Noteworthy News

Noteworthy News

November 2014

Honors and Awards

Miriam Bar-onDr. Bar-on to be honored by ACGME

Congratulations to Miriam Bar-on, M.D., associate dean for graduate medical education, School of Medicine, for being selected as one of the outstanding designated officials in the nation to receive the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Parker J. Palmer "Courage to Lead" Award. She will be formally honored and will receive the award at the 2015 ACGME Educational Conference in February.

Nominate a professor for the DHS Teaching Award

Each year the Division of Health Sciences Teaching Award recognizes outstanding instructors for excellence in teaching. Please take the time to nominate your favorite!! The first place winner is put forth as the nominee from the Division for the prestigious university wide Donald C. Tibbitts Teaching Award and receives a commemorative plaque and a faculty development award. This honor provides a means by which faculty can be recognized and acknowledged for their excellence in teaching.

Eligibility for award: Greater than half time FTE administrative or academic DHS faculty with at least 2 years teaching experience. Faculty must teach courses offered by DHS units: School of Community Health Sciences, School of Medicine, Orvis School of Nursing, School of Social Work, C.A.S.A.T, Sanford Center for Aging, Campus Wellness and Recreation. People who have received this award within the last 2 years are not eligible.

Nomination process: Nominations may come from students enrolled in DHS courses and from DHS faculty, staff, or administrators. Include a brief statement describing why you nominated this individual. No self-nominations. Nominees must be willing to submit required award materials and participate in the selection process as conducted by the DHS Teaching Award Committee during the Spring semester.

Center for Traffic Safety Research former director receives award

Former project director, Audrie Chavez, Center for Traffic Safety Research, School of Medicine, Las Vegas campus, was an honoree this year for Emergency Medicine award. Chavez was honored for enriching quality of life in Clark County, Nevada through her diligent efforts for the safety community through data organization and analysis and her enthusiasm and dedication to keeping all road users safe. Deborah Kuhls, M.D., associate dean of academic affairs, School of Medicine, received the award on Chavez' behalf as she is currently in medical school in Texas.

Presentations and Grants


  • Ewa Olech M.D., associate professor, Department of Internal Medicine/Rheumatology, Las Vegas campus, presented a poster on "The Efficacy and Safety of Tocilizumab Subcutaneous q2w and Following Escalation From q2w to qw Therapy in Combination With Traditional DMARDs in Patients With Moderate to Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis at 96 Weeks" at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting this month in Boston. She is a co-author of the work with Alan Kivitz, Michael A. Borofsky, Beatriz M. Zazueta, Federico Navarro-Sarabia, Sebastião C. Radominski, Joan T. Merrill, Jinglan Pei, Lucy Rowell, Clare Nasmyth-Miller, Sunethra Wimalasundera, and Janet E. Pope.

    Dr. Olech co-authored "Subcutaneous Tocilizumab Versus Placebo in Combination With Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs in Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis" that was published in Arthritis Care & Research, Vol. 66, No. 11, November 2014, pp 1653-1661.

    Dr. Olech also presented "Ultrasound and MRI in Routine Secondary Care" at the 7th Annual Perspectives in Rheumatic Diseases Conference in Las Vegas, part of the Global Academy for Medical Education. The conference explores the latest advances in the treatment and management of rheumatic diseases.
  • Peter Reed, Ph.D., MPH, director of the Sanford Center for Aging, participated in a panel discussion on aging and dementia, following a performance of "Henri" at the Smith Center in Las Vegas in October. Henri tells the story of a man from boyhood, to old age while suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

    He also co-presented "Understanding Alzheimer's" along with Adel Aziz, M.D., neurologist at Renown Institute for Neurosciences, to nearly 300 members of Hometown Health/Senor Care Plus. They discussed clinical aspects of Alzheimer's disease and issues surrounding the care of patients with Alzheimer's disease and their caregivers.


  • Kenton Sanders, Ph.D., chair of the physiology and cell biology department at the School of Medicine, Reno campus, has received Phase 3 funding in the amount of $5.4 million over the next five years from the National Institutes of Health to support his Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) Program on Smooth Muscle Plasticity. The Phase 3 grant funding, an Institutional Development Award (IDeA), will support further exploration of how smooth muscles change in response to disease and support Sanders' research program which has contributed to treatments for gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes and other diseases.
  • Nancy Roget, M.S., executive director, Center for the Application of Substance Abuse Technologies (CASAT) will serve as the principal investigator and project director for the $1,100,000 grant that CASAT received from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The grant will fund the Mountain Plains Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Practice and Implementation Center to address FASD prevention, identification, and treatment by developing, tailoring, and delivering discipline-specific curricula for medical assistants based on the CDC's seven core FASD competencies.

Faculty and Staff

Aldax joins Sanford Center for Aging

The Sanford Center for Aging at the University of Nevada, Reno welcomes Gary Aldax as the coordinator of operations and services. In that role, he will lead the center's geriatric clinic planning process, serve as the center's primary fiscal officer and supervise the daily administrative activities of the center's programs and services.

A third-generation Nevadan and graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno, ('92, journalism), Gary has more than 20 years of local experience in community relations, marketing and program management, primarily in the health care industry. Gary has a passion for community service and has held volunteer leadership positions with the Food Bank of Northern Nevada, United Way of Northern Nevada and the Sierra and the Education Collaborative of Washoe County. He currently serves on the Renown Health Community Advisory Board and the University of Nevada Alumni Council.

Gary is a past president of the Sierra Nevada Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and recipient of the Gold Spike Award for community service. He is a graduate of the Leadership Reno- Sparks program and was recognized as a "Twenty Under 40" award recipient in 2009 from the Reno Tahoe Young Professionals Network.

Department of Surgery adds new physician

Casey Thomas, M.D., has joined the Division of Acute Care Surgery, Department of Surgery at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, Las Vegas campus. Dr. Thomas is an assistant professor of acute care surgery who completed his fellowship in Trauma and Critical Care at University of Maryland – Shock Trauma. Most recently Dr. Thomas was a member of the faculty at Loyola University Medical Center, Chicago.

Along with Dr. Thomas' interest in trauma, critical care and emergency general surgery, he is also nationally recognized in the area of complex abdominal wall reconstruction. He brings over a decade of experience with difficult ventral hernia, enterocutaneous fistula and open abdomen management.

Benford to lead Cultural Considerations event

Raina Benford has been named chairperson for the upcoming "Cultural Considerations in Healthcare" event to be held February 23 and 24, 2015. Now in its fifth year, this interdisciplinary event is created by students for students, and provides students in the health sciences an educational experience in cultural awareness and its application to health research, policy and practice. Benford, a community health sciences major and gerontology minor, was also published in the October Sagebrush for her article, "Teaching new dogs old tricks."

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