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April 4, 2012
By Roseann Keegan
From a research center to a patient's bedside, the delivery of new medical discoveries can take upward of 17 years. Now, with the help of $1.6 million from the Nell J. Redfield Foundation, researchers at the University of Nevada School of Medicine endeavor to impact medical practice and patient treatment by providing the treatments of tomorrow-today. Current research projects at the School of Medicine range from pediatric genetics to AIDS diagnostics.
"We must produce more doctors and nurses to serve patients in Nevada," said University President Marc Johnson. "With the tremendous help of the Redfield Foundation, we can develop a balanced School of Medicine that supports both clinical and translational research and cultivates well-rounded medical professionals."
Of the $1.6 million, the Redfield Foundation pledged $1.5 million to support research efforts at the School of Medicine, and donated more than $100,000 to the Student Outreach Clinic and the Sports Medicine Fellowship.
"The Redfield Foundation's commitment to support the development of a robust clinical research enterprise will enhance our ability to improve medical care in Nevada and to train more and better medical students, residents and fellows," said Dr. Thomas Schwenk, dean of the School of Medicine.
The School of Medicine will expand its research efforts by assembling a clinical research team charged with supporting physician faculty in writing and publishing articles, making presentations about research results and extending studies performed in a single location to a wider set of clinical practices—investigational methods collectively called "translational research."
At its core, translational research aims to rapidly apply targeted basic science results to clinical practice, said Dr. Daniel Shapiro, chairman of internal medicine at the School of Medicine in Reno.
"Clinical observations may prompt basic scientists to conduct these targeted investigations," Shapiro said. "As a result, the yield of translational research is greater than in the typical research cycle, and the time required to apply basic science to clinical care is shorter."
Students will receive hands-on experience during research rotations in the third and fourth year and in residencies, ultimately providing the students with a career model that combines practice and research. The Northern Nevada patient community will benefit from being closer to the source of practice innovations.
"Advancement of clinical research is important to the growth of the School of Medicine and to the betterment of the community," said Jerry Smith, Redfield Foundation trustee. "We are pleased to be able to partner with the medical school in this most worthy undertaking."
Over the past three decades, the Redfield Foundation has committed more than $35 million to the University of Nevada, Reno, including substantial support for the William N. Pennington Health Sciences Building, the Nell J. Redfield Foundation Auditorium in the Davidson Mathematics and Science Center, the Sports Medicine Fellowship, the Student Outreach Clinic, the Orvis School of Nursing and the colleges of education, engineering, liberal arts and science.
In 1995, the Redfield Foundation donated a $9.2 million parcel of land at the southwest junction of Mount Rose Highway and U.S. 395 to create the Redfield Campus, a south Reno base for the University and Truckee Meadows Community College. A year later, the foundation pledged $5 million for the inaugural building.
In 2010, the foundation established the Nell J. Redfield Foundation Scholarship Program for National Merit Scholars at the University of Nevada, Reno, with a commitment to support 20 National Merit Scholars. The foundation also supports scholarships for engineering students and women's athletics.
"We are extremely grateful to the Redfield Foundation for their extensive legacy of generosity and support of the University of Nevada, Reno, and our many programs and priorities," said John Carothers, vice president for Development and Alumni Relations.