Written by Dr. Mark Penn
Mark Penn, MD, MBA, is the founding dean of the Roseman University College of Medicine
This is an extraordinary time in the history of Nevada — a state known for reinvention — as improving the access to and quality of healthcare has emerged as one of its most ambitious endeavors in decades. Expansion of medical education has taken center stage, and Nevada’s residents will benefit tremendously through the education and training of more doctors to fill critical shortages in primary care and many medical specialties.
The time is right. Currently, Nevada ranks 47 in the nation when it comes to the number of physicians per 100,000 residents. In Clark County, home to the vast majority of the state’s population, we need more than 2,000 additional physicians in a variety of specialties just to match the U.S. average. Increasing the number of physicians practicing in Nevada will not only improve the quality of life for the state’s residents, it will also have a substantial impact on its economy as access to high-quality healthcare is one of the deciding factors for companies looking to relocate or expand in Nevada.
Roseman University, a non-profit, private university, has answered the call. In 2010, Roseman University began planning and laying the foundation for its allopathic (MD-granting) College of Medicine. Since that time, we have been listening to community leaders, politicians, the healthcare community and more, so that we develop a medical school that will meet the unique needs of our diverse community. The Roseman University College of Medicine continues to progress through the accreditation process with the LCME (Liaison Committee on Medical Education) and will learn later this year its decision on whether to grant preliminary accreditation. After the College of Medicine achieves preliminary accreditation status, it will be allowed to recruit its charter class for fall 2017.
Roseman University College of Medicine is not alone in its mission to improve the health of the communities in Southern Nevada. We are fortunate to have two medical schools in development with the School of Medicine at UNLV being born in the same timeframe and only 10 miles away from Roseman University College of Medicine’s Summerlin Campus. It is highly unusual to have two allopathic medical schools come online simultaneously and so close to one another.
This is truly incredible. And, it is right in character for Las Vegas. It speaks to Southern Nevada’s pioneer spirit and energy and is a testament to both the renewed vitality of our economy and the determination of our community and its leaders.
The economic impact of one medical school on our community has been stated clearly in public documents. Figures of upwards of $1 billion have been mentioned, just for one medical school. Imagine the impact our two new medical schools will have. This is wonderful news for Southern Nevada and for our state.
Nevada will benefit in many ways from our two new medical schools. They will greatly increase the opportunities for Nevada students to attend medical school, and the fact that two medical schools are coming online has jump-started efforts to add graduate medical education slots (residencies) in Southern Nevada. It is well known that students are more likely to eventually practice within the state where they do their residency training. Graduate medical education is an important part of the equation for our state to meet the need for more physicians in our community, and Roseman is working with our local hospitals and other healthcare partners on how to best do this.
Having two new medical schools in our region will also boost faculty and staff recruitment. That means more jobs. There is awareness nationally in the medical arena that exciting things are happening in Nevada. This is attracting incredibly talented physicians, biomedical researchers and medical education experts from across the country. Roseman University College of Medicine has hired many who have joined our growing faculty and administration that also includes outstanding local talent.
Our state needs more physicians, and Roseman is proud to be part of the solution. We are also thankful for the foundations in medical education that have been laid by the University of Nevada School of Medicine and Touro University Nevada. Together all four medical schools are bringing on the next revolution in medical education and healthcare that will greatly benefit our Nevada communities.