Issue 79 - Jan. 31, 2017
Making the Rounds with Founding Dean Dr. Barbara Atkinson
Friends and colleagues,
 
LVMD
Last week, the Clark County Medical Society sponsored an outstanding Town Hall at City Hall with the City of Las Vegas and UNLV School of Medicine.  The purpose of the event was to educate physicians, health care providers, business and community members about the visions of the Las Vegas Medical District (LVMD) and the UNLV School of Medicine, and the progress made over the past two years on both projects. More than 150 people attended the event.
 
Speakers included, Randal Shelin, MD, representing Clark County Medical Society; Nevada System of Higher Education Regent Mark Doubrava, MD; City of Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman; Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian, Ward 1; Betsy Fretwell, Las Vegas city manager; and myself.
 
Mayor Carolyn Goodman
Mayor Carolyn Goodman led the speakers' panel by discussing Southern Nevada's physician shortage. She explained that the shortage was partially due to the Valley's inability to provide medical training, especially subspecialty residency training to keep physicians here. Another contributing factor preventing physicians from practicing here are the extremely low reimbursement rates physicians receive from Medicaid and other payers.
 
Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian followed Mayor Goodman and discussed the LVMD's vision and the community effort that has taken place to make the district a reality. She thanked all of the community partners and members who have served on various LVMD planning committees and task forces over the years.
 
Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian, Ward 1
The next speaker was Las Vegas City Manager, Betsy Fretwell, who outlined the strategic plan for the LVMD, which was established by the City of Las Vegas in 1997. The district is centrally located in downtown Las Vegas and encompasses approximately 684 acres. Betsy discussed the current and future development of the district, which includes new facilities, infrastructure and beautification to make it a more desirable area in which to work and live. The goal of the LVMD is to build high-density medical facilities concentrated around the hospitals already there, such as the University Medical Center and Valley Hospital Medical Center. Already, more than $36 million in infrastructure improvements have been made in the district. 
 
UNLV's Shadow Lane campus, which is part of the LVMD, is now 17 acres bordered by Charleston and Shadow Lane. The campus houses the UNLV School of Dental Medicine, the Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas, and the new UNLV School of Medicine.
 
In June, the Clark County Commission signed an agreement to transfer 9.1 acres to UNLV for the new medical education building. The land is across from the Valley Hospital Medical Center. UNLV's goal is to one day have all of its health sciences programs based here. This would include not only the dental and medical schools, but also the nursing, allied health, and community health sciences.

NSHE Regent Mark Doubrava
Reg ent Doubrava introduced me at the Town Hall meeting after sharing his own personal experience in helping to make the UNLV School of Medicine a reality.

I updated the audience about the medical school's progress and touched on these recent highlights --achieving preliminary accreditation; admitting our first class of students who will start in July 2017; and completing the renovations on the third floor of the UNLV dental school for our interim campus. Our students will spend their first two years of education in this space until the new medical education building is completed.

The annual economic impact of LVMD and UNLV School of Medicine in 15 years is estimated at $3.6 billion, with over 24,000 new jobs as a result of this new activity concentrated in this part of the city. The benefit will extend across the entire valley as clinical facilities branch out to provide additional care for all parts of the valley.

I was impressed with everyone's interest in these projects and their willingness to help. I continue to be touched by the community and their tremendous support for this project. If you want to watch the town hall meeting click  here.
 
Best wishes,
 
Barbara
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