The University of Nevada School of Medicine welcomes two faculty members to its senior leadership team this fall with the appointments of James Kenyon, Ph.D., and Evan Klass, M.D., to their respective roles of senior associate dean for research and the newly-created position of associate dean for statewide initiatives.
These appointments to the dean's leadership team at the School of Medicine will help position the school to thrive in the years ahead, said Dean Thomas L. Schwenk.
As senior associate dean for research, Kenyon's focus is to grow and support the development of a clinical research program at the School of Medicine.
"Clinical departments at the School of Medicine have focused largely on teaching and patient care," Kenyon said. "Under the guidance and desire of Tom Schwenk, there was an opportunity to develop research-which will attract grant funding-and I think will also increase the intellectual creative activities that our clinical faculty are able to do."
Kenyon is the director of the IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) that provides the infrastructure to mentor and further develop faculty and staff members and provides core support in areas including informatics (for data storage and analytic support of basic and clinical research), proteomics and genomics. According to Kenyon, the INBRE is part of the NIH-funded IDeA program that has identified Nevada as one of 23 states where development of biomedical research is needed, and as a place where there is tremendous opportunity for further development.
"Dr. Kenyon has the perfect mix of expertise and leadership style to help us accomplish new research ventures, the development of our clinical research capacity and the building of a research leadership team in Las Vegas," Schwenk said.
Kenyon completed his undergraduate degree in biology at Lehigh University and his doctorate in physiology and biophysics at the University of Vermont. He taught internal medicine and pharmacology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and currently teaches physiology and cell biology at the University of Nevada School of Medicine.
Klass will be primarily responsible for the continued development of Project ECHO, or Extension for Community Health Outcomes, a successful telehealth program that provides critical outreach services to rural Nevada.
"Project ECHO is a way for rural primary care providers to offer their patients a level of service they previously couldn't offer," Klass said. "They can treat their patients with a faculty member standing by their side; virtually, of course."
Klass is hopeful for expansion of Project ECHO and other similar health care services to serve rural communities.
"What we are seeing is a paradigm shift in specialty services," Klass said. "We see Project ECHO expanding widely because of the specialty services that rural communities don't have. This program can fill the need. Project ECHO is essentially the third campus of the School of Medicine."
Schwenk sees a bright future for Project ECHO.
"This program has extraordinary potential for expansion and for securing significant support, as it contributes to improving the quality of health care for underserved populations throughout Nevada," he said.
Klass earned his undergraduate dual major in biology and psychology at the State University of New York at Buffalo, and completed his medical training at New York Medical College. He trained in internal medicine as a resident and chief resident at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, and completed a fellowship in endocrinology and metabolism at George Washington University Medical Center.