Collaborative Effort Needed to Combat Doctor Shortage in Nevada

By | Featured, News

This piece was created by Las Vegas HEALS and posted in Healthcare Quarterly

Nevada’s economy is growing at a healthy pace, especially when looking at where the Silver State was a decade ago. More than 250,000 new jobs have been created in the state since the recession, a number that will be increasing with the dozens of new projects across the state, including the $1.9 billion Las Vegas Stadium and the $4 million Apple shipping and receiving warehouse in downtown Reno. But despite these promising job growth numbers coming to the state, there is still work to be done. The need for doctors in the state of Nevada is a very real problem, and because of the state’s low reimbursement rates, it’s an issue that won’t be going away anytime soon.

This real problem has dismal numbers, with the state ranking 48th in the country for physicians per capita. Nationally there are about 251 physicians for every 100,000 people, whereas the state of Nevada has just under 200. Las Vegas ranks poorly in the number of specialists and subspecialists, ranging from endocrinologists to oncologists, pediatrics to geriatrics. This problem in Nevada is due to several factors, including population growth, an increase of people with insurance since the Affordable Care Act took effect, a lack of graduate medical education (GME), and poor doctor reimbursement rates.

Graduate Medical Education

Having the opportunities for graduate medical education as well as seats in the classroom is key in fixing the doctor shortage problem in Nevada. According to Doug Geinzer, chief executive officer of Las Vegas HEALS, a nonprofit, membership-based association whose mission is to foster strategic alliances in the health care community, “we have doctor shortages across all areas, it’s not just in one particular specialty. An area that compounds the problem is that, as a region, we didn’t have significant academic medicine present until recently, but it’s growing now and will create more doctors for our future.”

Touro University, Nevada’s largest medical school, recently expanded its medical school from 135 students to 181 students due to its large number of applications; and UNLV’s medical school will be welcoming its second class of 60 students in July. Even with the graduate medical education expansion, including having residencies in almost every valley hospital, the state is lacking in graduate medical education opportunities, so that poses the question: Where will all these medical students go once they graduate?

“The challenge we have in the state is not the number of medical schools or medical students, it’s the lack of residency programs which are commonly known as graduate medical education,” said Shelley Berkley, Touro University chief executive officer and senor provost. “Our students who graduate from medical school have to leave the state in order to satisfy their 3-year residency requirements.”

A residency is a stage of graduate medical training for new doctors in which they practice medicine under the supervision of a hospital or clinic. The average residency lasts three years, and the students practice in their chosen specialty, such as emergency medicine or pediatrics. States typically have 40 residents per 100,000 people, but Nevada has somewhere between 12 and 14 residencies per 100,000. Funding for graduate medical education comes out of the Medicare fund from the federal government. A number of years ago, Congress put a cap on graduate medical education in order to attempt to balance the federal budget. For growth states such as Nevada, this action proved to be devastating, as there was no funding to create additional residency spots and no place to obtain additional funds. Fast forward to two legislative sessions ago, Governor Brian Sandoval announced that $10 million will be distributed throughout the state to expand graduate medical education opportunities.

“The legislature and Governor Sandoval have been helpful in providing resources to help create residency programs in the state, but it is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Berkley. “If we want to actually keep young future doctors from leaving town and leaving the state, we have to provide a dramatic increase in residency programs to keep them here. What is so troubling is that national statistics demonstrate that 70 percent of doctors end up practicing where they do their residency, so unless the student has strong ties to Nevada, if they are forced to leave in order to satisfy their residency requirement, 70 percent are not coming back. So right now, we are educating a whole lot of future doctors to practice someplace else.”

Population growth and low reinbursement

Low reimbursement rates are another reason that Nevada can’t seem to retain doctors. “Doctors are in high demand wherever you go in the country — there are shortages, it’s not just in Nevada. However, when these students get out of medical school, most are saddled with somewhere between $175,000-$225,000 of student loan debt,” said Geinzer. “Medical school garners the highest level of school loans, so these doctors have to earn a good living, therefore they need to be reimbursed at adequate levels or they can’t pay their student loans. Doctors can earn 20 percent more in the neighboring Southwest states, which will allow them to service their student debts a lot quicker.”

There is a common myth that all doctors’ wages come easily to them, and they spend their days on the golf course. However, doctors’ salaries are based on how much they get reimbursed from the insurance companies for services they perform, and those reimbursement rates vary by state. A doctor’s compensation is directly tied to reimbursement, and Nevada is one of the worst reimbursed states in the country, with Medicaid being the provider with the lowest reimbursement rates. In 2013, Gov. Brian Sandoval expanded Medicaid, and the number of enrollers in the state doubled from 320,000 Medicaid utilizers to 650,000. As supportive as the medical community has been about this expansion, the state’s reimbursement rates did not go up, so doctors are seeing triple the number of patients using the payer that reimburses the least in the state, Geinzer noted.

Todd Sklamberg, chief executive officer of Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, said, “within the state of Nevada, Medicaid reimburses acute care hospitals across the state at 57 percent of our cost, not our charges, but the cost to provide care. Since 2001, there has been one increase in 2015, so over the last 17 years there has only been one rate increase. If you assume an inflation rate of 3 percent annually, our costs in this timeframe have gone up by almost 50 percent with no increase in the reimbursement. Sunrise Hospital specifically gets reimbursed half our cost — it’s a challenge.”

On the private practice end of the spectrum, the low reimbursement rates affect the level of care that patients receive due to the lack of doctors in primary care. “One of the things that happens with low reimbursement rates is physicians in primary care tend to see more patients per hour than they can easily accommodate,” said Dr. Howard Baron, president-elect of the Nevada State Medical Association. “What ends up happening is when physicians are overbooked in their primary care clinic, they end up making referrals to specialists for things that may have been able to stay in primary care in other states. Primary care doctors don’t have enough time per patient to do extended visits to take care of things that are more medically complex. With the influx of patients, the specialists get overwhelmed with problems that don’t always require specialty care, and then that drives up the cost and time for the patients, and also decreases the satisfaction of the service, so it’s a whole vicious cycle.”

Medical professionals agree that something has got to give in Nevada when it comes to reimbursement rates. “If we don’t get the reimbursement part of the equation right, we’re going to find ourselves in a place where our taxpayer dollars are going to be supplementing training doctors to go to other states to work, which is not what we want to happen,” said Geinzer.

The Future of Health Care in Nevada

Although health care has faced challenges in Nevada for years, significant efforts are being made to fix the problem including bringing top-of-the-line medical entities to the state, such as the new VA hospital, Roseman University and the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. Medical professionals also believe that just by starting the discussion on this topic, changes can be made. “I think having the conversation is a huge start, putting it out there really helps,” said Cleveland Clinic Administrative Director Erick Vidmar. “Bringing players in the market, like the Cleveland Clinic and others, have improved the quality of care provided in Nevada. As we improve quality, people will recognize that quality costs additional money so that will help drive reimbursements up and attract new providers.”

The doctor shortage is not just a Nevada problem. By 2030, studies predict a shortage of more than 100,000 doctors in the United States. Nevada needs to be committed to fix this problem by continuing to fund additional graduate medical education opportunities so the state can produce more homegrown doctors. The reimbursement rates also need to be improved as a way to recruit and retain doctors to the state.

“It has to be a collaborative effort to find a solution to improve reimbursement rates,” said Las Vegas HEALS Chairman of Board of Directors Bob Cooper. “It is a complex, challenging issue, but it’s one that needs to be addressed in order to improve health care for the future. Our organization’s goal is to start this serious conversation as soon as possible with our members and key stakeholders.”

Boulder Highway Collaborative Campus Now Open

By | Developments, Press Release

Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada, Lutheran Social Services of Nevada and Nevada HAND Collaborate for Innovative Living Environment, Accessible Benefits and Community Resources

Partial Funding Through Largest Single Community Development Block Grant Award to Nonprofit Collaboration

Working families, children and seniors needing assistance now may access onsite services with the opening of the Boulder Highway Collaborative Campus. This nonprofit collaboration is the first campus-style service partnership of its kind in Nevada and includes Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada (BGCSNV), Lutheran Social Services of Nevada (LSSN), and Nevada HAND.

Beneficiaries include not only the residents of Nevada HAND’s new 264 Boulder Pines Family Apartment homes, but also families living near the Boulder Highway campus, who will have access to the new Boys & Girls Clubs facility, as well as the Comprehensive Safety Net Center and Food Pantry operated by Lutheran Social Services of Nevada. Residents and the Boulder community were joined at the grand opening celebration by Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani (Chris G); CJ Manthe, Director of the Nevada State Department of Business & Industry; Joseph Lombardo, Clark County Sheriff; the CEO’s of the collaborative partners; and other community and financial partners.

“The Boulder Highway Collaborative Campus is a great example of a public/private partnership that addresses community needs on a broad scale, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” said Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, whose district encompasses the area.  “This resulted from needing a safe place for kids to play and a subsequent Boys & Girls Clubs and Nevada HAND discussion joined by Lutheran Social Services…a true collaboration. This collaboration, funded in part by Clark County’s HOME Program and a Community Development Block Grant, not only addresses our shortage of affordable workforce housing, but it also provides essential services for nearby neighborhoods and Southern Nevada families. I am confident that the Boulder Highway Campus will stand as a model for what comprehensive community building can be throughout our valley.”

“It’s great to be here with the many partners who have helped make this campus more than a home for our working families, and a resource for the neighborhood and entire community,” said Mike Mullin, founder and CEO of Nevada HAND, the state’s largest nonprofit dedicated to providing high quality affordable housing solutions and supportive services. “I’m grateful for our new educational, business and residential neighbors, such as the Mater Academy of Nevada and Arizona Charlies, who have welcomed us and are now joining in this unique community.”

The idea for the campus germinated from conversations about innovative collaborations at the CEO Exchange, an organization of CEO’s of Southern Nevada’s largest nonprofits, who work together to protect and strengthen the community’s safety net for thousands of residents.

“This unique facility allows us to reach young people just footsteps from their homes and throughout this neighborhood, and allows them a world-class club experience that assures success is within reach,” said Andy Bischel, CEO of BGCSNV.  “And it makes it easier for us to fulfill the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada mission for them in enabling these people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.”

“Lutheran Social Services of Nevada became the perfect complement for the Boulder Highway Campus upon learning the service provider was seeking a new home,” added Mullin.

“We are grateful to be part of this historic opportunity that offers clients a collocated approach to receiving services on one ‘campus,’” said Armena Mnatsakanyan, executive director of LSSN. “Together all of the agencies participating will be able to serve additional clients and in a more comprehensive manner.”

Clark County is a significant financial supporter of the Boulder Highway Collaborative Campus, with funding for the Boys & Girls Clubs’ and Lutheran Social Services’ buildings made possible

largely by a $5.8 million grant through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG). Administered locally by Clark County, the federal grant is the largest single award to a nonprofit partnership through CDBG in Southern Nevada in its 40-year history. Clark County is also supporting Nevada HAND’s development with $3.3 million through the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME).

In addition to HUD, other financial partners include Citi Community Development, Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, Raymond James Financial and NeighborWorks America.

In summary, the Boulder Highway Collaborative Campus is an innovative campus environment offering a range of amenities for residents and a number of Southern Nevada nonprofit groups collaborating to provide a range of onsite family and community services. “Partnerships include the Boys & Girls Club and Lutheran Social Services, and negotiations are currently underway to secure other excellent partners to enhance the value and opportunities to our residents and to the area surrounding our community,” added Mullin. Boulder Pines is conveniently located next door to Mater Academy of Nevada, a K-8 Title I Charter School.

The new 10,000-square-foot Boys & Girls Clubs facility provides an estimated 200 youth, ages 5 to 18, participation opportunities in fun and engaging activities and programs supervised by trained staff in a safe, positive place when school is not in session. The new club include a game room, learning center, kitchen, cafeteria, arts and crafts room, tech center, and teen center. Club members also have access to tutors during the school year and nutritional meals year-round. BGCSNV runs tested and proven developmental programs that provide youth with opportunities to learn and grow into productive, caring, responsible citizens. 

The 8,424-square-foot LSSN building serves as the nonprofit’s new comprehensive community safety net center. It provides critical services to the community including a grocery-style online food pantry and mental health, nutrition, employment, housing and other critical services in collaboration with three nonprofit agencies: The Just One Project, Multicultural Wellness West and Nevada Homeless Alliance.

The campus’ Boulder Pines Family Apartments is Nevada HAND’s 33rd community in Southern Nevada. It has 264 units with rents starting at $553 per month with income qualification. The 2, 3, and 4-bedroom apartments come with a washer and dryer, walk-in closet, energy-star appliances, granite countertops, and patio with storage, and range from 1,135 to 1,574 square feet of living space. Other amenities include a pool, playground, computer lab, fitness center, BBQ area, children’s library, covered parking, 24-hour emergency maintenance, and a resident service coordinator to help connect residents with community-wide and the on-site collaborative services.

HAND Construction Company, a board-controlled affiliate of Nevada HAND, Inc., built the new BGCSNV and LSSN buildings and apartments. 

 The Boulder Highway Collaborative Campus is located on Boulder Highway, just south of Desert Inn Road. It is adjacent to the existing Mater Academy of Nevada, a Title I Charter Elementary School, and near area community centers, shopping, employment opportunities, and bus routes.

For information about any of the partners, visit or call:

Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada –  or 702-367-2582     

Lutheran Social Services of Nevada – or 702-639-1730

Nevada HAND – or 702-639-1730                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          



HealtHIE Nevada Emphasizes ‘Connecting to Care’ Among Health Care Providers

By | Press Release

Statewide health information exchange unveils new branding and product offerings to better serve health care community.

HealtHIE Nevada is the only statewide health information exchange that offers real-time, secure exchange of clinical patient data. To continue growth in connecting the Nevada health care community, it has updated its logo and suite of products and services.

In crafting its new logo, HealtHIE Nevada envisioned an icon that would capture its patient-centric approach of collecting and organizing data for treating providers, payers and public health professionals.

HealtHIE Chart, HealtHIE Images, HealtHIE Results, HealtHIE Alerts, HealtHIE Connect and HealtHIE Messaging are services designed to solve workflow issues commonly found in patient care settings. HealtHIE Nevada can reduce duplicate testing and improve quality of care. Research shows that by eliminating redundancies, millions of dollars can be saved annually.

“This evolution of our brand coincides with the changing landscape of health information technology,” said Michael Gagnon, executive director of HealtHIE Nevada. “With innovation and productive change, we will be more equipped to pursue our goal of providing the right data, to the right provider at the right time to reform the healthcare delivery system.”

The organization’s new tagline, Connecting to Care, advances its vision as a fully connected network that improves patient care coordination and provides population health management. HealtHIE Nevada serves hospitals, primary care providers, nursing homes and other providers of medical care.

HealtHIE Nevada is partnered with more than 70 organizations, including Dignity Health, Renown Health, Valley Health System, University Medical Center of Southern Nevada and Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center. It continues to grow health information exchange participants. For more information about HealtHIE Nevada, visit or contact us at (855-4-THE-HIE).

Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center Receives Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award

By | Press Release, Recognition

American Heart Association Award recognizes Sunrise Hospital’s commitment to quality stroke care

Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

Sunrise Hospital earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period. These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. Before discharge, patients should also receive education on managing their health, get a follow-up visit scheduled, as well as other care transition interventions.

“Sunrise Hospital is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our stroke patients by implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke initiative,” said Todd P. Sklamberg, CEO of Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center. “The tools and resources provided help us track and measure our success in meeting evidenced-based clinical guidelines developed to improve patient outcomes.”

Sunrise Hospital additionally received the association’s Target: StrokeSM Elite Plus award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke.

“We are pleased to recognize Sunrise Hospital for their commitment to stroke care,” said Eric E. Smith, M.D., national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines Steering Committee and an associate professor of neurology at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. “Research has shown that hospitals adhering to clinical measures through the Get With The Guidelines quality improvement initiative can often see fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates.”

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers’ Dr. Souzan El-Eid Named to National Breast Cancer Committee

By | Press Release, Recognition

Souzan El-Eid, MD, FACS – a breast surgeon at Comprehensive Cancer Centers – was recently named to a prestigious committee within the American Society of Breast Surgeons.

At the organization’s annual meeting in Orlando, Dr. El-Eid was announced as the new chair of the Breast Imaging Technologies Certification and Accreditation Committee (BITCAC), to which there is no term limit to the position. Leading the committee, Dr. El-Eid will help individual surgeons and facilities achieve vital accreditations, signifying key standards and a level of quality in breast surgery.

Dr. El-Eid sees patients at Comprehensive’s Southwest Breast Surgery Treatment Center, located at 9280 W. Sunset Road, Suite 100, Las Vegas, NV, 89148.

Additionally, at Summerlin Hospital, she serves as the Medical Director of the Breast Care Center; the Cancer Liaison Physician for the Cancer Program; and co-chair of the Breast Tumor Board and Cancer Committee. Dr. El-Eid is an Adjunct Associate Professor of General Surgery at Touro University Nevada; is a UNLV School of Medicine clinical assistant professor; and has served as principal investigator for several clinical research studies. She is also past President of Clark County Medical Society.

About Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada

Comprehensive Cancer Centers (Comprehensive) is an award-winning multidisciplinary practice comprising medical oncology, hematology, radiation oncology, breast surgery, pulmonary services, cancer genetic counseling and clinical research, with treatment centers and offices throughout Southern Nevada. For more than 35 years, the practice has provided oncology services to patients in and out of state with a specialized physician and nursing staff. Comprehensive, an affiliate of The US Oncology Network, offers state-of-the-art technologies, latest advancements in cancer treatment and groundbreaking clinical research trails. The practice participates in more than 170 Phase I, Phase II and Phase III clinical research studies each year and has played a role in developing more than 70 FDA-approved cancer therapies. For more information, visit the company’s website at, and follow the practice on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Dr. Robert M. Lowe, M.D., Ph.D. Opens Kids Arthritis Care Clinic

By | News, Press Release

Dr. Robert M. Lowe, M.D., Ph.D. opens the first clinic of its kind in Nevada dedicated solely to the care of children with rheumatologic (autoimmune) conditions.

Dr. Robert Lowe, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Robert M. Lowe is the Founder and Medical Director of the Juvenile Arthritis & Rheumatology Care & Research Center (also known as Kids Arthritis Care), the only dedicated pediatric rheumatology clinic in the state of Nevada. The clinic houses a child-only infusion center so that pediatric patients may receive their medications in a safe and comfortable environment.

Dr. Lowe is also a clinical assistant professor at the University of Las Vegas (UNLV) School of Medicine, and is the only board-certified pediatric rheumatologist permanently based in the State of Nevada. He is credentialed with Sunrise Hospital, University Medical Center, and Summerlin Hospital.

Dr. Lowe opened his clinic in June of 2017 to fill a void in Nevada, a state with an alarming shortage of pediatric subspecialists. Dr. Lowe’s current patients regularly express past frustration in trying to receive timely pediatric rheumatology care without leaving the State of Nevada. Dr. Lowe hopes to eventually expand his clinic to draw patients from surrounding states with similar shortages of board-certified pediatric rheumatologists. The State of Nevada, by itself, could easily support five full-time pediatric rheumatologists, and Dr. Lowe plans to recruit other board-certified pediatric rheumatologists to the area.

Prior to coming to Las Vegas, Dr. Lowe served for five years on the faculty of the University of Alabama in Birmingham and Children’s of Alabama, in the division of Pediatric Rheumatology where he split his time between caring for kids with rheumatology (autoimmune) conditions and performing basic and translational research to improve our understanding of childhood lupus and Sjogren’s syndrome. Dr. Lowe spent several years in Washington State, where he received his medical degree and Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) in Molecular and Cellular Biology, with a concentration in autoimmune disease, from the University of Washington.

Dr. Lowe has made a commitment to providing training and educational experiences to parents and other medical professionals. He hosts a Blog on the clinic website, where he answers commonly asked questions related to autoimmune conditions in children. Questions are also answered on his

Facebook page. He routinely accepts invitations to speak to doctors, medical organizations, and parent groups, and is creating training videos designed to help families learn how to safely perform injections. He is also in the process of writing several books toward the goal of promoting widespread understanding of pediatric arthritis and other autoimmune conditions affecting children. He hopes that this heightened awareness will also attract other doctors into the pediatric rheumatology profession, and there are fewer than 350 board-certified and practicing pediatric rheumatologists in the United States.

Dr. Lowe’s ultimate goal and vision is to provide the best collaborative, comprehensive and complete care for children with complex and misunderstood medical conditions. His model is to work closely with his patients’ other treating professionals, including their primary care pediatrician and any other pediatric specialists treating the child. Dr. Lowe believes that a collaborative approach is the best way to promote complete and long-term remission in rheumatology patients.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Lowe, please visit the clinic’s website, or call (702) 686-9239.

New Face: Edwin Oh

By | New Physicians, Press Release

This neuroscientist joined UNLV to discover how DNA contributes to disease development or prevention.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by…” When it comes to Edwin Oh, associate professor in UNLV’s School of Medicine and the Nevada Institute of Personalized Medicine (NIPM), the lines from the famous Robert Frost poem “The Road Not Taken” could just as easily evoke the path he chose in life as they do the subject he studies: those two winding backbones of DNA, tentatively held together by microscopic base pairs. Oh joined UNLV to help us understand how divergence in our DNA gives rise to disease or, conversely, a resistance to particular illnesses.


I was interviewing at several universities, and what got my attention at UNLV was the development of the School of Medicine and the push toward understanding how personalized medicine could help diagnose and treat various disorders. I want to better understand how changes in DNA and certain DNA sequences might give rise to disease conditions or, conversely, to a more beneficial, stronger, protective environment in human beings. I wanted to be in a position and at a university that put me, as a researcher, at the forefront of this field. I believe UNLV is that place.

What about UNLV strikes you as different from other places you’ve worked?

Here at UNLV, I’ve been given the opportunity to work with medical students as well as undergraduate students. UNLV has a significant advantage when it comes to conducting research because of its undergraduates. The experience of working with them has helped me better understand what research might be more relevant to people today.

For instance, we know that stress can cause certain modifications to DNA, and there are certain individuals in more stressful situations who have more modifications as a result. Wouldn’t it be fascinating, as an example, if students provided DNA at the beginning of their studies and provided DNA again before graduation so we could get a better sense of how stress — in this case, educationally and culturally induced during adolescence — can influence success rates? Certain stressors during this time period can lead to neuropsychiatric conditions, so if we could better understand how some of these modifications are occurring, we could also obtain better predictors for those conditions.

What inspired you to get into your field?

For me, it was like a sport. You end up in basketball because you enjoy it or you’re good at it. Over time, I discovered I really enjoyed genomics and medicine, and I also felt a strong connection to the field. It was a profession that I didn’t wake up and dread doing every day, so it felt natural to push forward with this work.

What’s the biggest misconception about your field?

The biggest misconception we all had for the longest time was that none of this could be done. Getting DNA sequences from every living human being was thought to be infeasible. But within the next 10 years or so, all of us are going to have the coding regions of our genes sequenced, which will open the doors to a ton of information about our individual selves, though we might not know what some of it means. This sequencing is starting to happen whether we like it or not, which now makes it a question of, “What are we going to do with this information?”

Ethically, it’s a rich area of discussion that nobody has the answers for at this point. If you know I’m going to have Alzheimer’s by the time I’m 45, chances are you’re not going to want to hire me. Only by sequencing more and more people are we in a better position to say precisely that if you have this genetic change, you’ll probably get condition X by age X. We’re nowhere close to that right now, but we should keep advancing this research and start these important discussions now.

Finish this sentence: “If I couldn’t work in my current field, I’d like to…”

I’d like to work at UNICEF and grow some of its vaccination programs in third-world countries. I went to Nepal a year ago and participated in these vaccination efforts. A lot of the time, the money that goes to these countries doesn’t go to health care, unfortunately. I’d like to be involved in making better health care in these countries a reality.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up all over the world. My parents worked in foreign affairs, so I started off in the UK, then the USSR. Then I moved to New Zealand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, and then the U.S. For the last 20 years or so, I’ve been moving to a progressively warmer climate — from Michigan to Baltimore to North Carolina to Las Vegas.

Tell us about a time in your life when you have been daring.

I was in the (Singaporean) Army for a few years, and during that time it was important to learn how to follow instructions. It was also important to know how to be a good soldier and challenge authority when it was the right thing to do. Saying “no” to someone of higher rank than me was not always conventional, but doing so in the appropriate circumstance made me a better person.

What is the proudest moment in your life?

My proudest moment was being in the position to accept this role at UNLV. This job is a privilege and has given me the opportunity to do things that I really want to do with my life — that is, the genomic diagnosis of people with neurological disorders.

What can’t you work without?

I wouldn’t be able to work without the collaborative faculty and research staff here at UNLV. The folks in the lab drive so much research. Without them, nothing would move forward. Without them, there is no research — only ideas.

Tell us about an object in your office that has significance for you and why.

I have a small painting in my office that depicts trees with a road going through them. It’s based off of Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken.” I feel that some of my choices in life have led me down that road less traveled. I chose to pursue the road to academia despite the odds and have never regretted it.

Las Vegas HEALS Partners with Touro University for May Healthcare Happy Hour

By | Featured, Press Release

May 16 Event Registration Free for Las Vegas HEALS Members

Las Vegas HEALS and Touro University have partnered up for the next Las Vegas HEALS Healthcare Happy Hour. Touro University will welcome guests into its new Michael Tang Regional Center for Clinical Simulation and the Chantal and Stephen J. Cloobeck Regional Center for Disaster Life Support. These two state-of-the-art centers will have a profound impact on health care education and the community by providing opportunities for interdisciplinary, team-based, hyper-realistic training for health care providers and first responders.

The next Healthcare Happy Hour will take place from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 16 at 874 American Pacific Drive in Henderson. This networking event will include hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, and remarks by Doug Geinzer of Las Vegas HEALS and Shelley Berkley of Touro University Nevada. Event registration is free for all Las Vegas HEALS members by emailing their RSVP to or call 702.952.2477. Non-members who are interested in attending the Healthcare Happy Hour event for the first time may also register for free as a guest.

“Touro is delighted to showcase our two new regional Centers at this month’s Healthcare Happy Hour, said Shelley Berkley, chief executive officer and senior provost of Touro University. These Centers demonstrate Touro’s dedication to providing our students with the knowledge and proficiency needed to be successful. The Centers also will be a resource for health care providers, first responders, and others in the community who can utilize these environments for training.”

The Michael Tang Center incorporates simulated technology to enhance the education for students from Touro’s medical school and other health care programs. The Center features anatomage tables, sim-men, surgical cut suits, ultrasound machines, and heart and lung simulators. Healthcare Happy Hour attendees will be able to experience this technology first hand. The Cloobeck Center, which will become Southern Nevada’s only National Disaster Life Support Foundation-certified facility, will offer cutting-edge training and disaster management courses for health care providers and first responders. Training in the Cloobeck Center will feature classroom instruction, table top exercises, and mass casualty disaster simulated scenario-based training, which will be showcased at Las Vegas HEALS Healthcare Happy Hour.

“This event will be a very special one, as Touro University will be showcasing its two new state-of-the-art disaster life support centers,” said Doug Geinzer, chief executive officer of Las Vegas HEALS. “It is Las Vegas HEALS’ goal for our state to be a globally recognized destination in the medical tourism industry, and every time we open another top-of-the-line medical entity to the state, it brings us one step closer to achieving that goal.”

Inside Medicine

Touro’s Shelley Berkley was recently a guest with Doug on Inside Medicine, where she discussed community involvement. Watch the video:

14th Annual Runnin’ for the House Raised More Than $75K for Families Who Depend on Ronald McDonald House Charities®

By | Charity Organizations, Fundraiser, Press Release

Runnin’ for the House 5K Run & Family Fun Walk, presented by McDonald’s of Greater Las Vegas, raised more than $75,000 for the Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®) of Greater Las Vegas. The amount raised far surpassed the fundraising goal thanks to the Las Vegas community coming together on Saturday, April 28th, to support families with hospitalized children. Carrot Top and Captain America led more than 1,000 runners and walkers in warm up exercises to start the morning off. Mahsa Saeidi of Channel 13 kept the crowd entertained throughout the event, while 97.1 The Point provided music for all to rock out to. Participants also enjoyed a McDonald’s pancake breakfast, UFC kids activity zone complete with a rock wall and face painting, and awards.

The Red Shoe Society, a young professionals group that supports the House, made a big splash in this event by leading the way as our top fundraising team. Southwest Medical Part of OptumCare returned with the largest running team. Lexus of Las Vegas provided a beautiful red sedan to lead runners around the course, while NV Energy participants also volunteered their time before the race to make sure everything was in tip top shape. Lastly, Hanratty Law Group joined as a sponsor for the first time and sure knew how to #RockTheSocks!

Special thanks to all of our sponsors: Presenting Sponsor – McDonald’s of Greater Las Vegas Gold Medal Sponsor – UFC Silver Medal Sponsors – Hanratty Law Group, Southwest Medical Part of OptumCare, Lexus of Las Vegas, and NV Energy School Spirit Sponsors – McDonald’s Rocky Mountain Region and Sutherland Global Team Spirit Sponsors – The Siegel Group, Coca-Cola, Iron Mountain, The Private Bank by Nevada State Bank, Vector Media, and Southwest Airlines

Other generous partners and donors: Lotus Broadcasting, CPR Tent and Events, Rugged Oaks Investment, Clark County School District, Kindred Hospital, LVAC, and Creamies

About Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Greater Las Vegas

Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®) of Greater Las Vegas is a non-profit, 501c3 organization that provides temporary housing for families who travel to Las Vegas to receive medical treatment for their children. RMHC of Greater Las Vegas also creates and supports programs that directly benefit children and families in the greater Las Vegas area.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada Launches Cancer Genetic Counseling Services

By | Press Release

Multi-specialty practice hires cancer genetic counselor, Barbara Caldwell, adds line of service to support and educate patients on inherited cancer risks

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada announced today the addition of cancer genetic counseling services as well as the hiring of renowned local cancer genetic counselor, Barbara Caldwell, APRN, MSN.

Approximately five to ten percent of all cancers have a hereditary component, making genetic risk assessments and counseling vital in early detection efforts as well as customizing treatment plans. Initial genetic cancer counseling sessions typically take less than an hour and screening is generally comprised of a review of family history as well as a simple saliva or blood DNA test.

“Genetic services are becoming more and more vital to any practice and will certainly have an impact on our patients and throughout the community,” said Caldwell. “The goal is to have more ‘previvors’ here in Southern Nevada, meaning that we are discovering patients’ predispositions to cancer and ultimately taking steps to prevent a cancer diagnosis.”

Prior to joining Comprehensive, Caldwell was director of chemotherapy at Women’s Cancer Center of Nevada in Las Vegas. Locally, she was also managing partner/owner of Genomicare and a nurse practitioner at Nevada Surgery and Cancer Care. With more than 40 years of experience in medicine, Caldwell has also served as a nurse practitioner for a number of renowned organizations throughout the Midwest, including the Cleveland Clinic Foundation

“So many people that visit us each year have serious questions about how their unique genes impact their likelihood of a cancer diagnosis,” said Jon Bilstein, executive director of Comprehensive. “And now, they can have peace of mind in terms of what they suspect, their exact risks and, in some cases, how they may move forward with treatment.”

Effective immediately, new and existing patients may be referred to Caldwell for genetic risk assessments and/or testing at four Comprehensive treatment centers throughout Southern Nevada – Central Valley (3730 S. Eastern Ave., Las Vegas, 89169); Henderson (10001 S. Eastern Ave., Suite 108, Henderson, 89052); Southeast Henderson (1505 Wigwam Parkway, Suite 130, Henderson, 89074); and Southwest (9280 W. Sunset Road, Suite 100, Las Vegas, 89148).

About Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada is an award-winning multidisciplinary practice comprising medical oncology, hematology, radiation oncology, breast surgery, pulmonary services, cancer genetic counseling and clinical research, with treatment centers and offices throughout Southern Nevada. For more than 35 years, the practice has provided oncology services to patients in and out of state with a specialized physician and nursing staff. Comprehensive, an affiliate of The US Oncology Network, offers state-of-the-art technologies, latest advancements in cancer treatment and groundbreaking clinical research trails. The practice participates in more than 170 Phase I, Phase II and Phase III clinical research studies each year and has played a role in developing more than 60 FDA-approved cancer therapies. For more information, visit the company’s website at, and follow the practice on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.