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UNLV medical school clears key hurdle

The UNLV School of Medicine is one step closer to recruiting its first class of students.

The school received word Wednesday afternoon from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education that it was transitioning UNLV from applicant to candidate status, which will allow the school to receive a site visit over the summer, likely in July, spokeswoman Pamela Udall said.

The committee is the accreditation body for M.D.-granting education programs in the United States and Canada, according to its website.

“It’s just great for the documents to be accepted and for us to be able to move on to the next step,” UNLV School of Medicine Dean Barbara Atkinson said Thursday afternoon.

After a school receives candidate status, a site visit occurs, which leads to a decision on preliminary accreditation. Schools that receive preliminary accreditation can begin accepting applications for enrollment.

A team of four or five experts will visit the school over about three days for the visit, Atkinson said. They will meet with the dean, examinethe facilities, and assess everything from the school’s finances to its staff diversity.

UNLV is negotiating with Clark County to obtain land near University Medical Center on the former site of the Southern Nevada Health District for a future medical school building. In the meantime, the medical school will be based at the UNLV School of Dental Medicine campus.

UNLV hopes to start recruiting in October; the first class of students is slated to begin classes July 2017, Atkinson said.

Full accreditation for the medical school is expected to take until 2021, according to UNLV.

The first class of 60 students will receive full scholarships thanks to the school’s Founding Scholarship campaign, which raised $13.5 million in less than 60 days. The funds also cover 25 scholarships for students in each of the next three classes.

UNLV’s announcement comes as Roseman University, a private nonprofit institution, prepares for its site visit, which is scheduled for the latter half of this month, spokesman Jason Roth said.

An accreditation decision is scheduled for June, and if all goes well, classes at the Roseman University College of Medicine would begin Fall 2017, Roth said.

The two schools would be the first Southern Nevada-based M.D.-granting institutions. Henderson-based Touro University Nevada offers a doctor of osteopathic medicine.

Contact Pashtana Usufzy at pusufzy@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4563. Find her on Twitter: @Pashtana_U

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