UNLV Medical School in the Works - 8 News NOW

UNLV Medical School in the Works

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LAS VEGAS -- There are now serious plans in the works to create a new medical school at University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Educators are meeting almost daily to work out how to get it built. They say this will lead to dramatic changes in medical education, research, training and patient care.

Local students who want to become medical doctors often get their undergraduate degree at UNLV but then head north to UNR to continue their medical education.

If UNLV builds a medical school, the hope is to cultivate doctors who will train locally and practice locally.

Doctor Matthew Schwartz, who practices at Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, is home grown talent. He went to Valley High School, UNLV and UNR before returning to Las Vegas to practice.

"I wish I could have stayed here for medical school," Dr. Schwartz said.

Now a radiation oncologist, he supports bringing a state-run medical school to UNLV.

"We obviously have a great need for good doctors here in Las Vegas. Medical students, more residencies, would really bring more good doctors to Nevada and that's what we need," he said.

While some medical experts have expressed concern that there is not enough students to fill a new medical school, economists say otherwise.

Mary Riddel, the chair of economics at UNLV, says the valley is really lacking in the medical services industry. She says a new medical school would help turn the economy around by bringing nearly 2,000 jobs and an estimated $1.2 billion to the Las Vegas economy.

"This would involve residencies, it would involve medical student training. So it really is the next step," she said.

Many UNR students partner with teaching hospitals like University Medical Center. Doctors believe those relationships would only continue, if UNLV created their own medical school.

"It brings jobs, it brings new treatments, it's just better for the community overall," Schwartz said.

It would also raise the prestige of the university. The hope is that a new medical school would bring in students from all over the world.

A new UNLV medical school would partner with UNR for three years before receiving its accreditation and then the school would stand on its own. 

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