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Board of Regents approves $26M for school of medicine

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Updated: 8/27 10:32 am

LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3.com) -- With the shortage of doctors in Las Vegas, a proposed school of medicine at UNLV would help alleviate the strain on the valley’s medical system.

The Nevada Board of Regents approved an additional $26 million to its proposed budget to go toward jump-starting a UNLV medical school. It will be up to Gov. Brian Sandoval to decide whether to include the expense in the budget he submits to lawmakers in January.

If the state Legislature approves the proposed budget, the UNLV medical school could open its doors as early as 2016.

Dr. Barbara Atkinson, UNLV planning dean, said medical specialists are especially needed in the valley. “There's no pathology residency,” Atkinson said. “There's no anesthesia residency, which is a very common one that students want to take.”

Adding those residencies will help keep some of the doctors who attend Nevada’s medical schools at home instead of going out of state for residencies.

The money the Board of Regents approved would help pay for a staff of specialists and faculty to get the project off the ground. UNLV would then have to raise about $100 million more to construct a building and start the special programs.

UNLV hopes a donor who wants to name the medical school will pay for most of those costs.

The proposed medical school could be located near the medical district surrounding University Medical Center, where UNLV already has a dental school, or near the VA Hospital in North Las Vegas.

The VA location could become an interim home for the medical school, but a permanent home near UMC is the university’s ultimate goal.

The school was a dream of former chancellor and KSNV-TV owner, Jim Rogers, whom Atkinson credited with being the first to notice the need of a school of medicine of its own in Las Vegas.

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