Medical School faculty and students honored as Healthcare Heroes

8/4/2008 - By: Anne McMillin

University of Nevada School of Medicine faculty made up one-third of the 10 healthcare professionals honored at the Nevada Business Journal’s third annual Northern Nevada Healthcare Heroes awards and banquet on July 31. Trudy Larson, M.D., Catherine McCarthy, M.D. and the School of Medicine’s Class of 2010 were nominated by a committee of healthcare experts for their efforts in helping evolve northern Nevada into a budding, major medical region.

Also honored for their efforts in southern Nevada were Echezona Ezeanolue, M.D. and Karla Jay, MBA, who were nominated by a committee of healthcare experts for their efforts in helping evolve southern Nevada into a major medical region.

Larson, a professor of pediatrics at the School of Medicine since 1984, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement award. She currently serves as director of the Nevada Organ Donor program and is chair of the School’s Faculty Council. She helped found the HOPES clinic, a non-profit, specialty clinic that provides outpatient medical care, education, support service and healthy living programs for HIV positive individuals. During her tenure at the School, she has served as chair of the pediatrics department, associate dean of outreach, UNR faculty senate chair and a one-year appointment as assistant chancellor to the Board of Regents.

McCarthy, an assistant professor of family medicine at the School, was recognized with the educator honors. She is director of the obstetrics fellowship program and associate residency director at the School of Medicine’s Department of Family and Community Medicine in Reno. She conducts research on obesity, access to healthcare and osteoporosis and is a volunteer preceptor at the Student Outreach Clinic in Reno. She is a member of the biomedical internal review board, the emergency operations committee and scholarship committee at the School of Medicine.

The Class of 2010 collectively earned the honors for entrepreneurism for their efforts to help the medically underserved. The class took charge of the fledgling Student Outreach Clinic, invigorating the program and increasing by seven-fold the average number of patients seen at each of the three monthly clinics throughout the academic year. On their own initiative, class members organized a sign-up web page for clinic appointments, arranged for access to low-cost lab tests, free X-rays, and immunizations for children. The Class of 2010’s entrepreneurial spirit is not confined to local activities: they organized and ran a benefit to raise nearly $8,500 for life-saving scoliosis surgery for two teenage sisters from the Southeast Asian nation of East Timor.

Ezeanolue was honored for his healthcare innovation. He directs the comprehensive maternal/child HIV program and pediatric research program at the University of Nevada School of Medicine in Las Vegas and serves as the immunization committee chair for the Nevada chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. His major areas of interest are preventable perinatal infections and vaccine preventable diseases. He currently holds various research grants on immunization and immunodeficiency.

Jay, an administrator in the School’s Department of Internal Medicine, was honored for her work with the non-profit Nevada Neuroscience Foundation. She was instrumental in the creation and development of the foundation in 2002 and currently serves as its executive director. Under her leadership, the foundation has received grant funding from private foundations and pharmaceutical companies and been designated the Parkinson Outreach Center for the National Parkinson Foundation. The foundation, an accredited United Way partner, provides the services of a licensed social worker free of charge to its clients.

Other recipients, including School of Medicine alumnus, Louis Bonaldi, M.D., and Charles Bullock, M.D., former dean of the College of Health and Human Services, were honored for their work in administration, care providing, community partnering, humanitarianism, innovation, non-profit and technology/research.


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