Councilman Brian Knudsen’s vision for LVMD.

Councilman Brian Knudsen is passionate about the Las Vegas Medical District – not just because the 684-acre center of medicine is in Ward 1, which he was elected to serve, but as a parent of two small children, he deeply appreciates the need for quality healthcare close to home.

As the city of Las Vegas has worked diligently over the past 20-plus years to help grow the Las Vegas Medical District, Knudsen acknowledges the city’s single most important role today is to bring about the right environment for development that will encourage the private sector to invest in the area.

“More retail and restaurants, along with neighborhood services like dry cleaners and banks, and, of course, more quality apartments and places to live, will better serve the medical students, doctors and thousands of others who work in the Medical District,” Knudsen said.  “It’s incumbent on us to ensure the Las Vegas Medical District develops in a way that meets the needs of those who work and study there every day.” 

Knudsen appreciates the city’s significant investment in infrastructure in the area, including development along the Charleston Blvd. corridor, expanded sidewalks and redevelopment of the Rancho corridor from 95 to Sahara.  “Making the area more walkable is also key to its success as an accessible and welcoming place,” he said.

While the UNLV School of Medicine stands as a bright beacon for the future of the Las Vegas Medical District, Knudsen believes one of the biggest challenges faced by the area is the lack of graduate medical education. 

“We don’t have enough slots for residencies at our local hospitals in the District,” he said. “We know that medical residents tend to launch their practices where they do their residencies, so it’s incumbent upon us to ensure there are enough opportunities, especially for those with ties to Southern Nevada. The worst thing we can do is train new doctors on taxpayer dollars and  watch them leave the state. We need to work with our federal delegation and the local medical community to ensure we address this important issue.”

Knudsen is also concerned about reimbursement rates for doctors that affect their commitment to staying in the area.  “We need to work with the state legislature and others to ensure our reimbursement rates are not only commensurate with the services provided, but competitive with other areas of the country,” he said.  “As we endeavor to attract much needed preventative medicine practitioners and health care specialists, it’s imperative Las Vegas remains an attractive option for these highly trained individuals to put down roots.”

Knudsen is particularly excited about the funding for the UNLV School of Medicine recently approved by Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Regents. “It’s happening,” said Knudsen of the medical school’s future.  “With funding in place, we can rest assured the Las Vegas Medical District will become an important center of medical learning, healing and treatment.” 

Photo: Courtesy of city of Las Vegas; Brian Knudsen, Councilman Ward 1

Valley hosts Blood Drive in honor of 1 October.

In honor of 1 October, Valley Hospital Medical Center gave back to the community by hosting a Blood Drive sponsored by the American Red Cross. With an ambitious goal of collecting 35 units, the blood drive easily surpassed that number with a total of 45 units of donated blood.  Thanks to both the American Red Cross and the community at large, the drive was well supported and successful.   

Concurrent to the Blood Drive, members of Valley Hospital’s leadership team held up a 1 October Remembrance Banner at the entrance of the newly dedicated Reflections of Hope Quiet Room to honor victims and survivors. Additionally, the former chapel was recently remodeled and dedicated in memory of those affected on 1 October 2017. Among those honored and remembered were Valley Hospital patients who were cared for as a result of the Route 91 shooting, in addition to their families, staff and physicians – and all those impacted by this tragedy.

Photo: Courtesy of Valley Hospital – (from left to right) Tina Sprague, MHA – Executive Assistant, Claude R. Wise III – CEO/Managing Director, Geoffrey Empey – Assistant Administrator, Jessica Hensler – Chief Operating Officer.

Lily T. García joins UNLV School of Dental Medicine as Dean.

On Sept. 1, Lily T. García became dean of the School of Dental Medicine.  She previously served as associate dean for education at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics, where she focused on assessing and improving educational programs. She also coordinated teaching and learning programs and was a key contact for curriculum management and tracking educational trends.

García’s advocacy and leadership have been recognized by the Hispanic Dental Association, and she has earned a Presidential Citation from the American Dental Education Association.

As dean of the UNLV School of Dental Medicine, García plans to work with the university’s health-related schools and help students prepare for practicing dentistry as a vital part of a person’s overall well-being. Within the School of Dental Medicine, García said her priorities will be to strengthen faculty through filling a number of openings, and to expand the school’s ties to community partners and friends within dentistry as well as among state and local leaders.

“I want students not only to feel UNLV is a great learning environment, but that Nevada is a great place to grow professionally and to thrive in their practices while providing good oral health care for our community,” she said, adding that UNLV’s vision for an Academic Health Center is forward thinking for students, community well-being and economic development.

“We are moving toward person-centered health care,” García said. “Oral health is part of overall health. Everybody needs to have healthy teeth, the ability to eat and smile in order to be confident and productive.”

García specializes in prosthodontics, the extensive, complex restoration of a person’s teeth to restore a person to optimal oral health in function and appearance. Her research focuses have been on effective replacement of teeth including dental implants as anchors for intraoral prosthodontic rehabilitation.

García is a sought-after lecturer and has published numerous articles and abstracts. She has co-authored and edited numerous textbooks, including Removable Partial Dentures: A Clinician’s Guide, Physical Evaluation in Dental Practice. She co-edited the 2019 Dental Clinics of North America – Prosthodontics. She has served on editorial boards of dental journals including the Editorial Council for the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry. She is a reviewer for the Journal of the American Dental Association and the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry.

Learn more about the UNLV School of Dental Medicine.

Photo: Courtesy of UNLV School of Dental Medicine; Lily T. García, dean of the School of Dental Medicine

Desert Radiology partners with community to meet Southern Nevada’s radiology career growth.

The radiology industry is growing at record pace in Southern Nevada. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the number of technologists is expected to increase nine percent between 2018-2020, which is faster than all other occupations.

Desert Radiology understands this growth and attributes most of the valley’s increase to the older generations moving to Las Vegas for retirement. Recently, the Desert Radiology team at the Palomino facility held a community job fair to recruit qualified candidates for available scheduling and front desk positions. Interested applicants had the opportunity to talk with Desert Radiology team members and learn about careers within radiology and the multiple professional growth plans available.

In addition, Desert Radiology has also established partnerships with University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and College of Southern Nevada (CSN) to provide comprehensive internships to develop hands-on skills. The Desert Radiology Palomino facility works with students from both colleges to help prepare them for a career in radiology. When the internship is over, interns who have successfully completed their responsibilities are hired onto the team.

“Here at Desert Radiology we believe it’s vital to partner with our community to address the need for technologists. Radiology is critical for proper healthcare as we help diagnose multiple health conditions,” said Geri Hazelitt, Vice President of Human Resources at Desert Radiology. “By partnering with our local higher education institutions, we provide students a real hands-on experience to understand the radiology career and how they can make an impact on the overall health of our community.”

Desert Radiology currently has 10 interns from UNLV and CSN who are rotating at their facilities. To learn more about internships and career opportunities, visit https://www.desertrad.com/.

Photo: Courtesy of Desert Radiology.

Making our community more dementia friendly, one encounter at a time.

Randy Bolsinger and his wife, Martie, had a favorite restaurant. It wasn’t the food or décor that kept them coming back. It was the warm welcome and caring service the staff offered, particularly as Martie’s Alzheimer’s disease progressed. 

Mr. Bolsinger now shares his experience with other businesses as a master trainer for a new initiative, Dementia Friendly Southern Nevada – Community Awareness Training (CAT). The key message of CAT training is that individuals with dementia should comfortably continue to live, shop, worship, travel, volunteer, and engage with their communities over the course of an illness that can span a decade. 

CAT presentations are designed with modules for employees and volunteers at businesses, faith-based communities and social service/civic organizations. The one-hour training offers practical tips and strategies to provide better service and support for persons with dementia and caregivers. The goal is to increase awareness of dementia and highlight communication techniques, physical space considerations and the importance of support for caregivers.

Mr. Bolsinger acknowledges how continuing to go to a restaurant benefitted him by getting out of the house, interacting with others, as well as getting a night off from cooking: “The staff learned how to make Martie feel special and make her smile by saying simple things like ‘that is a great choice’ or ‘that is one of  my favorites, too.’ That made me smile as her husband and caregiver.”

As part of the dementia friendly training, attendees receive a participant guide, which helps organizations follow up on areas important to them. For example, McCarran Airport participants expressed an interest in understanding how to better serve the thousands of passengers with dementia who use the airport.

Following a presentation at New Song Lutheran Church, Optics Senior Ministry is exploring how to create a more friendly physical space for congregants with dementia. They also hosted an education session to learn about normal aging, dementia and actions to improve brain health. 

Patty Duffey, Ministry Leader at New Song, explains, “A large number of seniors attend our church, and we know there are some who have been diagnosed with dementia. We appreciate the partnership with the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health so we can keep our doors open to all who want to nourish their souls.” 

Community Awareness Training is free of charge through Dementia Friendly Southern Nevada, an education and advocacy group convened by the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. Trainers will come to your location. To schedule a presentation, contact Susan Hirsch, LCSW: hirschs@ccf.org or 702.701.7940.

Photo: Courtesy of Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health; Dementia Friendly Southern Nevada – Community Awareness Training (CAT).