Creating a Healthy Community The Lincy Institute at UNLV conducts and supports research that focuses on improving Nevada’s health, education and social services. As the newly appointed Director of Health Programs for the Lincy Institute, Dr. Marya Shegog is excited for the opportunity to significantly impact health care in Southern Nevada. Shegog wants to create not only healthy communities, but to diversify Southern Nevada’s economic infrastructure in ways that will allow Southern Nevada to thrive. She describes the Lincy Institute as a very special entity that enjoys all of the resources and strengths of an academic institution, but with the leniency to bring in outside resources and develop relationships with community organizations that will help expand their outreach. In her new role, she is working with the City of Las Vegas and the City of North Las Vegas, in conjunction with the United Way and the Southern Nevada Regional Planning Coalition (SNRPC), on ways that we can measure where Southern Nevada stands on health, and where we can make improvements. Shegog is currently helping to develop this year’s strategic plan and establishing new goals. A big part of this year’s plan will include shaping legislation that will help clinicians come into our area and helping the state to prepare for the Medicaid expansion and healthcare reform. It is going to be a big year for healthcare and Shegog feels fortunate that her previous experience and education have brought her to this place where she can really make a difference in the way healthcare is viewed in Southern Nevada.
What is the single biggest change you’ve made for better health and what impact has it had on your life? Most recently I have started doing hot yoga and the biggest challenge with that is dehydration. I do 90 minutes where I hold poses for two or three minutes at a time.… I find that I don’t drink enough. I got a cramp in both legs because I was dehydrated and that did it for me…I have been making a specific effort to drink more water overall. blvdslv.com
What is the most important health issue you think our community is facing? First, we have a huge shortage of healthcare clinicians and mental health care providers. As more people get access to healthcare this year, we won’t have enough clinicians to care for them. We need to…expedite the accreditation process so they can begin practicing faster after completing training. We also need to change some of the laws around incoming physicians so the actual process is more streamlined. Second, we need to develop more options for medical school within Nevada. In particular, we need to get a state-run school with an M.D. program in Las Vegas.
What activities do you enjoy to help you stay mentally healthy? I like to swim. I learned to swim as a child and have used it more for exercise for the last three or four years. I also like to refinish wood and old furniture pieces and add them to my home decor. I strip them down and sand them and get them prepped for refinishing and turn someone’s old and neglected piece into a new treasure. I truly believe in filling your time with activities you enjoy to keep yourself grounded.
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DR. MARYA SHEGOG