What an exciting day. The United Health Foundation presented the UNLV School of Medicine with a $3 million grant. The funds will support new programs and help us plan UNLV community health clinics where our students will spend their third year taking care of patients and learning under the supervision of faculty physicians and other health professionals.
Community Health Clinics
A core piece of our clinical program will include support for the expanded Medicaid population that needs greater access to primary care in Nevada. Our clinics will be located in high-need areas and provide patients a place to access all the basic specialties. Our medical students will learn these specialties -- family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, surgery, neurology and psychiatry -- while working in the clinic. Patients will receive a range of services including check-ups, chronic disease management, and care for colds and flu.
Longitudinal Integrated Curriculum
Most medical schools require third-year students to spend most of their time in the hospital learning one specialty at a time. This is called the clerkship year. Our model -- the longitudinal integrated clerkship -- is completely different. Our students will complete their clerkship entirely in the outpatient setting, where students will learn each specialty over the course of a year, i.e., obstetrics on Monday, family medicine on Tuesday, neurology on Wednesday, and so on. Hospital experiences will take place at the end of the third year and during the fourth year.
The grant also provides support for three innovative programs in our curriculum: population health, hospitality in health care, and bioethics.
- Population health: Instead of the traditional clinical model, physicians receive incentives to keep you healthy, focus on preventive care, manage chronic diseases, and keep patients out of the emergency rooms or hospital for minor illnesses. Our practices will make profit by keeping patients healthy and ensuring medical care is provided in an effective and efficient manner. This is called population health. With support from the grant we will hire a specialist in population health to guide our population health strategy and research. Our goal is to publish papers based on our findings so we can help others deliver medical care using this model.
- Hospitality in health care: Since I arrived in Las Vegas, I've been so impressed at how hotels and restaurants make their establishments feel welcoming and comfortable. In coordination with UNLV's Harrah Hotel College, we will hire a joint faculty member to help us plan and incorporate many hospitality best practices into our clinics. This is important in medicine. Many insurance companies now recognize the importance of patient satisfaction. They are now measuring these outcomes and have begun to give additional incentives to doctors with high patient satisfaction.
- Bioethics: The final project the grant will support is one I've described here before, bioethics. We will hiring a faculty member in this area to serve as a resource for planning our curriculum and working with the UNLV Boyd School of Law. They will encourage students and faculty to discuss and share personal points of view on ethical issues that arise in routine patient care. Ethical issues often don't have a black or white answer but often involve social, cultural, legal and other issues that need to be considered when helping an individual patient and their family. The kinds of issues may include decisions on end-of-life care, how to handle an adolescent with a venereal disease and who needs to be told about that diagnosis, and what should be done about a child who appears to have an addiction.
We are very pleased to be partnering with the United Health Foundation and are grateful to the entire UnitedHealth Group for their incredible support. We also want to thank the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents for their support and help -- especially Regents James Dean Leavitt, Dr. Mark Doubrava, and Kevin Page for their vision to create a medical school in Southern Nevada.