It means the world to us to provide care to the communities where we live and work.
At Southwest Medical, part of Optum Care, it’s something we have been doing for nearly 50 years. Across each passing decade, the health and well-being of our patients, our community and our team members continues to be our top priority. We want to see patients stay healthy, during and well beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
Being part of the state as long as we have, we know Nevadans. We know generations of them. And we also know that our community’s quality of life depends on the health of its members. As Nevada’s largest healthcare provider, we know the health of our medical workforce is vital. We decided early in the rollout of our COVID-19 vaccination efforts that we would offer to vaccinate medical providers and their team members throughout our community.
That’s why, in addition to our own healthcare providers and staff, we scheduled vaccinations for physicians and staff of any other local physician groups. At the same time, we scheduled COVID vaccinations for members of our own network and patients. We’ve vaccinated tens of thousands of Nevadans during the pandemic, and now parents and guardians who choose to do so can get a COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 12 and over.
We have years of experience providing vaccinations on a large scale – including operating drive-through flu shot clinic events here in southern Nevada for several years. This experience placed us in an ideal position to provide COVID vaccinations during this critical time. We I held numerous drive-thru COVID vaccination clinics for older adults throughout the community.
We also took steps to care for the medically vulnerable in the community. Southwest Medical partnered with OptumRx to open a COVID Care Clinic at the Rancho Urgent Care (888 S. Rancho Drive) location to administer Bamlanivimab intravenously for our most at-risk patients. Bamlanivimab is a state-of-the-art drug that has had great success against COVID-19 and is still not widely available to the public. Strict protocols are involved with selecting the patients. This infusion site streamlines COVID care while protecting immunocompromised cancer patients and relieving overburdened hospitals. This clinic continues to aid in the recovery of at-risk individuals.
Southwest Medical is Nevada’s largest multispecialty medical group with over 450 local healthcare providers, including seven convenient care centers, six urgent care centers and two outpatient surgery centers. Our full spectrum of healthcare services includes Southwest Medical Hospice, improving the quality of life for people experiencing a terminal illness. We also bring care and comfort home to our patients through Home Health Services.
Optum Care Nevada is a family of more than 3,000 providers and 800 primary and specialty clinics across Nevada, and 45 owned clinics in the Las Vegas Valley, as well as specialty care offering services for lung, allergy, cancer, orthopedics and spine care.
In good health,
The Team at Optum Care Nevada
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.
- City National Bank
- Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Foundation
- Roseman University of Health Sciences
- Touro University Nevada
- University Medical Center
Chief Executive Officer | Prominence Health Plan
Having earned a master’s degree in finance, Kamal Jemmoua understands the importance economics has in the healthcare industry. He serves as chief executive officer for Universal Health Service’s (UHS) Prominence Health Plan. After joining UHS in 2013, Jemmoua oversaw the acquisition of the health plan in 2014 and has been key to driving the organization.
At Prominence, Jemmoua is responsible for continued growth as well as the creation of new ventures for the organization. He has helped build a physician-led accountable care organization (ACO) and has led several initiatives for the organization related to value-based care. He spearheaded the launch of seven ACOs within the UHS Acute Care division. An ACO is a managed care system that benefits communities by providing coordinated care to Medicare patients.
He is also pushing forward the restructuring of the health plan by launching a Medicare Advantage line of business and developing network management, analytics and performance improvement departments. In order to facilitate the smartest growth, Jemmoua has outsourced key departments, allowing the health plan to focus on core services.
Jemmoua has been directly responsible for creating accessible healthcare in the northern Nevada community by helping build a strong hospital network and resources to members. His commitment to Nevada is clear in his service to the community. He serves on various boards including Northern Nevada Medical Center, Access to Health and the Reno + Sparks Chamber of Commerce.
Chief Operating Officer | UMC
Leading by example is a hallmark of Tony Marinello’s administrative abilities. He believes that working alongside his team and maintaining an adaptive mindset are key to a successful healthcare team.
His methods are proving effective as Marinello serves as chief operating officer at University Medical Center, commonly known as UMC. The hospital has a 90-year history in Nevada and has been at the forefront of many of southern Nevada’s biggest health events, from the October 1 shooting to COVID.
Marinello began with the hospital in 2017, shortly before October 1. He proved his mettle in that crisis and helped lead UMC to respond and care for the community during the deadliest mass shooting in recent American history. Now, as southern Nevada faces a pandemic crisis, Marinello continues to lead and, notably, to jump in as necessary. He’s served on the front lines of care, alongside the healthcare workers he leads, in order to help facilitate and speed the response to COVID-19.
As a leader, Marinello prioritizes his efforts into coaching and mentoring his team, helping others grow in the organization. He himself rose through the ranks in healthcare. Marinello started his career in the industry as a medical laboratory technician, eventually becoming the healthcare leader he is today. It’s clear Marinello cares for his team and wants to do whatever is necessary to ensure they can succeed and provide high-quality care to the community.
Care Provider Heroes
Lori Mueller, MSN, RN
Director of Emergency Services | Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center
Lori Mueller, who serves at Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center as the director of emergency services, was inspired to go into nursing by those caring for her brother. When she was young, he was in a car accident and suffered a brain injury. Witnessing the care provided to him by the nurses surrounding her brother during that trauma changed Mueller’s life.
Originally from Kentucky, Mueller graduated as a registered nurse (RN) in 2007. After her graduation she took some time as a travelling nurse and eventually landed in Reno. Discovering her home, she moved her family west and began working for Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center. She quickly advanced at the hospital to unit supervisor and now director of emergency services.
Natural born talent, combined with Mueller’s extensive experience in emergency medicine, has led her to be an adaptive leader who thinks on her feet to overcome challenges. When COVID-19 hit the northern Nevada community, Mueller quickly found innovative ways to support her frontline team. She set up respiratory tents, converted ER rooms to safe respiratory spaces and set up an internal employee COVID vaccine clinic.
From educating herself on the needs and reporting requirements to preparing and building a team for distribution, Mueller was able to provide the Saint Mary’s team with vaccines as soon as possible. Working in an environment where things can change minute to minute, Mueller has proven herself to be a caring and capable care provider and leader.
With 44 years of experience in radiology healthcare, Patty Crowell knows a thing or two about diagnostic imaging. She serves as mammography supervisor at Desert Radiology and has been on the frontlines of helping identify regulations for radiology in Nevada. She was the first licensed mammography instructor in the state and created a full program to educate the next generation of technologists.
Growing up in Montana, Crowell was exposed to medicine at an early age as she watched her father rely on a dialysis unit in their home due to end-stage renal failure. This experience showed her the importance of healthcare and the effect it has on people and their families. Losing an aunt to breast cancer taught Crowell the heartbreak patients experience and led her to be a compassionate advocate of cancer awareness and early detection.
From appearing on “Jeopardy!” to talk about breast cancer in men to helping form a standard of care for mammography patients, Crowell has worked to inform as many as possible. In her role at Desert Radiology she has earned the nickname “Mammography Angel” as she empathizes and cares for patients while supervising over a dozen technologists. In 2019, Crowell received an American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) Nevada education grant to help her continue to perfect her craft. She encourages those she works with to always continue learning as they provide the best care possible to their patients.
Caroline Cobine, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Physiology and Cell Biology | University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine
Growing up in County Monaghan in Ireland, teaching has been a lifelong dream of Dr. Caroline Cobine’s. She is living out that dream at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) School of Medicine where she teaches physiology, molecular biosciences and within the physician assistant program at the school. She serves on the Student Promotion and Conduct and the Curriculum Renovation Committees at the medical school.
In addition to her role educating future healthcare providers, Dr. Cobine has an active gastrointestinal smooth muscle physiology research lab at the School of Medicine and mentors undergraduate, graduate and medical students at the lab. She’s presented her research throughout the world in award-winning speaking engagements.
In fact, Dr. Cobine has a talent for taking extremely complex subjects and simplifying them to their core concepts, a skill that is essential in a teacher. She is frequently one of the highest rated teachers at the UNR School of Medicine and was given the E.W. Richardson Excellence in Teaching Award for her work. The highly competitive award is the highest teaching honor given by the School of Medicine.
It is evident Dr. Cobine cares a great deal about seeing her students grow and become exceptional healthcare providers. In her own words, “I love to see my students succeed and it is fulfilling to have played even a small part in their journey to becoming healthcare professionals.”
Glen Roberson, DMD
Program Director, Advanced Education in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics Residency Program | College of Dental Medicine, Roseman University
At Roseman University’s College of Dental Medicine, only 10 new residents are admitted to the Advanced Education in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics (AEODO) residency program each year. As the newly appointed program director of that residency, Dr. Glen Roberson is at the forefront of shaping the next generation of leaders in orthodontics. He has been a teacher with Roseman University for 11 years and helps operate the orthodontic clinic for the school.
Creating healthcare professionals who value personal growth, transparency and integrity is a goal shared by Dr. Roberson and Roseman. Originally from northern New Jersey, he knew in high school that healthcare was the field in which he was best suited to work. He specialized in orthodontics to impact young lives by giving them the confidence of a healthy, beautiful smile. In addition, Dr. Roberson works to treat cleft lip and palate anomalies and the clinic is one of the few in Nevada to provide that type of specialty care. Roseman has donated over $500,000 in care to treat patients, regardless of their ability to pay.
As an educator, Dr. Roberson strives to pass on both his skill in his specialty as well as his passion for caring for patients to his students.
“I wear my heart on my sleeve and I enjoy caring for my patients while also shaping the next generation of orthodontics to provide empathetic, high-quality care to all,” he said.
Community Partner Heroes
Max Coppes, MD, PhD, MBA
Physician-in-Chief | Renown Children’s Hospital
Cancer Center Director | Renown Health
Professor of Clinical Internal Medicine and Pediatrics | University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine
Dr. Max Coppes has an international education. From the Netherlands to Canada and now in Reno, Dr. Coppes is a leader in healthcare education and pediatric cancer. In 2014, he joined Renown in a senior leadership position. Shortly after moving to northern Nevada, Dr. Coppes was appointed as the academic chair of pediatrics at UNR School of Medicine and the pediatrician-in-chief at Renown Children’s Hospital. Most recently, Dr. Coppes was named the cancer center director at Renown Health and tasked with establishing a comprehensive, academic cancer center.
Dr. Coppes has a number of achievements in northern Nevada and has been a true community partner. He helped recruit pediatric specialists to the area by securing a $7.5 million grant from the William N. Pennington Foundation for Renown Children’s Hospital. He grew the hospital, which is the only dedicated children’s hospital in northern Nevada, to offer emergency pediatric and services for families within 100,000 square miles, from Sacramento, CA to Salt Lake City, UT. Under his leadership, the hospital has been accredited as a member of the Children’s Oncology Group. Dr. Coppes was also a leader in launching the Health Nevada Project, the country’s first community-based population health study.
One of the most vital roles Dr. Coppes has filled during his time in Reno is to foster collaboration in the community by strengthening ties between Renown and the UNR School of Medicine, helping expand clinical research and working towards creating an extensive healthcare network. One of Dr. Coppes ultimate goals is to cure all children and adolescents with cancer while finding ways to prevent it in other children.
Rebecca Edgeworth, MD
Assistant Professor and Medical Director | School of Physician Assistant Studies, Touro University Nevada
Born in Las Vegas, Dr. Rebecca Edgeworth completed her undergraduate and medical schooling in Florida. She returned home for internal medicine residency training at UMC and has been a committed leader in the southern Nevada community. Dr. Edgeworth joined Touro University Nevada in 2013 as an adjunct professor. She now serves as an assistant professor and medical director for the university’s School of Physician Assistant studies.
Throughout her education and career, Dr. Edgeworth has shown a passion for caring for the underserved in the community. She’s worked as medical director with Volunteers in Medicine in Southern Nevada and now leads a physician assistant community outreach program at Touro. Through the program she helps meet the needs of over 850 underserved and homeless southern Nevadans each year. She is the “heart and soul” behind the university’s mobile health clinic and a leader at Project Homeless Connect, an event that provides services to over 2,500 homeless citizens in a single day.
Utilizing her position at Touro, Dr. Edgeworth has been an essential part of the region’s COVID response. In January of this year, she coordinated the school’s effort to create a point of distribution for the vaccines and oversaw the administration of over 7,000 vaccines. In the early days of the pandemic, Dr. Edgeworth was at the forefront of testing southern Nevada residents. She has volunteered countless hours to care for underserved Nevadans and those affected by the pandemic, all while passing on lessons of leadership and partnership to her students.
Christina Sapien, MSW, LCSW
Director of Behavioral Health Services | Carson Tahoe Health
Christina Sapien grew up in northern Nevada. She graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno and has been an advocate for improving care in the region. Sapien now serves as director of behavioral health services (BHS) for Cason Tahoe Health and has been with the organization since 1992. Under her leadership, BHS has doubled in size to 52 beds and added essential programs.
A licensed clinical social worker, Sapien believes strongly in the importance of mental health to a community. She has a passion for creating better mental healthcare systems and puts that passion to work. She helped develop the Mallory Behavioral Health Crisis Center five years ago. The center treats individuals with mental health and substance abuse crises around the clock.
In addition to being the only center of its kind in Nevada, the program serves as an essential cog in the wheel of healthcare. It helps alleviate pressure placed on law enforcement and emergency services to treat individuals outside of their areas of expertise and provides a place that can assist. In addition to her work with Carson Tahoe Health and the Mallory Behavioral Health Crisis Center, Sapien is an advisory board fellow and member of the National Alliance of Mental Illness. She developed grant funded community outreach programs and has worked to create other evidenced-based programs to serve the community, regardless of funding.
David Di John, MD
Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics
Director of the Maternal Child Wellness Program | Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV
The son of a physician in New York, Dr. David Di John has been around healthcare his entire life. In 2014 he saw an opportunity for growth at a new medical school forming in Las Vegas and took a position as the section chief of pediatric infectious diseases with the UNR School of Medicine.
In 2017, he accepted the same position with the newly formed Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV and shortly thereafter became program director for the UNLV Medicine Maternal Child Wellness Program.
Dr. Di John specializes in pediatric infectious diseases and has over 30 years of experience in research and treatment. In particular, he is determined to treat those afflicted with HIV/ AIDS and was on the frontlines of the epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s. After witnessing children losing to the virus, Dr. Di John became more determined than ever to help his patients overcome. He’s been witness to and assisted in incredible advances in the treatment of HIV/AIDS and has brought hope to those that have been infected.
In southern Nevada he has established and maintains close relationships with area hospitals to help guide providers on the care of HIV-infected pregnant women and help prevent maternal-child transmission of the infection. “I don’t want even one child to ever have to suffer with HIV,” he said.
Melodie Osborn, RN, BSN, MBA, NEA-BC
Chief Nursing and Quality Officer | Renown Health
Melodie Osborn was raised in Gardnerville and spent her formative years shadowing her father, a physician in the area. She was inspired to join the family business and earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Nevada, Reno. She has 17 years in healthcare, previously worked at Saint Mary’s Medical Center and now is chief nursing officer for transitional care with Renown Health.
When it comes to healthcare, Osborn takes an “all hands on deck” approach and volunteers where she sees a need. She championed the creation and implementation of Renown’s Nurse Advice Line team. Made up of registered nurses, the advice line provides guidance to the community on medical issues and directs them to appropriate levels of care.
When the pandemic hit northern Nevada, Osborn was ready to pitch in. She volunteered to serve as the executive leader for the Renown COVID-19 Vaccine Drive-Thru and has consistently served as a volunteer in the drive-thru herself. More recently, Osborn has led vaccination events at the drive-thru and has administered hundreds of doses to healthcare workers and community members. The team at the vaccine drive-thru has reported the administration of over 60,000 dose one and two vaccinations.
Osborn is a role model to others in healthcare in northern Nevada and she is known to do what it takes to get the job done while inspiring those around her. As a volunteer leader, Osborn fosters a spirit of mentorship and collaboration at Renown.
Long-Term Follow-Up Clinic | Cure 4 The Kids Foundation
Ellen Bordinhao is a teacher. She has worked with children in Las Vegas as a licensed teacher and administrator within the Clark County School District (CCSD) for over 33 years. She retired from the district in 2013 with a legacy of informing and growing young minds.
Bordinhao’s love of teaching was passed on to her daughter, Janie. In 2017, Janie was diagnosed with leukemia and determined to become a teacher for children who recieved the same diagnosis she did. Janie succumbed to her illness in 2019 and her mom took up her calling. To carry on the legacy of Janie’s passion and keep her memory alive, Bordinhao helped create an educational program at Cure 4 the Kids Foundation (C4K).
Through her daughter’s journey, she saw the challenges of students and families struggling with cancer and trying to address important educational needs. Bordinhao volunteers with the Long Term Follow-Up Clinic at C4K and the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education Learning, a portion of which is named Janie’s Classroom. Bordinhao worked with the CCSD to create a one-of-a-kind partnership that allows young cancer patients to continue their education while receiving treatment.
As both a mother and an educator, Bordinhao has first-hand insight into the importance of education for children. She believes that children deserve some kind of normalcy when cancer tries to steal everything, so she stepped in to help create that normalcy.
Denis Patterson, DO
President | Nevada Advanced Pain Specialists
Medical Director of Pain Management | Northern Nevada Medical Center
When most people hear the word pain their first reaction is to flee from it. Thankfully for his many patients, Dr. Denis Patterson, founder and owner of Nevada Advanced Pain Specialists, is not like most people. He has made it his mission to treat acute and chronic pain disorders.
He specializes in common and complex neurological disorders and musculoskeletal issues. A leader in the field, Dr. Patterson devotes his time to helping patients by treating their pain and searching for the root causes through analysis of biomechanics, joint motion, skeletal, nerve and muscle tissues.
Dr. Patterson utilizes non-surgical methods such as bracing, medications, physical therapy, spinal injections and neuromodulation as alternatives for treating pain disorders. His expertise in nerve conduction studies and electromyography has further aided him in the diagnosis of nerve disorders. By rejecting the “quick-fix” approach and applying the latest diagnostic tools and technologies he has been able to provide innovative, symptomatic relief for patients.
Dr. Patterson has led his practice to become an industry leader in pain management care. With the help of his team, he has built a state-of-the-art facility which offers the highest possible level of quality care. He also serves as the medical director of pain management at the Northern Nevada Medical Center. Under his leadership the hospital became the first, and only, center in the nation to achieve the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for lower back pain.
Stephani Christensen, MD
Medical Oncologist | Comprehensive Cancer Centers
Serving as a medical oncologist and hematologist at Comprehensive Cancer Centers, Dr. Stephani Christensen treats patients with cancer and serious blood disorders. A champion of clinical research, she is on the front lines in the fight against cancer. She goes far beyond simply providing treatment for her patients; she prioritizes developing a connection with them.
“I enjoy getting to know each of my patients,” Dr. Chrstensen said. “I understand the importance of working as a team with my patients and their loved ones, as well as other healthcare professionals, to coordinate a treatment plan that best meets their needs and expectations.”
A true innovator, she has served as principal investigator for many clinical research trials. Her interest in, and passion for, studying new developments has led her to co-author a number of clinical publications as well as participate in several presentations.
“My goal is to provide up-to-date medical knowledge that is delivered with compassionate care,” she explained.
Dr. Christensen also plays an active role within her community and her efforts extend to many organizations that are dedicated to finding a cure for cancer. She is celebrated for her skill and desire to provide care for her patients in a supportive environment. Her drive pushes her each day to improve the outcomes of patients dealing with cancer.
Chief Executive Officer | Northern Nevada Hopes
Few would understand the needs and challenges of northern Nevada’s homeless population better than Sharon Chamberlain. Having once been without a home, she has firsthand experience combined with 20 years in the healthcare industry to benefit those in need. She is chief executive officer of Northern Nevada HOPES an HIV/AIDS clinic that has evolved to provide integrated medical and wellness services, particularly to those in underserved communities. Over 17 percent of HOPES patients are experiencing homelessness and Chamberlain is both a helping hand and inspiration to the nonprofit’s clients.
She became CEO of the organization in August 2011 and has overseen the expansion of the nonprofit, which began as a small HIV clinic serving 600 patients. HOPES now serves over 10,000 northern Nevadans. In 2015, Chamberlain helped facilitate the building of a 38,000 square foot integrated care facility for the organization, the Stacie Mathewson Community Wellness Center. The center now includes pediatric and adult primary care, x-ray and diagnostics, legal services, financial coaching, behavioral health services, transportation and medication delivery services.
HOPES also welcomed the first residents of Hope Springs community, envisioned by Chamberlain. The community, which includes 30 tiny homes, is the first and only bridge-housing community in Reno. Chamberlain is an example of what can be achieved through hard work and personal dedication to growth. She works every day to inspire others in their own achievements.
Derek Meeks, DO
Vice Dean, College of Osteopathic Medicine
Chair of Specialty Care Department
Associate Professor of Specialty Medicine | Touro University
Director of Emergency Department | Boulder City Hospital
Many aspects of healthcare were rapidly modified because of the pandemic in early 2020. One area that saw massive changes was the way healthcare students were educated. Classroom and hands-on clinical learning were halted for a time as the world adjusted to a global crisis. At the nonprofit Touro University, third and fourth-year medical students were able to complete their emergency room clinical rotations virtually, thanks in large part to the efforts of Dr. Derek Meeks.
Dr. Meeks was compelled to find a way to give students at Touro a more comprehensive experience and developed a virtual rotation for students. At the start of each month-long rotation, groups four to five students are given materials for each clinical. They study specific patient scenarios which are performed by Dr. Meeks via video conferencing. After each shift, the students are able to discuss their experience and analyze the situation as they would in the real world. The lessons are reinforced by two days of exams. This approach empowers healthcare students to develop collaborative skills, improve their adaptability and demonstrate outside-the-box thinking.
As the director of the emergency department at Boulder City Hospital, Dr. Meeks has extensive real-world experience that he is able to pass on to his students. His approach to virtual learning has allowed students to continue their healthcare education at a time when graduating frontline healthcare workers is critical.
Laning Andrews, MD
Emergency Physician | Incline Village Community Hospital
Dr. Laning Andrews developed a passion to improve access to Nevada’s rural communities early in his medical career. He has served as an emergency physician at Nye Regional Medical Center and South Lyon Medical Center and currently practices at Incline Village Community Hospital after over two decades at Saint Mary’s in Reno. Dr. Andrews grew up in Las Vegas and received his training at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine where he specialized in emergency medicine.
Seeing great need in Nevada’s rural communities has inspired Dr. Andrews to create partnerships and develop clinics and care facilities in some of the state’s most hard-to-reach places. These care points have served attendees of Burning Man to residents in Kingston, Yerington and Tonopah. He has also worked to care for Nevada’s veterans at the Reno VA Hospital.
In addition to his professional achievements, Dr. Andrews is an avid outdoorsman and has enjoyed the many opportunities northern Nevada provides to enjoy its natural beauty.
“Both his personal and professional pursuits have given him a deeper connection with the land and the people of Nevada,” explained friend and colleague, Marc Montella, MD with Reno Radiological Associates. “They are both better for it,” he added.
Dedicating his career to helping Nevadans as an emergency physician, Dr. Andrews has enriched the lives of hundreds in the community. He has a history of service including as medical director of North Lyon Fire Protection District, a fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians and a member of the Washoe County Medical Society, among others.
Nilesh “Neil” Gokal, MD
Medical Director of Clinical Education | Southwest Medical Associates
Associate Program Director, Family Medicine Residency Program | Valley Health System
It is evident that Dr. Neil Gokal is a vibrant and passionate advocate committed to increasing the number of available healthcare professionals in southern Nevada. He sees the vital need in the community and has stepped up to help find ways to fill those provider gaps.
As medical director of clinic education for Southwest Medical Associates, part of Optum Care, Dr. Gokal works with other institutions in the community to increase the number of skilled care providers. As associate program director for the family medicine residency at the Valley Health System, Dr. Gokal is actively training the next generation of healthcare workers. The residency program launched in July 2019 with 10 residents and has graduated new family medicine physicians each year since its inception. He has also managed the PA Pathways Program with Touro University which prepares physician assistants for full-time practice in primary care.
Dr. Gokal has spent his 12 years in healthcare actively seeking ways to improve the lives of others. He is a regional champion for One World Surgery, which provides medical care to villages of the Dominican Republic. He is also a faculty member of the Clinician Experience Project and co-founded the Physician Coalition of Southern Nevada, an organization that works to strengthen connections between healthcare doctors in the region. Having been raised in Nevada, Dr. Gokal is determined to help secure the healthcare future for the next generation.
Lifetime Achievement Heroes
Jay Morgan, MD
Partner | Sierra Neurosurgery Group
Dr. Jay Morgan obtained his Doctor of Medicine degree in June of 1984 from Ohio State University. He completed is residency at Henry Ford Hospital in Michigan, eventually joining the Sierra Neurosurgery Group in 1993. He serves there still as a managing partner and has played a vital role in developing the practice in northern Nevada. Joining the neurosurgery group was appealing to Dr. Morgan because of its history in the community that he now calls home.
Getting involved in helping guide Nevada’s medical community has been an important part of Dr. Morgan’s career. He serves on the boards for the Washoe County Medical Society, Western Neurological Society and American Osteopathic Academy of Orthopedics. He’s also serves as an assistant professor at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine and is on the Western Neurosurgical Society board. He has won multiple awards in his distinguished career and, in 2019, was given the Arthur J. Lurie Distinguished Physician Award.
Dr. Morgan specializes in treating complex spine disorders and has extensive experience with artificial lumbar disc replacement.
“For over 25 years, Dr. Morgan has been the exemplar of what every surgeon and physician should strive to be: highly skilled, dedicated, kind, empathetic [and] respectful,” said Dr. Christopher Demers, a neurosurgeon and colleague at Sierra Neurosurgery Group. “He has enriched countless lives in this community; Reno is lucky to have him. I am lucky to count him as a friend, mentor and business partner,” he added.
Rachakonda Prabhu, MD
Dr. Rachakonda Prabhu has had a storied career in healthcare. Born in Calcutta, India, Dr. Prabhu has been at the forefront of pulmonary and sleep disorders for much of his career. He is a founding member of Red Rock Medical Group, Eldorado Medical Center and the Sleep Center of Nevada. Red Rock and Eldorado Medical Groups began in southern Nevada in 1980 and the Sleep Center of Nevada was founded in 2008.
Throughout his career, Dr. Prabhu has been active in bettering the lives of those in southern Nevada and in his home country of India. He has been lauded for his work and has met multiple United States presidents.
Dr. Prabhu is highly regarded amongst his peers and has received multiple recognitions including the Distinguished Nevadan Award from the Board of Regents and physician recognition from the American Medical Association. He served as a fellow of the Society of Critical Care Medicine as well as on the government liaison committee of the American College of Chest Physicians. He has proven tireless in his efforts to help others and frequently oprates free health clinics in portions of southern Nevada.
Dr. Prabhu is currently president of the Board of Medical Examiners for the State of Nevada and has taken on multiple research investigations in his career while serving as a clinical professor with southern Nevada medical schools. More recently Dr. Prabhu has worked with the current administration to help release vaccines that are not approved for use in the United States to countries that can use them, such as India.
City National Bank
Over a year into the pandemic, the rise in COVID-19 cases with the delta variant continues to keep our healthcare workers facing the unknown. We need to reflect on how all of the members within our healthcare services contribute to our well-being through this crisis. I am humbled by the countless hours each of you has dedicated to keeping us healthy and safe. From our volunteers to our doctors, we appreciate you in all the capacities you choose to serve.
Healthcare Heroes recognizes healthcare professionals who often go unnoticed for the work they do for our communities. City National Bank is honored to support this year’s Healthcare Heroes with our friends at the Nevada Business Magazine. Celebrating more than 65 years in business, City National is long committed to supporting its clients, colleagues and communities. The bank is deeply rooted in the grounds of Nevada and dedicated to supporting those heroes on the frontlines.
City National is also proud to be the official bank for Touro University. As a member of Touro’s Advisory Board, I believe in the education and commitment needed for our students to become medical professionals in our communities. Our leadership team at the bank makes community engagement a top priority and works to ensure communities thrive throughout Nevada.
Congratulations to all of the 2021 Healthcare Heroes honorees. You are change makers in our lives, and it is a privilege to demonstrate our appreciation. Thank you for all you do.
City National Bank Member FDIC. City National Bank is a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada.
Roseman University of Health Sciences
Healthcare professionals continue to be in the spotlight as our communities tirelessly navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. For more than a year, they have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to providing compassionate care during challenging times. From physicians, nurses and pharmacists to researchers, techs and other ancillary staff on the frontlines, all healthcare professionals are heroes. They’re heroes to countless patients and their families who trust them to care for their loved ones. They’re heroes in their own families as they make tremendous sacrifices to care for the ill and, finally, they’re heroes to future generations of healthcare professionals inspired by their tenacity. For that, we salute all who have chosen a healthcare profession as their calling.
We applaud the thousands of healthcare professions serving in our communities and recognize those who stand out for their long-standing dedication, innovation, or selflessness to improve the quality of life of Nevadans. Each year Nevada Business Magazine’s Healthcare Heroes honors and celebrates those who have gone above and beyond to promote a healthy Nevada. As an institution whose mission is to advance the health and wellness of the communities we serve by educating current and future generations of health professionals, conducting research and providing patient care, Roseman University of Health Sciences is proud to be part of this program for more than a decade. After all, the health and wellness of our communities directly impacts our state’s ability to attract and retain businesses and develop a vibrant economy.
We extend our congratulations to all the 2021 honorees for their extraordinary achievements.
University Medical Center (UMC)
UMC Leads Southern Nevada Toward a Healthier Future
As Nevada’s most sophisticated hospital offering the state’s highest level of care, UMC has a unique responsibility to meet the urgent healthcare needs of the community it serves. This commitment to community service has remained on full display throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, as UMC’s trusted healthcare experts came together to guide the largest crisis response effort in the hospital’s 90-year history.
Prior to the state’s first recorded case of COVID-19., UMC’s team was already working to prepare southern Nevada’s healthcare industry for the approaching pandemic, sharing highly detailed protocols and best practices from Nevada’s most trusted infectious disease physicians.
Within weeks, the hospital built the state’s largest COVID-19 testing laboratory, significantly expanding Nevada’s testing capacity at a critical time. This large-scale laboratory provided UMC with the opportunity to become the only hospital in southern Nevada to offer public COVID-19 testing services, with more than 1.1 million tests performed thus far. UMC has also played a vital role in southern Nevada’s vaccination effort, serving as the only hospital to operate a public vaccination center.
While responding to the community’s needs throughout the pandemic, UMC also continues to lay the foundation for a brighter future. Recognizing the need for expanded access to high-quality care, UMC plans to open two new clinic locations, including UMC Express Care @ LAS, a dedicated clinic for travelers at McCarran International Airport. UMC also remains committed to clinical innovation, working in partnership with UNLV Medicine to become the first and only hospital in the state to introduce the groundbreaking Ion system, a robotic-assisted platform for minimally invasive lung biopsy procedures.
“UMC has served our community for more than 90 years, and we take pride in delivering the high-quality care and robust clinical resources needed to help our community recover from this unprecedented crisis,” said UMC CEO Mason Van Houweling. “As we work together to bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic, our world-class team continues to develop innovative new services and programs to promote the healthiest possible future for our community.”
Saint Mary’s Health Network
About Saint Mary’s Health Network
Aa long-standing community partner with a 112-year history, Saint Mary’s Health Network offers northern Nevada inpatient, outpatient, ancillary and wellness services. Nationally recognized and accredited by the Joint Commission, as well as named one of America’s Top 100 hospitals by IBM Watson, Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center is a 380-bed acute care hospital offering a robust line of inpatient, outpatient and ancillary services including a top-rated Center for Cancer, surgical and orthopedic services, and an award-winning Cardiology program and more. The health network, which is a member of Prime Healthcare, also operates a fully integrated medical group, multiple urgent care clinics, freestanding imaging, lab and a state-of-the-art fitness Center.
Nevada Business Magazine and Optum Care Nevada would like to thank the distinguished panel of judges for their wisdom and discernment in selecting the 2021 Healthcare Heroes.