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Making the Rounds with Founding Dean Dr. Barbara Atkinson
 Issue 192 - April 30, 2019

Breaking News: Matching Offer for Scholarship Donors
The Engelstad Family Foundation is offering to match new scholarship donations for the Class of 2023. Slots are still available. Interested in becoming one of our generous donors? Kindly contact the Deans Office (702) 895-3524.
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Recently, we were honored to have Dr. Darrell Kirch, president and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges, visit the UNLV School of Medicine. Trained as a psychiatrist and neuroscientist, he is the former acting scientific director of the National Institute of Mental Health and former Dean of the Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine and the Penn State College of Medicine. I am proud to say that Dr. Kirch, who was awarded the Outstanding Service Medal of the United States Public Health Service, appreciates our diverse cross section of students -- and how our students, as part of the curriculum, go into the community to understand the people who live here, the hardships they face, and their social issues. We want our students to understand that healthcare is not just about the body, it’s also about the social, economic, physical, and cultural environment of the person. Today, we focus on one of our students, Danielle Arceo, who was quick to ask Dr. Kirch questions at one of his presentations.
Barbara signature, first name only
First year medical student Danielle Arceo listens in as AAMC President Darrell Kirch speaks to a gathering of students and faculty during his April 22nd visit to the UNLV School of Medicine.
As Dr. Darrell Kirch, the President and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges, spoke to UNLV School of Medicine students recently about physician burnout, the high stress of academia, and his own burnout during medical school, Danielle Arceo listened intently.

His anxiety and depression during his first year of medical school, Dr. Kirch said, were on the verge of derailing his career aspirations. His fear of being judged negatively and the stigma associated with depression kept him from seeking help.

Fortunately, he said, an empathetic administrator steered him to the treatment he needed and he’s gone on to a remarkable career.

“Don’t suffer in silence,” Dr. Kirch said.

Arceo, a first year medical student who’s seriously thinking about psychiatry as her medical specialty (she’s also considering pediatrics), was impressed by Dr. Kirch’s presentation.

“The thing I appreciated most from Dr. Kirch was his discussion on mental health...Even though culture as a whole is normalizing (struggles with) mental health, I believe there’s still a lot of stigma within the medical field about seeking help for things like depression and anxiety...The medical field harbors a lot of strong independent people. Who wants to admit that they’re burned out and struggling with the stressors their career choice involves? Having Dr. Kirch, a man who’s had an obviously successful medical career...share his story of his struggles with depression is basically the same as telling everyone, ‘Hey, it’s OK to be human.’ I’m human, and I’ve struggled with depression -- and it’s neat to see someone in leadership share that they’ve gone through a similar experience, too.”

The more you talk with this 23-year-old woman, one of Cleto and Sheila Arceo’s seven children, the more you want to know about her. And the more you come to appreciate yet again the remarkable caliber of student enrolled in Southern Nevada’s only allopathic medical school -- articulate, conscientious, insightful, caring, compassionate, industrious, knowledgeable.

Just what you want in a doctor.

A Las Vegas native who graduated from Pensacola Christian College in Florida, Arceo was homeschooled in the same three bedroom house that her family still lives in. “All of us siblings were close both literally and figuratively,” she laughs. Arceo says her stay-at-home mother worked outside the home as an engineer for the U.S. Department of Energy for six years prior to having a big family. She believed homeschooling would be best after realizing a college classmate who had been homeschooled was able to engage in conversation with the professor more than any of her peers. She also says her parents (Arceo’s father is a NV Energy Sr. Systems Protection Administrator) wanted to homeschool their children so they could teach a worldview consistent with the Christian faith. 

Arceo, a full scholarship student who now lives in an apartment close to campus, says that until sixth grade, her mother largely directed her education with the help of a homeschool curriculum first used nationwide in 1972. After that she says she was basically able to use the lesson plans herself. In 10th and 11th grade, she says she took biology and chemistry courses available online through the homeschool curriculum.
“The family physician I shadowed has been an incredible mentor and encourager to me -- from MCAT to interview advice, to life advice about reaching out for help when I need it. He’s been a great example to me of the kind of person a good doctor embodies."
“One perspective people tend to have about homeschooling is that the kids don’t get socialized enough. I think that can certainly happen in some situations, but my experience with it was significantly different. I was involved in church and I worked.” She worked summers as a lifeguard, and part-time at In-N-Out Burger all through high school and undergraduate school to make money for college. She also went to summer leadership camps, church missions to Mexico, and participated in gymnastics class and with soccer teams at a recreation center.

Arceo’s mother kept telling her daughter as a child that she should be a doctor because she wanted a first aid kit for Christmas when she was 11, and because she always carried a first aid kit in her handbag from the first time she carried a purse. “I started seriously considering medicine when I was a senior in high school," Arceo says. “I wanted to do mission work I started thinking about the fundamental interest in medicine I’d always had...I realized that the only reasons holding me back from the role of physician all boiled down to fear: fear of not being smart enough to be a doctor, fear of the time commitment of that pursuit, fear of the financial strains of the education. I finally decided that fear is not a good reason not to do something, so I changed my major to ‘Pre-Med’ before starting college.”

Members of Arceo’s family are close. She notes that every night family members eat dinner together with the TV off. “We...go around the table and share the best and worst parts of our day. Sometimes we’d get favorite stories from our parents about their childhoods and their time dating. Pretty fond times.”

Arceo’s earliest memories of hospitals are associated with both fun and grief. “My older sister was two years older than me and I played games with her when she was in Sunrise Hospital….we enjoyed that...I wasn’t quite 5 when she died of leukemia.” She says her sister’s battle with cancer took its toll on her family. “It was a difficult time,” Arceo says.

Today, Arceo accentuates the positive.

“The family physician I shadowed has been an incredible mentor and encourager to me -- from MCAT to interview advice, to life advice about reaching out for help when I need it. He’s been a great example to me of the kind of person a good doctor embodies. I watched him care for his patients -- patients who would hug him when they saw him. He befriended me, a relative stranger originally, and has mentored me diligently along my journey and even periodically checks up on me now that I’m in med school. I want to be that kind of doctor, who respects and cares for everyone no matter their background, whether they seem like a somebody or a nobody.”
New Employee
Peter Navarro

Peter Navarro is the new UNLV School of Medicine Chief Compliance Officer.

He provides compliance oversight to the school's senior leadership to ensure that the school is adhering to business processes established by state, federal and Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) guidelines.

Peter earned his B.A. from Dartmouth College and received his J.D. from University of Connecticut School of Law.  

Upon completing his education, Peter practiced law with a focus on commercial litigation and employment law. He joined UNLV in 2018 as the assistant general counsel to the school of medicine. Contact:
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There are more than 91,391 students in medical school for the 2018-2019 academic year, up more than 6,000 students from 2014-2015, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

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