Preliminary accreditation granted to UNLV School of Medicine

On October 18,  2016,  the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) School of Medicine was officially granted preliminary accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) and may begin accepting students for its 2017 charter class.

“I am absolutely thrilled by today’s news,” said Barbara Atkinson, MD, founding dean of UNLV’s new medical school. “Having been through many accreditation processes throughout my career and feeling very confident about the quality of work produced by this team, it was still very gratifying to receive the positive call. This is a very rigorous process. Today is one the highlights of my professional career.”

The granting of preliminary accreditation means the UNLV School of Medicine met all 12 standards used by the LCME, the national accrediting body that reviews MD-granting institutions in the U.S. and Canada. The standards include the medical school’s leadership, planning, finances, curriculum, faculty, facilities, and student support.

While the school’s preliminary accreditation was not guaranteed, a site visit in July from a team appointed by the LCME did portend today’s good news. The survey site team’s report highlighted several strengths in the UNLV School of Medicine’s program, including an experienced and skilled senior leadership team, a thoughtful and innovative curriculum, and a comprehensive approach to faculty development.

Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Regents James Dean Leavitt and Mark Doubrava, MD, who were integral to the medical school’s creation, said they have been waiting for this day since 2013. “It’s exciting to see a dream of many years become a reality,” said Leavitt, chair of the NSHE’s Health Sciences System Committee.

Doubrava, vice chair of the Health Sciences System Committee, added, “It’s quite an achievement and the result of the support and hard work from the entire community — southern Nevada should be very proud today. The new medical school is an important step toward improving the Las Vegas Valley’s stressed health care system.”

UNLV President Len Jessup says the accreditation announcement caps off a number of major milestones for the university this week from hosting the presidential debate, to the approval of a new stadium for use by the UNLV football team and potentially the Oakland Raiders, to launching the medical school’s first clinic — UNLV Medicine Ackerman Autism Center.

“UNLV is undergoing a renaissance in so many areas, and the School of Medicine is an important part of UNLV’s role and relevance in the community and beyond. It’s been an exciting week for the university, its leadership, and the entire community and state.”

For more information about UNLV School of Medicine and its student admissions’ policy go to or call (702) 895-4573.

Republished from UNLV School of Medicine News Center/ CAMPUS NEWS/OCT 18, 2016/BY PAM UDALL

Rendering: A preliminary architectural rendering of the future UNLV School of Medicine academic building, to be located in the heart of the city’s medical district near the UNLV Shadow Lane Campus and University Medical Center.

UMC Lions Burn Care Center receives prestigious verification.

The UMC Lions Burn Care Center recently became one of only a few hospitals in the nation to be verified as a Burn Center by the American Burn Association and the Committee on Trauma of the American College of Surgeons. This achievement recognizes the UMC Lions Burn Care Center’s commitment to providing patients with the highest level of burn care.

“The UMC Lions Burn Care Center has truly earned its reputation as a trusted leader in adult and pediatric burn care,” said UMC Lions Burn Care Center Medical Director Dr. Jay Coates. “Our recent verification as a Burn Center reflects our team’s steadfast dedication to providing the excellent care our patients deserve.”

As of April 8, 2016, only 67 organizations in the U.S. had received Burn Center verification, according to information published by the American Burn Association.

Established jointly by the American College of Surgeons and the American Burn Association in 1995, the Burn Center Verification/Consultation Program for Hospitals promotes the development of burn centers in which participants provide the hospital resources necessary for optimal care of burn patients. This spectrum of care extends from the pre-hospital phase through the rehabilitation process.

In addition to the verification as an Adult and Pediatric Burn Center, the UMC Lions Burn Care Center also recently introduced the UMC Burn Consult mobile app, which allows physicians throughout Nevada and surrounding states to easily transmit photos to UMC’s burn surgeons within seconds and receive consultations. Provided as a complimentary service to all physicians who might treat burn patients, the HIPAA-compliant app offers valuable treatment information from burn specialists for improved patient outcomes across the region. UMC invites physicians to contact Burn Program Manager Mary Martinat, RN at 702-671-1087 or to complete a simple registration process for the app, which is available on iPhone and Android devices.

Established in 1968, the UMC Lions Burn Care Center serves as the only burn care center in Nevada, providing inpatient and outpatient care to Nevada residents and individuals from surrounding states.

Photo: Courtesy of UMC. UMC Lions Burn Care Center team members participate in a simulation exercise at the facility.

Desert Radiology ranked number 21 in top 100 radiology practices in U.S.

Desert Radiology, celebrating 50 years of serving Las Vegas, is among the fastest growing healthcare providers in southern Nevada. Ranked number 21 in the top 100 radiology practices in the country for 2015 by Radiology Business Journal, Desert Radiology continues to grow their business and reduce costs, while maintaining the highest standard of care.

The practice currently has 65 board certified, USA trained physicians, and over 350 personnel providing technical and administrative support. They are the exclusive provider for a large cancer center, a group of multi-specialty medical centers and several other facilities throughout Nevada, as well as providing services for 15 hospitals throughout Nevada, Texas and New Mexico. Desert Radiology performs over 1.3 million procedures annually in their seven imaging facilities, including their newest Southwest location which opened in September.

The highly trained group of radiologists at Desert Radiology includes physicians with a variety of specialties, who have received training at top institutions. Some of the specialties include nuclear medicine, women’s imaging, PET imaging and neuroradiology, amongst many others. The diverse staff has been trained at institutions such as UCLA, Northwestern, Emory, University of Michigan and other prominent universities. All the physicians are members of the American College of Radiology and many have other affiliations with professional organizations such as the Radiological Society of North America, the American College of Nuclear Medicine and the Society for Pediatric Radiology.

The team at Desert Radiology reflect the highest standards of care by providing their patients with the most advanced radiology procedures and diagnostic imaging available. They are proud to offer Genius 3D Mammography™ which detects 41% more invasive breast cancers and reduces false positives by up to 40%. In addition to the 3D and traditional mammograms, Desert Radiology performs DEXA Bone Density scans, CT and Ultrasound guided biopsy, 3T MRI, Ultrasound and X-Ray imaging among other services on the most up-to-date equipment on the market. For patient convenience, X-Rays are performed on a walk-in basis at most of our facilities and do not require an appointment. Some facilities offer extended hours to help patients who need care outside of regular business hours.

Desert Radiology also offers an array of interventional and vascular services at their dedicated interventional clinic, Desert Vascular Institute. Their interventional radiologists specialize in minimally invasive image-guided diagnostic and therapeutic procedures for cardiovascular conditions as well as a broad range of services for patients with cancer, pain, diabetes, liver, kidney, and other conditions.

In 2016 Desert Radiology is celebrating 50 years of serving their community and looks forward to continuing to provide the highest level of care possible. They provide full diagnostic and interventional radiology services, operating seven conveniently located facilities, including their woman’s imaging center located in the heart of the Las Vegas Medical District.  For more information on Desert Radiology, please contact them at 702-759-8600 or visit

Photo: Courtesy of Desert Radiology. From left to right: Dr. Dianne Mazzu and Dr. Lisa Wong.

Commitment to training expands healthcare access in Nevada.

After four years of medical school, becoming a doctor involves ongoing mentorship from more seasoned physicians during a residency and, for many, a fellowship as well. Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health has taken a leading role in providing graduate medical education (GME) in Las Vegas, training neurology residents from Valley Hospital and general medicine residents from the University of Nevada School of Medicine, including David Berg, MD (see sidebar).

In 2012, the center was accredited by the United Council of Neurological Subspecialties (UCNS) for its fellowship in behavioral neurology. Aaron Ritter, MD, started in July 2014 as the center’s first fellow. Dr. Ritter has excelled and will be joining the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health staff.

Dr. Ritter praises Gabriel Léger, MD, CM, FRPC, Director, Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry Fellowship: “His knowledge base and passion for neurology are amazing. His patients truly appreciate his thoroughness. When I encounter a difficult case, I ask myself, ‘What would Dr. Léger do?’ ”

Of Dylan Wint, MD, Nevada based Energy Chair for Brain Health Education, Dr. Ritter says, “You can’t help but be influenced by Dr. Wint because of his ability to really listen and to address the patient’s concerns in a personal, collaborative way with honest, straightforward language.”

GME: Who benefits?
Although patients being seen by a resident or fellow may initially think they are not seeing the “real doctor,” the assessment can be more comprehensive than that of a staff physician because trainees are allotted more time to fully explore the patient’s complaints and concerns. Thorough diagnostic and therapeutic discussions occur between the mentoring staff (who also see the patient) and the trainee.

The presence of trainees enhances the environment of a medical practice. Trainees’ developing interest in their new field of study leads to more frequent exchanges with all staff, including advanced practice clinicians, nurses and support staff, which promotes teamwork and cutting-edge approaches.

A behavioral neurologist’s view
Dr. Ritter’s passion for behavioral neurology lies in the brain being the seat of behavior, with altered behaviors being driven by problems that may include dementia, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or another brain disease.

“Even though neurodegenerative diseases affect millions of people, the medical community still does not adequately address the needs of patients afflicted with these diseases,” Dr. Ritter says. “The Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health represents a major paradigm shift in how patients with neurodegenerative diseases are treated and their families are supported. While new treatments are desperately needed, current therapies can help ease many of the symptoms that are associated with these diseases.”

Perhaps that compassion is what prompted Cleveland Clinic to honor Dr. Ritter with its Excellence in Teaching Award for both 2015 and 2016. He was selected from among 1,800 Cleveland Clinic trainees.

 As of July 2016, Dr. Ritter and his mentors, Dr. Léger and Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health Director Jeffrey Cummings, MD, ScD, are the only fellowship-trained behavioral neurologists in Las Vegas.

What’s next for Las Vegas?
In addition to providing more than 95,000 patient visits since opening in 2009, the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health has added new physicians, who will in turn provide even more patient visits, thus exponentially increasing healthcare access for Nevadans.

Due to the vibrancy of their GME experience in Las Vegas, both Dr. Ritter and Dr. Berg have chosen to hang their shingles here, thus improving access for those needing inpatient and neurology care. Their example shows why GME is critical to a city’s growth in healthcare: Seventy percent of physician trainees remain to practice in the city where they completed their GME.

Dr. Ritter predicts that the two new medical schools slated to open in Las Vegas — Roseman University College of Medicine and UNLV School of Medicine — and the resulting increase in GME positions will shape the growth of the medical community, adding new thinkers and fostering new opportunities to improve.

Asked why he and his wife, Susan, a primary care physician who also practices in Las Vegas, decided to stay after he completed training, Dr. Ritter replied, “There are unique opportunities in Vegas and a need for more doctors. It’s a small medical community interested in growing and collaborating.”

As for the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, “It’s truly unique on a national level to have a stand-alone facility devoted to solving brain health problems,” he says. “We have the latest technology and clinical research studies.” Dr. Ritter, who has a passion for research, adds, “A major goal of this center is to find better treatment for these diseases. This is the kind of place that will contribute to finding the cure.”

Until then, we’ll keep training more physicians.

Photo: Provided by Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. Left to Right: Dylan Wint, MD and Aaron Ritter MD.

Handwashing for a healthy flu season – don’t forget this simple advice.

As flu season approaches, the Southern Nevada Health District is reminding everyone that in addition to getting a flu shot, keeping your hands clean is an important step you can take to stay healthy and stop the spread of germs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), handwashing can reduce the risk of respiratory infections by 16 percent. In a study on the effects of alcohol-based hand sanitizer use in elementary schools, there was an overall reduction in absenteeism due to infection by 19.8 percent among 16 elementary schools and 6,000 students.

In order to be most effective there are appropriate techniques for handwashing and the use of hand sanitizers:

  • Soap is key. Soap removes germs more effectively than washing hands with just water alone. Soap contains compounds called surfactants which help to remove microbes from the skin. People using soap also scrub their hands more thoroughly, which helps to remove germs.
  • Washing hands thoroughly takes longer than you think. The time it takes to wash your hands depends on a number of factors, including the type and amount of soil on your hands. The CDC recommends washing your hands for about 20 seconds – the time it takes to hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
  • Technique counts. Pay attention to the backs of your hands, in between your fingers, and under your nails. Create a lather and scrub your hands to create friction, which helps to remove soil, and germs from your skin.
  • Drying is an important step. It is easier to transfer germs to and from wet hands. Make sure to dry your hands thoroughly each time you wash them with a clean towel or by air drying if possible.
  • Hand sanitizer is an option. If handwashing with soap and running water is not an option, use an alcohol–based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Use enough product to cover all surfaces of your hands and do not rinse or wipe off the hand sanitizer before it is dry.

“Clean hands are not a trivial matter,” said Dr. Joe Iser, Chief Health Officer of the Southern Nevada Health District. “Not only does proper handwashing help to prevent the flu and other respiratory infections, it can also reduce illness and even death associated with other illnesses.”

According to the CDC, 1.8 million children under the age of 5 are killed every year by diarrheal diseases and pneumonia. These two types of illness are the leading killers of children around the world. Appropriate handwashing can prevent one out of every three diarrheal illness and one out of five respiratory infections in young children – making many of the deaths preventable with soap and water.

More information and handwashing resources are available on the Health District website at:

Access information about the Southern Nevada Health District on its website: Follow the Health District on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

The Health District is available in Spanish on Twitter: Don’t have a Twitter account? Follow the Health District on your phone by texting “follow SNHDinfo” to 40404. Additional information and data can be accessed through the Healthy Southern Nevada website: