Town Hall reveals the New Face of Healthcare in Southern Nevada.

At the recent Town Hall on February 27 entitled “Meet the New Face of Healthcare in Southern Nevada,” and hosted by the city of Las Vegas and Clark County Medical Society, members of the Las Vegas Medical District came together to discuss the future of medicine in our community to an audience of more than 150 stakeholders. Presenters shared updates on their respective programs and profiles of the students enrolled in these programs to paint a robust picture of those who will soon shape the practice and delivery of healthcare in Southern Nevada.

According to Diane Z. Chase, Ph.D., Executive Vice President and Provost, UNLV, members of the inaugural class of the UNLV School of Medicine were recruited, in part, based on their ties to Nevada. Those with residency and family connections to the Silver State were given preference to encourage more graduating doctors to stay and practice in Nevada. “The future of medicine here rests in large part on the next generation of doctors, nurses and other practitioners who are being trained right now.”

Chase discussed the university’s various medical programs which include more than 5,000 students. Highlights include the fact that UNLV School of Medicine students were trained as Emergency Medical Technicians right off the bat. The experience of riding along with ambulance crews helped them learn about underserved populations in the community. UNLV’s School of Allied Health Services is adding a new doctorate program in occupational therapy and a master’s in nutrition sciences while performing some groundbreaking research. In the department of Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences, students are exploring the effect of weighted backpacks for children with autism; and in the department of Health Physics and Diagnostic Sciences, research is underway on the effect of cosmic radiation on human tissues.

At UNLV’s School of Nursing, the university’s longest-running health-related school established 53 years ago, more than 200 undergraduate and 100 graduate students are enrolled each year. The program has been ranked among the top 20 schools in the nation for best online graduate Nursing programs by U.S. News & World Report since 2014.

At UNLV’s School of Community Health Sciences, students are on the front lines of education, research and service in public health. For example, the School’s Healthy Homes program partners students with the city of Las Vegas and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to offer free repairs on the city’s oldest homes, removing lead-based paint and other health hazards.

And finally, UNLV’s School of Dental Medicine receives more than 2,000 applicants each year for 80 positions. Committed to the community, the School of Dental Medicine has delivered more than $1 million in free services via 50,000 to 60,000 visits, providing dental care to Southern Nevada’s underserved populations.

John Fildes, M.D., Medical Director of UMC’s Trauma Center and Chair of the UNLV School of Medicine Department of Surgery, said the Department of Surgery has graduated 113 residents in General Surgery, Plastic Surgery and Otolaryngology, along with 48 fellows in Acute Care Surgery, Microvascular Plastic Surgery and other areas. UMC’s “surgical learners” are in their 20s and 30s; one-third are women; one in five are from Nevada or have strong ties to the state; they finished in the top half of their medical schools; and half go into private practice while half pursue fellowships.

On the topic of One October, Fildes painted a very compelling picture of UMC’s response, which has been well chronicled by the global media. In fact, the U.S. Military is now studying UMC’s heroic and successful response to the mass shooting as a possible case study to share with other major metropolitan hospitals throughout the country. Notably and remarkably, not a single patient who arrived at UMC alive that night died. That fact alone speaks volumes about the quality of care victims received.

According to Fildes, in addition to the many on-staff doctors and nurses who responded to the tragedy that night, more than 30 residents and fellows worked alongside surgeons, helping to triage and evaluate patients brought to UMC that night, and performing surgeries alongside the attending surgeons and providing follow-up care for patients.

“A normal busy night at UMC’s Trauma Center might include two or three gunshot wounds,” said Fildes. “So by comparison, the One October numbers are unprecedented. Our entire staff, including medical students, military surgeons from Nellis Air Force Base and other area hospitals, all responded to the call. It was a remarkable team effort and highly coordinated response to a despicable act.”

Down the street from UMC is Valley Hospital which runs a Pharmacy Resident Program. According to Cynthia Derouin, Director of Pharmacy for Valley Hospital Medical Center, two candidates were chosen from 27 national applicants in 2017 for pharmacy residencies. Valley Hospital, which now participates in the National Match program for pharmacy residencies, looks to expand the program in the future by adding a second year of intensive training in a specialty area such as critical care, infectious disease or oncology.

Photo: Diane Z. Chase, Ph.D., Executive Vice President and Provost, UNLV, speaks at the event.

A New Face of Healthcare in Southern Nevada: Colby Shreve.

Las Vegas native, Bonanza High School and UNLV graduate, Colby Shreve, 29, is now a first-year student at the UNLV School of Medicine.  Chosen from a field of more than 800 students for the inaugural class, Shreve’s non-traditional path to medicine included a six-year stint as a professional baseball player after being drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008 from the College of Southern Nevada.

A pitcher, Shreve played with a number of minor league farm teams associated with the Phillies throughout his baseball career, including the Clearwater Threshers and Lakewood BlueClaws.

“I always knew I wanted to end up with a science-based career after baseball,” said Shreve. “So being chosen as part of the inaugural class of the UNLV School of Medicine is both an honor and a dream come true for me. My end goal is to become the go-to doctor in my chosen field in my hometown of Las Vegas, inspired by my own elbow surgery with one of the country’s finest orthopedic surgeons, Dr. James Andrews.”

Shreve has a particular interest in radiology, due in large part to all the x-rays and diagnostic imaging tests he received as a professional athlete.  However, as a first-year medical student, he is enjoying exposure to all facets of medicine and has a long time to declare his specialty.

“My wife and I are expecting our first baby in April, so I have lots of motivation to stay on top of my studies to become the very best doctor I can be, while giving back to the community where I grew up.  I can’t explain what it means to me to be studying medicine in my hometown with my growing little family by my side.”

Photo: Colby Shreve, UNLV School of Medicine

SDMI celebrates a dream 30 years in the making.

In 1988, Dr. Leon Steinberg, Dr. David Steinberg and Dr. Mark Winkler watched as the construction was finalized on the very first Steinberg Diagnostic Medical Imaging (SDMI) building.  As SDMI remembers the life of Dr. Leon Steinberg, it looks back at what has grown from his dreams. SDMI may have opened its doors 30 years ago, but Dr. Leon saw the potential of a dedicated outpatient radiology practice long before that.

“My father often reminded us that it takes hard work and dedication, but he knew what SDMI could become and gave us the vision to build on,” said Dr. David Steinberg.

In 1958, Dr. Leon Steinberg came to Las Vegas to help Sunrise Hospital build the first radiology center in Southern Nevada. Through his experience in the hospital setting, he saw a need for more patient-friendly options for medical imaging and aimed to build such a   practice. Dr. David Haas was the first radiologist hired at SDMI and when asked to look back over the last 30 years he had this to say: “The first time I met Leon Steinberg he said to me ‘If the patient comes first, everything else will fall in to place’. It was that vision that made me so pleased to choose to work with SDMI. Today, SDMI is the patriarchal radiology practice in Southern Nevada where staff and doctors embody the highest morals and ethical standards. SDMI provides an environment where everyone has an opportunity to succeed.”

The dreams of one man are now a city-wide legacy stretching from the heart of the Las Vegas Medical District on the corner of Shadow Lane and the newly renamed Wellness Way to the Henderson Health Corridor.  In total, more than 450 staff members and 30 radiologists care for more than 1,000 patients every day at SDMI’s eight locations.

SDMI’s patient-centric focus is evident throughout its facilities, from design conception to installed equipment and to the employees who are chosen to work there and represent the brand. “SDMI is consistently the first to introduce new technology to Southern Nevada because every patient deserves the best imaging available. We work tirelessly to ensure they receive it,” said Dr. Winkler.

SDMI’s 30th anniversary includes expansion of its executive staff. Recently promoted are Michelle Nicholl, Chief Human Resources Officer; Devon Evanski, Chief Financial Officer; and Rachel Papka, Chief Health Informatics Officer. They join reigning chiefs: Jerry Hartman, Operating Officer; Don Shackley, Information Officer; and Stacey Webb, Administrative Officer. Together, these six individuals continue to direct SDMI’s strategic growth, keeping patient care at the center.

“At SDMI, we continually analyze workflow, educate staff and work to increase our patient experience efforts to ensure we are growing in a way that honors the foundation on which we were built,” said Webb.

With Dr. David Steinberg at the helm and a leadership team so deeply rooted in Southern Nevada, it is no wonder that putting community first has been easy for SDMI.

This year continues its support of notable events like, Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure, American Cancer Society’s Real Men Wear Pink and CEO’s Against Cancer initiatives and most recently SDMI joined the American Lung Association as it celebrated 10 years of Scale the Strat with a team of 10 dedicated employees.

SDMI has no plans of slowing down in the years to come: You can continue to expect the same exceptional standards of patient care, top-notch equipment and community involvement from now until their next milestone anniversary and beyond.

Photo: Courtesy of SDMI; From left to right: Dr. David Steinberg, Dr. Mark Winkler and Dr. Leon Steinberg

Marwan N. Sabbagh, MD, leading Alzheimer’s disease investigator, becomes Director of Cleveland Clinic Ruvo Center in May.

Marwan N. Sabbagh, MD, a leading Alzheimer’s disease investigator, has been named Director of Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. Dr. Sabbagh will join the center in May, succeeding Jeffrey L. Cummings, MD, ScD, who has guided the center since 2010, and will hold the title of Founding Director while continuing in an advisory capacity.

Dr. Sabbagh served most recently as Director of the Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders division at Barrow Neurological Institute at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, where he held the Karsten Solheim Chair for Dementia.

“Dr. Sabbagh is an outstanding choice for our center’s next chapter,” says Keep Memory Alive Chairman & Founder Larry Ruvo. “He is an eminent clinician, researcher and author, with an emphasis on proactive steps that young people can take toward brain health. Of course, he has big shoes to fill in succeeding Dr. Cummings, but approaches brain health with a similar philosophy.”

At the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, Dr. Sabbagh will oversee sites in Las Vegas and Florida and at Cleveland Clinic’s main campus in Cleveland. He will work closely with Dr. Cummings to improve the lives of patients and caregivers affected by dementia and pursue translational research aimed at identifying new treatment options.

“I am very excited at the opportunity to lead this outstanding, rapidly growing center,” says Dr. Sabbagh. “With the passion and dedication of the Ruvos and the excellent programs built by Dr. Cummings, employees and staff, there are few neurological centers in America that rival the impact, scope and reach of the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.”

In fact, coming to the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health is a homecoming of sorts for Dr. Sabbagh.

“I trained under Dr. Leon Thal, who delivered Lou Ruvo’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis and managed his care,” he said. “Now, I have an opportunity to serve Nevadans and all who benefit from Camille and Larry Ruvo’s philanthropic vision for the center that bears Lou’s name.”

Dr. Sabbagh received his residency training in neurology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and completed his fellowship in geriatric neurology and dementia under two renowned Alzheimer’s disease experts: the late Leon Thal, MD, and the late Robert Katzman, MD, at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine. Dr. Thal worked closely with Larry Ruvo in creating the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and this history creates a remarkable connection among Dr. Thal, Dr. Sabbagh and the center.

Dr. Sabbagh has authored more than 300 medical and scientific articles on Alzheimer’s disease research and has four books to his credit, including “The Alzheimer’s Answer: Reduce Your Risk and Keep Your Brain Healthy,” with a foreword by retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Photo: Dr. Sabbagh, courtesy of Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health