University names VP Health Sciences and Medical School Dean

2/28/2011 - By: Jane Tors
University male faculty Dr. Thomas Schwenk will be the first member of the University of Nevada faculty to have been named a member of the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

Thomas L. Schwenk has been named vice president of the University of Nevada, Reno’s Division of Health Sciences and dean of the University of Nevada School of Medicine. His appointment follows on an impressive career highlighted by active clinical practice, an extensive publication record, teaching, visiting professorships and administrative experience. Schwenk is currently professor and chair of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School. He will be the first member of the University of Nevada faculty to have been named a member of the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

“Tom has built a nationally recognized department at one of the top medical schools in the country,” said University President Milt Glick. “We are excited to know that our Division of Health Sciences and the University of Nevada School of Medicine will have the benefit of his experience and leadership. We are also excited to have a member of the Institute of Medicine join our faculty.”

“It is a privilege and honor to have been selected for this position,” said Schwenk, who will join the University in July 2011. “One of the most attractive features to me in considering this position was the incredible dedication of the faculty and staff, their deep commitment to their clinical and academic missions, and their enthusiasm to continue to grow and achieve excellence.”

In addition to being a member of the Institute of Medicine, Schwenk is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. He has served in reviewer or editor roles for several medical journals, including his current service as a reviewer with the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and deputy editor with Journal Watch. Much of his research has addressed the diagnosis and management of mental illness in primary care settings, as well as a wide range of medical education and family medicine training issues in the United States.

“Tom is an accomplished, published researcher, and has completed visiting professorships at respected medical schools across the country,” said University Provost Marc Johnson. “He has also been recognized for outstanding teaching. We are confident in his ability to work with faculty and students across the health sciences to develop integrated education, basic and clinical research, and clinical services that will contribute to improved health care for Nevadans.”

“The University’s Division of Health Sciences and School of Medicine have critical contributions to make to the health of the residents of Nevada, to training the highest quality physicians, nurses, social workers and health professionals, and to contributing to the science of medical care,” said Schwenk. “The integration of those missions and finding new approaches to leveraging those missions on behalf of the State of Nevada is exciting. I think there are several new ventures, particularly new collaborations within the University, the Nevada System of Higher Education and with health care institutions across Nevada that are particularly exciting.”

Schwenk earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan and his medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School. He completed a family medicine residency through the University of Utah Affiliated Hospitals in Salt Lake City, then remained in Utah for several years where he practiced rural family medicine and served on the faculty of the University of Utah Department of Family and Community Medicine. He returned to the University of Michigan Medical School as an assistant professor in 1984 and was named professor in 1993, interim department chair in 1986 and department chair in 1988.

“I have spent nearly 35 years in total at the University of Michigan, and it will forever be a part of my life and career,” said Schwenk. “I have nothing but the fondest feelings for the University of Michigan and its Health System, and hope that all I have learned there, in many roles over many years, will serve me well in Nevada.”

Schwenk was selected following a national search. A 19-member search committee, chaired by Marsha Read, vice president research and dean of the University’s graduate school, participated in the process and included medical and healthcare leaders and medical and health sciences faculty, staff and students from southern and northern Nevada. The roles of vice president health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine were combined in 2008.

“I wish to extend my appreciation to the members of the search committee,” said Glick. “Through the process Tom met and interacted with the search committee members and many others in southern and northern Nevada, and he was resoundingly well received.”

Nevada’s only public medical school, the University of Nevada School of Medicine includes facilities and residency programs in Las Vegas and Reno. It is part of the University of Nevada’s Division of Health Sciences, which also includes the Orvis School of Nursing, School of Community Health Sciences, School of Social Work, Center for the Application of Substance Abuse Technologies, Sanford Center for Aging and Campus Recreation and Wellness.


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