Jamie is helping formulate new treatments for cancer. John is helping refine protocols for cardiac care. Susan is aiding in the quest to delay or eliminate the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s. Yet none of these people are healthcare professionals; rather, they belong to the volunteer cohorts participating in the dozens of clinical trials currently ongoing across Southern Nevada. Today, the region’s research and care centers are expanding the boundaries of the possible as they move the world toward a healthier future.
“A number of factors have come together to make Las Vegas a vital center for healthcare research and development,” explains Perry Ursem, Vice President of Business Retention and Expansion at the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance (LVGEA). “In addition to booming population growth, our demographics assure the critical mass of diversity needed for trials with greater external validity. However, the really key factor is our critical mass of healthcare talent and knowledge.”
Cutting-edge expertise has naturally coalesced in Las Vegas as physical facilities and patient populations have expanded and the area’s reputation as a healthcare hub has grown. In the last decade more than 23,000 healthcare-related jobs have been added to the city’s economy.
“Las Vegas is a textbook example of cluster growth and success,” Ursem notes. “The sector has flourished organically, from the expansion and relocation of healthcare enterprise to an ever more responsive and robust talent pipeline.”
Innovation + Integration
Cluster elements in Las Vegas include well-established and well-regarded hospitals and treatment centers, teaching and research hospitals, and free-standing research facilities, notably:
UNLV: A Carnegie R1 university (designated the very highest level of research), University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV) trains the next generation of physicians at the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine, while the Division of Health Sciences is preparing future professionals at the schools of Dental Medicine, Nursing and Integrated Health Sciences. The School of Integrated Health Sciences is also spurring evolutionary changes to the health sciences through interdisciplinary programs and research on topics such as:
- Cardiovascular fitness
- Stem cells
- Cerebral palsy
- Parkinson’s disease
- Medical and environmental radiation
At the School’s Center for Brain Health, the Chambers-Grundy Center for Transformative Neuroscience provides research and learning opportunities involving drug therapies targeted to treat Alzheimer’s and other brain disorders.
Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health: Almost every staff member is involved in clinical trials at the Center, which is a division of Cleveland Clinic Nevada. While the Center is currently implementing one of the nation’s largest drug trials in the study of Alzheimer’s disease, since opening in 2009 it has also conducted more than 100 trials focused on critical needs such as:
- Huntington’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Lewy body dementia
“Cleveland Clinic Nevada has made a significantly positive impact on our area,” Ursem says. “Not only through patient care and research, but in the 77,000 hours of education delivered to students ranging from K-12 to research fellows.”
Henderson Hospital and Union Village: In Southern Nevada, even non-academic institutions of care are also innovating in important ways. Henderson Hospital serves as anchor for the 155-acre Union Village now under development. The world’s first and largest integrated healthcare development, Union Village will cater to every phase of life and will include a 100-unit memory care village, the first of its kind in the U.S.
Healthy profitability expanding the sector
While the Las Vegas healthcare sector is helping residents to live better, the Las Vegas business environment helps healthcare-related companies work better, supported by a nurturing economic climate of lower taxes and costs, less regulation and a productive talent pipeline. And those add up to enhanced profitability.
“Healthy profitability is attracting and keeping healthcare-related enterprise of all types,” Ursem says. He points to two local innovative healthcare companies: Goode Surgical, which sells the Arthrex arthroscopy tools, and Spectrum Pharmaceutical, which develops novel oncology drug products.
“All kinds of healthcare businesses can thrive in Las Vegas. And with so many in the community employed or involved in some way, you could say that great healthcare is everybody’s business here in Las Vegas.”
Southern Nevada Healthcare Talent Pipeline
- Nevada State College
- College of Southern Nevada
- Roseman University of Health Sciences
- Touro University Nevada
- University of Nevada-Las Vegas: Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine and the Division of Health Sciences
- Desert Research Institute