Can you tell us how you got interested in the medical field?
I wanted to be a doctor ever since I was a little kid. My parents knew I was interested in bodies and humans, so they got me the “Visible Man” for Christmas. When I was in the ninth grade, I watched my first surgery at the University of Nevada, Reno where they were doing a C-section on a cow. That summer at the university, I cleaned test tubes and conducted “cancer research,” which consisted of working with mice. That was my first real introduction to medicine.
You also had a brief stint in the U.S. Air Force. What was that like?
The Air Force paid for my tuition, fees, books, and labs. It was great. They sent me to South Dakota, which wasn’t on my list of places to go. But the people there were wonderful. We lived off base and were invited to five different Sunday schools in the first week we were there.
How did you arrive at Touro University Nevada?
In 2012, I was at McCarran Airport waiting for my flight to Albuquerque for a HealthInsight board meeting. That’s when I saw Dr. Forman. We knew each other because we both served on different committees together, including HealthInsight. He told me I should come work at Touro. Three months later, I was there.
What do you love about teaching at Touro?
The students create such great energy. They want to be here. They want to do their residencies and are invested in their future. You’ve got people who are wanting to be doctors and are willing to work for it. One of the great things about Touro is that we have great investments in our kids, and they understand that we’re going to do everything we can to make sure they succeed.
Touro is also amazing because of the diversity we have here. You have students and faculty from literally all over the world. I went to France for my mission, and you don’t have to throw a stone too far around here to find three people who speak French. It’s a great mixture of cultures, people, and ideas. I love it.
You were raised in Northern Nevada, but you’ve called Southern Nevada home for 35 years. What is it about Nevada that has kept you here so long?
After being here for most of my life, I’ve come to find that there are many opportunities in Nevada that you don’t find in other places. The state itself is beautiful and scenic, and I encourage all of our students to stay here after they graduate.
What are some of your hobbies outside of work?
Well, my wife likes to call my political career my “hobby.” Basketball was always my passion until Aug. 12, 2006 when I stopped a 3-on-1 fast break and ended up in a sling for six weeks. The universal comment was “you’re too old for that,” so now my hobby is watching basketball.
If you could give your students a single piece of advice, what would it be?
Listen to your patients. In our current day of computers, you’re not able to spend as much time as you’d want with them. Listening to them is the most important thing.