Berkley to Helm Western Division of Touro Univers - 8 News NOW

Berkley to Helm Western Division of Touro University

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Shelley Berkley Shelley Berkley

LAS VEGAS -- Former Nevada Congresswoman Shelley Berkley has been appointed to run Touro College and University system's Western Division, the company announced Wednesday.

Berkley will helm the Nevada and California campuses as the CEO and Senior Provost.

During a news conference to announce the appointment, Berkley said she was happy to be back in public service.

"I get to do public service, I'm concentrating on issues that I'm very familiar with, education, healthcare," she said.

Berkley was first elected to the house in 1993. She served Nevada's first Congressional District from 1999 to 2013. In 2012, Berkley lost a bid for the senate to Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.

"You never know where life is going to take you. You just have to be there for the ride," Berkley said. 

She does have experience with higher learning institutions. Before being elected to Congress, Berkley served on the Nevada State System of Higher Education's Board of Regents for eight years.

"I found that I became more popular after I left office than I was during public office. So I think there is just a wonderful feeling in the community and I'm kind of homegrown. I'm one of them. So, everybody has been very gracious," Berkley said.

Leaders at Touro University say Berkley's Jewish background is also a good fit for this Jewish-sponsored institution.

Another plus, her outgoing personality, which is expected to help shine a spotlight on the medical school that she calls Nevada's best kept secret.

Touro University Nevada is a private, non-profit institution, which primarily focuses on training students for careers in health care and education. It opened in 2004 and has 1,300 students.

At the top of Berkley's list, creating more residencies in the state of Nevada to help keep doctors here after they graduate medical school. 

"They end up practicing in the community in which their residency program occurred. So, right now, we'd be educating medical students to go away and take care of other states. We want them here," Berkley said. 

She says that is just one goal of many.

"I'm going to roll up my sleeves right after the first of year. Although, quite frankly, I think I've already started," Berkley said.

Berkley will replace Dr. Michael Harter beginning in January.

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