The Board of Regents for the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) gave final approval this afternoon to affiliation agreements between the University of Nevada School of Medicine and, respectively, the Renown Health System in Reno and MountainView Hospital in Las Vegas.
These historic agreements will greatly enhance the ability of the School of Medicine to serve Nevadans and their health care needs by increasing the number, quality and breadth of physicians who train and practice in Nevada.
At the request of Marc Johnson, president of the University of Nevada, Reno, the Board of Regents approved the affiliation agreement between the School of Medicine and Renown Health in support of the NSHE strategic vision for public medical education in Nevada. The agreement launches the build-out of the School to a full four-year campus in Reno by increasing student learning opportunities, growing the number and type of residency programs, expanding research and establishing joint leadership/academic positions.
"The affiliation agreement between Renown Health and the University of Nevada School of Medicine represents a critical turning point for the preparation of medical doctors in northern Nevada and represents the kind of growth through cooperation that pervades the northern Nevada region today. This active, cooperative spirit is transforming the vitality of the region," said Johnson.
"I am so appreciative of the unanimous endorsement from the Board of Regents for this exciting initiative," said Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D., dean of the University of Nevada School of Medicine. "We believe this relationship will lead to new and expanded opportunities for medical education and clinical research in northern Nevada and will help significantly in achieving our mission of improving health and health care for all of Nevada."
Renown Health is the region's largest integrated health system, making it the optimal partner for such a strategic affiliation. Renown leadership has fully embraced the strategic value of such a partnership to northern Nevada and Renown Health itself, and has made a significant financial commitment pending additional state support for the full campus.
"We couldn't be happier that our partnership with the School of Medicine has been approved by the Board of Regents," said Anthony D. Slonim, M.D., DrPH, president and CEO of Renown Health. "This relationship is a key strategic priority that allows Renown Health to continue to advance our care for the communities that we serve and to assure that we have an ample supply of physicians for decades to come."
Initial steps in support of this agreement include:
- Creation of a new joint leadership position of Chair of Pediatrics for the School of Medicine and Chief Clinical Officer for Renown Children's Hospital.
- Establishment of a new Department of Neurology at the School of Medicine (previously approved by the Board of Regents) with its founding chair and faculty members to come from the Renown Institute of Neurosciences.
- Enlistment of private practicing physicians and physicians in the Renown Medical Group to participate as part-time faculty members to teach medical students and expand residency programs.
To help meet the health care needs of southern Nevadans, the Board of Regents also approved an affiliation agreement between the School of Medicine and MountainView Hospital to expand residency and fellowship training programs and provide new learning opportunities for medical students.
"We are pleased that the agreement between MountainView Hospital and the School of Medicine was approved by the Board of Regents today," said Chris Mowan, MountainView Hospital CEO. "This represents the culmination of months of hard work and is only the beginning toward building a residency program that will help keep physicians in Nevada and ultimately contribute toward meeting the health care needs of our community."
Discussions between leaders at MountainView Hospital and the School of Medicine have focused on residency and fellowship training programs in critically needed primary care areas of internal medicine, family medicine and geriatrics, as well as general surgery, urology, neurology, and selected medical and surgical subspecialties. Potentially, 250 or more additional residency positions could be added in southern Nevada, essentially doubling the existing number in the Las Vegas area.
Graduate Medical Education (GME), or residency and fellowship training, is the phase of training after medical school that is required for a physician to practice medicine. It is recognized as a key to changing Nevada's status as one of the lowest-ranking states in physicians per capita. As the final phase of a long educational process, GME is most influential in determining where a physician eventually practices. This major expansion in southern Nevada residency training opportunities between the School of Medicine and MountainView Hospital is expected to have a significant impact on new physicians staying in Nevada to practice.
"The affiliation agreement between Mountain View Hospital and the School of Medicine holds the potential of nearly doubling the number of graduate medical educational opportunities in Nevada, the critical determinant for producing doctors who will practice in the state. This is another example of universities working with private investors to expand opportunities for Nevadans," said Johnson.
"I congratulate MountainView leaders and staff for their commitment to expanding physician training opportunities in Las Vegas," said Schwenk. "This affiliation agreement represents a critical contribution to training and keeping more physicians in southern Nevada to practice medicine of the highest quality."
The expected start of the first residency program at MountainView Hospital could be as early as July 2016.