(Las Vegas, NV): One of the first programs established at UNLV is the Radiography program. Recently, the program was gifted an X-ray machine by CareNow Urgent Care. We met with Radiography Program Director Chad Hensley to discuss this incredible new addition further.
Until the donation of the new machine, UNLV was home to an X-ray machine built in the 1980s. The technology required to take X-rays continues to excel rapidly, which left our last machine needing maintenance repairs that were nearly impossible to complete due to the lack of parts. When asked how exactly the technology advances, Hensley explained, "The machines themselves, the X-ray itself is still the basic principle, we create X-ray, we throw it out of the machine, it interacts with a patient, and then we collect it." The basic principles of X-rays don't change; technology does change. Hensley continued to say, "machines are much more efficient; we don't have to use as much radiation as we have in the past, but what has advanced tremendously is the way we collect the images. We now have an efficient and reliable machine for our students."
This new machine would not have been possible without Bob Baldwin, a local engineer who works on radiology equipment in southern Nevada, including equipment owned by CareNow. Thanks to this engineer and some reorganization, CareNow found themselves with an additional machine. Bob mentioned that UNLV needed a new machine, and the rest was history. When asked about the gift, Hensley said, "we now have a full unit that was all made by the same manufacturer; the old one was bandaged together. In the field, we call it Frankenstein, so this was a huge deal for our program."
Hensley, who has been the Program Director for the Radiography program since 2019, is also a proud graduate. Hensley also shared a unique piece of history in the form of an original correspondence from September 9, 1961. The document contains the Board of Regent's approval for an x-ray technology program to commence under the auspices of what was then known as Nevada Southern in cooperation with what was then Southern Nevada Memorial Hospital. Today we call them UNLV and UMC, respectively, and the legacy of cooperation continues. Hensley also shared, "our pioneer is a man named Charles Jacobi, a well-known radiology educator. In 1968 he wrote the textbook of anatomy and physiology in radiologic technology while serving as head of the Department of Radiologic Technology at Nevada Southern University." Hensley further shared that Jacobi came from Oregon intending to start a Baccalaureate radiography program, which at the time didn't exist. "We were one of the first programs on this campus, and we were one of the first Baccalaureate programs in the country."
Today, the UNLV Radiography program remains a competitive program with a rich history. When asked about the future of the radiography program, Hensley said he looks forward to the day when the equipment is entirely wireless. In the meantime, Hensley would like to explore partnering or being a resource to campus partners for their research. Hensley said, "people go out to imaging centers all the time to follow up on X-rays; we can do those things here on campus. We have worked with Anthropology to look deeper at but not damage ancient artifacts. I've worked with an Orthopedic Surgeon for cleft palates, Physical Therapy, and an environmentalist." There is great potential for the Radiography Program to contribute to the campus' research needs.
Learn more about the Radiography program.