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Kirk Kerkorian Medical Education Building at UNLV

Date: Dec 16, 2022

Author: Melanie Bailey, Director of Marketing, TSK Henderson

How do you describe a school that means so much to so many people? That brings a community together and provides life changing healthcare to those who need it? Defining the physical attributes of the school, while amazing, doesn’t do it justice. This school has a story to tell, and we’re going to tell it.

Making It Happen

There has been a growing need for a medical school to attract and retain high-quality students that will stay in Nevada during their residency and as they go into practice, filling the void of doctors and adequate healthcare options.  Retaining students after graduation and keeping medical care in state, will create thousands of jobs and provide millions of dollars in economic revenue. The present and future health of our growing community is a top priority.

There are many people who came together to establish the UNLV School of Medicine, and we would like to showcase one in particular, Dr. Barbara Atkinson. Dr. Atkinson came out of retirement to become the planning and founding dean of the medical school, she is also the only woman to head three medical schools in the United States.

Her belief in this program, strong political will, and love for her community played a big part in the success of pulling this project out of the shadows. She started her journey in 2014 meeting with community leaders, heads of hospitals and health care groups, TV and news outlets, and politicians, just to name a few, to share her vision and to find out what the needs of the community were.  Her efforts over the last eight years resulted in the charter class of 2017, as well as a brand-new state of the art medical education building.

Recent Success

The effort led by Dr. Atkinson bringing the medical education program to life is being showcased in the new Kirk Kerkorian Medical Education Building. After breaking ground in 2020, construction of the five-story, 135,000 square foot building was recently completed in the new Las Vegas Medical District at Charleston Boulevard just west of the I-15.

This building will serve as the permanent home of the School of Medicine and is designed to accommodate a class size of 120 students, with a long-term growth plan to allow for an increase in class size to 180. While there are large spaces for group gatherings, the classrooms are designed for small groups of students.

This facility doesn’t just take current students into consideration, it also looks forward and takes into account that once students become licensed practitioners, they will need to maintain their certifications. Dedicated space is provided for these professionals offering them every opportunity to fulfill the requirements of continued education.

To ensure success, the facility is state-of-the-art and exemplifies best-in-class technology and education for an up close and personal learning experience. Some of the technology includes:

  • Simulated operating room equipped with surgical equipment and high-tech mannequins that simulate bodily functions, including reacting to medications, crying, breathing, blinking, and sweating

  • Simulated patient rooms allowing mock examinations with actors portraying patients with various medical issues

  • A cadaver lab that offers the opportunity for cadaveric exploration

  • Virtual reality anatomy and physiology classrooms

As medical and technological advances are made, the school is prepared to advance with them.

Investing In Our Future 

The future is looking bright with expansion already in mind, including an ambulatory clinic, pathology lab, hotel, student housing and amenities, and memory care senior housing community.  The School of Medicine is providing a world class environment to aspiring medical professionals, giving them every opportunity to realize their dreams. This not only increases the number of physicians in southern Nevada, but it also empowers our families, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and anyone who needs it, to seek and receive the medical care they deserve.

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