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Surgeons at Last

UNLV’s first class of surgical residents move forward into their careers.

Campus News  |  Jul 5, 2018  |  By UNLV School of Medicine

Those 80-hour work weeks and countless overnight shifts paid off for UNLV’s final-year surgical residents and fellows June 16 – their graduation day.

While it was the first graduation for the UNLV School of Medicine’s department of surgery, it was the 32nd graduation for the department itself because it formerly was affiliated with UNR.


“It’s a special distinction,” said department chair Dr. John Fildes. “You are the alpha class. But at the same time, you join the 140-plus surgical graduates from our residencies and fellowships, many of whom continue to practice in Nevada.”

This year, three of the surgical graduates will stay in Nevada to enter practice — Dr. Arturo Guzman in general surgery, and Dr. Allison McNickle and Dr. Nancy Rivera in acute care surgery. 

Dr. Lindsey Wenger and Dr. Hasan Khashwji are moving out of state to enter practice, while Dr. Joshua Goldman and Dr. Ethan Benning are moving on to fellowships. Dr. Steven Lorch has accepted a prestigious academic position at the University of South Florida. 

Fildes noted the “exemplary performance” of the graduating physicians in the aftermath of the Oct. 1, 2017, shooting on the Strip in which 58 people died and 851 were injured.

“That event (the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history) changed all of us, forever, in a good way,” he said. “It reminds us that after you’ve seen the worst in man, you will see the best in mankind. There is no other department of surgery in any other city in the world that can match what you did here in Las Vegas.”

At nearly the same time the graduation took place, the UNLV School of Medicine’s graduate medical education department was holding orientation for the newest batch of incoming residents — a total of 95 interns (first-year residents). It’s a process that includes becoming certified in advanced cardiac life support and training to use the electronic health record system.

The residents, who will work under the supervision of faculty physicians in specialties including family medicine, pediatrics, and orthopedic surgery, began clinical rotations in hospitals and clinics July 1.