Professionals in the medical industry will recall the critical shortage of healthcare educators that plagued Nevada five years ago. That, coupled with the fact that a venue didn’t exist at the time to recognize excellence in Nevada’s healthcare system, prompted Nevada Business Magazine to partner with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield to create Healthcare Heroes.
Since its inception five years ago, Healthcare Heroes has recognized one hundred outstanding individuals that have made significant contributions to the state’s healthcare industry. In addition, the event is structured as a non-profit with all proceeds from the event being donated to educational institutions that provide training for healthcare education. With the support of the healthcare community, and especially Southern Nevada Medical Industry Coalition (SNMIC), the event has contributed thousands of dollars in funding to train the next generation of healthcare educators.
Over the years, the medical community has embraced and supported the event which has become the state’s premier healthcare honors program. Those that wear the badge of “Healthcare Hero” are remarkable individuals whose accomplishments and commitment to improving the lives of Nevadans continues to resound throughout our state.
The program includes ten honorees from Northern Nevada and ten from Southern Nevada, each recieving an award in 10 unique categories. Those categories include administrator, care provider, educator, community partner, entrepreneur, humanitarian, innovator, non-profit, technology/research and lifetime achievement. Events are held in both ends of the state in late July or early August of each year.
Honorees are selected by a knowledgeable group of independent judges that are community leaders in healthcare from both ends of the state. With hundreds of nominations received each year, the task of judging is not an easy one. Yet, each year the judges sift through the nominees, review credentials, debate the merits of each and arrive at the ten heroes to be honored from Southern Nevada and the ten from the North. All the judges involved in the process donate their time and expertise in choosing the honorees.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has supported the event from the very first year and has been an integral part of Healthcare Heroes. Their partnership, leadership and contributions have made the event possible. Anthem’s commitment to Nevada’s healthcare community is exemplified through the Healthcare Heroes partnership as they continue to give back to the communities they serve.
The first five years of Healthcare Heroes have proven to be successful in funding scholarships, honoring healthcare excellence and touting the accomplishments of the industry to the magazine’s 82,000 monthly readers. The success of Healthcare Heroes would not be possible without the continued support of the medical community. Each year the program continues to grow in recognition, attendance and support. The goal over the next five years is to build on that legacy and continue to serve as a vehicle to fund healthcare education.
Congratulations to the 2010 Healthcare Heroes. And while there are only ten from each end of the state being honored this year, Nevada’s healthcare community is filled with caring individuals that deliver excellence every day in their field of expertise. Thank you for your uncompromising commitment to improving the lives of Nevadans.
As president and CEO for Renown Health, it is Jim Miller’s responsibility to guide the organization in its current operations as well as plan for the organization’s future. As a local Nevadan, Jim takes this responsibility seriously and is concerned for the future of healthcare in our state. To help ensure Renown’s place in that future, Jim has been diligent in helping to create new programs and new ways the organization can be a part of ensuring Nevadans don’t have to leave their home state to receive the best care.
“We have provided for those things that people would need to leave the community for if they weren’t available here,” Jim said. “Cancer is a great example, you can get exactly what you need in your own backyard.”
One of the ways in which Jim is doing this is through the expansion of healthcare services that Renown offers. He has overseen construction for Renown’s new 10-story Tahoe Tower as well as the addition of the South Meadows Medical Center.
“There is a lot of change happening at Renown,” Jim said. “I believe that in our community, Renown does a great job of listening to what the needs and wants of the community are and we spend a great deal of time meeting those needs.”
Jim has over 30 years of healthcare experience and was named president and CEO of Renown Health in 2000. In addition to the work he does for the hospital, Jim serves on the boards for the Nevada Hospital Association, United Nevada Industries and the Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce.
“I think the biggest challenge for leadership is to make sure we have a clear vision and that vision provides meaningful work,” Jim added. “One of the opportunities we have at Renown is to provide very meaningful work.”
Universal Health Services
As group vice president for Universal Health Services, Karla Perez knows a thing or two about healthcare administration. She currently oversees eight hospitals in the Western Division of Universal Health Services and has worked in Southern Nevada for over 27 years. Karla describes herself as the “care taker of the care givers” and she couldn’t be more right. It is her responsibility to ensure that each of the hospitals she oversees runs smoothly and efficiently.
“In order to be a successful administrator, you have to have a direct connection to the patients, even though you’re not directly taking care of the patient,” Karla says. “My direct connection to the patients is through the care giver themselves. My role is to support the care givers, to support the staff, the physicians, all of the individuals at the hospital who take care of our patients everyday. I’m there to provide whatever support they need, whatever resources they need to make sure they can do the best possible job taking care of our patients.”
In addition to the many hours she puts in overseeing her hospitals and staff, Karla serves on several non-profit boards and many professional associations, including serving as the past president of the Board of Directors for the Nevada Hospital Association. She also serves on the board for United Way, the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and the Trauma Intervention Program, among others.
Administrator Healthcare Hero is not the first award Karla has received for her efforts in the healthcare community in Southern Nevada. She has received awards from such prestigious organizations as the American Heart Association, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the March of Dimes.
Debra Robison, RN CEN, SANE-A
Washoe County CARES/SART Program
Debra Robison made the decision to be a nurse at a very young age, and having practiced for 30 years, she’s never regretted that decision. While she has always enjoyed helping patients, Debra truly found her passion in 1990 when Medschool Associates North offered training and a position as a sexual assault nurse examiner. In that same year Washoe County assumed the care of the SART program, administered through the District Attorney’s office.
The Washoe County CARES/SART program provides forensic examinations for children and adults who are victims of sexual abuse. Using a multi-disciplinary team approach, the program provides a safe and comfortable environment during victim examinations as well as follow-up and support to victims of sexual assault.
A dedicated and compassionate professional, Debra’s commitment to her patients goes well beyond a typical nursing shift. She ensures that her patients and victims are provided with information and calls them on her own time to reassure, council and comfort them. She also volunteers her time to present, train and mentor groups as well as supporting and encouraging her peers. In addition, Debra is actively involved with recruiting and training nurses to be sexual assault nurse examiners.
Distance has never been an obstacle, as Debra travels to many rural communities to deliver the full resources of the program. Dedicated to and focused on the victim, Debra believes education is key to the healing process.
“There are many aspects of the violent world of victimization that people must be educated about. From training with police agencies, to updating hospital treatment information, to teaching compliance with federal law, it is my goal that all those who have contact with the sexually assaulted victim be educated so that the patient receives all the care that is necessary to start the recovery process,” she said.
Dr. Michael S. Levy
Center for Addiction Medicine
Dcated his 30-year medical career to treating addiction. As the founder and medical director for the Center for Addiction Medicine, Dr. Levy treats addiction as a brain disease, rather than something the patient can control. Unfortunately, addiction is nothing new and affects all members of society.
“Substance abuse is a worldwide problem,” Dr. Levy explains. “The addictions are no different here than they’ve been in any place that I’ve practiced in the country.”
When Dr. Levy began his practice in Nevada in 1995, treating addiction as a brain disease was rare. Today, the Center for Addiction Medicine remains the only private medical practice in Nevada dedicated to the treatment of drug and alcohol dependencies.
“I was seeing wonderful people who had significant medical problems, not just the addiction problem, but the medical issue that is associated with these addiction problems,” he said. “It was fascinating to me. At the same time, you get the opportunity to see these patients change, right before your eyes, almost miraculously. They began to succeed in life. That’s been extremely rewarding to me.”
Dr. Levy cares for the future of Southern Nevada and recognizes that addiction is not a problem that will go away on its own and that dependency is prevalent in our schools and needs to be addressed.
He said, “The problem that I see is that these kids are dying, they’re overdosing. This is happening on a regular basis, much more than people know about. The future of Las Vegas, the future of our country, our children, are dying and they’re sick and there isn’t a lot of help for them.”
Dr. Levy is working to get Nevadans the help they need in overcoming their addictions.
Dr. Ole Thienhaus, MBA
University of Nevada, School of Medicine
Dr. Ole Thienhaus is the dean for the University of Nevada, School of Medicine. In his over 30 year career, Dr. Thienhaus has participated in several aspects of healthcare, from psychiatry to surgery to education. His broad career began in Germany and Ireland before he transferred to the United States and ultimately Nevada in 1995.
Currently serving as dean, Dr. Thienhaus works tirelessly to support the high standards of medical education for the students that will make up the future of healthcare in our state. He constantly commutes from Northern to Southern Nevada in order to ensure that the school maintains a statewide presence. He is committed to the next generation of doctors in Nevada.
“What I really look forward to is when I have a chance to work with medical students,” Dr. Thienhaus said. “The real joy is that you have students with you, who first question you, make you think better, who have their own ideas and their own backgrounds about what might be involved in a patient’s predicament. You have the larger pleasure of knowing that you’re training the next generation of physicians to take care of patients.”
Although there have been many changes in healthcare recently, Dr. Thienhaus contends that the mind set of doctors-in-training, hasn’t changed and isn’t likely to.
“Medical students, and residents by extension, are really there to learn the art of practicing medicine,” he said. “Much of what has changed in healthcare is related to the administrative and financial context, I’m afraid that will hit them later. At the time we have them as students, we’re really focusing on the original mission of medicine.”
Of all the responsibilities he has, Dr. Thienhaus enjoys teaching most. He appreciates that the School of Medicine is responsible for producing doctors that provide the highest standards of care and he is working to achieve that goal.
Dr. Michael Harter
Dr. Michael Harter is striving to educate Southern Nevada’s future medical professionals as senior provost and chief executive officer for Touro University’s western division. He serves as the administrative and academic head for two of the fastest growing medical schools in the western United States.
“Touro University, Nevada was created to address healthcare personnel and education shortages in the state,” said Dr. Harter. “In the six years we’ve been in operation, we’ve created six schools and about 17 programs during that time.”
Dr. Harter was part of the founding team for the school. He has also served as vice dean of the University of Nevada School of Medicine. He has a proven track record in the healthcare field and has been involved in various aspects of the school, from research to instruction.
“I enjoy interacting with very bright, dedicated students,” he said. “When we first opened our doors, we had a group of osteopathic medical students arrive. All of them had one common quality, they were all pioneers. During that first year, we were still building the facility, hiring new faculty and refining the curriculum. The students participated in that process as members of the family.”
As an advocate for many non-profit organizations, including Southern Nevada Area Health Education Center (AHEC), Dr. Harter cares about Southern Nevada and its future.
“Who would have guessed that an undergraduate with a degree in English would also obtain two graduate degrees in education and would end up being the senior provost and chief executive officer of two centers for health science and education?” he asks. “I will continue to work as long as I’m needed and as long as Touro University Nevada continues to be a success.”
Barnard Vogler & Company
As a partner of Barnard, Vogler & Company, a CPA firm, Dick Barnard has no reason to be involved in healthcare, except for his dedication to the people he lives and works with in Northern Nevada. Several years ago, Dick got involved in the creation of a critical helicopter ambulance service that eventually evolved into the Care Flight and Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority (REMSA) the region has today.
Prior to its formation, Northern Nevada had no quality approach to handling emergency medical services. Dick saw the need in the community and began work to solve the problem. He’s been involved with REMSA since its inception and was one of the founding members of the Air Ambulance Authority board. He is chairman of the volunteer board for REMSA and has been for 24 years, since it began.
“When I first agreed to get involved, I was just starting out in an accounting practice and I wanted to get involved in something in the community that I could get interested in,” Dick recalls. “I realized the situation was difficult and I thought; maybe I could get involved and make a difference. It’s been a great experience, there’s always something new and it’s been really enjoyable.”
Today, REMSA is internationally recognized as one of the best emergency medical services systems in the world. Individuals from around the globe strive to emulate the system in their own communities.
“It’s evolved in the community in so many ways,” Dick said. “I’m most proud of the organization because it has become internationally renowned and highly regarded. We have representatives from other countries come and visit us to see how we run a ground and air ambulance system here in our community. I’m very proud to have been involved with that. I think it’s a great asset for our community. I can take a great deal of satisfaction in having been a part of that.”
Dr. Hyla Winters
College of Southern Nevada
Alack of qualified healthcare professionals affects everyone in the Southern Nevada community. Dr. Hyla Winters, the associate vice president for academic affairs at the College of Southern Nevada, has been working to correct this shortage.
“We are truly attempting to fill the workforce needs in healthcare at the College of Southern Nevada,” said Dr. Winters. “I believe we are being successful, we’ve managed to mass an array of over 24 healthcare occupation training programs. We continue to be in close communication with the employers to determine where we’re not meeting demands.
“The vision for the Ralph and Betty Engelstad school of health sciences is to be the premier provider of a workforce for healthcare in Southern Nevada and I believe we are living up to that vision,” she adds.
Dr. Winters has been involved in the statewide initiative to double nursing enrollment and works closely with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, School of Nursing.
Dr. Winters started as an instructor at the College of Southern Nevada in the Health Information Technology program in 1990. Since then, she has worked her way up through the organization and became dean of the school of health sciences in 2006.
Living and working in Southern Nevada, Dr. Winters has a passion for growing the next generation of healthcare professionals and works to ensure we don’t face the shortages we have had in the past in the healthcare community. She has strived to partner with other organization in Southern Nevada to better help the entire community.
“My true passion is in teaching and preparing the next generation,” Dr. Winters said. “I’ve been given all kinds of wonderful opportunities to grow in my leadership skills and my abilities.”
Dr. Wesley Hall, Sr.
Dr. Wesley Hall, Sr. has taken to heart a very simple concept; caring for people never goes out of style. He has been involved in healthcare as a surgeon for approximately 41 years and comes from a long line of physicians. He has also spent many years dedicated to working with Access to Healthcare Network, taking care of people that are underserved and wouldn’t otherwise have access to the treatment they need.
Dr. Hall said, “These people are unable to afford health insurance for one reason or another, but they get sick also and they need taking care of. I see a number of people who have surgical problems and I try to take care of them.”
He is currently the only general surgeon participating in the program and, for several years, was the only surgeon at all. Dr. Hall hasn’t placed any restrictions on the number of patients he’ll accept and he gives each patient he sees his full commitment, regardless of their ability to pay.
“These are nice people, they just, through no fault of their own, have wound up in a situation where they can’t afford regular health insurance,” he said. “I think it’s a privilege, but also, it’s an obligation. Somebody needs to do it. I’ve been fortunate enough to be the one to do it. I think the most enjoyable thing is when you operate on someone and they’re better, they come in and say, thank you. That’s where the pay-off is.”
Dr. Hall truly believes that the responsibility of being a doctor is so much more than just making money. He feels that people should become physicians because they want to heal, as he says, you’re always going to have work but, “the primary motive for going into medicine should be to take care of sick folks, not worry about the financial end of things.”
St. Rose Dominican Hospitals
Ernie Devald was a letter carrier when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000. After being told he could no longer work, he was at a loss for what to do with his time. His wife suggested he donate his time and that’s exactly what he did. For the past three years, Ernie has put in over 3,000 volunteer hours at St. Rose Dominican Hospitals.
He was initially given a three year life expectancy on his cancer diagnosis and he continues to outlive doctor’s expectations. He spends almost every day at the hospital doing whatever is needed and gets a special joy out of working in the pediatric units. In fact, Ernie attests that his work at the hospital is helping him as much, if not more, than his young patients.
“It’s the best move I ever made in my life,” he said. “I work with kids, especially cancer kids and I believe they are keeping me alive right now. They told me I would be gone in ’05 and guaranteed me I would be gone in ’08 and here it is 2010. I think I’m getting my life from those children.”
Ernie has a talent for making people smile and for writing poems and stories. He has written hundreds of poems and gives them to patients or even the nursing staff to help cheer them up.
Ernie, his wife Debbie and his daughter Stacey are a family of charitable giving. The Devald’s got involved with the Juvenile Diabities Foundation when Stacey was diagnosed with diabetes and they have all been involved in various volunteer organizations throughout the years.
“This has been a second chance at life for him,” said Debbie. “The award just says it all. It shows his enthusiasm, his commitment to helping the children and to do what’s good and what’s right. I couldn’t be happier or prouder than I am.”
The Solace Tree
Author, former elementary school teacher and school counselor, Emilio Parga is the founder and director for The Solace Tree for grieving children, teens and families. In addition to the Reno organization, Emilio has started grief centers in New York, Las Vegas and Garnerville.
While Emilio embodies the entrepreneurial spirit, he also has a driving passion for helping people deal with the grief of losing a loved one. Through the establishment of The Solace Tree, he has helped over 2,500 clients deal with a death experience and maintain a higher quality of life during times of sorrow.
The Solace Tree provides a safe place to sort through the difficult emotions associated with death and is structured to help clients develop healthy models for coping and adjusting to the many other experiences and challenges that life brings. Emilio believes the next generation is the key to our future. “A stronger and healthier youth makes for a stronger and healthier community. We all need to help our young people as they continue to mature and take on leadership roles within their schools and society,” he said.
Aside from his work with The Solace Tree, Emilio serves as a Pediatric Thanatologist and bereavement consultant to Washoe County Department of Social Services, Washoe County School District and trainer to hospitals, clergy, funeral homes, emergency services and businesses. He is an educator in the areas related to grief and death, peer support groups for grieving children, teens and adults and explaining death to children. He has provided in-service credits and lectures on children, teens and grief (peer support groups) in areas of death and at local schools, service clubs, hospitals and universities throughout the nation.
Emilio is the author of numerous books, and has written several articles on children and grief.
Twin Physicians Services
Aas president and managing partner for Twin Physician Services, Susan Chandler has been working to provide healthcare professionals much needed support so they can focus on patient care rather than paperwork. She is doing this by providing billing and records support and working to give physicians an affordable option when making the transition from paper to electronic health records (EHR).
“There was a need here in the Valley to provide physicians with quality billing services,” she said. “We provide education and auditing, which is also important for compliance with government regulations. We provide an EHR system so they don’t have to go out and buy a system. They can use the system we provide to them free in their offices. They can also get quality incentives provided by the government.”
Susan also works to give physicians a voice in Washington, D.C. She is on the Board of Directors for the National Healthcare Billing and Management Association, shining a light nationally on issues facing our local healthcare industry. Additionally, Susan is president of the Lovely Ladies chapter of the International Civitan Organization, which raises money for childhood disease research and helps the less fortunate.
Susan has earned a master’s degree in healthcare administration and is a Certified Professional Coder. She started in healthcare as an x-ray technician before forming her own company in Southern Nevada. She has been a Nevada resident since 1961 and is a UNLV graduate.
As an advocate for healthcare, it is Susan’s intention to allow doctors the time to do what they do best, patient care, and handle the administrative side for them. By providing these services and finding new incentives that may be available, physicians are able to recuperate some of the money they may have lost in this challenging financial climate.
Dr. Linda Ferris
Renown Institute for Cancer
As vice president for the Renown Institute for Cancer, Dr. Linda Ferris is working to bring much needed services to Northern Nevada. She brings over 18 years of experience and holds a doctorate in organizational and psychological studies and a master’s degree in clinical psychology.
In her role at Renown, Dr. Ferris has been seeking creative solutions to many problems facing Northern Nevada. One of those problems was that some cancer patients had to leave home to get quality care.
This issue is close to Dr. Ferris’ heart and she is working hard to ensure that patients are able to receive the quality treatments they need right where they live. She also has a talent for bringing physicians together to collaborate on ways to improve care in the community.
“The Institute for Cancer embraces several technologies and treatment modalities in order to best serve patients,” Dr. Ferris said. “We have comprehensive multi-disciplinary clinics for our patients, so that means practitioners come together every week and decide the best treatment, how to follow national guidelines.”
Dr. Ferris was instrumental in bringing the da Vinci surgical system and TomoTherapy Hi-Art System to Northern Nevada. She is also a key member of the team responsible for the major expansion and remodel of the Renown’s oncology unit and out-patient infusion center.
She doesn’t do it alone. Dr. Ferris credits her team and colleagues at Renown. “There are individuals who toil behind the scenes who are really vital to the organization and vital to adapting the technology. We’ve had so many innovations across all of our institutes,’ she said.
“I love building clinic programs with physicians, nurses and technicians and knowing that we’re providing the most advanced care anywhere in the nation, here in Nevada,” she added.
Dr. Florence Jameson
Volunteers in Medicine Southern Nevada
One of the driving forces behind Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada (VMSN), Dr. Florence Jameson is an inspiration to those she works with. So many in Southern Nevada are being affected by inadequate care, especially today. Dr. Jameson saw this subset of our population and looked for a way to correct it. She collaborated with others in the healthcare industry with a similar mindset and together, they have made VMSN a reality.
“Volunteers in Medicine is a non-profit organization that was set-up to help alleviate the problem of lack of access to healthcare,” said Dr. Jameson. “We just opened in January, but it was on paper for two years prior to that. It is primarily focused on general practice. We also provide healthcare in the way of preventative and acute care and the care of chronic illnesses.”
Dr. Jameson has worked to form partnerships in the community with hospitals and labs in order to make VMSN even more effective in providing care. The clinic is designed to utilize retired physicians and bring them together with the uninsured.
With so many underserved in the community, the importance of this organization is clear. Dr. Jameson helped drive the creation of the non-profit and currently serves as its president.
“We didn’t have any significant kind of large scale free clinic in Southern Nevada, so it’s new here,” Dr. Jameson said. “The idea came about because there was a great need. There are millions of people without healthcare. Nevada has one of the largest rates of uninsured. It’s a real issue.”
Dr. Jameson’s dream is to expand VSMN so access to care is readily available throughout Southern Nevada. She also wants to expand the services the clinic offers in order to meet all of the uninsured needs of our community.
Nevada Hospital Association
Bill Welch has been an active advocate for healthcare in Nevada for approximately 35 years. He currently serves as president and CEO for the Nevada Hospital Association (NHA), a non-profit professional association representing Nevada’s hospitals.
“My role as the president of the Nevada Hospital Association is to primarily focus in on regulatory and legislative issues that could have an impact, whether positively or negatively, on the hospital industries ability to meet their objective. That is providing quality healthcare services to our patients,” he explains.
Prior to joining the NHA in 1999, Bill served as president of the Nevada Rural Hospital Project, which connects rural hospitals. He also serves on several committees including the Nevada Homeland Security Commission, Governor’s Commission on Medical Education Research and Training, the Nevada Executive Healthcare Forum, the Coalition for Improving and Expanding Nevada Healthcare and the American Hospital Association’s Regional Policy Board, just to name a few.
Bill is actively involved in the regulation side of healthcare and works as an advocate for hospital’s rights in patient care.
“The economy today is extremely challenging for everybody. Hospitals are challenged with the difficulty of meeting patient’s medical needs as they present themselves in a business environment where they don’t really have the same type of control as a typical business would,” he said. “Hospitals must assure and guarantee patients have access regardless of any factors. Over time, the law has evolved to the point that healthcare is perceived by the citizens of this country as a right. Unfortunately, we fund it as a privilege. We’re not paying the full cost of healthcare.”
With the plethora of issues facing healthcare today, Bill provides collaboration and leadership for hospitals to have a voice and ensuring they are able to give Nevadans the best care possible.
National MS Society
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a difficult and unpredictable disease that affects many in Southern Nevada. Nicole Rainey has dealt with disease for most of her life; her mother was diagnosed with MS when she was a teenager. Today, Nicole is development and office manager for the local branch of the National MS Society. She is working to educate others in the community about MS and to help those that are afflicted live with the disease.
” There are about 2,600 people in Southern Nevada living with MS. We have more people diagnosed with MS every day,” Nicole said. “A lot of people don’t know that we exist. We need to get people to know that we here so we can help them. We have a next step program which is what we would like doctors to give their clients as soon as their diagnosed with MS. The doctors are crucial because we’re not getting the information to newly diagnosed clients that we’re here.”
Since joining the organization in 2006, Nicole has helped raised over half a million dollars for the chapter and continues to maintain the programs and services it offers. Currently the organization offers education and exercise programs and Nicole is helping add programs for the family and friends of those afflicted with MS.
“The neatest thing is our classes,” Nicole said. “When you see somebody go for a few weeks, you can really see a difference in them. It’s very rewarding to see people progress, against all odds and learn how to understand their disease and to live with it.”
Prior to joining the organization, she worked as a dental hygienist. When asked to work with MS Society full time, she readily jumped on board and has been there since. Nicole is dedicated to finding a cure for MS and to helping improve the lives of people that live with the disease.
Technology & Research
Dr. Jonathon Tay
Oncologist Dr. Jonathan Tay has been involved in bringing some of the latest medical advances in cancer treatments available to Northern Nevada. One such technology, the CyberKnife, is a unique non-invasive surgical tool that effectively treats cancer patients while also cutting down on their recover time.
“The CyberKnife is a special radiation therapy machine that is specially built to perform a procedure called radio surgery,” Dr. Tay explains. “Radio surgery is about getting a big dose of radiation into a very small area in the brain. In some instances we’re treating a target that’s only a few cubic millimeters. I’ve always had an interest in radio surgical procedures. When it came time to think about what we want to do in this community to take cancer treatment to the next level, it was easy, I thought of the CyberKnife immediately and I’ve always been a fan of it.”
Dr. Tay was also named chairman of the Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center Cancer Committee in 2004. He’s implemented an advanced cancer treatment system known as intensity modulated radiation therapy and the first high dose rate brachytherapy program in Northern Nevada.
Currently, Dr. Tay serves as medical director for Reno Cyberknife and collaborates with other organizations throughout the region to provide the best cancer care possible. He is very active in the pursuit of better methods to treat cancer and has started cancer clinical trials at Saint Mary’s as well as serving as principal investigator for numerous studies at the University of Nevada, Reno. As if all of this gave him lots of available free time, Dr. Tay also serves as an adjunct associate clinical professor for Touro University in Southern Nevada. Dr. Tay is constantly striving to find better ways to treat cancer patients.
“I love radiation oncology,” he said. “It’s a great combination of continuity in patient care and also utilizing very sophisticated technologies to help these patients.”
Dr. John Gosche
University of Nevada, School of Medicine
Dr. John Gosche is a board-certified pediatric surgeon and professor of surgery at the University of Nevada, School of Medicine. He has also been investigating the cause of biliary atresia, a condition that occurs in approximately 10,000 to 20,000 babies, causing jaundice, early liver damage and ultimately death. The current method of treatment for these children is through surgery that is only effective in a third of those afflicted. If the surgery is ineffective, the baby must then have a liver transplant.
Biliary atresia also naturally occurs in a type of fish called the lamprey. Dr. Gosche hopes, through studying the genetic origins in the lamprey, he can identify the cause in humans and ultimately help create a treatment.
” We’re trying to push the envelope in terms of studying this animal that no one else has quite gotten a full feel for,” said Dr. Gosche.
Very few people are using lampreys as a possible animal model for this condition and there are few established techniques for studying these animals. Dr. Gosche’s research holds promise for a treatment for children and as a pediatric surgeon, he knows the importance of this treatment.
Dr. Gosche also teaches surgery at the School of Medicine and is conducting this research in his free time at the school’s Department of Surgery research labs.
“What I like about research is you have the potential to think about a problem that no one quite understands and through some exploration of what people know already and finding potential tools you can use, you can ask questions,” he said. “You’ll hopefully find answers and develop theories and test those theories. That’s a very exciting part of the research.”
Dr. John McDonald
Vice President of Health Sciences, UNR
Among the State’s most recognized and respected healthcare education professionals, Dr. John McDonald’s fingerprint will leave an indelible mark on the way Nevada trains the next generation of healthcare professionals.
During his tenure as Vice President of Health Sciences and Dean of the University School of Medicine, Dr. McDonald was instrumental in leading the school through a massive transition. The changes included a re-organization of the clinical practice plan, design of its first biomedical research building in more than two decades, and championing funding for a hew health sciences education building. In addition, relations with the University Medical Center (the medical school’s primary teaching affiliate in Las Vegas) were strengthened and the medical class expanded by 20 percent.
A tenacious promoter of the concept of integrated interdisciplinary training, Dr. McDonald spearheaded the development of new residency and fellowship training programs in medical and surgical specialties. The integrated concept allows nurses and social work students to study and train side-by-side with medical students and residents.
Appointed to his current position at UNR in 2008, Dr. McDonald has leadership of multiple units within the Division of Health Sciences, including nursing, public health, social work and a number of health-related disciplines, including the School of Medicine.
Over the past two years, Dr. McDonald has put his experience and enthusiasm in the service of engineering comprehensive education and training of clinicians caring for the elderly.
Dr. McDonald has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers, several books and has lectured extensively in the U.S. and abroad. His knowledge, expertise and guidance will influence physicians and health care professionals trained in Nevada for generations to come.
Nevada Health Care Association
Charles Perry has a heart for healthcare in Nevada, especially the care of Nevada’s seniors. As executive director for Nevada Health Care Association, Charles is actively involved in the healthcare concerns of the state. He moved to Las Vegas in 1975 and has been involved in the healthcare industry in some capacity for over 35 years.
“I got into healthcare in the late 1960’s,” Charles recalls. “There was a family friend in the business and he offered me the position. As I analyzed what was going on, it occurred to me that this was good opportunity and I should take advantage of it.”
Charles has previously served as a Nevada assemblyman, is a member of the Henderson Chamber of Commerce and its PAC Committee and is involved with the Southern Nevada Medical Industry Coalition. Charles became executive director for the Nevada Health Care Association in 2000 and has been guiding the organization since.
“Most of what I do is to try, as best I can, to represent the people that are members of the profession and members of our association,” he said. “That involves things like public education, advocacy with the legislature and other public interest groups and generally just trying to be the public face of the profession here in the state of Nevada.”
Charles enjoys the work that he does and continues to be an advocate for seniors in our state. He is very involved politically and makes strides to ensure that Nevada’s seniors have a voice and aren’t adversely affected by new regulations.
“I enjoy the opportunity of engaging the public in trying to educate them to what actually goes into long term care in this country,” he said. “The nursing home profession, the skilled nursing facilities and rehab facilities are entirely different today than they were as recently as 10-15 years ago.”
Providing Technology to Care for Nevadans
Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada (CCCN) has provided adult and pediatric medical and radiation oncology services to Southern Nevada residents and visitors for more than 30 years. CCCN comprises medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pediatric oncologists and breast surgeons, providing care at locations throughout the Las Vegas Valley. The practice recently earned the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s 2009 Clinical Trials Participation Award, making CCCN one of two medical practices in the state to receive the recognition in the past six years. CCCN’s Radiation Oncology Division also earned a three-year term of accreditation from the American College of Radiology, making it the only oncology practice in the State of Nevada to receive the designation for radiation oncology.
Beginning this year, CCCN is treating patients with CyberKnife® robotic technology, offering the most advanced stereotactic radiosurgery device available, and SmartArc, providing the newest and most precise form of external beam radiotherapy treatment delivery.
CCCN has a long history of clinical trial participation and leadership in Las Vegas, and maintains affiliations with the UCLA Translational Oncology Research International network, the Community Clinical Oncology Program, and US Oncology Translational Oncology Program. The practice conducts more than 150 Phase I, Phase II and Phase III clinical trials each year, some of which have resulted in treatment protocols now being tested on a national level.
In conjunction with the US Oncology Translational Oncology Program, CCCN focuses on the development of personalized cancer medicine. This approach tailors treatment regimens for each patient, interferes with a specific target in a cancer cell and preserves more of the healthy tissue surrounding a tumor, which could limit the side effects of treatment.
Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield
Cares for Nevadans
Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is Nevada’s second largest health benefits provider, and the only one licensed to sell insurance in every county. Among the oldest Nevada health insurers (established in 1969), Anthem’s Nevada operations are headquartered in Las Vegas and staffed with a friendly and knowledgeable local team – from a state president, to sales staff, to medical personnel. Located in two offices – one in Las Vegas and one in Reno – the company employs approximately 150 Nevadans.
Anthem offers a full spectrum of benefits, including medical, dental, vision, life and disability, pharmacy, behavioral health and Employee Assistance Program. Not only do Anthem’s total benefits offerings meet the needs of a diverse workforce, they also eliminate the need for multiple carriers.
Anthem also offers a broad variety of products for individuals, and small and large employers, that are innovative, simple to administer and affordable. For example, their Lumenos Consumer-Driven Health Plans put consumers in control of their health care dollars and offer incentives to spend wisely and demand better health care quality and value.
EmployeeElect, a portfolio of 22 health plans, puts control and flexibility in the hands of small group employers. Employers can choose to offer one, a mix-and-match, or all 22 plans to their employees. In the Individual market Anthem offers The Tonik health plans, which were designed to expand health care access to 19 to 29 year-olds – one of the fastest growing uninsured populations – are easy to use, all online and very affordable.
Anthem has one of the largest provider networks in Nevada. Because Anthem is a member of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, members also have access to the BlueCard provider network – nationwide and around the world – when they are away from home.
Anthem is dedicated to serving the community in Nevada.
Through its annual Associate Giving Campaign (where Nevada associates can direct their giving to any 501(c)(3) organization and the funds pledged by Anthem associates will receive a 50 percent match from the parent company’s Foundation) and Foundation grants, organizations in Nevada received nearly $300,000. Each year, Anthem also partners with Nevada Business Magazine to host the Healthcare Heroes Awards.
Skill. Expertise. Technology
Renown Health is Northern Nevada’s largest and Reno’s only locally owned not-for-profit integrated health network and a nationally recognized healthcare leader. Renown Health is one of the Top 100 integrated health networks in the country and the only Top 100 recognized integrated health networks in the state of Nevada. The organization offers the region an integrated solution for all of the community’s healthcare needs.
Renown offers skill, expertise and technology with numerous first and only programs and technology in the region, some of which include:
- The only trauma center in the region with surgeons, specialists and nurses who specially trained in trauma and are available 24 hours a day
- The region’s only state-of-the-art Chest Pain Center using the D-SPECT heart camera that detects heart attacks faster
- The only Children’s Hospital, Children’s ER, Children’s Specialty Care, Pediatric ICU and Children’s Infusion Center in the region that caters to the pediatric needs in Northern Nevada
- The first and only in Northern Nevada to offer TomoTherapy Hi-Art Treatment System
- The first in the region to offer the minimally invasive da Vinci Robotic Surgical System and to recently offer a second system for treatments
- The region’s only certified Comprehensive Stroke Center
- Senior Care Plus is the first and largest Medicare Advantage Plan in Northern Nevada
It is these technologies that have lead doctors in the area to prefer Renown Health to any other hospital in the region by a margin of 8:1 for technology.
Renown Health has:
• 946 licensed beds
• 4,455 employees (as of 1/10)
• $1.1 billion Renown Health revenue community impact
The organization’s purpose statement is, “Make a genuine difference for the many lives we touch by optimizing our patients’ healthcare experience.” Renown strives to do this in every aspect of caregiving.
Addresses Critical Needs
Touro University Nevada (TUN), part of a system of Jewish-sponsored, non-profit institutions of higher and professional education, was established in 2004 to help address needs in Nevada for health sciences and education. TUN opened its doors in 2004 with 78 osteopathic medicine students. Today, the thriving campus has more than 1,500 students enrolled in a variety of degree programs, many of which are the first of their kind in the state of Nevada.
Over the past six years TUN has become Nevada’s largest medical school and now offers nine health care-related degree programs. There are also Master of Education and Master of Camp Administration and Leadership degree programs available.
As TUN’s Henderson campus continues to grow, it is committed to developing strong partnerships in the community. The university partners with the Clark County School District’s Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) offering advanced education for Southern Nevada teachers and partners as an academic sponsor for Valley Hospital’s graduate medical residency program, providing training opportunities for Touro students.
TUN also offers valley residents a full-service Health Center, staffed by faculty members specializing in various fields including, rheumatology, primary care, geriatrics, gynecology, osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) and pediatrics.
As the health care industry grows, so too will TUN. In anticipation of rapid growth and academic needs the university purchased two buildings within the same Henderson Business Park, providing expandable space for many years to come. Currently, state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories, offices, library, common spaces and clinics, occupy 142,000 square feet of the existing building.