Collaborative Effort Focuses on Keeping Graduating Doctors in Northern Nevada


Learn more about a health-focused community collaboration between the University of Nevada School of Medicine and Renown Health. Who benefits? Our community, our education system and the future doctors of northern Nevada.

The University of Nevada School of Medicine and Renown Health recently held a ribbon cutting for its new Office for Community Faculty, located in the Sierra Tower of Renown Regional Medical Center.

Through a donation from Renown Foundation, the Office for Community Faculty will serve as the center for engagement between the School of Medicine and all physicians and physician groups who want to become involved in the education and training of Nevada’s future physicians.

“Community-based faculty are some of our most important partners at the School of Medicine,” said Office for Community Faculty founding director April Heiselt, Ph.D. “They share their knowledge, skills and abilities with our students in a wide variety of practice environments, and, more importantly, give our students a holistic view of medicine.”

What is an ‘Office for Community Faculty’?

The primary role of the Office for Community Faculty and its director is to develop and maintain relationships with community physicians who teach residents and medical students and receive community faculty appointments. The new Office is a central hub for community faculty. In this space, they can access and search the medical school library’s rich digital resource collection, learn best practices in teaching medical students and participate in the planning of new courses.

“The School of Medicine has always relied on the talents and generosity of community physicians and other clinicians,” said Melissa Piasecki, MD, executive associate dean for the School of Medicine and head of the Office of Academic Affairs, under which the Office for Community Faculty resides. “As we move into a new phase of building our four-year [medical school] campus, we are taking our commitment to the community up a notch and launching this office to improve services and opportunities for our community faculty.”

Max Coppes, MD, PhD, MBA, Renown Health executive vice president and chief medical and academic officer, says this initiative will keep more doctors who graduate from the University of Nevada in our community.

Office for Community Faculty
(L-r) Alexis Hutchings, administrative assistant, Office for Community Faculty, University of Nevada School of Medicine, and April Heiselt, Ph.D., director, Office for Community Faculty, University of Nevada School of Medicine. Photo by Anne McMillin/UNSOM

“This is another great example of the many ways Renown and the School of Medicine can work together to ultimately increase the number of physicians that will choose northern Nevada as their home,” he said. “By providing medical students with memorable educational experiences, we greatly increase the likelihood that they will choose to stay here after they finish their medical training.”

Ultimately, collaborative efforts like the Office for Community Faculty help to improve the community as well as the education and healthcare landscape.

“This is a team effort to better address the healthcare needs of Nevadans,” April said. “We have an outstanding team, and I am looking forward to working together to accomplish our goals.”

To learn more about Renown Health’s commitment to community partnerships, view our 2015 Report to the Community.

Additional reporting by Anne McMillin, APR, Public Relations Manager for the University of Nevada School of Medicine.