The Washoe County Medical Society honored University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) Dean Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D. with a Community Service Award that recognizes UNR Med's community engagement and contributions.
Dr. Schwenk is the 10th dean of UNR Med and the second vice president of Health Sciences at the University of Nevada, Reno. Prior to coming to Nevada, he spent 27 years in faculty and leadership posts at the University of Michigan Health System, chairing family medicine for 25 years.
Schwenk received the award during the Washoe County Medical Society's 112th Inaugural Dinner, Jan. 13. He was recognized for his leadership and role in UNR Med's transformation to a full four-year medical school in Reno, all while maintaining statewide operations and improving rural medicine outreach including in Elko. When Schwenk arrived to Nevada in 2011, the medical school was split with students completing their first two years in Reno and their last two years in Las Vegas and Reno.
Schwenk stated in his 2017 State of the School Address that "UNR Med's Class of 2021 will complete the great majority of their third and fourth-year clerkships in northern Nevada at local physician and hospital partner locations, rotating through neurology, internal medicine, family medicine, psychiatry, pediatrics, OB/GYN and surgery."
"This has taken an incredible amount of work, effort and political savvy. The WCMS Board is excited about this opportunity and greatly appreciative of the work of Schwenk and UNR Med to help increase the pipeline of physicians in our community and combat our current physician shortage," said President of the Washoe County Medical Society Andrew V. Pasternak, IV, M.D.
UNR Med's focus is to educate the next generation of physicians and healthcare professionals to help improve access and elevate Nevada's ranking among states in physician workforce capacity.
According to Schwenk, UNR Med is distinguished by having both a strong basic science research base and being embedded in the real world of clinical practice as well as strong community engagement. UNR Med welcomed its 1,000th clinical community faculty member in August 2017. Clinical community faculty physicians are critical to UNR Med students' education as they teach practical knowledge and skills and role model professional attributes in a wide variety of practice environments.
Nearly 50 years after it was established, UNR Med is positioned for the next phase of growth in addressing Nevada's physician shortage through residency program development and expansion, focusing on northern Nevada with a continued statewide vision. UNR Med is recognized at the national level for prestigious and significant National Institute of Health (NIH) research funding and for the significant value of its quality medical education. "This award belongs to the entire UNR Med community of faculty and staff members, students and residents, and is yet another sign that UNR Med is a world-class destination for excellence in research and education," said Schwenk.