The UNLV School of Medicine has formally submitted its application to start the process for accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), planning dean Dr. Barbara Atkinson announced Monday.
The LCME is the accrediting body for all allopathic (M.D.-granting) schools of medicine in the U.S. and Canada and ensures that member schools meet national standards for educational quality. The UNLV School of Medicine will now be listed as an applicant, pre-accredited M.D. program on the LCME website, which keeps track of where schools are in the accreditation process. The school anticipates a Fall 2017 inaugural entering class.
"Starting the accreditation process is a very important step as it further signifies UNLV's commitment to creating a top medical school that will meet the health care needs of Southern Nevadans," said UNLV President Donald Snyder. "Creating a UNLV School of Medicine is a top priority for UNLV, and I'm encouraged by the energy and support of our board of regents and chancellor, our campus and the area medical community."
The Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents recently approved the inclusion of $26.7 million in startup funds for the school in its biennial state budget request for the 2015 Nevada Legislative Session. Concurrently, Atkinson and university officials are developing educational programming, recruiting faculty, identifying possible locations and working to obtain private support for program development and for facility construction. Atkinson hopes to admit an inaugural class of 60 students by Fall 2017 with expansion to 120 students within four years of the school's opening.
"Accreditation is a long term process that will continue well after we've welcomed our first class, but this is an important step and continues our positive momentum," said Atkinson, who began as planning dean in May to guide the school through its development and accreditation process. "Our region needs the access to high quality healthcare that will come with the programs, faculty and graduates of the UNLV School of Medicine."
An immediate local impact is expected with the recruitment of medical school faculty, who will bring their own clinical practice in needed specialty areas in addition to creating research programs and residency opportunities.
"At the Nevada System of Higher Education, we believe we can play an important role in helping to improve access to high-quality health care in Nevada through the expansion of Nevada's public medical education programs, which includes a UNLV School of Medicine," said Kevin Page, chair of the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents. "Close to 80 percent of students who complete medical school and graduate medical education in the same state will stay to live and practice in that state, and we have been working diligently over the past year to develop a coordinated and comprehensive plan for expanding public medical education throughout Nevada."
The vision for the UNLV School of Medicine is to create an urban academic health center that will address the health needs of the region and build on areas of existing strength within the university.
The school will teach a diverse group of future Nevada doctors how to work in healthcare teams, apply new technology, and develop treatment solutions for diseases of the present and future. It will serve the community and work collaboratively with local healthcare institutions and professionals to enhance clinical care for all citizens while also developing research programs aimed at preventing, treating and curing diseases. The UNLV School of Medicine will integrate public undergraduate medical education and graduate medical education - or residencies - to cultivate more doctors staying to serve Southern Nevada.