Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013 | 2 a.m.
A four-year medical school for Southern Nevada is a great idea for all the reasons the Sun iterated in the article “Report: Medical school at UNLV could have $900 million economic impact.”
Our community already has Touro University’s four-year medical school in Henderson. Still, Touro is an osteopathic medical school as opposed to an allopathic school — and it lacks an affiliation with UNLV that would engender prestige as well as community support.
But we don’t really need more medical students. What we need is more, and a wider array of, post-graduate specialty training programs. Nevada ranks 21st in the United States for medical students per 100,000 people, yet only 46th for specialty training programs per 100,000 people. Of Nevada’s 780 medical students, Touro enrolls 540 while the Reno-based University of Nevada School of Medicine accounts for a mere 240, according to reports in other media.
There’s a speedy and economical way to resolve many of these issues. If the Touro medical school were to be purchased by UNLV and the school’s charter simultaneously changed from osteopathy to allopathic medicine, the new College of Medicine would immediately own a building designed for teaching medical students, a competent faculty and many clinical clerkships. The arrangement might require some consideration in addition to cash changing hands, but these kinds of negotiations are something at which Nevada excels.
Perhaps the new school could be called the UNLV Touro College of Medicine to honor both its genesis and its hope for the future of our community.