The Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents voted today at its monthly board meeting to approve an affiliation agreement between the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) and Renown Health that will establish the first fully integrated health system in Nevada.
The Board of Regents approval of the collaboration between Nevada’s oldest medical school and one of its largest non-profit health care organizations comes after Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed Senate Bill 342 into law. The bill authorizes the NSHE Board of Regents to enter into an agreement to affiliate with a publicly or privately owned medical facility or related entity, whether for profit or not for profit, to further promote and enhance a medical education or health education program at a university.
Nearly a year ago, UNR Med and Renown Health announced an intent to affiliate and create an enhanced health care network with increased access to clinical care, and expanded clinical training and clinical research programs. In September 2020, the Board of Regents unanimously endorsed a Letter of Intent between the two organizations, which advanced a period of due diligence to further define the relationship. In addition, the Renown Board of Trustees unanimously approved the agreement.
“Thank you to the Board of Regents and Chancellor Rose for supporting UNR Med and Renown Health in this collaborative and generational partnership that will have historical impacts on health care delivery, clinical research development, and training for health care professionals in our state and our community,” says University of Nevada, Reno President Brian Sandoval. “This affiliation will help address Nevada’s access to health care and medical education challenges in new and innovative ways that proactively support the health and wellness of all.”
The affiliation agreement details a 50-year commitment for combining the clinical practice, clinical teaching and clinical research programs of both institutions, including descriptions of purpose, structure, governance, funds flow, joint leadership roles and faculty positions, operational management, mission and culture.
Renown Health and UNR Med aim to accomplish key strategic goals, including:
- Improving access to care, including creating new clinical services not currently available in the community;
- Creating new clinical training programs for UNR Med residents and medical students;
- Increasing UNR Med’s student class size, which currently accommodates 70 students per medical class; and
- Providing increased patient access to clinical trials and expanding research and employment capabilities.
Like many medical schools and health care systems across the nation, UNR Med and Renown Health have collaborated for decades to advance a mutual commitment to improving the health of the community. Since mid-2020, the organizations have been exploring formalizing a high-level clinical integration.
“I appreciate and am so pleased that the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents, Governor Sisolak and the legislature have provided such incredible support for the affiliation of University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine and Renown Health. We are excited to further our mission of supporting the health and healthcare of the people and communities we serve in local urban and rural communities, across our state and our nation, says Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, President & CEO of Renown Health. “With this new level of integration, we will be able to drive innovation, research, medical education, grant funding for public health, clinical trials and integrate our medical practices to improve access and affordability of care. Together, we are excited to create a healthier Nevada.”
“We are creating an integrated health system that brings together three complimentary initiatives – patient care, research and medical education – and melds them into a single mission, each enhancing the others synergistically, while benefitting the community and the state,” says UNR Med Dean Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D. “The affiliation with Renown Health enhances and leverages the fundamental missions of UNR Med as a state-funded, accredited public medical school governed by the Nevada System of Higher Education so as to remain accessible to Nevada residents and provide opportunities to serve the state in new and expanded ways. The affiliation helps both of our institutions contribute to outstanding health care in Nevada.”
This is an affiliation between a 159-year old health care provider, the state’s original land grant university and the state’s oldest medical school. Over the last five decades, UNR Med has educated more than 3,900 physicians with over 30% percent practicing in Nevada, increasing access to care for Nevadans across the state. Equally rooted in the community, Renown’s long legacy of service started in 1862 as a county hospital, Washoe Medical Center. Now, Renown Health, a charitable, not-for-profit organization, serves the community by providing care through hospitals, outpatient medical offices, institutes and a health insurance plan, Hometown Health.
This report was written By Julie Ardito, APR (UNR Med) and Suzanne Hendery, APR (Renown Health)
About Renown Health
Renown Health is the region’s largest, locally governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. With a diverse workforce of more than 7,000 employees, Renown has fostered a longstanding culture of excellence, determination and innovation. The organization comprises a trauma center, two acute care hospitals, a children’s hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, a medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest, locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Clinical institutes include: Cancer, Heart and Vascular Heath, Neurosciences and Robotic Surgery. Renown is currently enrolling participants in the world’s largest community-based genetic population health study, the Healthy Nevada Project®. For more information, visit renown.org.
About University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine
The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, Nevada’s first public medical school, is a community-based, research-intensive medical school with a statewide vision for a healthy Nevada. Since 1969, UNR Med has trained more than 3,900 students, residents and fellows. UNR Med continues to improve the health and well-being of all Nevadans and their communities through excellence in student education, postgraduate training and clinical care, research with local, national and global impact and a culture of diversity and inclusion. For more information, visit med.unr.edu.
The Nevada System of Higher Education, comprised of two doctoral-granting universities, a state college, four comprehensive community colleges and one environmental research institute, serves the educational and job training needs of Nevada. NSHE provides educational opportunities to more than 100,000 students and is governed by the Board of Regents.