As we approach the end of September, I am fortunate to be nearing my two-year anniversary with the School of Medicine as its founding Chief of Staff.
I met Dean Barbara Atkinson soon after she joined the school in May 2014 and was as immediately impressed with her as everyone else in the community found her to be. Shortly after our personal introductions, I was fortunate to have been asked by Barbara to be her first addition to the school's staff. Little did I know then - although I had that immediate positive 'gut' feeling - that my decision to partner with Dean Atkinson would become a significant personal and professional opportunity of a lifetime.
The medical school Chief of Staff's responsibility is to ensure operations and strategy in the organization are executed efficiently and on time, and staff posses the resources needed to perform their job within that framework. In a start-up such as the UNLV School of Medicine, this task becomes even more complicated and high risk with the many moving parts and inherent gaps that come with a newly developing and fast-paced organization. The vision, confidence, experience, and calmness of Dean Atkinson has been the consistent and resilient factor through these last two years that our faculty, staff and I have leaned on as we have accomplished many required milestones, many thought not possible.
As we look forward to another fall season of anticipated activities and announcements, it is important to reflect back on the accomplishments of the last two years and the reasons we are here today.
With each significant achievement, we received critical support from so many existing staff and leaders within UNLV administration. The time, resources and graciousness afforded to the new School of Medicine by UNLV administration at all levels, from President Jessup to the friendly student intern, has been remarkable and will not be forgotten. Equally, the impressive accomplishments of our school wouldn't have been realized without ambitious and inspiring community leadership at every level working with, believing in, and supporting Dean Atkinson's vision. It is evident when the community comes together around a shared vision, nothing can stop us. We all own a piece of UNLV School of Medicine; its past, present and future.
The upcoming fall schedule is a busy one. We anticipate an accreditation announcement by LCME in mid-October, we continue to have promising donor cultivation conversations around our future academic medical building and capital needs, and our faculty and staff hiring continues to grow in capacity and excitement. With your continued dynamic partnership, the UNLV School of Medicine and our mission will evolve to meet its promise.
Of all the seriousness that the Chief of Staff job carries, one of the most joyful experiences of the job for me is when I see Dean Atkinson laugh. I love to see Barbara laugh! It reminds me, and therefore I remind you, that as a community we will be successful in our ambitious goals. As we continue to work hard, and strive only for excellence in building UNLV School of Medicine, we deserve no less for ourselves, for our families and for the future families of our community.
It is a pleasure and a privilege to work (and laugh) with Barbara and all of you at UNLV and the greater community as we build this spectacular endeavor together.
School of Medicine Milestones (2013-2016)
- October 2013: Lincy Institute issues economic development report on benefits of a UNLV School of Medicine
- November 2013: NSHE Board of Regents approves UNLV School of Medicine plan
- May 2014: Planning Dean Barbara Atkinson hired
- August 2014: UNLV School of Medicine established
- September 2014: LCME Accreditation application submitted
- October 2014: Community Advisory Board established
- April 2015 Founding Scholarship campaign launched, raising $13.5 million and 135 scholarships in less than 60 days
- June 2015: Nevada Legislature approves full funding request of $27 million for UNLV School of Medicine
- September 2015: Tony & Renee Marlon Charitable Foundation invests $2 million gift to fund orthopedic surgery department
- November 2015: Dean Atkinson named Founding Dean
- December 2015: M.D. program approved by UNLV
- February 2016: UNLV School of Medicine receives LCME candidate status
- March 2016: NSHE Board of Regents approves practice plan framework
- April 2016: United Health Foundation invests $3 million grant in bioethics, population health and hospitality in health care
- June 2016: Clark County approves 9.11-acre land transfer to UNLV School of Medicine for its first academic building.
- June 2016: Ackerman Autism Center approved by NSHE Board of Regents
- August 2016: ACGME Accreditation granted