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February 1, 2013
By Anne McMillin
The University of Nevada School of Medicine hosted the National Leadership Conference for the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) on Jan. 25 through 27 at its Las Vegas campus. Nearly 80 medical and pre-medical student leaders from across the county attended this weekend event.
According to its web site, the SNMA is the oldest and largest student-run organization focused on the needs and concerns of medical students of color and has been active for more than 40 years, promoting advocacy and service to underserved communities and medical students.
"We are so excited to have had the opportunity to host this group of diverse medical student leaders at our southern Nevada campus," says Deborah Kuhls, M.D., the School of Medicine's associate dean for academic affairs.
Approximately 40 School of Medicine leaders, faculty, residents and medical students hosted the SNMA members and participated in workshops.
While in southern Nevada, these visiting students learned about various medical specialties, got insight into planning for the fourth year of medical school and previewed residency and fellowship opportunities in Nevada available through the School of Medicine. Other weekend activities included a student-to-student social event on Friday, a tour of the Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas and physician-student meet-and-greet reception on Saturday with nearly 50 physicians from the faculty and community, including members of the Clark County Medical Society.
Dr. Randy S. Hill, assistant professor of surgery at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, was the keynote speaker on Saturday and discussed health disparities in breast cancer.
Dr. St. Hill completed his general surgery residency at the School of Medicine and has returned to join the School of Medicine after completing a surgical oncology fellowship at the University of Louisville.
"In 2012, breast cancer remained the most common cancer in women and is second leading cause of cancer deaths, affecting one in eight women during their lifetime," he said during his address. "Black women have a lower incidence of breast cancer compared to their white counterparts; however, their outcomes are disproportionately worse. They experience more aggressive disease and worse survival. Even after extensive review of the literature the reasons for this are not clear."
He went on to explain that although efforts are being made to improve this disparity, there is much more to be done to improve the medical community's understanding and ability to better treat black women with breast cancer.
Studies conducted by the School of Medicine indicate that, historically, about 60 percent of physicians who complete their residency training in Nevada remain in the state to practice. Training location is a strong indication of where physicians will likely set up their practice following completion of residency and has strong implications for the future availability of health care professionals for Nevada.
With 198.3 active physicians per 100,000 population, Nevada currently ranks 45th in the country; the U.S. average is 258.7 per 100,000 population.