It is a shame that this state’s higher education system has been built with little thought being given to the actual needs of Nevada’s young people. It is a shame that Nevadans thought that the only higher education institution in Nevada worth supporting was UNR, especially its medical school. I have no quarrel with the support of UNR (in fact it is far less funded than it should be) but I do quarrel with the state’s vision which seems to have been so short sighted. Even the medical school, which now graduates 50 students per year, (approximately 25 at best have stayed in this state), has lagged far behind its counterparts in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. Each of those medical schools graduates over 100 medical doctors per year (UNSOM has begun to enroll 62 students, the first class of whom will graduate in two years).
For 40 years southern Nevada medicine has lagged far behind the needs of southern Nevadans. That is the reason for the expression “What do you do when you get sick in southern Nevada? You go to the airport.”
A state cannot have a second-rate medical school. Unlike football, where there are many levels of competition, no one wants a medical school that performs at “junior college levels.” With medical schools you either get completely into the business or you stay out of the business. UNSOM must get in or out of the business because it surely does not compete with any of the recognized leaders in medical education.