Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has been serving Nevada since 1965. As Nevadans, our associates live and work in the same communities that we serve. Last year, our charitable foundation and associates contributed more than $800,000 and hundreds of volunteer hours to vital organizations and causes across the state.
“We have a proud history of supporting many great organizations and programs that make a difference in the lives of the people in our communities throughout Nevada,” said Mike Murphy, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Nevada.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and its foundation work to identify the health issues most in need of attention and work to 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 JRDF. Nevada communities also benefit from grants made by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s charitable foundation to organizations such as Boys & Girls Clubs of America, American Cancer Society and the March of Dimes.
Through Anthem’s Dollars for Dollars Associate Giving Program, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield associates make one time and ongoing contributions to health-focused charities in Nevada, which are matched by its parent company’s charitable Foundation.
”In the more than five decades serving those in our Nevada communities, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield remains committed to making Nevada a better and healthier state for us to live in and for our children to grow up in,” Murphy said. “It is a true honor to work with so many great people and organizations. We look forward to doing so again in the years to come.”
The success of Healthcare Heroes depends on the steadfast support of our sponsors. Together we’ve been able to honor dozens of community leaders in healthcare for their work. The Nevada Business Magazine extends a heartfelt “THANK YOU” to all of this year’s sponsors and to everyone that helped make this program possible.
- Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada
- Elite Medical Center – an Acute Care Hospital
- Ensemble Real Estate Solutions
- Healthcare Partners Nevada – an Intermountain Healthcare Company
- Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Foundation
- Liberty Dental Plan
- Nathan Adelson Hospice
- Roseman University of Health Sciences
- Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center
- Touro University Nevada
- The Valley Health System
Hailing from Memphis, with an accent to match, Steve Shell moved to Reno in 2010 and quickly fell for the region and its people. He has over 25 years of experience in healthcare, from both the medical and behavioral health sides and has dedicated his career to advocating for mental health. Steve has held various facility and corporate roles throughout the years, including serving as chief executive officer of hospitals around the country. Today, Steve is CEO of the Reno Behavioral Healthcare Hospital. He was instrumental in opening the hospital last year and played a major role in opening the Desert Parkway Behavioral Healthcare Hospital in Las Vegas in 2013.
Steve’s work to improve mental health in Nevada doesn’t end with his role at the hospital. He also serves on the board of directors for the Nevada Hospital Association and the National Alliance on Mental Illness Nevada. In addition, he has been working with Nevada leaders to promote healing at a micro-level by addressing issues of homelessness, mental health and addiction. He’s also worked with the Reno Mayor’s Operation Downtown committee to address those issues.
Steve was a key resource in the creation of the Reno Behavioral Healthcare Hospital and spearheaded the construction and development of the facility. He worked with a variety of community partners to make the hospital a reality. Reno Behavioral is the newest hospital in the state and the first of its kind in the region. The hospital treats mental illness and substance abuse on both an inpatient and outpatient basis and has 124-beds over 80,000 square feet.
CEO and Managing Director
Summerlin Hospital Medical Center
Serving as chief executive officer and managing director for Summerlin Hospital Medical Center, Robert (Rob) Freymuller has a host of responsibilities. The hospital works with over 1,500 physicians and has 2,100 employees on staff. It is the largest stand-alone acute care hospital in the Universal Health Services hospital system and the fourth-largest hospital in Nevada. Rob has dedicated his more than 30 year career to healthcare. He’s been the head of hospitals in Texas, Florida and California and became CEO of Summerlin Hospital in 2008. During his tenure with the hospital, he has compiled a team of dedicated professtionals that are collaborative and patient-centered.
In addition to his leadership role, Rob is active in the Nevada community. He’s held board positions with the Nevada Hospital Association (NHA), the American Heart Association and United Way, among others. In addition to his work with NHA, he’s currently on the UNLV Nursing Advisory Board and the Southern Nevada Health District Facilities Advisory Board, among others.
Rob’s responsibilities at Summerlin Hospital are varied and include strategic planning, business development, physician relations, regulatory issues, financial management and overall operations. In his 11 years as CEO, he has grown the hospital from 281 beds to 485 beds, brought over $150 million in expansions online and helped establish a Children’s Hospital. Rob is an advocate for patients and he has made it his mission to provide the best care possible to those at the hospital while building a strong, healthy community for the future.
Jeffrey Acosta, BSN, BA, RN, CG
Divisional Supervisor and Behavioral Violence Prevention Educator
Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center
Jeffrey (Jeff) Acosta was destined to work in healthcare. He currently serves as a divisional supervisor and behavioral violence prevention educator with Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center. In his role he works with patients diagnosed with mental health issues, he develops nursing plans and coordinates care and safety. In addition, he is responsible for training staff on behavioral violence prevention.
From a young age, Jeff has been exposed to the behavioral health needs of those around him. When he was a child, his mother opened a local group home that cared for seniors exhibiting cognitive degeneration. As an adult, Jeff enlisted in the United States Army and was deployed multiple times to countries such as Korea and Iraq. After leaving the military, Jeff experienced, first-hand, the needs of behavioral health when he exhibited symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
After feeling the effects of PTSD and seeing it in his fellow-soldiers, Jeff knew he wanted to be part of a solution. He received a Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno and began working with veterans. He then went back to school and received a Bachelor’s in Nursing which allowed him to more holistically help those suffering from behavioral health issues. Since going into the behavioral health field, Jeff has had the opportunity to help veterans, those in psychiatric prison and elderly patients, among others. He has worked to de-stigmatize behavioral health and educate his community to better serve those in need.
Frederick Lippmann, MD
Chief of Staff
University Medical Center
Serving as chief of staff for University Medical Center (UMC), Dr. Frederick Lippmann is responsible for setting the tone for the hospital’s medical staff. He provides guidance and oversight for the hospital’s staff while caring for patients as a primary care physician. He focuses on chronic disease management and preventive medicine while working with his patients to improve their health over their lifetime.
Dr. Lippmann has been in Nevada for 34 years and has served as a UMC physician for 24 years. In addition to his work at UMC, he has previously served as the family medicine residency director at the UNLV School of Medicine, the team physician for UNLV, the lead physician for the NBA summer league and a SWAT tactical physician, among other roles and responsibilities.
He has been chief of staff since 2017, having been elected by his fellow physicians to the position. In the two years since he was appointed, Dr. Lippmann has become a trusted advisor to the physicians and staff at UMC. He is a leader, mentor and advocate for patients and he leads by example at the hospital. Regardless of his additional duties as chief of staff, Dr. Lippmann ensures his patients receive all of his attention and top-notch medical care. His top priority is the best possible medical outcome for each patient he treats. This patient-centric approach has served him well as both a physician and chief of staff, allowing him to set an example that prioritizes patient care.
Negar Nicole Jacobs, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science and Associate Dean for Office of Diversity and Inclusion
University of Nevada Reno, School of Medicine
Dr. Negar Nicole Jacobs has a unique perspective when it comes to inclusion and education. As a child, she immigrated from a country that still persecutes citizens for religious beliefs. Today she serves a dual role at the University of Nevada Reno (UNR), School of Medicine and is able to use the wisdom gained from her experiences in both roles. She is an associate professor in the psychiatry and behavioral science department as well as an associate dean with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
As an educator, Dr. Jacobs has taught everyone from students and colleagues to the community at large. She teaches medical students behavioral science and mentors them in dealing with emotional issues such as grief, stress, connection and coping. As an advocate for diversity and inclusion, Dr. Jacobs has also helped faculty colleagues understand the need for inclusive care, equitable healthcare and the need to reach Nevada’s vulnerable populations. In addition, Dr. Jacobs has worked with community partners, such as local hospitals, the school district and others to share her expertise and promote diversity, equity and inclusion on a holistic community level.
Dr. Jacobs has a strong background in psychology and behavioral health. She graduated from the University of Washington with a psychology degree and completed her masters and PhD in clinical psychology at UNR. After graduating, she worked with veterans at the Reno Veterans Administration and was eventually recruited by UNR to teach the next generation of healthcare providers.
Carolyn E. Sabo, EdD, MSN, RN
Professor and Director of Strategic Initiatives
UNLV School of Nursing
With over 40 years of experience in nursing education, Dr. Carolyn Sabo has seen a multitude of changes in her career. She has been with UNLV for 36 of those years and one thing that hasn’t changed is the need to guide students while providing them with a quality education so they can go out and serve the community. At UNLV, Dr. Sabo has focused primarily in graduate education and has taught everything from nursing leadership and education to pathophysiology. She has also served in several leadership positions including as graduate coordinator, interim chairperson for the department of radiological science, interim director for the department of physical therapy and dean of the College of Health Sciences.
While serving as dean, Dr. Sabo led the school in receiving grants and awards for their work. In 2014, she helped the UNLV School of Nursing develop a Doctor in Nursing Practice program which received national accreditation at the earliest application date. In addition to the work she’s done at the school, Dr. Sabo is dedicated to the southern Nevada community and has served on various boards for the state including the Nevada State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners as well as being involved with the Southern Nevada Area Health Education Center and several other committees and associations throughout the years.
Dr. Sabo has spent a career dedicated to guiding education and encouraging students. She remains active in nursing education and leadership. Today she serves as a professor and the director of strategic initiatives at the UNLV School of Nursing.
Jessica E. Flood, LSW, MSW
Regional Behavioral Health Coordinator
Nevada Rural Hospital Partners
Nevada’s rural regions are vast and can sometimes be overlooked when considering the overall health of the state. Jessica Flood is serving these communities and helping to ensure they have behavioral health programs that are essential to keeping rural Nevada healthy.
She is the regional behavioral health coordinator for Nevada Rural Hospital Partners (NRHP) serving Carson, Lyon, Douglas and Churchill Counties. She also works as an adjunct faculty member of the University of Nevada Reno (UNR), School of Social Work. Jessica has a history of working with those in need. In her current position, she coordinates behavioral health and jail diversion programs while assessing the needs of the communities, developing programs and providing oversight. She’s been with NRHP for the past four years and works with a variety of community stakeholders, from first responders, social services, substance use and mental health medical providers to family and peer advocates. She also serves as a liaison between the communities and state agencies advocating for rural Nevada health.
Born and raised in Nevada, Jessica is passionate about her home and focused on giving rural communities the voice they need to have their health goals met. In addition to connecting communities to resources, she also works to educate the public on behavioral health needs and the importance of involvement. Jessica serves as vice president on the board of directors for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Western Nevada and she has a Masters of Social Work from the University of Nevada, Reno.
Joe Hardy, MD
Nevada State Senator and Associate Professor
Touro University Nevada
Anyone that has been in Nevada long is likely familiar with Dr. Joe Hardy. A current Nevada State Senator, former Assemblyman and former City Councilman for Boulder City, Dr. Hardy has been in the public view for a number of years. Dr. Hardy is also an associate professor with Touro University, College of Osteopathic Medicine and, just last year, accepted the role of associate dean of clinical education at the school. Dr. Hardy’s years of dedicated service to the state of Nevada are testament to his commitment to the health of the Silver State.
Born in Reno and a graduate of Sparks High School, Dr. Hardy completed his medical training elsewhere and served in the United States Air Force as an officer and a physician. He eventually returned to Nevada and set up a family medical practice in Boulder City where he practiced for 22 years.
Dr. Hardy believes in servant leadership and that attitude is reflected in his career, his practice and his work at Touro. He is committed to southern Nevada and has been active in community organizations such as Easter Seals of Nevada, the Boy Scouts of America and the American Legion, among others. He has been board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine for over 20 years. Dr. Hardy is also a former board member of the Clark County Health District and the Southern Nevada Health District. His commitment to southern Nevada eventually led to him running for office in 1999. He has served in various elected positions throughout the years and currently represents District 12 in Nevada.
Karen Bryan, RN
Co-Chair, Circle of Red
American Heart Association
A registered nurse having worked in cardiac intensive care and with pre- and post-operation patients, Karen Bryan has a passion for healthcare. She is particularly drawn to heart health and volunteers 10 or more hours each week to the American Heart Association (AHA). In fact, she’s is in her second year as co-chair of the Northern Nevada Circle of Red for the AHA. The Circle of Red is a donor group that supports the “Go Red” campaign, bringing awareness to heart disease as the number one cause of death for women.
In addition to her history of working with heart health patients, Karen has a personal relationship with the AHA. Her mother was able to get life-saving medical treatment for a heart blockage because the symptoms were recognized early. Karen realized that part of the AHA’s mission is to educate people on those symptoms while researching diagnostic and life-saving procedures that save lives. Karen believes awareness is key and reminds others that 80 percent of heart disease is preventable.
In addition to her extensive volunteerism with the AHA, Karen also works as a foundation board member for the Community Health Alliance, a local clinic that provides medical, dental and behavioral health services to non-insured and underinsured patients. She is a high school liaison and volunteer with Project 150 as well. Project 150 collects gently used clothing to distribute to local high school students in need.
The Service Squad
Formed in 2016, the Healthcare Partners Nevada Service Squad provides services where the community needs them most. After realizing that HealthCare Partner employees participated in volunteer work throughout the southern Nevada community on an individual basis, leadership at the organization developed the Service Squad to support those employees in their endeavors. Since its formation, the Squad has seen first-hand the affects of their collective volunteerism. With a core membership of about 20 people, the Squad pulls other team members in when needed for large events. Each member has a regular job and responsibilities at Healthcare Partners and the time they donate to the Squad is above and beyond those duties.
The Service Squad is always looking for ways to give back and offers support through both small and large efforts. One such effort was after the October 1 tragedy when members of the Service Squad took 16-hour shifts to stay outside UMC and Valley hospitals in order to help feed and supply clothing to those affected by the tragedy, from family members to physicians and first responders.
In 2019 alone the organization has done a food drive, participated in an Earth Day clean up, raised funds and participated in a walk. Members of the Squad support southern Nevada organizations including the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, Three Square, St. Jude’s Ranch, Shade Tree and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, just to name a few. Additionally, the Service Squad has organized a yearlong initiative at each of the Healthcare Partner clinics called Change the World. They collect change until the beginning of December and that change will all be donated to a local charity.
Christopher Rowan, MD, FACC
Born in Reno, Dr. Christopher Rowan achieved a life goal when he began practicing cardiology in his hometown. In 2015, Dr. Rowan joined the Renown Institute for Heart and Vascular Health and last year he was named the medical director of research for the Renown Institution for Health Innovation (IHI). Prior to entering medicine, Dr. Rowan has been a pilot and an engineer.
As part of his duties at Renown IHI, Dr. Rowan researches heart disease, working to find out what causes it and the risk factors. He hopes to find better ways to approach heart health and ways to treat those with heart disease that will save more lives.
Dr. Rowan has compiled his research through multiple studies, including studying the Tsimane people of the Bolivian Amazon. They have some of the healthiest hearts in the world and it’s directly tied to lifestyle. He’s also looked at the heart health of mummies in order to better understand the origins of heart disease.
More recently, Dr. Rowan has been a leader in the Healthy Nevada Project which is being conducted by Renown IHI through a partnership with the Desert Research Institute. The Healthy Nevada Project is a population health study that combines genetic, clinical, social and environmental data. The study provides individuals with pertinent data about their own genetics and health while giving researchers an overall picture of the health of a community.
Dr. Rowan has been active in the study and was able to provide critical clinical results to consenting study participants and, if they chose, help guide them in treatment options and additional testing.
Deepa Nagar, MD, FAAP
Andria Peterson, PharmD
Working together at the St. Rose – Siena Campus, Drs. Deepa Nagar (top picture) and Andria Peterson (bottom picture) saw an urgent need for a program that helps pregnant women with substance abuse disorder as they transition into parenthood. Together they became co-directors of the EMPOWERED Program. The program was created to identify pregnant women suffering from substance abuse and their infants who are at risk for neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), more commonly known as withdrawal.
The program is grant-funded and was developed by Drs. Nagar and Peterson from the ground up. EMPOWERED provides community outreach, coordinates activities for NAS treatment and prevention and has already helped over 50 infant-mother pairs. EMPOWERED is an acronym for Empowering Mothers for Positive Outcomes With Education, Recovery and Early Development. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, every 25 minutes in the United States a baby is born suffering from opioid withdrawal. Drs. Nagar and Peterson hope to ensure those babies are taken care of and are able to safely survive NAS while supporting mothers by providing resources through every stage in the pregnancy to early childhood development.
Dr. Deepa Nagar is a neonatologist pediatrician with specialty training to care for babies, she’s also affiliated with Mednax Services, a physician-led healthcare organization. Dr. Andria Peterson is a clinical pharmacist and assistant professor of pharmacy with Roseman University of Health Sciences. Together, their work in EMPOWERED is saving and helping change the lives of babies and their mothers while giving them the support they need to lead healthy, addiction-free lives.
Silver State Health Insurance Exchange
A humanitarian is defined as someone who seeks to promote human welfare. As the executive director for the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, Heather Korbulic is dedicated to doing just that. She oversees over a dozen full-time employees and is responsible for providing strategic leadership and direction for the Exchange. She previously worked as the Long Term Care Ombudsman with Nevada’s Aging and Disability Services Division. She has considerable experience in working through the legislative process, interpreting and applying state and federal regulations and coordinating project management.
The Silver State Health Insurance Exchange is the facilitator for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and provides a marketplace where eligible Nevada consumers can purchase health insurance plans. The mission of the Exchange is to increase the number of insured Nevadans by helping provide access to health insurance for all Nevadans. As executive director, Heather is responsible for implementing that vision and has the goal of making sure every Nevadan can get quality health insurance. She has become an expert on the ACA and is proficient at adapting to the changes created by the political landscape. It’s a balancing act that Heather navigates well while keeping in mind the ultimate goal of caring for Nevadans.
In addition to facilitating access to health insurance, Heather and her team have undertaken the task of transitioning the Exchange to a private technology platform. The state-based program is expected to save Nevada over $18 million for the duration of the contract and provide the Exchange with access to valuable data to improve marketing efforts.
Sam Schmidt suffered a severe spinal cord injury from a race car crash on the speedway in 2000. The injury rendered him a quadriplegic, without the use of his arms or legs. With a strong determination and a “never quit” attitude, Sam founded a non-profit to fund research, develop innovative rehabilitation equipment and work on quality-of-life issues for those with paralysis. The non-profit eventually evolved into Conquer Paralysis Now (CPN) and is a leading authority on spinal cord injury research and treatment. The non-profit raises funds towards finding a cure for paralysis.
After seeing firsthand the challenges faced by those with disabilities in southern Nevada, Sam went a step further. Under the CPN name, he created a program called DRIVEN NeuroRecovery Center. A fitness center that offers facilities that are accessible and usable by those with neurological injuries and disabilities, DRIVEN takes a multidisciplinary approach to disability health. The center provides specialized, activity-based personal training, filling the gaps in services that are missing for people with disabilities and providing a way for people to continue improving their health and wellness after physical and occupational therapy has ended.
DRIVEN will celebrate its first anniversary in December. In its first year the facility has helped a number of people with disabilities work toward health goals in an environment that is designed to meet their needs. It is a one-of-a-kind facility. Sam’s initiative in creating CPN and DRIVEN is leading to improved quality of life of southern Nevadans.
Technology & Research
Fadi S. Braiteh, MD
Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada
An accomplished researcher and dedicated physician, Dr. Fadi Braiteh works with Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada (CCCN). In addition to his role as a medical oncologist, Dr. Braiteh is a member of the Board of Directors of CCCN and medical director for the Translational Oncology Phase 1 Program and the GI Malignancies Program at the organization. He also serves as president for Alephcare, an oncology drug development consulting agency he founded in 2012.
Dr. Braiteh has been the principal investigator behind many of the over 170 phase 1, 2 and 3 clinical research studies CCCN participates in each year. He has directly participated in over 200 trials, many of which resulted in FDA approved cancer therapies. He has also published over 80 peer-reviewed articles, abstracts and book chapters. One such article was on a trial he participated in related to cancer immunotherapy and data on tumor-infiltrating immune cells. Therapy from that trial was implemented by the FDA who called the treatment “breakthrough therapy”.
His work in research makes him stand out in his field and Dr. Braiteh regularly shares his knowledge with others. He is a frequent lecturer on clinical research, cancer and palliative medicine. Dr. Braiteh has also received numerous awards for his work, including having been named in the 1 Percent Top Researcher Club by US Oncology Research Networking and receiving the 2009 Susan G. Komen Scholar-in-Training award. Dr. Braiteh serves on the national American Society of Clinical Oncology committees as well as the National Cancer Institute Pancreatic Cancer Task Force.
Each One. Tell One.
For Heather Reimer, cancer is personal. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011, eight months after a clear, supposedly cancer-free mammogram. After extensive treatment for the cancer, which included a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction, eight surgeries and 17 weeks of dose dense chemotherapy, she found out a close friend had gone through something similar. Her friend was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer four months after receiving a mammogram that missed three large tumors. These experiences highlighted the extreme need to make others aware of how dense breast tissue can affect cancer diagnosis.
Each One. Tell One. was started by Heather as a Facebook page. The page was created in the hopes it would increase awareness of dense breast tissue, the fact that women that have it are more prone to develop cancer and that tumors are harder to see on a mammogram with a dense tissue type. Heather partnered with Wendy Damonte, who lost her mother to cancer in a similar situation, and a movement began. The organization has a simple mission, to give a voice to each person to tell their friends, family and neighbors the importance of knowing their breast density. Each One. Tell One. also offers education on additional screening options and what women need to know about density. For example, due to legislation that Wendy helped get passed, it has been mandatory that physicians inform women of their breast tissue type in Nevada since 2013.
For Heather, Each One. Tell One. is a passion project to keep women from going through what she, and so many others, have experienced. In addition to her work with the non-profit, Heather serves as director of self-funded operations and wellness experience for Hometown Health.
Co-Founder, President and CEO
Cure 4 the Kids Foundation
Cure 4 the Kids Foundation (C4K) is Nevada’s only tax-exempt childhood cancer treatment center. The organization was founded by Annette Logan-Parker in 2007 and has grown to an over $30 million nonprofit. Annette is responsible for overseeing the strategic direction of the organization and is transforming the way children with cancer in Nevada receive healthcare.
Since its inception, C4K has seen over 50,000 patients and no child has been turned way for their family’s inability to pay for medical care. Annette has, unfortunately, personal experience with a need to find a way to pay for healthcare for a child. Her son faced serious health problems when he was 15 and she was told he would live his life out on a ventilator. Annette took action to improve the outcome for her son. She was determined to find the best medical choices, regardless of cost, but that cost was very steep. She saw that sometimes people’s choices were limited to what they could afford when it comes to healthcare and sometimes that made the difference between life and death. As her son began to heal and improve, Annette discovered her next mission. She founded C4K to ensure that all children had access to high-quality, patientcentered care, no matter what.
Today, Annette’s son serves as a Clark County firefighter and C4K, the organization his fight inspired, is thriving. Last year, the non-profit was named on Inc. Magazine’s 5,000 fastest companies in America list. C4K has also won multiple awards for their work and holds the gold standard of accreditation from the Joint Commission as well as the premier clinical laboratory accreditation from the Commission on Office Laboratory Accreditation (COLA). The organization has partnered with Roseman University to help even more kids in need.
Arshad M. Khanani, MD, MA
Dr. Arshad Khanani is an accomplished, fellowship-trained ophthalmologist practicing at Sierra Eye Associates in Reno. His passion for research led him to found a clinical research program at the organization and he serves as managing partner, director of clinical research and fellowship program director. Dr. Khanani has a personal drive to help others and improve eye health for those in his community. When he was a child, his grandmother went blind after a faulty surgery. This incident inspired him to study retinal conditions and find ways to help those afflicted. He is committed to finding new techniques, therapies and solutions to advance medicine in the ophthalmology field.
Today, Sierra Eye Associates is operating around 42 clinical trials, many of which serve local patients directly. Dr. Khanani is proud of these trials and the advanced local care they are able to provide in northern Nevada. He is constantly searching for ways to better treat patients and overcome barriers they may have because of chronic or complex eye conditions. His dedication has led him to receive multiple awards for patient care and he’s been named one of America’s top ophthalmologists.
In addition to his work at Sierra Eye Associates, Dr. Khanani is a clinical associate professor with the University of Nevada Reno, School of Medicine. He has held leadership roles in clinical trial steering committees across the United States. He has also engaged in almost 40 scientific publications and journals and given nearly 70 presentations to medical communities around the world.
Dr. Brandon Snook
University Medical Center
A trauma surgeon with UMC, Dr. Brandon Snook is no stranger to high-stress environments. He is a retired Air Force colonel and has spent much of his professional career practicing during high stake situations. Before retiring from the Air Force, Dr. Snook was the director of the Sustained Medical and Readiness Trained (SMART) program regional currency site at UMC. SMART is a training program that maintains trauma and non-trauma skills for Air Force medical professionals.
In addition to his work with UMC, Dr. Snook was commander of the 99th Surgical Operations Squadron at Mike O’Callaghan Medical Center at Nellis Air Force Base. He has also been deployed and served in a medical capacity in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other locations. Dr. Snook trained as a fellow at the University of Nevada School of Medicine and is dedicated to the southern Nevada community.
That dedication was on full display the night of the October 1 tragedy when Dr. Snook played an instrumental role in treating the victims as they came to UMC. His years of training served him well and he was able to remain calm and collected throughout the night while providing patients with the best care.
“He was made to handle what happened on October 1,” said Vick Gill, an associate administrator with UMC. “His distinguished career led to this moment and he gave us all hope during our community’s greater time of need.”
Rex Tippens Baggett, MD
Retired, Volunteer Physician and Professor
University of Nevada Reno, School of Medicine
Having practiced medicine from 1969 until he retired in 2004, Dr. Rex Baggett has spent a lifetime in the field of healing others. Today he volunteers as a physician and professor at the medical student run outreach clinic at the University of Nevada Reno, School of Medicine. He’s been working with the School of Medicine for 48 years and is beloved in his role at the clinic.
Students that have worked with Dr. Baggett over the years describe him as respectful, understanding, a role model, devoted, professional, effective, knowledgeable and caring. He has been instrumental in educating countless physicians and has been a virtual mainstay at the school. In addition to his work at the school, Dr. Baggett has held several leadership positions in Nevada over the years, including serving as chief of staff and medical director at Carson-Tahoe Hospital and medical director of the Ross Medical Clinic, among other positions.
He has also been a dedicated community servant, serving as a delegate to the Nevada State Medical Association, as vice president and president of the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners and as a board member for the Nevada Health Professional Assistance Foundation. He has volunteered for multiple non-profit organizations, such as the Nevada Lung Association, and has been a guiding influence to northern Nevada over his 50 year career.
Barbara Atkinson, MD
University of Nevada Las Vegas, School of Medicine
Starting a medical school from the ground up is not for the faint of heart. Thankfully, Dr. Barbara Atkinson is stalwart and rose to the task as the founding dean for the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), School of Medicine. Prior to coming to southern Nevada, Dr. Atkinson had spent her career as an accomplished researcher, educator and administrator in medicine and medical education.
She has been a leader many times in the course of her career and was a natural fit to fill the need for a new medical school in southern Nevada. She has overseen all aspects of the formation and launch of the school, including leading through the accreditation process, faculty recruitment, planning and implementing the educational blueprint, managing operations and spearheading philanthropy and community outreach. She was appointed planning dean for the school in May 2014 and immediately got to work garnering regional and legislative support. In 2015, the UNLV School of Medicine managed to raise $13.5 million in less than two months and fund 135 scholarships for medical students. In fact, the inaugural class all received full scholarships for their education.
Dr. Atkinson received her medical degree in 1974 and has been elected to several illustrious positions over the course of her career. From serving as a trustee on the American Board of Pathology to being appointed by President Barack Obama to the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, Dr. Atkinson had a full and long career before serving as founding dean in Las Vegas. Currently, Dr. Atkinson is transitioning out of leadership at the medical school and taking on an advisory role as the school continues to grow.
Former President and CEO
Nathan Adelson Hospice
Speaker, Educator, Executive Coach and Consultant
Carole Fisher has become known for her work at Nathan Adelson Hospice (NAH). As the former president and chief executive officer for the organization, Carole had a significant, measurable impact on healthcare, specifically end-of-life care, in southern Nevada. She served at NAH for 13 years and, during her tenure she broadened the scope of hospice care and created a place that enabled adults to live with comfort and dignity at the end of their lives.
Under her leadership, NAH has adapted to the multitude of changes affecting healthcare over the years, provided over $3 million of unfunded services to those with limited resources and created ways to improve access, quality and coordination of care for seniors. Her career prepared her to handle the challenges of hospice care as she previously served in leadership positions at managed care organizations, both as an insurer and a provider. This gave her a unique perspective on how to handle a variety of issues that come up in the running and growing of a healthcare organization.
Having retired from NAH, Carole has turned her efforts to helping other organizations grow and adapt. She educates others as a speaker, executive coach and consultant. She is passionate about leadership and implementing new leadership ideas that she hopes will guide others in reaching their full potential. Her work in advancing healthcare at the local, state and national level has led to a better standard of care for hospice. Her dedication to helping those with limited resources has allowed access to necessary end of life care for those in the southern Nevada community.
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 in previous years: determining the new class of 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.
Caring for Nevada
Healthcare Heroes Supports Medical Education and Non-Profits
From its inception in 2006, Healthcare Heroes has had the dual purpose of recognizing those individuals that are doing so much for our communities while also providing a way to support healthcare education and organizations in Nevada. One of the ways in which the Healthcare Hero events achieve the latter of those two purposes is through scholarship funds set up at UNR’s and UNLV’s Schools of Nursing. Proceeds from the gala honoring Nevada’s Healthcare Heroes are used to support students that are pursuing careers in healthcare education. To that end, anyone that has participated in Healthcare Heroes, whether through sponsorships or by attending the ceremony, has helped to contribute to those scholarships which, for the last several years, have gone to deserving students.
There is another way in which the Healthcare Heroes events have been able to support the community. The F event has often partnered with worthy non-profit organizations to host a silent auction for the evening of the event. This year, in Southern Nevada, the silent auction will be hosted by Women’s Resource Medical Centers of Southern Nevada (WRMCSN).
Serving Southern Nevada since 1985, WRMCSN helps pregnant women and couples as they make tough decisions about unintended pregnancies. The organization provides complete and accurate information as well as pregnancy testing, peer counseling, and ultrasound services at no charge to those they assist. The center is staffed by dedicated and compassionate individuals that provide medical services to women at no charge.
Through attending and sponsoring Healthcare Heroes, your efforts have made a difference in the lives of countless others and that effort has not gone unrecognized. Thank you for your support throughout the years.
The first and longest running program of its kind in Nevada, Healthcare Heroes was born in 2006 with 10 categories and a seemingly endless supply of nominees. Since the beginning, Healthcare Heroes has shed a light on remarkable healthcare professionals.
Taking the idea of contributing to healthcare a step further, the Healthcare Heroes scholarship fund was created. With scholarships 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 300 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, the 2019 judges and all of the Healthcare Heroes participants and event attendees.