Nevada Makes Progress on Doctor Shortage
Friday, May 7, 2021
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- The University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV) will graduate its very first class of 50 medical students today, marking a milestone in a fight to attract more doctors to the Silver State.
A report from the University of Nevada Reno found the state ranks 45th in the country for its number of active physicians per 100,000 people, so it's not uncommon in some areas to wait months for appointments for non-emergency care.
Dr. Marc J. Kahn, dean of the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine and UNLV vice president for health affairs, said a little more than one-third of this year's graduates have committed to doing their medical residencies in Nevada.
"Part of the issue is, we need to expand the number of residency training positions in our state," Kahn asserted. "We rank 46th when you look at number of residents per capita. We have to improve that."
Kahn noted right now, the state doesn't have training programs for certain sub-specialties, so procedures like liver and bone-marrow transplants have to be done elsewhere.
Part of the solution, he suggested, is the new $150 million UNLV medical education building under construction. The university received a $3 million grant from UnitedHealthcare to support an integrated training program and diversify the workforce.
Until now, the state had to rely entirely on the University of Nevada Reno School of Medicine, built in 1969, which will graduate about 75 medical students next week.
John Packham, associate dean for the office of statewide initiatives at the University of Nevada Reno School of Medicine, said the lifestyle and the unmet demand for medical care make Nevada an attractive place to start a new practice.
"We have a really high retention rate," Packham observed. "Typically, between 50% and 60% of physicians every year who complete their residencies and fellowships in Nevada, stay in Nevada to practice."
Packham added he's keeping an eye on budget negotiations, and hopes to see full funding for higher education, for the Governor's Task Force on Graduate Medical Education, and for the Nevada Health Service Corps, which pays off student loans for doctors who agree to practice in medically underserved areas.
get more stories like this via email
Research is emerging about the secondary trauma school staff members face after helping students during the pandemic. As summer moves forward…
Health and Wellness
A Florida judge plans to put a hold on the state's new, 15-week abortion ban, set to take effect today. He said it is unconstitutional and will issue …
The Environmental Protection Agency now has fewer tools to fight climate change, after the U.S. Supreme Court stripped the agency of its authority to …
Three projects in Idaho have been selected to receive grants from the AARP Community Challenge. Among them is the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in …
Montanans get a sense of what soil health is like on farms and ranches across the state with Northern Plains Resource Council's soil crawls. The …
A new tool aims to help older adults in Arkansas and beyond who receive Medicare track what happens at their doctor appointments. It also can help …
A campaign in Maine is gathering signatures to replace the state's investor-owned energy grid with a consumer-owned utility. Central Maine Power (…
Another important U.S. Supreme Court ruling this month has been overshadowed by the controversy about overturning abortion rights. Legal experts say …