The first cohort of students of the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) will be graduating on May 7, 2021. The United Health Foundation was an early supporter, with a $3 million grant in 2016 that led to an innovative, new curriculum at the school. The grant partnership was created in response to a critical shortage of physicians in the state, and in primary care medicine, specifically.

Of the 50 graduating students, more than half will pursue training programs in a primary care specialty, which includes family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, and pediatrics.

Meet Three Graduates

Meet three of the 50 trailblazers who will graduate May 7, 2021, from the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV.

“It has been our privilege to watch and contribute to the growth of the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV during these foundational times. Back in 2015, we knew that Nevada was experiencing some of the most severe shortages of primary care physicians in the entire country,” said Dr. Rob McBeath, CEO of Southwest Medical and president of Optum Care Mountain West Region. “Through our United Health Foundation, we formed a partnership with the school to create an integrated and innovative training program to serve the school and train its students for years to come.”

Boosting Access to Care

Physician shortages continue to be an issue in the state of Nevada, which recently ranked 45th in the nation for a combined measure of primary care, mental health and dental providers, according to data from America’s Health Rankings. In the most recent report, it also ranked 50th in the nation for the supply of primary care providers.

“The United Health Foundation’s early investment in the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV was foundational and helped us to develop unique and current training programs to set up students for successful medical careers,” said Dr. Marc J. Kahn, MD, MBA, dean of the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV. “This grant is also helping the state grow and diversify its health care workforce and ability to meet the demands of a growing and aging population.”

During the graduation ceremonies on May 7, the United Health Foundation — as part of its ongoing partnership with the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV — will announce a $100,000 scholarship fund to support current medical students pursuing careers as primary care physicians.

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An Ongoing Commitment

The grant partnership between Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV and the United Health Foundation demonstrates UnitedHealth Group’s long-standing commitment to the people of Nevada and to addressing its residents’ needs. The United Health Foundation has also awarded a three-year, $2.6 million grant to Touro University Nevada to improve access to high-quality prenatal care for approximately 1,700 underserved and homeless women in southern Nevada. Both commitments align with UnitedHealth Group’s mission to help people live healthier lives and help make the health system work better for everyone.

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