UNLV School of Medicine Awarded $3 Million from United Health Foundation to Create New Program Integrating Medical Students Into Community Clinics

April 05, 2016
  • Nevadans face extreme physician shortage leading to access to care issues

  • Partnership helps address Nevada's extreme physician shortage and needs of a growing, diverse and aging population

  • Grant supports new Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (LIC) model in which medical students participate in patients comprehensive care over time

United Health Foundation and the UNLV School of Medicine announced a partnership to create a new integrated training program for medical students. The partnership is funded by a $3 million grant from United Health Foundation to UNLV's new medical school.

The initiative comes as Nevada faces an extreme shortage of physicians and ranks in the bottom -five states (47th) in the number of doctors per 100,000 people, within nearly every medical specialty, according to United Health Foundation's America's Health Rankings. This physician shortage means many Nevadans have trouble accessing necessary and timely health care.

"There is a critical need to increase access to care across Nevada," said Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval. "I applaud UnitedHealth Group for its innovative approaches like the UnitedHealthcare/Southwest Medical mobile clinic and the local partnership between United Health Foundation and UNLV that will create providers for the future who will help increase Nevadans' access to care."

"United Health Foundation's grant will strengthen and support UNLV's commitment to build a cutting-edge medical school that ensures quality health care in the community for generations to come," said UNLV President Len Jessup. 

The grant will be used over the next five years to put in place medical education and course curriculum, including population health and hospitality in health care. These programs will support the Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (LIC) model, where the school's third-year medical students will spend an entire year in an outpatient clinic taking care of patients under faculty and resident supervision.

The grant also will support the building of three multispecialty community clinics that will offer a full complement of primary care and basic specialty-care services. These facilities will serve as the clinical training sites for the LIC model.

"This partnership aligns with the UNLV School of Medicine's mission to improve access to care for Medicaid patients while advancing clinical, education and research solutions in southern Nevada," said UNLV School of Medicine Founding Dean Dr. Barbara Atkinson. "We are grateful for United Health Foundation's leadership and their partnership to build a state-of-the-art educational institution."

"This partnership with the UNLV School of Medicine, along with other initiatives in the region, underscores our commitment to increasing access to care in Southern Nevada through innovation, especially for Medicaid patients and the medically underserved," said Robert McBeath, M.D., president and CEO of Southwest Medical Associates, a part of OptumCare.

"United Health Foundation's investment will help address the critical need for improved access to care. This grant helps to build an infrastructure for the future through greater education and training of medical professionals," said U.S. Rep. Joe Heck of Nevada's Third Congressional District, who participated in the announcement event along with other community leaders.

"This grant from United Health Foundation both affirms and complements the UNLV School of Medicine's potential contribution to Southern Nevada," said U.S. Rep. Dina Titus of Nevada's First Congressional District. "With the help of the Foundation, we will not only help provide key medical services to treat more people, we will ensure that Las Vegas is a city where more doctors, nurses and other medical practitioners raise families, build careers and enhance the overall health of the community."

Partnership Will Build on Investments in Local Care Delivery Programs

United Health Foundation's partnership with UNLV builds on other investments that UnitedHealth Group has made to expand access to care throughout Nevada using targeted, innovative strategies that increase the number of health care providers, particularly in underserved communities.

This includes last month's launch by UnitedHealthcare's Health Plan of Nevada and Southwest Medical Associates of the "Medicine on the Move" mobile doctor's office that brings health care closer to people's homes and workplaces. The Medicine on the Move mobile medical center is designed to minimize barriers to health care – such as transportation, child care, work obligations and the low number of primary care physicians in Nevada – that often put even routine checkups out of reach. 

Attendees at the announcement event included Congressman Heck; Nevada Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson; Assembly Majority Leader Paul Anderson; Assembly Democratic Caucus Leader Irene Bustamante Adams; and Assembly Health & Human Services Committee Chair James Oscarson.

The vision of the UNLV Medical School is to create a world-class center of excellence and innovation for medical education, patient care and research that prepares Nevada's physicians with the most advanced knowledge, treatments and technologies while serving the health care needs of a diverse urban community.

UnitedHealthcare serves nearly 1 million Nevadans enrolled in individual, employer-sponsored, Medicare and Medicaid health plans with a network of 39 hospitals and more than 7,600 physicians and other care providers throughout the state.

About UNLV

UNLV is a doctoral-degree-granting institution of approximately 29,000 students and more than 3,000 faculty and staff that is classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a research university with high research activity. UNLV offers a broad range of respected academic programs and is on a path to join the top tier of national public research universities. The university is committed to recruiting and retaining top students and faculty, educating the region's diversifying population and workforce, driving economic activity through increased research and community partnerships, and creating an academic health center for Southern Nevada that includes the launch of a new School of Medicine. UNLV is located on a 332-acre main campus and two satellite campuses in Southern Nevada. Learn more at

About UnitedHealth Group

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) is a diversified health and well-being company dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and helping make the health system work better for everyone. UnitedHealth Group offers a broad spectrum of products and services through two distinct platforms: UnitedHealthcare, which provides health care coverage and benefits services; and Optum, which provides information and technology-enabled health services. For more information, visit UnitedHealth Group at or follow @UnitedHealthGrp on Twitter.

About United Health Foundation

Through collaboration with community partners, grants and outreach efforts, United Health Foundation works to improve our health system, build a diverse and dynamic health workforce and enhance the well-being of local communities. United Health Foundation was established by UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation dedicated to improving health and health care. To date, United Health Foundation has committed more than $285 million to programs and communities around the world. We invite you to learn more at or follow @UHGGives on Twitter or