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Southern Nevada is set to lead in quality, equitable healthcare

Brian Knudsen
Brian Knudsen
Opinion
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My son, in 2021, went to Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Maryland to have a critical surgery for recurrent infections — a surgery that wasn’t possible in Nevada. My brother received a critical bone marrow transplant in 1995, at Primary Children’s Hospital in Utah — a procedure still not available in Nevada today. And that’s just my story. Countless other Nevada families have experienced similar situations. 

Together, the state, UNLV and the City of Las Vegas are working to ensure that no Nevada family has to leave the Silver State for critical life-saving care. Here’s how we are doing it: 

Approximately $400 million in actual and planned private and public investment over the last three years has set the Las Vegas Medical District (LVMD) on the path to reaching its goal of more than 24,000 jobs, $3.6 billion in estimated economic impact, and $180 million in new state general fund revenue.

That means by 2030 the LVMD will be the clinical care, research, wellness, education, and training center of Southern Nevada, as well as the premier academic medical district in the southwestern U.S. That vision is finally possible because of the build-out of the 135,000 sq. ft. Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV, a collaboration between the local jurisdictions of Clark County and the city, hospitals, and health care providers, with strong support from the State of Nevada and visionary philanthropists.   

The Nevada Health and Bioscience Corporation’s (NHBC) partnership with UNLV to fund the majority of the Medical Education Building sparked these investments. Additionally, the UNLV School of Dental Medicine, Lou Ruvo’s innovative Center for Brain Health, as well as both public and private teaching hospitals, have made the LVMD the ideal location for development. The PRACTICE (UNLV’s mental health training clinic) opened a satellite clinic in the LVMD this past spring furthering the academic health environment of the fistrict to include a focus on mental health.

Advancing the outcomes of academic medicine and research in Southern Nevada is the focus of our efforts. The City of Las Vegas has allocated $10 million toward an ambulatory care center and biomedical research and public health laboratory partnership, with the state further supporting these efforts. The recent announcement of $40 million designated for an ambulatory care center with dedicated space for mental health care, we can commit to Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV the resources needed – including equipment – critical to expanding their operations and impact. The $30 million newly allocated to a new public health lab at University Medical Center only strengthens this initiative.  

Recent state investments from the Interim Finance Committee will help bolster these projects to ensure we are on track, and are committed to advance healthcare for all Nevadans. 

The state, especially Southern Nevada, is growing exponentially. Its residents deserve the very best. The best healthcare in the nation is within our reach and will soon become a reality when shovels go in the ground, ribbons are cut, and we can lead our doctors, nurses, and medical professionals into the next evolution of healthcare in Southern Nevada at the Las Vegas Medical District and the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV.   

Brian Knudsen was elected to represent Ward 1 on the Las Vegas City Council in June 2019. Since moving to Las Vegas in 2005, he has served the community through work in/with city and state governments, as the chief executive officer of a large nonprofit organization and as the owner of a small business. He has a Bachelor’s of Science degree from the University of Utah in health education and mass communications, and a Masters of Public Administration degree from the University of Southern California.

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