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Making the Rounds with Founding Dean Dr. Barbara Atkinson
 Issue 134 - February 27, 2018
Las Vegas Mayor Goodman
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman sees a city that will be transformed by the UNLV School of Medicine
As Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman sat in her office the other day, she talked about the importance of the UNLV School of Medicine to Southern Nevada.

And she also talked about the importance of founding dean Dr. Barbara Atkinson to the UNLV School of Medicine.

“I am the daughter of a physician,” the mayor said,” born and raised in a medical family in Manhattan (the New York City borough) . I’ve always been used to the discipline it took, to all the specialities taught in the medical schools where you live... I thought the whole world was like that... to be a quality city, great medical care and research is absolutely paramount... that’s what we want the UNLV School of Medicine to bring to Las Vegas... that’s what Dr. Barbara Atkinson and her team can do. She already brought the highest quality of medical care and research to Kansas. The proof is in the pudding.”

The Las Vegas of today, Mayor Goodman said, is far different than the one she and her husband found when they moved here in 1964. She recalls the population was less than 100,000. By the time her husband, attorney Oscar Goodman, became mayor in 1999 (Carolyn Goodman succeeded him as mayor in 2011) , the population was more than 400,000 and she said her husband knew that to be a world class city “the medical component was top of the line to attend to... he didn’t want to hear that to get quality care you had to go to McCarran Airport, go out of town for your medical care.”
Though the political struggle for Las Vegas to get its own allopathic medical school has been a long one, Mayor Goodman said Dean Atkinson has quickly put the UNLV School of Medicine on a path “to becoming a preeminent institution... we don’t want to just have a medical school or center we want to be preeminent, with excellence in every area, where we train residents in critical specialities and do important research. That’s what Dean Atkinson is committed to.”
Dean Atkinson
Goodman said she has been impressed with how Dean Atkinson has hired the right people to “cross every t and dot every i” in the accreditation process. “She been there and done that in Kansas,” Goodman said, noting how Dean Atkinson opened a new campus in Salinas, Kansas to address that state’s physician shortage while also expanding the Wichita campus from a two year program to a full, four year program. “She was very well vetted before she was brought here,” Goodman said, pointing out that Dr. Atkinson’s ability to lead the University of Kansas School of Medicine to a National Cancer Institute designation in 2012 impressed politicians and educators alike. In 2012 the University of Kansas Medical School became the 67th school to earn the prestigious designation.
Proud that her son, Dr. Oscar Goodman Jr., graduated from the same medical school, Philadelphia’s Jefferson Medical College, as Dr. Atkinson, Mayor Goodman said that as the UNLV School of Medicine winds its way through the accreditation process there is no doubt in her mind that Dr. Atkinson is the right leader for this time. Keep in mind, she said, that Dr. Atkinson was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 1997 and in 2010 was appointed by President Barack Obama to the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. “We all realize how devoted and fastidious she is to making a commitment to success. She has walked the walk.”

Mayor Goodman her father was both a county and state medical society president in New York said she knows how important it is that the head of a medical school be politically savvy. “She’s able to work with all kinds of people she has a warm personality that can help pull people together instead of being divisive. She helped ensure that both the legislature and governor came through with support for the school. She’s become an incredible force in the community in so many ways, including in the philanthropic area. Four year scholarships for the first students and financial support for faculty was and is so important.”

What Mayor Goodman said she’s looking forward to is the community recommitting itself to the work of Dean Atkinson and her team so “we can get the rest of the money for that beautiful, magnificent medical school building that is planned. I’m looking forward to the bulldozers getting to work, to the economic boom that the medical school will create for the Las Vegas Medical District and the entire community. Our city and our people need it.”
For the first time, the number of women enrolling in U.S. medical schools has exceeded the number of men, according to data released by the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) .
Females represented 50.7% of the 21,338 matriculants (new enrollees) in 2017, compared with 49.8% in 2016.

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