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Our newest class of 60 medical students officially received their white coats during a ceremony held Friday, August 23rd inside UNLV's Artemus Ham Hall. We now have a total of 180 medical students on campus.
Making the Rounds with Founding Dean Dr. Barbara Atkinson
 Issue 209 - August 27, 2019
Friends & Colleagues,

For regular readers of this newsletter, you know that a recent interview of U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto dealt in part with what is being done to create more residencies and fellowships in Nevada, which often have much to do with keeping young doctors in the state. As you know, the Silver State currently suffers from one of the worst healthcare workforce shortages in the country. How can we correct this problem? Studies have repeatedly shown that where young doctors do postgraduate specialty work is likely where they’ll end up practicing. The senator said she is aggressively exploring ways to create more postgraduate slots. Today’s newsletter, which features Dr. Joseph Carroll, shows yet again why her work in this area is so worth pursuing. A graduate of the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Dr. Carroll recently completed a two year fellowship in acute care surgery through UMC and the UNLV School of Medicine and now he and his young family have decided to call Las Vegas home. How accomplished is Dr. Carroll? Well, our educators think so much of him that in addition to his work as a trauma surgeon, he’ll also take on the responsibility of associate director for our general surgery residency program. No doubt about it: If we want better healthcare for the people of Southern Nevada, more postgraduate speciality slots are worth fighting for.  
Barbara signature, first name only
UNLV School of Medicine
Lands Talented Trauma Fellow
Dr. Joseph Carroll, an Arizona native, graduated from the University of Arizona College of Medicine, but has come to think of Las Vegas as home after a fellowship at UNLV.
 It was when he was in the 7th grade that Dr. Joseph Carroll, now an assistant professor in the UNLV School of Medicine Department of Surgery, first thought about becoming a physician.

“I was in science class and we were learning about fevers and why your body does this. I found it fascinating and ever since then all I wanted to do was learn about how the body worked.” 

Born and raised in Scottsdale, AZ, Dr. Carroll was in high school when he first got to shadow physicians at the Mayo Clinic’s campus in Arizona.

“My mom was in charge of catering there and I found it exciting to see how doctors could make people feel better.” 

Following graduation from the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he was named Galileo Circle Scholar as the university’s outstanding undergraduate researcher, Dr. Carroll attended the university’s medical school. It didn’t take him long to decide he wanted to be a surgeon.

“I was in awe of how doctors could take someone with a real problem and fix them so they could walk out of the hospital far better off. That opportunity and responsibility was the greatest honor I could think of both then and today.” 

He did a residency in general surgery through Michigan State University but felt a need for more training to practice trauma surgery at the highest level. He decided the UNLV School of Medicine’s Acute Care Surgery Fellowship, the first program of its kind in the nation, would help him gain the expertise he wanted.

The demand for such fellowships has grown as the demands on trauma surgeons have expanded. Surgical emergencies that used to be handled by specialists in plastic, gastrointestinal, thoracic or general surgery are now frequently performed by trauma surgeons. 

Today, a study of nearly 100 U.S. academic medical centers shows that trauma surgeons perform a variety of urgent procedures, including gallbladder removal, spleen repair and removal and hernia repair. In addition to operating room surgeries, trauma surgeons often perform bedside procedures such as placing drainage tubes in chests or catheters in veins.

Dr. Carroll was called into action in the wake of the Oct.1, 2017 mass shooting on the Strip that killed 58 and wounded more than 800. His efforts became the subject of media reports.
"What really struck me as a new Nevadan was how much the whole community came together. People were bringing food for us from all over. We showed we are so much more than just a place to have a bachelor party. We are a community." Dr. Joseph Carroll
Dr. Carroll was interviewed along with Dr. Brandon Snook and Dr. Katie Francis by KLAS-TV anchor Denise Valdez about the Oct. 1st, 2017 medical response.
This photo shows some of the food that the Las Vegas community delivered to UMC in the hours after the mass shooting that killed 58 people.
“I came in early that morning. I helped in the ICU and did many of the definitive operations that those patients required. It’s never something that you want to go through, but what I learned then is something that I will certainly carry with me for the rest of my life. What really struck me as a new Nevadan was how much the whole community came together. People were bringing food for us from all over. We showed we are so much more than just a place to have a bachelor party. We are a community.” 

The young surgeon is also an accomplished researcher, with his work appearing in peer-reviewed publications that include the World Journal of Surgery and the American Journal of Surgery.  

Dr. Carroll refers to Dr. John Fildes, the inaugural chair of the UNLV School of Medicine Department of Surgery, as his mentor. Dr. Fildes takes over as interim dean of the medical school on Sept. 1. The keynote speaker recently during the 48th World Congress of Surgery in Poland, Dr. Fildes received approval in 2008 to establish the acute care surgery fellowship at UMC.

“Dr. Fildes is the ultimate gentleman surgeon,” says Dr. Carroll. “He always maintains grace under pressure. He takes time to teach everyone. His mastery of surgical knowledge -- he’s one of the best surgeons I’ve ever seen -- is presented with patience and respect. On Oct.1 he remained calm. When your leader reacts that way, everyone else does, too. I’ve been very fortunate to learn from him.”

The opportunity to be part of the UNLV trauma team at the UMC Trauma Center -- patients who arrive alive within an hour of a traumatic incident have a 96 percent survival rate -- has had much to do with Dr. Carroll’s decision to remain in Southern Nevada.

“To have the privilege to be part of such a magnificent trauma team is a dream come true. Watching patients walk out of the hospital alive is what keeps me going. It’s such a wonderful feeling to be able to tell families their loved one will be OK.” 
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