Issue 78 - Jan. 24, 2017
Making the Rounds with Founding Dean Dr. Barbara Atkinson
Friends and colleagues,
Last Tuesday, Governor Brian Sandoval gave a very positive State of the State address to the Nevada legislators who are preparing for the 2017 legislative session, which starts next month and runs through June. The legislators will set the spending priorities and budget for the next two years starting July 1, 2017, and ending June 30, 2019.  Governor Sandoval pointed out the significant progress Nevada has made to increase jobs and the economy since he took office in 2011. You can watch the Governor's presentation  here .
Medical school funding
In 2015, the Nevada legislature appropriated nearly $27 million to cover the medical school's start-up costs to hire faculty, secure preliminary accreditation and to begin accepting students for its first class in July 2017. The Governor announced he would again support the medical school by allocating $53 million for the next biennium budget. This is great news and will help the medical school meet its educational mission as we accept students for the first four classes. Once we secure full accreditation and have built our new medical education building, we plan to grow the class size to 120 students per class. For a city with the population of Las Vegas, I believe the class size should eventually grow to 180, which is about the average class size across the country. The new medical education building is designed to accommodate this future expansion.
When I arrived in Las Vegas in May 2014 as the planning dean, the first thing I did was to work with the UNLV financial team and a consultant to prepare a 10-year budget showing the cost of a new medical school and its growth over that time frame. As the school grows to accommodate a class size of 120 students, we estimate that the base budget for the school will need to be around $45 million per fiscal year - approximately $10,000 less per student compared to the national average. The total does not include the contribution of tuition and fees each student will make toward their own medical education. When you add this amount it comes to around $30,000 per student.  
What does the state get in return for this investment?  In addition to providing the highest level of health care to as many citizens as possible in Las Vegas, and across the state through telemedicine, it is projected to generate an economic impact of $1.2 billion by 2030 and create around 8,000 jobs (source: 2013  Tripp Umbach report)

UNLV School of Medicine
Las Vegas Medical District
Combined Impact
Regional $1.2 billion $2.4 billion $3.6 billion
Employment 8,000 16,000 24,000
Government $60 million $121 million $181 million

UNLV Medicine: The clinical education mission
On July 1, the UNLV School of Medicine will launch its clinical teaching practice, called UNLV Medicine. We are transferring Las Vegas-based University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR-SOM) faculty to UNLV. This includes 120 faculty physicians, educators and health care providers, approximately 30 administrative and classified staff, and 279 residents and fellows in programs at UMC, Sunrise Hospital and VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System. Approximately 300 nurses, medical assistants and front desk employees from some of the current UNR-SOM academic practice sites also will be moving to UNLV Medicine's practice plan. That means in July, UNLV School of Medicine will be responsible for more than 700 people and the expenses of clinical practices including leases, supplies, salary and fringe benefits. We are working on many levels to ensure the transition is smooth for both the physicians and their patients. 
Medical school campus
Our first medical education building will be in the Las Vegas Medical District (LVMD), thanks to an agreement with the Clark County Commission to turn 9.1 acres of land over to UNLV near the Shadow Lane campus. It's close to UMC and the Valley Hospital Medical Center. We look forward to beginning construction of the new medical education building once funding is secured. In the near future, we will need a clinical practice building for our medical students and residents to work with teaching faculty in caring for patients. Our plans also include a new research building to conduct medical research necessary to create new businesses, better technologies and innovative treatments. 
We'd like to thank all of our partners, the Governor, the Nevada legislature, and the administrations of City of Las Vegas and Clark County for their strong support of the school's mission, development and progress to date.
Best wishes,
Atul Gawande's bold visions for improving performance and safety in health care have made him one of the most sought-after speakers in medicine. His three books, Complications, Better, and The Check-list Manifesto, have all been highly praised inside and outside the medical community. His new book is Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. TIME placed him among the world's 100 most influential thinkers. For more information click here.

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