UNLV students carrying boxes of gifts

Newsmakers 2018: Community Impact

A collection of news stories from 2018 highlighting UNLV's impact in Southern Nevada and beyond.

Great universities are cornerstones of great communities – you can’t have one without the other. At UNLV, we recognize that partnerships with our community are essential to achieving our Top Tier goals.

Our community motivates us to be better, to work harder every day: to create and expand health and legal clinics that give our most vulnerable residents a place to turn; to offer innovative programs that fast-track teacher training, make our homes and neighborhoods safer, and tackle pressing mental health challenges; and to forge business partnerships and strengthen academic programs – or create new ones – that give our diverse student population a leg up in a competitive job market.

UNLV wouldn’t be where it is today – a rising university that just joined the ranks of the nation’s top research institutions – without the community around it.

Below are just a few of the many stories of community impact featuring UNLV that made news in 2018:

Making an Impact

Across campus and throughout Southern Nevada, UNLV students, staff, and researchers are making an impact. They’re ridding homes of harmful contaminants, providing free or reduced-cost healthcare to children and families, and helping individuals with disabilities better navigate the world around them. They’re also addressing pressing social issues, preserving our region’s history, honoring veterans, and brightening the lives of local children.

  • A partnership between UNLV’s Community Health Sciences and the City of Las Vegas helps homeowners identify and remove lead and other harmful contaminants from their homes (KNPR), (KSNV), (Las Vegas Sun)
  • The university’s pollen monitoring program is helping Southern Nevadans better understand what’s causing their springtime sniffles and sneezes (LVRJ)
  • UNLV partnered with Las Vegas Metro on a holiday toy drive that brightened the Christmas season for local children (KTNV) (Las Vegas Sun)
  • UNLV faculty hosted a clinic this fall to help amputees with mobility issues (KLAS) and a computer science professor has developed a way to make digital technology more accessible for people with disabilities (Daily UW) (Daily Columbian)
  • Lawyers with UNLV Boyd Law’s Immigration Clinic help children and adults navigate changes to federal policy (LVRJ)
  • The School of Dental Medicine hosted its annual “Give Kids a Smile” event, which offers free dental care to local, underserved children (KSNV)
  • UNLV student veterans teamed up with peers in Northern Nevada on a ruck march to honor fallen U.S. soldiers since 9/11 (LVRJ) (Nevada Appeal)
  • University Libraries is documenting the contributions of Latino communities to the development of Southern Nevada through an innovative oral history and community engagement project (LVRJ)

Med School Momentum

The UNLV School of Medicine – fully funded and operational – is changing the healthcare landscape in Southern Nevada. The school is an emerging leader in medical education and innovative practice that’s training future Nevada physicians, driving research breakthroughs, and elevating patient care for a diverse, urban community. The school’s charter class wrapped up its first year in 2018, the second class is off and running, and its physician-faculty are hard at work improving quality of life for the region’s residents.

  • The school’s charter class reflected on a successful first year, and reaffirmed its commitment to the community (KUNV Radio) (Las Vegas Sun) (KTNV)
  • In July, the second class kicked off its med school journey. The 60 students all have ties to the Silver State and arrived ready to tackle the region’s healthcare challenges. (KSNV) (LVRJ) (LVRJ-diverse class) (KTNV)
  • The school’s faculty are earing prestigious research awards (Las Vegas Sun), solving complex health issues for the region’s residents (KSNV), and studying traffic-related injuries on our roadways to find ways to make streets safer (KTNV) (KLAS)
  • As the Las Vegas economy continues to boom, the School of Medicine will help relieve the community’s physician shortage and broaden its economic base (Reuters)
  • UNLV professor of surgery Dr. Deborah Kuhls and colleagues reflect on 1 October (LVRJ) (KLAS)

Rebel Academy

As the Clark County School District continues to wrestle with a teacher shortage, one way UNLV is responding is Rebel Academy, a fast-track teacher certification program for professionals from fields outside education. This summer, soon-to-be teachers gained hands-on experience in course curriculum development, lesson planning, and real-life classroom instruction under the guidance of mentors. Participant-teachers were eligible for fall hire by the school district and returned to campus this fall to complete required coursework for full licensing.

Improving Mental Health

UNLV is a committed partner in the effort to tackle Southern Nevada’s pressing mental health challenges. The university is bolstering staff in student wellness, researchers are expanding on the nation’s first NIH-funded research on mental health and student-athletes, and practitioners are offering services – and advice – for the community.

  • Psychology professor Brad Donohue’s work with The Optimum Performance Program in Sports (TOPPS) adapts clinically proven mental health care to better fit sports culture and help athletes. (Vice Sports) (Daily Beast)
  • Jamie Davidson, UNLV associate vice president for Student Wellness, discusses the importance of mental health on college campuses (LVRJ) (KNPR)
  • UNLV psychologists discuss the importance of psychological first-aid after traumatic events (Vitals) (KTNV) and reflect on research on the emotional health of Las Vegans following 1 October (KLAS)

Rebels Gave

Thanks to overwhelming support from students, alumni, faculty/staff, and the community, UNLV’s inaugural Rebels Give fundraising campaign in October raised more than $930,000 through 2,256 gifts – in just 1,957 minutes – to support hundreds of programs on campus. Earlier in the fall, UNLV also announced a $5 million commitment from Boyd Gaming Corporation – the largest corporate commitment in the history of UNLV Athletics. 

Giving the Community an Economic Spark

UNLV started 2018 with the opening of Hospitality Hall, the new academic home of the world’s top-ranked hospitality college. The building serves as a bridge between the gaming industry and its future workforce. A July groundbreaking for a four-story innovation building at the UNLV Harry Reid Research & Technology Park marked the start of the master-planned development envisioned by UNLV, the UNLV Research Foundation and Gardner Company. The UNLV Tech Park will serve as a catalyst to unite business, research and technology and advance economic development efforts in Southern Nevada.

Nevada’s economy is also poised to prosper with the arrival of the NFL’s Raiders to town, an agreement assisted in part through the work of UNLV’s International Gaming Institute.

UNLV Experts Lend Insight to National Issues

UNLV faculty experts are regularly called on by media nationwide to lend their insight to issues affecting our community and nation. Faculty shared their perspective on a wide-range of topics, including health and medicine, politics and the election, the #MeToo movement, immigration, and Supreme Court decisions. On the lighter side, one UNLV professor has cracked the code on the fastest way to board a plane.

Rankings and Programs

With its R1 “very high research activity” designation in December by Carnegie, UNLV joined the ranks of the nation’s top public research universities. UNLV’s success is due in part to rising academic programs that rank among the nation’s – and world’s – best. UNLV is also earning acclaim for a new academic program public policy, and it has Nevada’s first accredited School of Public Health.

  • For the second year, U.S. News & World Report ranked UNLV as the nation’s most diverse university for undergraduates (LVRJ) (KTNV)
  • U.S. News & World Report also ranked UNLV among the universities with the least debt for the graduating class of 2017 (Nevada Current)
  • UNLV’s Boyd School of Law continues to rise of the list of the nation’s top law schools. (LVRJ) (Las Vegas Sun)
  • Among online master’s degree programs, UNLV’s effort in nursing is among the nation’s best. (LVRJ)
  • A new Ph.D. program in public policy and leadership is bringing solutions to real-world problems in our community. (LVRJ)
  • Last month, UNLV’s School of Community Health Sciences became the first accredited School of Public Health in Nevada and joins just 66 programs nationwide (KSNV)

Stay Informed

Learn about UNLV news as it happens with UNLV In the News.



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