ph.D., RN, APN., assistant professor, Orvis School of Nursing, has been appointed to the Advanced Practice Advisory Committee of the Nevada State Board of Nursing.

Phil Goodman, M.D., professor of internal medicine and biomedical engineering, was elected among the first group of the Society of Hospital Medicine’s Fellows of Hospital Medicine, one of only two in northern Nevada and of five total in the state. This designation is for physicians who have devoted their career to hospital medicine.

Doreen Begley, M.S., R.N., director, Orvis School of Nursing Clinic, was the recipient of the Nursing Leadership Award presented at the 2009 Northern Nevada Nurse of Achievement Gala Awards Dinner.

Grants, Publications and Research Activities

Jeanne Hilton, Ph.D., CFLE, professor, School of Social Work and Tamara Anderson have co-authored an article that was published in the July issue of Journal of Divorces and Remarriage. Their research article focuses on "Characteristics of Women With Children Who Divorce in Midlife.” 50:5, 309 — 329.

Jeanne Hilton, Ph.D., CFLE, professor, School of Social Work and Debb Pankow, National Director of the Financial Security for All Community of Practice and Monica Villines, project management assistant developed for eXtension. eXtension is an interactive learning environment delivering the best, most researched knowledge from the smartest land-grant university minds across America. eXtension connects knowledge consumers with knowledge providers - experts who know their subject matter inside out which went live yesterday. The project was supported with $10,000 from Karen Hinton, dean ,University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.

Lisa Black, Ph.D. RN, assistant professor, Orvis School of Nursing, will be presenting a poster at the Academy of Health Conference and a podium presentation at the Academy of Health Workforce Interest Group meeting at it upcoming conference. Both presentations will be on “Sociodemographic, Market & Political Factors that Predict Registered Nurses Who Work Outside of Nursing.”

Student News

Students with certificates

The following students received the Gerontology Academic Program certificate:

  • Allison Bull, Social Work
  • Devon Hume, Health Ecology
  • Dominique Joseph, Master’s Public Health
  • Mark Markeson, Human Development and Family Studies
  • Caitlin Matteoni, Speech Pathology/Audiology
  • Samantha Moore, Nursing
  • Annette Simmons, Psychology
  • Diane Valentine, Social Work
  • Kelly Woods, Human Development & Family Studies
  • Randi Woolley, Psychology

Three graduates of the School of Medicine Division of Geriatric Medicine were recognized at the ceremony:

  • Khine Phyu, M.D.
  • Sreekanth Donepudi, M.D.
  • Terence Agustin, M.D.

Karen Kopera-Frye, Ph.D., associate professor in the School of Social Work, announced the winners of her undergraduate student essay contest, sponsored by the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education. They were:

  • Mark Markeson (first place)
  • Devon Hume (second place)
  • Christine King (third place)

Copyright © 2009 Health Sciences.