This month, regents from the Nevada System of Higher Education will vote on an agreement that could begin the process of building a new medical school in Nevada.

For years, discussions about a four-year medical school in Nevada have circled around the rivalry between Northern and Southern Nevada. While there has been a medical school in operation at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), this program was split in segments, with two years of core classes in Reno followed by practical training at the University Medical Center in Las Vegas or Reno for two years.

A new agreement between UNR, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), and the Nevada System of Higher Education could bring about a new Nevada medical school with UNR and UNLV affiliated programs in the future. The first focus, however, will be developing and building up a school in Las Vegas.

The benefits of a four-year independent allopathic medical school in Nevada may include:

  • A return on investment of over $1 billion, including the creation of over 5,000 jobs
  • Addressing the current deficit in medical students, clinical research programs, and in-state healthcare practitioners
  • Diversifying Nevada’s current economy as only 7% of Las Vegas’ current economy is based in the health sector
  • Improving medical care with more healthcare professionals settling in Nevada
  • Boosting the medical tourism business in Nevada

The timeline for the project is long-range, with a fully accredited school expected no earlier than 2020. The initial construction costs for a UNLV school is close to $80 million. UNLV plans to run a fundraising campaign to fund these costs and those associated with accreditation, residency programs, as well as a new on-campus football stadium for $500 million total. The funding campaign itself will last seven to ten years.

Over time, however, with two medical schools running in the state, the economic impact of these schools could be close to $2 billion.

These results are still a long way off, but November’s memorandum of understanding and December’s discussions herald the beginnings of positive growth and investment in Nevada’s medical community.

What are your thoughts on a new Nevada medical school? 

Image by James Brooks via Flickr


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