One of the first people I met when I came to Las Vegas was Dr. Tony Marlon. Dr. Marlon moved to Las Vegas in 1972 to start his career as a cardiologist at the University Medical Center (UMC). In 1984, he founded Sierra Health Services and was Chairman of the Board and CEO until it became part of UnitedHealthcare in 2008. Dr. Marlon's vast experience and knowledge about the health care needs in this region has been invaluable to me as we plan the UNLV School of Medicine. In fact, he was one of the first members of our community advisory board.
In support of his commitment to quality health care, Dr. Marlon recently donated $2 million from the Tony and Renee Marlon Charitable Foundation to help fund faculty for a new department of orthopedic surgery at the UNLV School of Medicine. Currently, this specialty is a division within the department of surgery of the University of Nevada School of Medicine (UNSOM) where Dr. Michael Daubs serves as the division chief and Dr. Brock Wentz is a faculty member. In July 2016, UNSOM will develop a brand new orthopedics residency program. By July 2017, this new department and its residency program will be transferred to the UNLV School of Medicine, and ultimately, Dr. Daubs will become the chair of the new department. Collaboratively, UMC is creating clinical space on their campus for patients seeking orthopedic care by these surgeons and their residents.
As a new department, it will be important to develop an orthopedics research program.
Current orthopedics research is robust and innovative. Whether it's building new cartilage and bone using stem cells, scrutinizing the mechanics of replacement joints, developing new treatments and tracking outcomes for knee and other joint replacements, or probing deeper into orthopedic genetics, there is no shortage of critical issues today or tomorrow. Dr. Marlon's gift also helps fund a research coordinator who will help our residents and faculty to advance innovative orthopedic research.
Dr. Marlon's generous gift underscores the importance of philanthropy. Private philanthropic support enables us to hire new faculty, create new departments, residency programs, clinical care and research - all of which will help to improve access to exemplary medical care for southern Nevadans.
I know I speak for all of us here at the UNLV School of Medicine when I say thank you, to Dr. Marlon and Renee, and their foundation for their vision to advance orthopedics in southern Nevada. It will make a tremendous impact for future generations.