Issue 38 - March 29, 2016
Making the Rounds with Founding Dean Dr. Barbara Atkinson
Friends and Colleagues,    

Community Leadership Luncheon' participants 
Each month we meet with community leaders to discuss social issues impacting Las Vegas. The topics are wide-ranging and include nutrition and obesity, addiction, mental and behavioral health, homelessness and human trafficking. The UNLV School of Medicine will address these issues in our curriculum so we can effectively educate medical students about the importance of community leadership and advocacy.
A few weeks ago we tackled the growing number of homeless in Southern Nevada. The number of homeless people in our community is staggering. According to the  2015 Southern Nevada Homeless Census and Survey there are more than 34,000 homeless people in Southern Nevada:
  • 68.7% are male
  • White/Caucasian, 48.2% 
  • Black/African-America 36.0% 
  • Hispanic/Latino 16.4% 
  • American Indian/Alaskan Native 2.8%
  • 71.4% reported living in Las Vegas before they became homeless
  • 12.9% are Veterans (this is one of the few groups that decreased since the 2014 census, 17%)
A concerning subcategory is homeless children.The Clark County School District alone has approximately 12,000 homeless children who receive Title I support. The U.S. Department of Education provides financial assistance to schools to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds meet academic standards. Homeless children are a special category and are assigned a person to help determine their individual needs, which may include food, transportation, a place to study, and other help. Children are divided into two groups, those with their homeless families and those who are "unaccompanied by an adult", in other words, by themselves.
There are a number of programs in Las Vegas working to address the homeless, and many of these were represented at our luncheon. One particular organization, the  Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth  (NPHY), which  provides a full-range of services and safe houses for homeless children from 12 years of age and older who are not accompanied by an adult. Children often go without medical care because doctors legally cannot treat children under the age of 18 without parental consent. They often don't have the paperwork needed to allow them to become eligible for various benefits including health insurance. Thirty states now have laws in place to help homeless youth. Nevada is one of them and allows children to sign their own consent for treatment if they are living apart from their parents or guardians and managing their own financial affairs. 
The UNLV School of Medicine and the UNLV Health Law program plan to work closely with NPHY to ensure these children receive timely medical care and legal assistance. We also will work with the VA Southern Nevada Heathcare System - which provides beds for 1,400 homeless Veterans each night - Clark County Social Services, Clark County School District, and many more organizations to ensure our community's homeless have access to medical care. By working together, we know we can make a difference.
Best wishes,
My Interview With Las Vegas Heals 

I recently participated in one of the inaugural editions of INSIDE MEDICINE, a live, interactive, online broadcast produced by Las Vegas HEALS, which will be available as both an on-demand video and audio podcast. I look forward to more visits with Doug Geinzer on INSIDE MEDICINE, produced in partnership with the Vegas Video Network.
By Ed Ort

Dr. Stacey Tovino, a leading expert in health law, bioethics, and the medical humanities is using that expertise to help shape curriculum in the new UNLV School of Medicine. Read more.

F ollow Our Progress