Division of Health Sciences structure announced

5/30/2008 - By: Jill Stockton

Earlier this year, University President Milton Glick announced the expansion of the University’s Division of Health Sciences. With the expansion, the College of Health and Human Sciences is being absorbed into the division.

“The reorganization of the College of Health and Human Sciences is driven by the recognition that optimal health care is provided by multidisciplinary teams — nurses, public health professionals, social workers, pharmacists, therapists, physicians and others — who train and work together focusing on meeting the healthcare needs of the state,” Glick said. “This integrative approach will best serve University students seeking health-related careers by leveraging the talents and expertise found in these health science disciplines.”

The transition will take effect July 1. Charlie Bullock, interim dean of Health and Human Sciences, has assisted in ensuring a seamless transition for existing units of the college. Health and Human Sciences was formed in July 2006 from the College of Human and Community Sciences, established in July 1989.

“I see the creation of this new division as a great opportunity to emphasize the numerous assets, strengths and talents that the college has championed,” Bullock said.

Earlier this month, John McDonald, University vice president of health sciences, outlined the division’s new structure and the transition of departments from the College of Health and Human Sciences.

McDonald’s announcement to faculty and staff of the Division of Health Sciences follows:

Dear Colleagues:

Earlier this year, with the announcement of the expansion of the University’s health sciences division, the University took a bold and important step forward in the effort to improve the health and well-being of all Nevadans.

The various departments and units within our new division bring together a great number of multidisciplinary strengths and potential for partnerships, both within the University and, in a broader sense, within the larger community in our state and across our nation. There is a common thread that unites all of us, and that is we are all committed to building a healthier Nevada. That is why I am very excited about the opportunity before us.

Together, I am confident we will transform our state’s ability to improve the health and well-being, treatment and outcomes for the citizens of our state.

To begin the process, Interim Provost Jannet Vreeland has announced the organization of the units joining the expanded Division of Health Sciences.
The following units will become part of the Division of Health Sciences as stand-alone units:

I will be working with four other units to determine their best organizational fit within the division. These units, listed below, will become part of the Division of Health Sciences, but may be combined with other units:

Human Development and Family Studies will be relocating as a department within the College of Education. Three of the faculty in this department will be relocated to other units at their request.

For all of these units, we hope to achieve a largely seamless transition with minimal disruption of ongoing academic activities. I will relocate my office to the south campus and establish the Division of Health Sciences administrative unit in the Sarah Fleischmann Building in the same offices that are currently utilized by the College of Health and Human Sciences.

A new executive assistant to the vice president will be recruited, and Richelle O’Driscoll, presently an associate dean in the College of Health and Human Sciences, has agreed to take on a new role in the vice president’s office assisting with the reorganization, and continuing her external work in work force development and community relations.

For now, student advising and fiscal management will remain as previously constituted; Laurie Beck will remain as coordinator, advisement, recruitment and retention and Renee Warren as fiscal officer. The development officers of the respective units will retain their primary responsibility, while gaining the ability to represent the entirety of health sciences and its units to supporters.

Finally, an executive committee of leaders from each unit within the expanded division will be constituted to help us during and after the transition. I will be soliciting input and participation as we address any changes that might occur as we build the infrastructure and policies for the new division.

I anticipate that the transition will be completed by June 2009. In the meantime, I would like to ask for your patience so that we can implement this process in a thoughtful and effective manner. If there are issues that need immediate attention, please let me know.

I am working with the University communications team to strategize and begin work on the myriad of communication activities including websites, public relations, marketing and production of related collateral materials that will be needed for the division and its respective units.

In the short term, there will be minimal disruption or change in current practices. Please continue to move forward and operate in the same manner unless you are notified by me of any changes. I look forward to meeting each of you and learning more about the opportunities in each of your excellent programs.

Some School of Medicine students have raised questions about the potential impact on their curriculum and degree. There will be new opportunities in multidisciplinary education to explore with our students and faculty. For example, training in realistic emergency scenarios with nursing and medical students more accurately reflects the real-life situation. Similarly, health ethics, gerontology, end of life issues, community health and environment and other topics readily lend themselves to multidisciplinary learning and research across a number of disciplines. Whatever we do will be driven from a goal to improve education, scholarship and service.

I want to emphasize that none of the units joining together will lose its unique identity and history — each, including the University of Nevada School of Medicine, will continue to grant degrees in its own name. The new dean, Dr. Ole Thienhaus, will remain the chief academic officer of the School of Medicine.

Change is always challenging, but not as challenging as entering a discipline such as medicine, nursing, public health or social work without preparation for joining one of the most complex environments as a member of a multidisciplinary team. This is the driving force behind the formation of the Division of Health Sciences at the University of Nevada, Reno.

John A. McDonald, M.D., Ph.D.
Vice President Health Sciences


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