By Dr. Chang-Hoon Ahn, D.O. , Associate Medical Director Southwest Medical,                        part of OptumCare

It’s well-documented that Southern Nevada needs more doctors to keep up with its growing population. Southwest Medical continues to make great strides in doing its part to address this important issue.

Launched in 2016, Southwest Medical and Touro University partnered to educate and prepare physician assistants for next generation population health models. This “PA Pathways” program begins every fall (typically around October). Clinical rotations are completed at Southwest Medical, with the exception of emergency medicine and behavioral health. Clinical rotations include:

  • Instruction on community-based efforts for improving health of children, including using the mobile clinic.
  • Pediatric outpatient rotations available with option for additional inpatient experience.
  • The opportunity to develop a longitudinal year-long clinical experience.
  • Core teaching in infant through adolescent care.
    • A large obstetrics/gynecology department (including well-woman care and obstetrics with a large number of deliveries per month, as well as gynecological surgery).
  • Specialties including cardiology, gastroenterology, rheumatology, neurology, pain management, wound care, urology and podiatry.

As part of this program, Southwest Medical will help pay for the tuition of participating students for their commitment of staying with Southwest Medical for 2 years after their graduation from the PA program.

Southwest Medical has also developed a relationship with UNLV School of Medicine, where our physicians are mentoring first and second-year medical students. The students spend half a day with our physicians seeing patients, providing the medical students with real-world exposure to patient care during their medical education.

Launched in early 2019, Southwest Medical and Touro University also partnered to educate and prepare three APRNs per trimester for next-generation population health models with the “APRN Pathways Program.” Much like the physician assistant program, clinical rotations will be completed at Southwest Medical, with the exception of emergency medicine and behavioral health.

Also launching this year, the Valley Health System will be starting a new family medicine residency training program with an integral relationship with Southwest Medical.

Before they become full-fledged doctors, physician residents care for patients under the supervision of an attending physician. Valley Hospital, a member of The Valley Health System, originally established a family medicine physician residency training program in 2006. Now, Valley Hospital has partnered with Southwest Medical for the residents to do a 1 month outpatient Community Family Medicine rotation. This partnership currently graduates five family medicine physicians each year. Combined, the Valley Hospital and Valley Health System programs will graduate 25 family medicine residents by 2022.

All of these programs designed in partnership with local health care educators to integrate medical students into professional practice are managed by Dr. Neil Gokal, Medical Director of Clinical Education for Southwest Medical.