RENO, NV - Chris Goodwill is in his second year of medical school at the University Of Nevada School of Medicine.
A Las Vegas resident, he knew he would be spending his first two years in northern Nevada for lab work, lectures and advanced medical and science classes.
The next two years will be in Las Vegas for the clinical side of medical school.
“One thing I've been thinking a lot about is physical medicine and rehabilitation. They don't offer that here, so I'd have to go out of state to do that residency, and a lot of those statistics show where you do your residency is where you stay to live and practice,” says Goodwill.
Goodwill's scenario is not unusual in Nevada; students who go to medical school here often leave the state for residencies not offered here.
That's a problem.
The UNSOM's dean says that's not the only problem; he believes if both ends of the state offered all four years of medical school at each campus, Nevada would have more doctors to fill a physician shortage.
“Start with a statewide school; two campuses would cost half that to have two full campuses to have the pipeline of students--to start the student development in Las Vegas, and expand residencies and fellowships and much more training for doctors in Nevada,” says Thomas Schwenk M.D, Dean of the University of Nevada School Of Medicine.
The dean says some critics believe the move will eventually mean the entire medical school will be placed in Las Vegas.
He says that is not the intent.
He believes the campus in Reno is viable; the challenge will be developing more quality clinical and residency programs.
While a medical education campus is in the planning stage in Las Vegas, it will take time to staff it and maintain it.
Two separate medical schools, he says, may or may not be the ultimate goal, but it's at least 10 years away.
The dean says putting all arguments aside, this is going to cost money.
They'll be asking for $20 million from the Legislature and hope the governor puts it in his budget.
Dean Schwenk says there's a misconception northern Nevada will get the short end of medical education once the campus is started in Las Vegas.
He says northern Nevada's campus has a lot going for it, and there are plenty of medical students and professionals who want to train and work.