Celebrating its 10th year, Healthcare Heroes began with the dual goal of honoring individuals that excel in healthcare and helping fund scholorships for Nevada’s future healthcare educators. After realizing there wasn’t a program in place to honor individuals that have done amazing things to propel healthcare in the Silver State, Healthcare Heroes was born with 10 categories and a seemingly endless supply of nominees.
Taking the idea of contributing to healthcare a step further, the Healthcare Heroes scholarship fund was created. With a scholarship set up at the University of Nevada, Reno and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the funds are set aside for those students seeking careers as healthcare educators.
With over 200 Healthcare Heroes honored and tens of thousands of dollars donated to Nevada schools, it’s safe to say that Healthcare Heroes is and continues to be a success. The Healthcare Heroes team extends a huge “thank you!” to everyone that has helped this event succeed, especially our corporate sponsor Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, the associate sponsors and all of the Healthcare Heroes participants and event attendees.
Judging Process: Making the Tough Decisions
Over the years, Healthcare Heroes has had several distinguished members of Nevada’s medical industry serve as judges for the event. This year’s judges have the same unenviable dilemma as judges of previous years: determining the 20 Healthcare Heroes.
Judging starts with a nomination form that is sent out at the beginning of the year. This judging form is completed online and is sent to a massive list with the goal of reaching anyone that may want to nominate a hero in healthcare. From there, nominations begin to pour in. Those nominations are compiled by the editorial team at Nevada Business Magazine.
Once nominations close, the real work begins. Nominees are divided by location, additional information is gathered and nominee packets are submitted to the judges. Each judge in both Northern Nevada and Southern Nevada has an opportunity to review the nominees and to submit their own before formal meetings are held at both ends of the state. At those meetings the merits of each nominee is discussed as the judges attempt to identify the winners. Any categories that remains undecided after the meetings conclude go through an electronic balloting process. Ballots are sent to each judge and a final vote is held. From this process, the winners are determined and are recognized as the Healthcare Heroes for the year.
Thomas L. Schwenk, MD
Dean | University of Nevada School of Medicine
Currently dean of the University of Nevada School of Medicine (UNSOM), professor of family medicine and vice-president of the University of Nevada, Reno, Division of Health Sciences, Dr. Thomas Schwenk has built his career as a physician around serving others. Having become a leader in healthcare in Nevada, Dr. Schwenk’s passion for improving the health of Nevadans is a clear focus of his work. As a lifelong learner, dedicated teacher and leader in academic medicine, Dr. Schwenk has made his role of dean and vice-president far more than that of an administrator and has been a transformational leader during a time of growth and challenges.
Dr. Schwenk has strengthened UNSOM’s statewide presence by increasing the clinical services available to Nevada’s citizens as well as providing more educational opportunities for medical students, residents and fellows statewide, including rural areas. Under his leadership, the number of residency and fellowship positions available in Nevada has increased dramatically. Those residencies are a critical determining factor in whether a physician remains in the state to practice medicine. Furthermore, graduate medical education is recognized as a key to changing Nevada’s status as one of the lowest-ranking states in physicians per capita.
Spearheaded by Dr. Schwenk, new affiliation agreements with Renown Health in Reno and MountainView Hospital in Las Vegas were recently approved by the Nevada Board of Regents. As a result, the number of residency positions is set to increase statewide. In addition, with the effort to coordinate the initiative to launch a new medical school at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Dr. Schwenk continues to work tirelessly to look beyond historic regional biases and collaborate as a state to develop and fund the growth of medical education under the future banners of two statewide public medical schools.
James D. Sanchez, MD
Practice President | Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada
Dr. James Sanchez, a medical oncologist-hematologist, has been treating cancer and serious blood disorders for over 20 years. He currently serves as practice president and principle investigator on several clinical research studies at Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada (CCCN), the largest oncology group in the state. He is responsible for all medical care delivered by the company’s medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and breast surgeons across its 11 treatment centers and offices in Southern Nevada.
During his tenure at CCCN, the practice has seen consistent revenue growth, increased patient visits and high employee retention rates. In addition, CCCN has earned the Clinical Trials Participation Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the Hematology & Oncology Practice Excellence (HOPE) Award from Hematology & Oncology News & Issues for excellence in customer service, the Everyday Heroes Award from the American Red Cross for Community Impact and the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award.
Dr. Sanchez’s patient philosophy and goal is to offer the most advanced, state-of-the-art care available. By providing up-to-date resources in clinical research, as accepted by national Comprehensive Cancer Center guidelines, his primary ambition is for patients to obtain the most innovative care possible, while remaining near homes and families. Under the leadership of Dr. Sanchez, CCCN recently announced a new residency rotation for internal medicine residents at the University of Nevada School of Medicine (UNSOM) focused on hematology/oncology. The program introduces budding internists to real-world cancer care facilities, and provides professionals with more opportunities right here in Southern Nevada.
Elizabeth Willmer, RN
Infection Preventionist | VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System
Elizabeth Willmer has dedicated her career to preventing infection and promoting safety for both patients and hospital staff. She brings over 20 years of experience in her field as the infection preventionist for the VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System. Whether facilitating educational meetings for hospital staff or coordinating flu and pneumonia clinics for the community, her commitment to providing quality and preventative healthcare runs deep.
As a registered nurse, Beth worked in several departments when starting her career in healthcare including surgical, intensive care and recovery. She developed an interest in infection prevention and decided to focus her efforts in that field. Being on the front lines when new infectious diseases emerge is something that Beth must be prepared for on a day-to-day basis. Her ever evolving job involves education and constant communication with her team and staff to enforce preventive measures and promote safety for patients.
As there were no training courses in infection control when Beth first started, she turned to three local infection preventionists who generously mentored and guided her early years in the field. In turn, Beth has mentored several infection preventionists over her career and finds it extremely rewarding to share her passion for the profession. The more healthcare professionals are aware of the hospital safety guidelines and rules, the safer the environment for all patients.
In addition, Beth has been a contributing member of multiple interdisciplinary committees such as Environment of Care and the Patient Safety Council, and collaborates with the Antibiotic Stewardship Team to reduce hazards within the VA facility. Beth wholeheartedly accepts the challenge of maintaining a safe and healthy environment for her patients, and her work at the VA Sierra Nevada HealthCare System is a testament to that commitment.
Davette Shea, RN, BSN
Nurse Care Manager | Southwest Medical Associates
Few can match the time and dedication that Davette Shea has put into providing quality healthcare through the course of her career. Before her arrival in Nevada in 1981, Davette was a “Flight for Life” nurse at St. Anthony Hospital and an emergency medical service instructor in Denver, Colorado.
St. Anthony’s flight program, which allowed nurses to perform a wide range of practical skills and emergency techniques inside a rapid response helicopter during emergency transport, sparked the interest of several communities, including Las Vegas and Reno. As a trained “Flight for Life” nurse, Davette came to Las Vegas to help bring the program to the Valley. In the first days of flight nursing in Nevada, a lot of work was done with the Nevada Board of Nursing to allow flight nurses to utilize their range of skills in service to the patients. Davette worked as a flight nurse from 1976 to 1988.
Serving as an example of the highest level of what a nurse should be, Davette is knowledgeable, humble, conducts herself with the utmost integrity and is bursting with compassion. Her diligence to the healthcare profession has been recognized frequently throughout her tenure in Nevada. She has been honored with the Crew Extraordinaire Award for Flight Nursing presented by MBB Helicopters, the Partnership Award by Nevada Area Health Education Centers for educational contributions and support to rural Nevada, the Ambulatory Care Nurse of the Year Award and the Distinguished Nurse of the Year Award which was presented by the March of Dimes.
Davette is highly respected by both colleagues and patients. Gentle and caring, she is a natural leader, caregiver and patient advocate, going above and beyond to make sure patients receive the care they need and avoid unnecessary hospitalization.
Kimberly Baxter, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC
Associate Director of Undergraduate Programs | University of Nevada, Reno, Orvis School of Nursing
Prior to coming to Nevada in 2006, Kimberly Baxter served as an assistant professor for the Oregon Health & Science University, School of Nursing in Portland, Oregon. She taught pharmacology, acute care and primary care theory to family nurse practitioner students. Today, Kim works at the Orvis School of Nursing at the University of Nevada, Reno, serving as an assistant professor and associate director of undergraduate programs.
In addition, Kim serves as simulation coordinator for the school, working on integrating high fidelity simulation into graduate and undergraduate curriculum, with emphasis on inter-professional education. She helped develop full scale simulation activities utilizing “Sim Man”, a high fidelity mannequin. She has also served as the nurse practitioner coordinator for Nevada’s Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) program at the University of Nevada School of Medicine (UNSOM). The program connects university-based faculty specialists to primary care providers in rural and under served areas.
Kim was selected as the 2014 winner of the Division of Health Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award. This award reflects her high standards, instructional abilities and, more importantly, her commitment to student learning. Kim has also been nominated for the F. Donald Tibbitts Distinguished Teaching Award, the university’s most prestigious award for teachers and was named “Most Inspirational Faculty Member” by students in 2007, 2008, 2012 and 2013.
Kim’s students admire and respect her as both a teacher and a nurse. This is due, in large part, to her ability to combine conceptual material with real life examples that highlight the practical and ethical issues students will face professionally. Kim’s contributions to healthcare in Nevada is evidenced by the quality of nurses graduating from the Orvis School of Nursing, many of whom had the privilege of having her as their professor and mentor.
Ross Berkeley, MD, FACEP
Emergency Medicine Physician | UMC of Southern Nevada
Dr. Ross Berkeley is an attending physician in the adult emergency department at UMC of Southern Nevada. He is responsible for overseeing future doctors as the program director for the University of Nevada, School of Medicine Emergency Medicine Residency. As a result, his contribution to healthcare in our community extends beyond his skilled and compassionate bedside manner as he works to educate new physicians.
Known for taking a personal interest in the education of his residents, Dr. Berkeley is leading by example, encouraging the next wave of physicians to practice with the highest standards of care and never stop searching for new and innovative advances in technology, medicine and procedures that can improve patient outcomes. Dr. Berkeley also puts an incredible amount of preparation and purpose into his didactic sessions rendering them invaluable for residents. He uses hands-on teaching modalities utilizing cadaver and simulation labs. This environment gives residents a unique opportunity to practice rare but life-saving procedures.
Dr. Berkeley serves as a role model for residents through attention to detail and empathy for his patients. He believes physicians must focus on personal care with open communication, rather than just treating symptoms. His residents are reminded of this daily as they observe Dr. Berkeley’s professional approach to patient treatment.
It’s fair to say that the academic success of the emergency medicine residency would not have been achieved without the contributions of Dr. Berkeley. Because of his uniquely engaging and constructive teaching style, his mentoring has led to the publication of case reports in peer-reviewed journals, gaining UMC national recognition. Dr. Berkeley also volunteers his time as a tactical physician for the Las Vegas Metropolitian Police Department and as the EMS medical advisor for the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
Andrea L. Gregg
Executive Director | High Sierra Area Health Education Centers
Currently serving as executive director of High Sierra Area Health Education Center (AHEC), Andrea Gregg studied health ecology at the University of Nevada, Reno. While pursuing academic interests, Gregg also served as research analysis faculty for an Osteoporosis Prevention Study, working closely with the school of medicine. In addition, she was able to participate in the planning of several HIV/AIDS events, raising awareness on the local impact of HIV/AIDS and the importance of testing, counseling and risk reduction services.
Throughout her career, Andrea has been passionate about healthcare workforce development, public health, education and fitness. After receiving a certificate in non-profit management, she successfully developed Project Prevent, a community and peer education based program, reaching thousands of youth and encouraging them to adopt healthy decision-making skills and lifestyles.
Translating that passion into skill, Andrea became certified by the Health Care Partnership at the University of Arizona in 2011 in basic skills for medical and allied healthcare professionals. She also is certified in assessment and brief intervention for tobacco use and exposure and basic skills for maternal and child health (MCH) in addition to serving as an instructor for classes at the center. In 2014, she became a certified personal trainer by the National Council for Certified Personal Trainers and has turned her dedication to health and fitness into becoming a co-owner of a Kaia FIT franchise.
Andrea has served as the High Sierra AHEC executive director for the last six years. She develops programs that support enhancement to healthcare access and quality through the provision of education and outreach services throughout Northern Nevada.
Industry Specialist | Governor’s Office of Economic Development
Vance Farrow is the industry specialist for healthcare for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). He is responsible for supporting the recruitment, retention and expansion of healthcare professionals and businesses to Nevada. Considered an expert in the health and human services field, Vance has over 12 years of research experience.
Vance’s efforts to expand healthcare initiatives in Nevada include the Community Healthcare Workers Program by which GOED seeks industry partners to help resolve some of Nevada’s access to care issues. Additionally, the program will test new technologies in a civilian setting helping to establish new advances in telemedicine. Vance’s goal is to strengthen broadband connectivity in the state to further support these telehealth services. He hopes to give Nevadans access to care they could not otherwise experience, especially in rural communities.
Vance is also working on residency programs within the state. Each medical resident in a community-based residency program generates approximately $200,000 in annual economic benefits to a community while in the program. Additionally, residents generate $1.5 million in economic benefits, on average, every year they remain in the area to practice after training. Nevada currently ranks seventh in the country in its ability to retain physicians that complete their medical residency programs within the state. For Vance, focusing on primary care, behavioral health and targeted sub-specialties and increasing the number of residency programs in Nevada is a top priority and a critical step forward in training the number of physicians needed to provide quality healthcare to Nevadans.
As a result of his extraordinary dedication and commitment, Vance has been appointed by Governor Brian Sandoval to serve as a commissioner for the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.
Elena Mnatsakanyan, MD, MPH, CIC
Director of Infection Control & Epidemiology | Northern Nevada Medical Center
Dr. Elena Mnatsakanyan serves as the Director of Infection Control and Epidemiology at the Northern Nevada Medical Center. Graduating from medical school at 23, she has dedicated her life to healthcare. With a focus on patient and community health and research, Dr. Mnatsakanyan’s involvement in the community is considered exemplary by patients, families and peers alike. Her dedication to the study and practice of infection control drives her to continue to develop and share her expertise for the public good.
Dr. Mnatsakanyan is a foreign-graduated physician who was recruited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At the CDC, she received specialized training at their center in the Respiratory Diseases Branch, Division of Bacterial Diseases, Streptococcus Laboratory. She seeks to educate others and has published several articles, including a thorough look at molecular genetic characterization of group A streptococci isolated from children with upper respiratory tract infectious diseases.
In 2008, Dr. Mnatsakanyan and her family relocated to Reno. Pursuing a life-long love of learning and soon after moving here, Dr. Mnatsakanyan began her most recent scholastic pursuit at the University of Nevada, Reno. She received her Masters of Public Health degree, specializing in epidemiology, in 2013 and obtained her board certification in infection control (CIC) last year.
As an active member of her community, Dr. Mnatsakanyan collaborates with several Northern Nevada entities including the infection disease division of the Washoe County Health District, the State of Nevada Hospital Engagement Network, Northern Nevada Infection Control Committee and several others. Dr. Mnatsakanyan is dedicated to continuing her efforts to significantly impact the quality of healthcare through advancement in infection control.
Stephen Chenin, DDS
David Chenin, DDS, MSD
Orthodontist | Chenin Orthodontics
Chenin Orthodontics, a father and son practice headed by Drs. Stephen (left) and David Chenin, has provided dental care to the Las Vegas Valley for many years and is highly respected. The practice has become known for quality patient care, cutting edge techniques and technology. Along with clinical orthodontic excellence, the doctors create personal connections with their patients, give generously and support the community as well as those in need.
A native of Las Vegas, Dr. Stephen Chenin is among a handful of orthodontists in Nevada to be a board certified orthodontist/diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics. Dr. Stephen has over 25 years of clinical experience and is often recognized as one of the top dental practitioners in the community. A graduate of the University of Southern California Orthodontic Residency Program, Dr. Stephen is a community advocate who works with local schools, sponsors soccer and little league teams and gives his time to the Southern Nevada Dental Society.
Dr. David, Stephen’s son, attended the University of the Pacific’s Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry where he earned a Doctorate of Dental Surgery degree. After graduation, he obtained his Nevada, California and Western Regional Examining Board dental licensure. He then pursued his Certificate in Orthodontics and Master’s of Science at University of the Pacific’s Orthodontic Residency Program where he currently serves as an adjunct faculty member. Dr. David is also a philanthropist who volunteers his talents to underserved children and low income dental clinics. He recently traveled to San Salvador with a medical team to treat and rehabilitate patients with cleft lip and palates among other craniofacial anomalies and syndromes.
Both Drs. Stephen and David Chenin are known for their compassion for others and their personal dedication to the community as well as underpriveledged patients throughout the world.
Becky Haase, RN, BSN, CNML
Manager of Pediatrics | Renown Children’s Hospital
Becky Haase has dedicated her life and career to the children of Northern Nevada and is a true advocate for children’s care. She is known for her engagement, whether working with patients or participating in a number of community events. If there is an opportunity to volunteer for children, it’s nearly certain Becky will be there.
Becky started her nursing career at Renown as a staff nurse in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) where she developed a passion and commitment to pediatrics. One of the first nurses in the PICU in 1981, Becky soon moved into a leadership role. She is respected by the physicians and staff for her energy, commitment and availability as a pediatric expert and resource.
One of Becky’s many commitments is to the pediatric asthma program at Renown. Her support and dedication to the program ensures that children with asthma have access to the highest level of quality care. She has been integral to the ongoing success through leadership and participation in a number of committees including the Pediatric Physician Quality Committee and the Renown Regional Housewide Shared Governance Quality Committee. Becky is also involved with Children’s Champion Council, Northern Nevada Nurse of Achievement Board, Northern Nevada Fitting Station Committee and Children’s Miracle Network.
From her early days as a pediatric staff nurse to now serving as nurse manager of Renown Children’s Hospital pediatric units, Becky has been unwavering in her support of connecting Reno’s youngest patients to the care they need. She holds their hands, literally and metaphorically, as they journey back to health.
Dr. Mario J. Gaspar de Alba is a board certified developmental behavioral pediatrician and fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He is an assistant professor and division chief of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, and third-year clerkship director in the department of pediatrics at the University of Nevada School of Medicine (UNSOM). He is devoted to educating residents and medical students about early child development and the vital importance of early intervention and its impact on future quality of life issues.
Generously volunteering his time, he currently serves as a consultant to the Univerisity of Nevada, Las Vegas Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders and is an advisory board member with Grant a Gift Autism Foundation and Families for Effective Autism Treatment. Through his community involvement, he is leading UNSOM’s collaborative role with these organizations to provide multi-disciplinary teams to evaluate, diagnose and offer treatment options for families with children suffering from autism, ADHD and other related disorders.
Dr. Gaspar de Alba strongly believes that children with special needs are best served through interdisciplinary collaboration and a family focused approach. The combined efforts and expertise of his UNSOM team, along with the other organizations involved, will grow the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders to a full-service clinic, allowing for the evaluation of young patients and the development of a plan of “next steps” for the family, all in one convenient location.
Additionally, Dr. Gaspar de Alba has been a speaker at several professional development and community meetings and parent organizations in an effort to improve collaboration and strengthen family support. His personal and professional commitment to caring for children with autism coupled with his advocacy efforts have been paramount to improving access to care for families in Southern Nevada.
President & CEO | Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority
President and CEO of the Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority (REMSA), Jim Gubbels has led the organization’s effort to improve the delivery of patient care to the region. Under his leadership, REMSA carried out community health programs with the aim of reducing non-urgent visits to emergency departments across the community.
Jim and his team continue to develop programs that help ensure patients who enter the emergency medical services system with urgent, low-acuity medical conditions receive the safest and most appropriate levels of quality care. In cooperation with community healthcare partners, these programs improve patient-centered care, reduce ambulance transports, emergency department visits, hospital readmissions, overall healthcare costs and improve patient satisfaction.
One of these programs is REMSA’s Nurse Health Line, a phone number that operates 24 hours per day, seven days per week. It is free and available to all Washoe County residents regardless of their insurance status. It is staffed with registered nurses who are specially trained to assist patients with non-emergency medical issues over the phone. Another is the Ambulance Transport Alternatives program, which provides alternative pathways of care for 9-1-1 patients. Instead of transporting all patients to an emergency room, this program transports patients with low-acuity medical conditions to urgent care centers and clinics.
Jim’s vision and determination to lead REMSA through these innovations in healthcare has benefited patients all across Washoe County. Through his efforts, REMSA received the only Nevada-based Health Care Innovation Award grant, which amounted to nearly $9.8 million.
Timothy Le, PhD
Assistant Professor | Roseman University, College of Medicine
Dr. Timothy Le works with Roseman University’s College of Medicine as an assistant professor of biomedical sciences, contributing his expertise in developing and applying advanced non-linear optical imaging systems to study the roles of lipids in cancer and obesity-related diseases. Dr. Le’s lab, in collaboration with other scientists at Roseman, is working on optical methods for clinical detection of circulating tumor cells (CTC), developing therapies for the prevention of fatty liver disease and further understanding the relationship between obesity-induced inflammation of fat tissues and the development of type 2 diabetes.
A technique that Dr. Le has been using, intravital flow cytometry (IFC), has the potential for clinical diagnosis of cancer cells in the bloodstream without the need for drawing blood and running lengthy tests. Dr. Le has also been working on the use of advanced coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) microscopy for visualization of lipid droplet dynamics in a single cancer cell. Through Dr. Le’s research, it has been discovered that lipids can be a biomarker for CTC. Two patent applications have been filed on the methods for the detection and targeting of CTC. Additionally, multiple scientific papers have been published based on Dr. Le’s observations made with CARS microscopy.
The advancements Dr. Le is making have the potential to significantly change the diagnosis, treatment and survival rate of patients with cancer. He hopes to bring awareness to the fact that research does translate to treatment, and these innovations are happening here in Nevada. He also feels strongly that Las Vegas has the capacity for medical breakthroughs and recognizes the importance of the business community in realizing the value and potential that holds.
Executive Director | Immunize Nevada
As executive director of Immunize Nevada, Heidi Parker leads and engages a diverse group of staff, volunteers, member organizations and funders who advocate for vaccines and access to preventive healthcare across Nevada’s rural, urban and frontier communities. Bringing 19 years of experience in non-profit program management, fundraising and marketing, Hedi has dedicated her career to affecting her community in a positive way.
Under her visionary leadership, Immunize Nevada has evolved from two separate outreach organizations (Immunize Nevada and the Northern Nevada Immunization Coalition) into a dynamic, stand-alone 501(c)(3) non-profit leading the state in immunization education, awareness and partnerships. In November of last year, Heidi led yet another initiative to incorporate the Southern Nevada Immunization and Healthcare Coalition. This created a statewide immunization coalition with one cohesive strategy, message and mission and included opening a new office in Las Vegas.
Immunization rates for children in Nevada have improved from last in the country to 41st in 2013 thanks, in large part, to Heidi’s persistence, advocacy, vision and leadership. Heidi also led the “text4baby” program in Nevada, helping to enroll pregnant and new mothers. The program sends out 80 custom messages to connect Nevada participants with prenatal, baby wellness and immunization information.
Heidi’s dedication and hard work has led Immunize Nevada to be deeply involved in community outreach, collaborative projects and fundraising efforts aimed at helping close the vaccination gap Nevada faces. Heidi received her Master of Arts degree from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and is a recent graduate of Duke University’s executive non-profit leadership program.
Dr. Devon Moore, serving as the emergency medicine quality director for UMC’s adult emergency department, has the monumental responsibility of overseeing clinical care for the hospital. It is his job to ensure patients receive critical medical attention consistent with best practices and with the highest standards. A vital skill, Dr. Moore is admired for his ability to remain calm and laser-focused during emergency procedures. He is also highly regarded for his bedside manner that is attentive, respectful and thorough, no matter the circumstances or demeanor of his patient.
From his early days in medicine, Dr. Moore has volunteered much of his free time to others. He gives of his time to teach students about pathology and principals in emergency medicine. He also volunteers as the on-site physician for many of UMC’s large events. Closest to his heart is “Camp Cartwheel”, serving as the on-site physician and team counselor for children with terminal illnesses such as cancer and blood disorders. The children at the camp affectionately refer to him as “Dr. Seuss” because of a love for reading that he shares with the young patients.
In addition, Dr. Moore’s willingness to educate the community on healthcare issues has made him a familiar face in local media. He has been profiled for his commitment to UMC’s Pre-Med Volunteer Program, where he allows young students to shadow him during a shift. Additionally, Dr. Moore serves on the American College of Emergency Physicians Nevada Board as the representative for Leadership and Advocacy Health in Washington, D.C., lobbying on Capitol Hill and speaking with members of Congress about issues important to quality emergency medicine. Dr. Moore also trains residents from the University of Nevada School of Medicine on how to approach and speak with state representatives in Congress.
Technology and Research
Michael Murray, MD, FACS
General Surgeon | Northern Nevada Medical Group
Dr. Michael Murray of Northern Nevada Medical Center has the distinction of being the only physician in the Truckee Meadows to perform the pioneering surgery, transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF). The innovative procedure relieves heartburn caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and prevents further damage which can lead to cancer of the esophagus and other serious esophagus-related issues.
On the cutting edge of technology in the medical field because it requires no incisions, this technique is described as “surgery from within.” With the patient under general anesthesia, Dr. Murray inserts a device known as the EsophyX through the mouth and lowers it toward the stomach while a camera in the device provides a view of the operating site. Dr. Murray then manipulates it to make and fasten several tissue folds, known as plications. This creates an anti-reflux valve at the junction of the stomach and esophagus.
Most patients go home the next day and can return to work and most normal activities within a few days, albeit with a much improved outlook. In the weeks following surgery, a natural healing process fuses and cements the plications to create a durable anti-reflux barrier. The patient has no visible scarring and less pain than with laparoscopic surgery. Dr. Murray not only performs the TIF surgery, he teaches the technique to physicians from across the United States.
Board certified in general, breast, endoscopic and anti-reflux surgery, Dr. Murray graduated with his medical degree from Hahnemann School of Medicine in Philadelphia in 1988. He completed his residency in general surgery at the Medical College of Pennsylvania and his internship at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.
For the past 17 years, Dr. Steen Madsen, professor and chair of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ health physics and diagnostic sciences department, has been exploring new treatment methods for primary brain tumors using nanoparticles and lasers. He is collaborating with the University of California, Irvine’s Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic on a new and promising approach to care.
This approach involves using white blood cells as a therapeutic-drug delivery vehicle. There are approximately 34,000 new cases of primary brain tumors diagnosed each year in the United States and Europe. Close to 40 percent of these tumors are of an aggressively malignant variety, known as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Because of its aggressive nature, fewer than 5 percent of patients diagnosed with GBM will live more than five years.
Glioblastoma tumors are notoriously difficult to treat. When removed during surgery, they almost always reappear. Dr. Madsen and his research team are exploring a tiny solution to this big problem. The solution involves employing macrophages, material-ingesting white blood cells, to transport nano-sized particles of gold to surgical resection sites. It has been found that gold has several therapeutic advantages, one being that this precious metal has the ability to convert infrared laser energy to thermal energy. If successful, it’s a system that could greatly enhance the effectiveness of photothermal therapy, a process that destroys tumor cells using laser light.
Dr. Madsen is a founding member of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Cancer Institute and has earned multiple awards for his healthcare-focused research. He continues his 18-year teaching career by instructing undergraduate and graduate students focused on health physics and medical diagnostic techniques.
Kelle Brogan, MD
Medical Director | St. Mary’s Hospice of Northern Nevada and Renown Palliative Care
With a life-long career dedicated to care, Dr. Kelle Brogan began her journey at college and graduate school at Arizona State University, followed by medical school at the University Of Nevada School Of Medicine in Reno. She then completed her internal medicine residency at Good Samaritan Medical Center. Dr. Brogan began her hospice work 24 years ago at Saint Mary’s and was one of the first American Physicians to be certified in hospice care.
Creating a lasting legacy, Dr. Brogan initiated several palliative care programs at major hospitals in Northern Nevada including Carson Tahoe Hospital, Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center and Renown Regional Medical Center. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, a member of the American Medical Association, Washoe County Medical Society and is a delegate of the Nevada State Medical Association.
Furthermore, Dr. Brogan has been very active in the legislature to further the hospice and palliative care programs in Nevada. She attended and testified on sensitive issues at the senate committee on government affairs during the most recent legislative session. In addition, Dr. Brogan continues to teach resident students and fellows.
Throughout her career, Dr. Brogan has been recognized with several awards and has been honored as a role model for primary care medicine as well as a teacher and active participant in community service. She has dedicated her life to terminally ill people and their loved ones, doing all she can to ensure their comfort, safety and dignity.
Paul D. Bandt, MD
Interventional Radiologist | Desert Radiologists
Dr. Paul Bandt has been practicing medicine for almost 50 years, bringing interventional radiology to Nevada and performing many “firsts” in his discipline.
At the forefront of medical innovation, Dr. Bandt performs minimally invasive procedures. Through his efforts, patients that previously needed complicated and invasive surgery now have access to safer, less invasive procedures with better outcomes.
Dr. Bandt completed his medical-surgical internship and a nuclear medicine fellowship at the United States Public Health Service Hospital in San Francisco. He was a diagnostic radiology resident at Stanford Medical Center, where he was elected chief resident in his final year. He is fellowship-trained in nuclear medicine, sub-specialty trained in interventional radiology and board certified by the American Board of Radiology and American Board of Nuclear Medicine.
With a medical background in radiology and nuclear medicine, as well as his position as radiation medical officer at the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital, Dr. Bandt was recruited to come to Las Vegas in the early ‘70s and began working at Desert Radiologists in 1972, where he still practices. He established the interventional radiology department at the organization, which is the largest in the state. His work has helped the company grow into one of the country’s most successful private radiology practices.
Given his expertise, Dr. Bandt also worked to establish the interventional radiology departments at several hospitals and has held or continues to hold leadership roles with other local medical boards and organizations. He has been an innovator, introducing and upgrading the level of medical care available to Nevada.
Thank You Judges!
Nevada Business Magazine and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nevada would like to thank our distinguished panel of judges for their wisdom and discernment in selecting the 2015 Healthcare Heroes.
With roots dating back to 1969, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Nevada (Anthem) has a proud tradition of serving not only its members, but also the broader community. This legacy continued last year as the health insurer, its charitable foundation and local associates contributed nearly $1 million and hundreds of volunteer hours to vital organizations and causes across the state.
”Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is committed to transforming healthcare with trusted and caring solutions, and that extends directly to our work in communities throughout Nevada,” said Mike Murphy, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Nevada. “We’re proud to support the organizations and programs that are working to help our friends and neighbors live their healthiest lives possible.”
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and its foundation work to identify the health issues most in need of attention and then direct charitable support and volunteer efforts toward improving those areas. Major areas of focus for Anthem include promoting active lifestyles and working to reduce the devastating impact of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and lung disease on Nevada children, adults and seniors.
Key areas of support include the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Jessie Rees Foundation and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Nevada communities also benefit from grants made by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s parent company to national and regional organizations, such as Boys & Girls Clubs of America, American Cancer Society and the March of Dimes.
Through the Associate Giving Campaign, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield associates make one time contributions and ongoing pledges to health-focused charities in Nevada.
”Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has seen a lot of change over the past 46 years,” Murphy said. “What’s not changed is our commitment to serving our members and advancing health in Nevada. It is a true honor to work with so many great people and organizations and we look forward to doing so again in the years ahead.”
Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada (CCCN) recently announced that it entered a clinical affiliation agreement with the University of Southern California (USC) Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. The affiliation builds on the organizations’ more than 80 years of combined cancer expertise to further enhance patients’ quality of care, access to clinical research studies as well as access to procedures currently not offered in Southern Nevada.
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center is a prestigious academic cancer center – one of the original eight comprehensive cancer centers in the United States, as designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Through the affiliation, CCCN and USC Norris are providing exceptional clinically integrated care, with combined access to 370 cutting-edge clinical trials, an increased focus on highly specialized consultative care with an NCI designated comprehensive cancer center, unprecedented access to treatments in Southern Nevada – such as liver transplants, stem cell transplants, sarcoma surgeries and pancreatic laparoscopic surgeries. CCCN and USC Norris are working together to explore offering bone marrow and stem cell transplants to the state of Nevada – a breakthrough advancement in medicine in our state.
Under the affiliation agreement, USC specialists will be locally accessible to help augment care and keep patients in Southern Nevada as well as provide a valuable, professional asset to specialists throughout the local medical community.
The CCCN/USC Norris partnership brings increased and direct access to clinical trials, treatments and complex surgeries right here in our community.
Desert Radiologists continues its commitment to Nevadans with the highest level of medical imaging services, all board-certified radiologists and investments in advanced technology to meet growing imaging needs. This has been the practice’s mission since 1966 and is exemplified through its rise to one of the country’s largest, most successful private radiology practices.
Reinforcing its commitment to the highest quality, Desert Radiologists was the first radiology center in the Southwest United States to receive the prestigious Diagnostic Imaging Center of Excellence (DICOE) accreditation from the American College of Radiology (ACR). The extensive review process involves being ACR-accredited in all modalities and services before an even more rigorous review of all operational processes.
The practice is comprised of more than 65 board-certified radiologists, subspecializing in all areas of medical imaging including musculoskeletal, oncology, pediatrics, women’s imaging, nuclear medicine, interventional and neuroradiology. Its physicians are highly respected and have been recognized individually as best in their field by U.S. News & World Report, and other publications.
Desert Radiologists is the exclusive radiology partner for 12 Nevada hospitals and several out-of-state hospitals, a large local cancer care organization, multispecialty medical centers and smaller facilities in the western United States. These partnerships seamlessly provide onsite diagnostic and interventional imaging, covering diagnostic interpretations, complex subspecialty reads and 24/7/365 services.
On the technology front, Desert Radiologists continues to exceed expectations, being the first outpatient imaging group in the Southwest United States to offer 3D mammography. This groundbreaking technology results in detection of 41 percent more invasive breast cancers at an earlier, more treatable stage and reduction of false positives, eliminating unnecessary follow-up exams.
In January 2016, the practice will celebrate its 50th year of service to the Southern Nevada community. Since opening its doors in 1966, Desert Radiologists now operates six full-service outpatient centers with plans to open a seventh in early 2016.
As a proud sponsor of the 2015 Healthcare Heroes, we at Nevada State Bank celebrate and recognize the medical professionals honored in this publication.
With so many Nevadans reaching retirement age in addition to most Americans looking to lead a more healthy lifestyle, the expert advice and personalized attention given by healthcare professionals is vital to all of us. From providing preventive and specialized healthcare to helping us make smarter lifestyle choices, physicians are a valuable resource for patients of any age.
Just as patients need professional help to be their healthiest, physicians often need professional help to maintain the financial well-being of their practice. We are here to help.
The Nevada State Bank Professional Banking Group excels at serving clients in the medical industry. Our team of highly trained relationship officers can provide information and options to help expand a medical practice, create short-term working capital, purchase office equipment and set up business lines of credit, as well as handle all the personal banking matters each medical professional requires. We also have the ability to help with mergers or acquisitions, a common need in today’s healthcare industry. Relationship managers have the know-how and years of experience needed to help Nevada’s medical professionals with the financing and financial guidance needed for their practices to continue to thrive.
As our population ages, as we continue to seek cures for life-threatening diseases and as younger generations place more of an emphasis on preventive care, rest assured that Nevada State Bank’s Professional Banking Group will be there to help the medical community adapt to the changing healthcare marketplace and succeed together.
Nevada State Bank congratulates all of the Healthcare Heroes honorees. We are proud of all you do in our community, and it is our pleasure to do our best for you.
Founded in Henderson in 1999, Roseman University of Health Sciences is proud to be a significant contributor to the health and wellness of Southern Nevadans. With more than 3,000 graduates in the fields of pharmacy, nursing, dental medicine and orthodontics, Roseman has significantly helped to address the healthcare needs of our communities by educating highly skilled professionals to help alleviate shortages in key areas of the healthcare sector. Looking to the future, Roseman University’s investment in and commitment to Southern Nevada is only growing.
Given the staggering shortage of physicians in Southern Nevada, Roseman University is continuing to develop its MD-granting College of Medicine, through collaboration with its partners in the community, including physicians, hospitals, clinics and other healthcare providers. The college is also working with partners to foster creative solutions to increase residency opportunities in the region for medical school graduates.
Housed at Roseman’s existing 327,000 square-foot Summerlin Campus, the College of Medicine now employs more than 30 administrators, faculty and staff who recently completed and submitted the college’s self study to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the accrediting body for MD-granting medical schools. The college looks forward to the next steps in the accreditation process with a goal of enrolling its first 60 medical students in the fall of 2017.
A lynch pin for the Las Vegas Medical District was put into place in late April. A 14,000-pound lynchpin.
At the newest Steinberg Diagnostic Medical Imaging Center (SDMI), their third Toshiba Vantage Titan 3T MRI magnet nestled into its home at 800 Shadow Lane, in the heart of the Medical District.
“Knowing that the latest imaging tools are available nearby will make the Medical District more attractive for doctors to locate their practices there,” said Doug Geinzer, CEO of Las Vegas HEALS. “SDMI should be commended for making such a large investment in the future of Southern Nevada healthcare. Real change is taking place in the Medical District, and this beautiful new facility demonstrates that.”
The 3T MRI isn’t the only attraction for referring physicians at this location. SDMI has installed their second of only three brand new ultra-wide bore PET/CT scanners available in the market. The first is located at SDMI’s Anthem location; both are used for radiation therapy planning and offer features for enhanced patient comfort.
The much-anticipated GE SenoClaire 3D mammography, which delivers a three-dimensional perspective to improve the rate of early detection of breast cancer (by about 40 percent) will also be available at SDMI’s Shadow Lane facility, as well as all six other SDMI locations. This technology is unique because it delivers no more radiation to the patient than the previous 2D imaging.
The investment in all of this technology underscores SDMI’s commitment to the healthcare providers (and patients) of Southern Nevada: Utilizing the most advanced diagnostic imaging technology produce the highest quality images, create the best possible outcome for patients.
Renown Health is a locally owned, not-for-profit, integrated healthcare network and the largest private employer in Northern Nevada with more than 5,700 employees. Renown’s mission is to make a genuine difference in the health and well-being of the people and communities it serves. To fulfill that commitment, Renown invests more than $40M each year in equipment, facilities and new technology to improve the healthcare in the region.
Renown’s comprehensive network of care consists of three acute care hospitals, a rehabilitation hospital, skilled nursing facility, the area’s most comprehensive medical group and urgent care network and Northern Nevada’s largest and only locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health.
Hometown Health provides comprehensive healthcare plans and exceptional local service to its more than 115,000 members. Among its many services, Hometown Health offers a health hotline with specially trained registered nurses available to answer medical questions. Members of the popular health and wellness program, Healthy Tracks, receive useful tools to help them reduce risks and improve their overall health.
Hometown Health also meets the strict quality standards required by URAC and has more than 15,000 members in its Medicare Advantage program, Senior Care Plus. In Southern Nevada, Hometown Health owns and operates the OneHealth provider network and offers self-funded insurance programs to Las Vegas area businesses.
University Medical Center (UMC) is the premier academic medical center in Nevada. UMC offers the most advanced care in Nevada with the state’s only level I trauma center, designated pediatric trauma center and only burn care and transplant center. Children’s Hospital of Nevada at UMC is the only one of its kind in the Silver State and the only hospital in Nevada to be accepted as a member of the prestigious Children’s Hospital Association. UMC is also the only hospital in Nevada to offer the newest state-of-the-art surgical robotic and diagnostic technology.
This year’s Healthcare Heroes honorees Dr. Ross Berkeley and Dr. Devon Moore, both emergency medicine physicians at UMC, symbolize UMC’s commitment to providing superior skill and compassionate care to all who live in and visit Southern Nevada.
Dr. Berkeley and Dr. Moore work side-by-side with an entire team of highly experienced and expertly trained emergency medicine doctors who are educating the physicians of tomorrow, ensuring residents are learning to practice with the greatest amount of skill, integrity and compassion.
Together with best-in-class physicians, UMC is the home of unsurpassed medical care and paves the road for the medicine of tomorrow.