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Making the Rounds with Founding Dean Dr. Barbara Atkinson
 Issue 205 - July 30, 2019
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

When the school of medicine welcomed its third class of students recently, one young man on hand to help was the president of our second class, Gregory Schreck. During his presentation, he let our new students know that if he and other Class of 2022 students could be of service to them, answer some of their questions about the day-to-day life of a medical student, they’d be happy to do so. It wasn’t just an empty gesture. What is impressive to see on a regular basis is how our “veteran” students go out of their way to help new students take advantage of our academic and financial advising -- how they can gain access to a variety of services in the community, from housing to transportation. In today’s newsletter, we focus on Greg, who should give you a good sense of the kind of students attending the UNLV School of Medicine. An alum of Teach for America in Las Vegas -- he taught 7th grade science at Sedway Middle School -- Greg says that experience helped him realize that work in the service of others is the work he will do for the rest of his life. “I hope to do this work as a physician,” he told us in his medical school application, “because I know that is the role in which I would be able to levy my greatest skills to provide valuable services to others.” 
Barbara signature, first name only
Second Year Medical Student Eager to Mentor Incoming Class
Gregory Schreck, seen here with Dr. Stephen Dahlem shortly after receiving his white coat in 2018, grew up in Colorado before moving to Southern Nevada, where he taught public school.
How Gregory Schreck, the UNLV School of Medicine Class of 2022 President, became interested in science and medicine, doesn’t come as much of a surprise.

His father is an engineer; his mother, a pharmacist.

“They raised me to like fields in STEM (the acronym stands for the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics), so it just kind of happened,” Schreck says. 

In high school, he started thinking about how he could turn his love for the sciences and his desire to do something with and for people into a career. Becoming a physician seemed a natural choice, so he volunteered at a local hospital in his hometown of Colorado Springs, CO. 

“I worked as an assistant to a hospital unit clerk, answering phones, carrying supplies,” he says. “I was basically a gopher but I liked how people in the hospital helped others.” 

He entered the University of Colorado, where he majored in molecular biology. Graduating with distinction -- his grade point was a 3.85 -- Schreck decided that a stint with Teach for America would give him a better sense of the high-needs communities he might serve one day as a physician. 

Teach for America is a non profit that recruits and selects top college graduates to serve for at least two years as teachers in under-resourced public schools. While close to a third of the recruits -- they initially go through a kind of eight week teacher training boot camp -- go on to make careers of teaching, the organization works to ensure that alums support the movement for educational equity and excellence no matter their career choice.  

“I grew up middle class and I believed I needed to be exposed to people from challenging backgrounds if I was to really understand the best way to serve them,” says Schreck, who received a Master’s in Education in Curriculum and Instruction at UNLV while in Teach for America. “I certainly believe now more than ever that education is a key to helping people out of challenging situations and I also believe I have a better understanding of what my patients will be dealing with in their lives...One of my students, for example, was sleeping in a park two days a week because of how he was treated at home.” 
“What I like about the emergency medical system is that the whole system is committed to answering anyone,” he says. “Everyone gets a chance to get assisted.”
Schreck plans on specializing in emergency medicine. To that end, even before starting at the UNLV School of Medicine last year, he received his emergency medical technician training (EMT) at the College of Southern Nevada. With that training, he worked on ambulances for Medic West throughout the Las Vegas Valley. 

“What I like about the emergency medical system is that the whole system is committed to answering anyone,” he says. “Everyone gets a chance to get assisted.”

While UNLV School of Medicine graduates will recite the Hippocratic Oath upon completion of their studies, each class also is expected to come up with a contemporary oath. Schreck played a key role on the panel that wrote the oath for his class, interfacing with students to ensure that the best ideas were heard.

UNLV School of Medicine Class of 2022 Oath:

As I commit myself to uphold the values and traditions of medicine, I offer this oath to those I will serve and those I will serve alongside. 

I will afford everyone the respect and dignity owed a human life. I will treat the suffering of others as my own and treat my patients as greater than the collection of their symptoms. I will respect my patients’ autonomy in their care, so I will value what they value.

I recognize the monumental task of caring for another human being, and I will not attempt this task on my own. I humbly recognize that my knowledge is and always will be incomplete, and I pledge to constantly strive to learn more and to seek the counsel of those alongside me. 

I will respect the authority entrusted in me as a physician, and I will utilize this to the benefit of my community. I will advocate for fair treatment, combat injustice, and confront discrimination.

I will embody the virtues that define a good physician. I will be compassionate and not be tainted with cynicism. I will be proactive and not be tempted by complacency. I will care for myself as I care for my patients because I cannot give to others what I myself do not have.

I will remember the reasons I chose to enter this profession. This oath is my dedication to a life of service to humanity, and I pledge to keep this covenant from this moment forward.

Schreck says that medical school is “the hardest educational experience I’ve ever had, but I’ve loved it.” When he needs to take a break, he turns to music.

“I’ve been playing the guitar since I was 10 and enjoy how it helps me relax,” he says.
Four other students, Tyler Blackwell, Laura Wozniak, Darlene Julian and Tristan Bakerink who also use music the same way. They’ve formed a band, Desert Yeti, that occasionally plays at the ReBAR downtown on Main Street.  

“You need a good outlet from studying, and music is it for us,” Schreck says.
"Desert Yeti" rockin out during a recent performance. Left to right: Gregory Schreck, Laura Wozniak, Tristan Bakerink, Darlene Julian and Tyler Blackwell. All are members of the UNLV School of Medicine class of 2022.
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MEDICINE BY THE NUMBERS
971 CASES

The CDC reports that 971 U.S. measles cases in the first five months of 2019 surpassed the total cases per year for the past 25 years. 

"Measles is preventable and the way to end this outbreak is to ensure that all children and adults who can get vaccinated, do get vaccinated. Again, I want to reassure parents that vaccines are safe, they do not cause autism. The greater danger is the disease the vaccination prevents," said CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield. 

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