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August 5, 2010
By Anne McMillin
Three University of Nevada School of Medicine faculty members earned honors at Nevada Business magazine's Fifth Annual Healthcare Heroes award dinners recently in Las Vegas and Reno.
The annual award program honors Nevadans making significant contributions to health care across 10 categories in both the northern and southern regions of the state. Proceeds from both banquets benefit students pursuing careers in health care education.
At the southern Nevada banquet on July 28 at the M Resort Spa and Casino in Henderson, John Gosche, M.D., a board certified pediatric surgeon and professor of surgery with the medical school, was honored for his accomplishments in the "research/technology" category.
Gosche is investigating the cause of biliary atresia, the congenital absence or underdevelopment of the bile duct structures causing jaundice and early liver damage in human infants. This condition occurs naturally during development of the lamprey fish, but the molecular and cellular causes that induce bile duct loss are unknown. Gosche's goal is to identify the genetic origins of bile duct involution in the lamprey as a means of identifying the cause in humans.
Two faculty members were honored August 3 at the northern Nevada banquet held at the Silver Legacy in Reno. John A. McDonald, M.D., Ph.D., vice president of the University of Nevada, Reno Division of Health Sciences and former dean of the medical school, and Ole J. Thienhaus, M.D., current dean of the School of Medicine were honored in the "lifetime achievement" and "educator" categories, respectively.
In 2008, McDonald assumed leadership of the newly formed Division of Health Sciences which encompasses multiple health care units previously organized under the UNR College of Health and Human Sciences. As dean of the medical school from 2004 to 2008, he was instrumental in leading the school through a reorganization of the clinical practice plan, design of its first new biomedical research building in nearly 30 years, championing funding for a new health sciences education building to house medicine and nursing and new teaching facilities in Las Vegas.
Prior to coming to Nevada in 2004, McDonald served as chief of medicine at the Salt Lake City Veterans Affairs Medical Center and guided the formation of a clinical and basic science research institute at Mayo Clinic Scottsdale from 1991 to 2001. From 1979 to 1991, he served at Washington University School of Medicine-Barnes Hospital in St. Louis where he built and directed an internationally recognized program in pulmonary and critical care medicine.
As dean of the University of Nevada School of Medicine since 2008, Thienhaus has contributed to health care as a teacher, clinician and high-level administrator. Shuttling back and forth between Las Vegas and Reno on nearly a daily basis, his statewide presence benefits patients and the medical school. He works tirelessly to support high standards of medical education for students and residents who are the future of Nevada's health care.
Recipients were honored for their work in the categories of administration, care providing, education, community work, entrepreneurial efforts, humanitarian, innovation, non-profit, technology/research and lifetime achievement at each awards dinner.