Friends and Colleagues,
When people ask me how I'm planning for a new medical school, I tell them it's easy: make the school responsive to the needs of the community.
When I arrived in Las Vegas last year, I met many members of the community to learn about the local medical care. I learned that while there are excellent doctors and programs, there just aren't enough of them to care for Las Vegas's fast-growing population. Whether it is for basic primary care or routine exams, people often cannot get a timely appointment.
Additionally, there is a critical need for the highly specialized care for cancer patients who need bone marrow, liver or pancreatic transplants, and ventricular assist devices for severe heart failure patients. These services are currently not available in Las Vegas, yet are fundamental for a comprehensive, robust health care system. Perhaps the biggest need is for mental health services. Nevada ranks 50th out of 50 states in the number of psychiatrists per 100,000 population. Our goal is to improve our health care system by producing more physicians, generating more premier research and creating more quality jobs.
Spending time with the local community was invaluable. Not only did I get a sense of the needs, I was able to share our vision for how UNLV Medicine will enhance Southern Nevada's health care system. One of our goals is to embed the culture of our school into the community so we can make a measurable impact in the life and health of our residents. That is why our students will be required to perform community service during all four years of their education, working in health agencies and practicing in outpatient teaching clinics based on the principles of hospitality, like active listening, being mindful of comfort, keeping customers well informed, and exceeding expectations.
Finally, I want to extend a personal thanks to everyone in the community, from the Rotary Clubs, to the chambers, associations, boards and advocacy groups who have been so welcoming and supportive. I have enjoyed meeting you and learning firsthand what you envision in a medical school like UNLV Medicine. Your insight is helping us understand your needs so we can better shape our innovative curriculum and student activities.