Michael Easter has always been interested in health, so the career path that has led the Utah native to UNLV, where he has been an adjunct professor of health journalism since August, makes perfect sense.
“At 15, I would read Men’s Health cover to cover every month,” he said. “I can remember all of these random facts about it — I read everything.”
After earning a master’s degree in science, health and environmental journalism from New York University in 2010, Easter was hired by Men’s Health, where he worked for six years, most recently as fitness editor, before moving to Las Vegas.
“My wife, who’s from Pennsylvania, and I wanted to move out west because I’m from here,” he said. “I have always wanted to get into teaching journalism while also freelancing on the side.”
Within months of his arrival, Easter began developing health-related programming to be featured on UNLV’s radio station. His show, “Nevada Health,” which launched March 6 and airs on Mondays, focuses on health and wellness and features experts in a variety of fields.
“We want to highlight some of the interesting things happening with health in Nevada right now,” he said. “A prime example would be UNLV’s new medical school.”
The school, which welcomes its inaugural class on July 17, has been the culmination of three years of hard work, founding Dean Barbara Atkinson said. As a guest on Easter’s first radio show, Atkinson shared her vision for the school, which goes beyond the borders of the building and into the community for which it has been designed to help.
“The calculation is that we’re about 100 doctors short per 100,000 people, so that means we’re 2,000 doctors short here in Las Vegas,” Atkinson said. “That’s a number that one medical school is not going to be able to provide, so you need to work with everyone, and you need all of the other providers’ support.”
On Easter’s show, Atkinson also discussed the school’s innovative curriculum, which will incorporate patient care, not just classroom instruction and lab time, in the first couple of years. Driven by a community need for doctors, Atkinson says she hopes the interaction with local patients will help keep the doctors in the region long after graduation.
“They’ve had trouble keeping doctors here who have trained here because there aren’t many residency programs in Las Vegas,” she said. “So a lot of students leave the state just to get training in certain areas and are less likely to come back to Nevada afterward.”
Easter plans to include local and national experts on topics such as fitness, nutrition and health care.
“Ultimately, I just want to put good information out there,” Easter said. “I want people to use it not only for their own lives but for the lives of their family.”