Noteworthy News

Noteworthy News

January 2015

Honors and Awards

School of Medicine Faculty Receive Promotions

The University of Nevada School of Medicine is pleased to announce that 13 of its outstanding faculty members have received academic promotions. School of Medicine doctors teach the next generation of physicians as well as treat patients at School of Medicine patient care centers located in Las Vegas and Reno. Congratulations to these faculty!

  • Jennifer Baynosa, M.D. — Promoted to associate professor, Department of Surgery
  • Richard Baynosa, M.D. — Promoted to associate professor, Department of Surgery
  • Eric Farbman, M.D. — Promoted to associate professor, Department of Internal Medicine
  • David Ginsburg, M.D. — Promoted to professor, Department of Internal Medicine
  • Kenneth Izuora, M.D. — Promoted to associate professor, Department of Internal Medicine
  • Kayvan Khiabani, M.D. — Promoted to professor, Department of Surgery
  • Kate Martin, M.D. — Promoted to associate professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine
  • Marsha Matsunaga-Kirgan, M.D. — Promoted to professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Tami Brancamp, Ph.D. — Promoted to associate professor, Dept. of Speech Pathology and Audiology
  • Jennifer Hagen, M.D. — Promoted to professor, Department of Internal Medicine
  • Barbara Kohlenberg, Ph.D. — Promoted to professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
  • Sujatha Pitani, M.D. — Promoted to associate professor, Department of Internal Medicine
  • Seungil Ro, Ph.D. — Promoted to associate professor, Department of Physiology and Cell Biology

School of Medicine Scientist Finds the Cause of ‘Headless' Sperm in Male Infertility

Wei Yan, M.D., Ph.D.
Wei Yan, M.D., Ph.D. Photo by Skye Snyder.

A research team led by University of Nevada School of Medicine researcher Wei Yan, M.D., Ph.D., professor of physiology and cell biology, has discovered that the acephalic sperm condition is caused by either a lack of, or a partial formation of the sperm neck, and that proper sperm neck formation requires an evolutionarily conserved gene called Spata6, which encodes a protein participating in the transportation of "building blocks" essential for sperm neck assembly inside the testis. When Spata6 gene is mutated, the sperm neck either lacks or becomes fragile, leading to separation of the head from the tail.

This study solved the long-standing mystery of headless sperm in both humans and agricultural animal species with fertility problems. A paper reporting this discovery appeared online in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences on Jan. 19. Read the full story: "School of Medicine scientist finds the cause of ‘headless' sperm in male infertility."

Office of Continuing Medical Education Awarded Highest Accreditation

The Office of Continuing Medical Education, School of Medicine, under the direction of Melissa O'Brien, M.S., received Accreditation with Commendation as a result of our 2014 accreditation self-study. This is the highest level of accreditation achievable by accredited continuing medical education providers.

Publications and Presentations

Kirk Bronander, M.D., associate professor, Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, co-authored an article entitled "How we developed and piloted an electronic key features examination for the internal medicine clerkship based on a US national curriculum" that was published in Med Teach (2014) Dec 11:1-6.

Ivan Lopez, M.D. and John Rothrock M.D., Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, co-authored an article entitled "Hemiplegia and headache: a review of hemiplegia in headache disorders" in Current Pain and Headache Reports (2015) 19:471-477.

Roman Pabayo, Ph.D., assistant professor, School of Community Health Sciences, was published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health for his research findings that suggest conservatives and moderates seem to die earlier than liberals, but political party membership does not seem to carry the same risks. He co-authored a research report, "Political party affiliation, political ideology and mortality." He has been interviewed and featured in several media outlets across the country. Read the USA Today story: "Surprising study: Liberals might outlive conservatives."

Bryan Bledsoe, D.O., professor of emergency medicine, School of Medicine, Las Vegas campus, was co-author of "Glasgow Coma Scale Scoring is Often Inaccurate" that was published in Prehospital and Disaster Medicine. This study demonstrated that GCS scores are highly inaccurate and vary between health care providers. The GCS was developed to allow different providers to measure a patient's neurological status objectively, thus allowing equivalent measurements among different providers. Although commonly used with good intentions, the complexity of the GCS makes overall application and usage unreliable. Based on this study and others, simpler alternate scoring systems should be developed.

Faculty and Staff

Sanford Center Names Medical Director for Geriatric Clinic

Steven Phillips
Steven L. Phillips, M.D.

Steven L. Phillips, M.D. has been named medical director of the new geriatric assessment and care management clinic at the Sanford Center for Aging at the University of Nevada, Reno. In this role, Phillips will lead the development of the clinic's services, protocols and policies, provide oversight of the clinical staff, as well as quality assurance and improvement.

Phillips has worked in the field of long term care medicine for the past 25 years as a clinician, researcher and administrator. He remains involved at a local, state and national level with an interest in policy development, quality improvement and population based approaches.

He is the founder and CEO/President of Geriatric Specialty Care (GSC) in Northern Nevada. GSC is an "Office Without Walls" serving the frail and home-bound elderly residing in private residences, group care homes, assisted living facilities and nursing facilities. In addition, he serves as medical director for the HealthInsight Nevada Enhanced Care Coordination Program awarded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.

When not practicing long term care medicine, Phillips enjoys being with family, playing guitar and spending time on his ranch in the high desert of the Sierra Nevada.

Sarman Accepts New Position With University Development

A reception will be held Feb 27 from 9 to 10 am for Christina Sarman, director of development and alumni relations, to thank her for her dedicated service to the Division of Health Sciences and University of Nevada School of Medicine. We wish her our best in her new position at the University of Nevada, Reno as executive director of development. RSVP by Friday, Feb 20 to Audrey Goodnight.


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