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AIR DATE: April 20, 2011

As the Clark County Commission struggles with how to turn around the fiscally struggling UMC, one idea that's come up is making the hospital a world class teaching institute. To do that, the commission wants a greater commitment from the state's medical school, which is located at the University of Nevada, Reno. But, recent talks between the school and county commissioners has resulted in some heated debate and commissioners aren't convinced UNR is totally committed to helping UMC improve. We'll talk with a Clark County Commissioner and the former chancellor of higher education about the relationship between UMC and UNR.

Steve Sisolak, Clark County commissioner
Jim Rogers, former Chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education

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Regarding the suggestion that Vegas have a separate medical school with a 4 year program in the South: this could happen with several years of planning, recruiting, and accreditation work; however, I believe it should be a last resort. As a current student, one of the strengths that drew me to UNSOM was the opportunity to experience 3 very different medical environments before making residency decisions. This provides me with better understanding of where my future patients might come from, and facilitates working with their hometown doctors as necessary. I dont know of any other med school in the country with this arrangement, and I feel it is a primary strength.
Sascha HorowitzMay 3, 2011 20:55:00 PM
This is University of Nevada SOM (not UNRSOM or UNLVSOM), and is supposed to prepare students to work with Nevada patients. ALL of them. I am personally passionately interested in a tertiary academic center in Las Vegas, but would be less prepared had I spent all my time there since the point of a tertiary center is to provide care both to local community AND patients coming in from the surrounding region. 2 years in Reno and several weeks in rural areas are preparing me to adapt follow-up care for patients traveling in from the rest of the state (as well as preparing my Northern classmates to work with me on patient follow up or clinical research if necessary).
Sascha HorowitzMay 3, 2011 20:56:31 PM
I spent last summer at U of Michigan, and was especially impressed with the cooperation with rural MI underlying their outreach and research. This cooperation is central to much of their cutting edge clinical and policy research. However, I was also impressed with how much more aware Nevada med students are about variation within our region. I believe this is the direct result of having classmates + teachers from all over the state that we must work with.
Sascha HorowitzMay 3, 2011 20:58:17 PM
I would love to see Las Vegas gain more control over the clinical years since it is the population center of the state, but would be very sorry if this came at the cost of our training to serve patients from all 3 parts of the state. Experience across the state benefits all students regardless of where they focus; doctors having connections + being able to cooperate beyond their own groups benefits all patients. These skills would be invaluable if Nevada is serious about creating a functional tertiary medical center.
Sascha HorowitzMay 3, 2011 21:00:19 PM
Having 2 medical schools would solve power struggles at the cost of a coherent medical system on which to build a strong tertiary center in Nevada. I sincerely hope the school can overcome regional distrust and remember that cooperation between the 3 regions is what created the med school. Reno influence would not be reduced by giving the Vegas campus a more primary role in leadership related to clinical training; and Vegas would not benefit from losing the basic science + clinical training available in Reno.
Sascha HorowitzMay 3, 2011 21:01:40 PM
As a medical student, I very much appreciate the concerns about Southern Nevadan rotations getting less coverage than Northern rotations for med students at UNSOM; however, when discussing the idea of entirely cutting ties this overlooks a large part of the school. I and about 1/2 of my classmates are Las Vegans who are attending UNSOM with the intention of returning to Vegas for our rotations. While it is very important to have a closer connection with UMC than is currently available (especially for research connections), it is the Southern Nevada students who are looking forward to coming home for UMC rotations that would really suffer if this agreement were terminated before our graduation. The problems with administration doesn't change the fact that many STUDENTS here at UNSOM really, really want to come home to Vegas. If UMC cuts ties without giving a 4 year plan for those of us already at UNSOM, Vegas UNSOM students will be the ones left without clerkships. Please talk to the med students as well as administration before characterizing UNSOM interest in UMC. Many of us came to U of Nevada with this in mind. Tauro is a great school that graduates OD not MD students.
Sascha HorowitzMay 3, 2011 14:47:08 PM
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