Issue 37 - March 22, 2016
Making the Rounds with Founding Dean Dr. Barbara Atkinson
Friends and Colleagues,    

Many community members have asked me about my personal journey to leadership. We all arrive in leadership positions from different paths. When I started medical school I was pretty shy and not someone you would expect to become a leader. However, by the time I finished medical school at Thomas Jefferson University and residency training at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, I was asked to join the Penn Medicine faculty and became the director of the Cytopathology Laboratory of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Cytopathology is a subspecialty of Pathology where you look at cells through a microscope to make the diagnosis of cancer. The most well known use of cytopathology is the Pap smear that is used to prevent or detect cancer of the cervix. Cells can also be taken from bodily fluids or through needle aspirations of most sites in the body. As the director of the cytopathology lab I was in charge of 20 technologists, the laboratory accreditation, and teaching programs for technologists and pathology residents. The position provided opportunities for me to hone my leadership skills and provided me with several great mentors.
 
Outstanding leaders have defining qualities. I've spent a lot of time thinking about how to be an excellent leader. For instance, a good leader tackles a project, problem or initiative by developing a clear vision for the team and a path for success. The process I learned consists of these steps: (1) develop and lay out a clear vision; (2) create a roadmap; (3) gain buy-in from the team that it's a worthy goal and the right path; (4) select qualified and highly competent people who can get the job done; (5) communicate the vision in a consistent and compelling way to gain support; (6) show progress along the path; and (7) keep everyone informed and on the same page. I used this process when I became the dean of medicine at the University of Kansas. One of my goals there was to develop a National Cancer Institute designated cancer center in Kansas City. It took 10 years and more than $350 million raised but we did achieve our goal and Kansas City continues to benefit from the University of Kansas Cancer Center.
 
I'm using the same steps to build a new medical school in Las Vegas.
Our vision is to create a world-class center of excellence and innovation for medical education, patient care, and research that prepares Nevada's physicians with the most advanced knowledge, treatments, and technologies while serving the health care needs of our diverse urban community. Our goal is to immerse our medical students in the community so they will want to stay and work here and become future community leaders.
 
My next step is to continue to hire outstanding leaders for individual programs.  A year ago, we hired the academic leadership team: Ellen Cosgrove, MD, vice dean of academic affairs and Sam Parrish, MD, senior associate dean of student affairs and admissions. They are in charge of the curriculum, the students and the admissions process. Because it is essential for accreditation, we are farther ahead in the education component of the school and now have leaders for individual programs like problem-based learning, community service learning, and curriculum management and evaluation.
 
Drs. Green and Atkinson
Recently, we introduced the top leadership for our clinical and research areas. Tracey Green, MD, is the vice dean of clinical affairs and Parvesh Kumar, MD, will lead our research and cancer programs. Department chair appointments are the next important recruitments for the medical school. Each department chair is responsible for developing specific goals for their department and leading their faculty toward achieving these clinical, teaching and research goals. We already have a few chairs and will be recruiting more over the next year. Stay tuned for updates.
 
Thank you, everyone, for your amazing support and help - every step we have accomplished is because of you. And we don't take that for granted.
 
Best wishes,
 
Barbara       
Community Advisory Board Spotlight

Meet City of Las Vegas Councilwoman, Lois Tarkanian, PhD, a lifelong advocate for education. Tarkanian is passionate in her support for the new medical school and making a home for it in the Las Vegas Medical District (LVMD). The master plan approved for the LVMD will ensure the UNLV School of Medicine is developed for new students and businesses, providing for housing, social interaction, medical specialties and safety. As the city works to recruit complementary businesses she is working with staff to keep in mind the school's specialties in Cardiology, Mental Health and Addiction, Neuroscience, Oncology, and Orthopedics.
American's Diabetes Hour 


I joined Bob Fisher, AM 720 KDWN and Dr. Jerry Reeves, senior vice president of medical affairs, HealthInsight of Nevada to discuss diabetes, its impact on patients, and how our medical school will educate future physicians to care for diabetic patients. The program will re-air Sunday, March 27 at 6 pm. You can also listen to the pre-recorded program here.
F ollow Our Progress