Noteworthy News

Noteworthy News

February 2015

Honors and Awards

UNSOM physicians named as Top Doctors in Las Vegas

Twenty four physicians and surgeons from the University of Nevada School of Medicine, Las Vegas campus were recognized in the 5th Annual Top Doctors survey by Vegas Seven magazine. The survey was conducted by Castle Connolly Medical, a New York-based health care research and information company founded in the early 1990s by a former medical college board chairman to help guide consumers to America's top doctors and hospitals. Faculty honored in the 2015 survey include:

  • Colon and Rectal Surgery: Ovunc Bardakcioglu, M.D.
  • Gastroenterology: Christian Stone, M.D., Tarek Ammar, M.D.
  • Internal Medicine: John Varras, M.D., Sandhya Whai Gururaj, M.D.
  • Neurology: Eric Farbman, M.D., David Ginsburg, M.D.
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology: Vani Dandolu M.D.
  • Pediatric Infectious Disease: Echezona Ezeanolue, M.D., Pisespong Patamasucon, M.D.
  • Otolaryngology: Matthew Nu, M.D., Robert Wang, M.D.
  • Pediatric Otolaryngology: Tsung O-Lee, M.D.
  • Pediatric Pulmonology: David Parks, M.D.
  • Pediatrics: Reno Jain, M.D., Beverly Neyland, M.D.
  • Pediatric Surgery: Michael Scheidler, M.D.
  • Plastic Surgery: Kayvan Khibani, M.D., John Menezes, M.D., William Zamboni, M.D.
  • Pulmonary disease: Hidenobu Shigemitsu, M.D.
  • Rheumatology: Ewa Olech, M.D.
  • Surgery: Daniel Kirgan, M.D., Deborah Kuhls, M.D.

Orvis School of Nursing receives high national ranking

The Orvis School of Nursing was ranked number 17 out of 442 in the Best Nursing Schools 2015 - Western Rankings sponsored by Congratulations to the faculty of the Orvis School of Nursing and director, Patsy Ruchala, DNSc., RN.

Ross Berkeley

Berkeley named as national course director for high risk emergency medicine

Ross P. Berkeley, M.D., FACEP, FAAEM, associate professor and residency program director, vice chair for quality & education, Department of Emergency Medicine, School of Medicine, Las Vegas campus, University of Nevada School of Medicine was recently named as the Course Director for the High Risk Emergency Medicine Course. The nationally-recognized faculty of the High Risk Emergency Medicine Course have educated around 10,000 emergency providers over the years. This CME course teaches tactics on how to avoid common malpractice pitfalls and provide high-quality care in real world Emergency Departments, by utilizing analysis of actual malpractice and EMTALA cases with discussion of the most recent literature by risk management experts.

Harvey awarded NIH grant

Robert Harvey, Ph.D., professor, Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Reno campus, was awarded a $360,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health. The four year grant will study the molecular signal transduction of cAMP compartments in airway smooth muscle.

Publications and Presentations

  • Melissa Piasecki, M.D., executive associate dean, Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, University of Nevada School of Medicine presented "Boundaries in the Digital Age: Social Media and Professionalism" at the 2015 Update on Psychiatry at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, AZ in February.
  • Kenneth Izuora, M.D.,MBA,FACE, assistant professor, Department of Internal Medicine., Echezona Ezeanolue M.D., associate professor Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Las Vegas campus, Karen Schlauch Ph.D., professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Nevada, Reno, Michael Nerbauer, DDS, associate professor in residence, School of Dental Medicine, UNLV and Guillermo Umpierrez, M.D., Endocrinology, Emory University School of Medicine, co-authored a study, "Impact of periodontal disease on outcomes in diabetes" was published in Contemporary Clinical Trials 41 (2015) 93-99.

Several Division of Health Sciences faculty presented at the Association for Gerontology In Higher Education (AGHE) Conference, held February 26-Mar 1 in Nashville, TN. They include:

  • Patricia Swager, M.Ed., director, Nevada Geriatric Education Center, Office of Statewide Initiatives, School of Medicine, presented on "Alzheimer's Disease Education for Healthcare Workforce: Outcomes, Future Directions, and Collaboration Opportunities with Geriatric Education Centers." Education about Alzheimer's Disease and related dementias (ADRD) has been a major initiative of HRSA-funded Geriatric Education Centers (GECs) nationwide since 2012, when funds where allocated through the National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA) to enhance the knowledge of healthcare professionals about ADRD. This presentation features ten GECs who will present information about ADRD education programs.
  • Susan Harris, Ph.D., director, Gerontology Academic Program, Sanford Center for Aging, gave three presentations: "Practical and Technical Assistance for the Program of Merit Application Process"; "Program of Merit: Don't Be Swayed by the Hairy Eyeball"; and "The Biggest Little City's Ambassador for Gerontology: The Face of Gerontology on the University of Nevada, Reno's Campus".
  • Peter Reed, Ph.D., MPH, director, Sanford Center for Aging, presented "Bridging the Gap Between Graduate Student Engagement and Gerontological Subject Matter."

Faculty and Staff

Melissa Piasecki

Piasecki named to new role, Executive Associate Dean for School of Medicine

Recent announcements about a statewide vision for public medical education, and major affiliation agreements to support that vision, herald a new era for the University of Nevada School of Medicine and its growth and complexity.

To support these exciting developments will require changes in our leadership structure. One of those changes is the creation of a new role of executive associate dean, to expand our focus on community partnerships, academic and clinical outreach, representation of our medical school to a wide range of external constituents, and liaison to a wide range of internal clinical and academic units.

Because most of this important work involves our medical student, faculty affairs and academic programs, and because of Dr. Melissa Piasecki's outstanding performance as senior associate dean for academic affairs since her appointment in early 2012, she has agreed to accept these additional responsibilities as executive associate dean.

This new position is one of outreach, partnership, representation, liaison and coordination, rather than a change in current reporting relationships or budgetary authority.

Dr. Piasecki received her medical degree at Washington University in St. Louis and completed residency at University of Vermont and fellowship at University of Hawaii. She joined the School of Medicine in 1995 as a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry, Reno.

She can be reached at (775) 784-6777 and

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