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Losing my physician


How to keep our new doctors in town

Dr. Florence Jameson






The ice man cometh


HEROES OF HEALTH CARE Meet the Southern Nevada doctors who are saving the day — and saving lives — with courage and compassion



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editor’s note


To your health So, surprise: Las Vegas isn’t ex-

Next month in Desert Companion

Step out in style with our fall culture and fashion issue

6 | Desert

actly renowned as a paragon of healthy living. Maybe we can’t be completely blamed for that distinction, given our mandate to peddle ourselves in the global marketplace as the nation’s test site where tourists are invited to suspend the rules of common sense and subject their vital organs to a marathon obstacle course of punishing fun. Like Nietzsche sort-of said, if you live in a party town, beware lest the party town live in you. No wonder Nevada’s state bird is a bacon cheeseburger smoking a Marlboro. Okay, it’s not. But I always feel a hum of cognitive dissonance when we talk about health and medicine in the valley because lingering stereotypes seem to militate against it: We’re a bunch of wheezing butterballs shouting for another light beer, right? Don’t be so sure. I flipped through the University of Nevada School of Medicine’s most recent annual Health and Health Care report expecting the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to fly out in a pestilential torrent of diabetes and secondhand smoke. Instead, I found a detailed and nuanced portrait of our changing lifestyles and habits. And, actually, for all the challenges we face in the arena of health and medicine, there are some surprising glimmers of good news about the health of Southern Nevada. Of course, it would be naive to ignore the troubles ahead — and we address many of them in this issue. But we’d also be remiss to ignore some promising developments that leap from the pages of the report. I won’t tug you through an unrelenting parade of stats here — you can do that your-

Companion | August 2013

self by grabbing the report at — but a few are worth pointing out. For example, according to the report, 23.6 percent of adults in Clark County are former smokers, vs. 22.2 percent identifying as current smokers. Nice. At least it certainly upends a long-held assumption of mine that chain-smoking was the most popular local sport after video poker. Also, about seventy-five percent of Clark County residents reported engaging in physical activity or exercise in the last 30 days. Again, assuming that “physical activity” doesn’t involve finger-workouts on the TV remote, it’s a promising figure. Additionally, Clark County’s teen pregnancy rate is down dramatically from 2000 to 2010, dropping by nearly 40 percent in that time. Again, glimmers and gleams, but let’s hope these small blips portend a sea change for the better, particularly with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act in 2014, when anywhere from 300,000 to 400,000 Nevadans will enter the insurance rolls. (Right now, about a quarter of the state population under 65 is uninsured, and 36 percent live in a “shortage area” that makes it tougher getting primary care.) In one upbeat scenario, the long-term picture suggests those newly insured taking advantage and taking charge of their health with wise, preventive care — instead of rolling into the emergency room because a minor condition has snowballed into a major crisis. This isn’t an Rx for blind optimism. The immediate picture is not so rosy. Between waves of retiring Baby Boomers with changing health care needs and those newly insured shopping the

valley for good doctors, the pressure on Southern Nevada’s health care infrastructure will be significant. The most pressing and immediate problem: a chronic lack of doctors to dispense care. Nevada continues to have one of the worst physician shortages in the U.S., a condition only aggravated by the fact that we produce more medical school graduates than we can actually train (p. 98). Add to that the fact that it’s hard enough to retain the medical talent we currently employ, and we have on our hands what one state health expert calls a “tsunami” that’s already looming. But I’m optimistic: Amid that, we’ve got a corps of passionate, dedicated physicians — among them, this year’s Best Doctors (p. 75) — up for the challenge. Let’s see what this next wave brings. Andrew Kiraly Editor

Delivering health and nutrition to our friends and neighbors 4 color process

Since 2002, Caesars Foundation has emphasized its support of nonprofit advocacy and service delivery organizations such as AARP, National Coalition 速

on Aging and Meals on Wheels Association of America. The Foundation The will to do wonders速 has contributed more than $5 million dollars in direct support and food delivery vehicles to organizations across the nation that provide meals to older individuals. We are proud to reach a milestone in this effort and celebrate our 50th vehicle donation to Meals on Wheels.

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Mission Statement

Desert Companion is the premier city magazine that celebrates the pursuits, passions and aspirations of Southern Nevadans. With award-winning lifestyle journalism and design, Desert Companion does more than inform and entertain. We spark dialogue, engage people and define the spirit of the Las Vegas Valley. Publisher Melanie Cannon Editor Andrew Kiraly Art Director Christopher Smith Graphic Designer Brent Holmes Sales and marketing manager Christine Kiely National account manager Laura Alcaraz Account executives Sharon Clifton, Robyn Mathis, Carol Skerlich, Markus Van’t Hul Marketing Associate Lisa Kelly Subscription manager Chris Bitonti Web administrator Danielle Branton Contributing writers Cybele, Chantal Corcoran, Elisabeth Daniels, MÊlanie Hope, Kathryn Kruse, Debbie Lee, Al Mancini, Christie Moeller, Helen Moore, Ian Mylchreest, Brock Radke, Lissa Townsend Rodgers, Donna McCrohan Rosenthal, Linda J. Simpson, Sarah Vernetti Contributing artists Bill Hughes, Jacob McCarthy, Sabin Orr, Hernan Valencia

Editorial: Andrew Kiraly, (702) 259-7856;

Fax: (702) 258-5646 Advertising: Christine Kiely, (702) 259-7813;

Subscriptions: Chris Bitonti, (702) 259-7810;

Website: Desert Companion is published 12 times a year by Nevada Public Radio, 1289 S. Torrey Pines Dr., Las Vegas, NV 89146. It is available by subscription at, or as part of Nevada Public Radio membership. It is also distributed free at select locations in the Las Vegas Valley. All photos, artwork and ad designs printed are the sole property of Desert Companion and may not be duplicated or reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. The views of Desert Companion contributing writers are not necessarily the views of Desert Companion or Nevada Public Radio. Contact Chris Bitonti for back issues, which are available for purchase for $7.95.

ISSN 2157-8389 (print) ISSN 2157-8397 (online)

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Companion | August 2013

Hot Gardens, Cool Shade

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Susan malick Brennan, chair Brennan Consulting Group, LLC cynthia alexander, ESQ. vice chair Snell & Wilmer TIM WONG, treasurer Arcata Associates Florence M.E. Rogers, Secretary Nevada Public Radio


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More than a job Complain as we might about work, a job is a good thing to have. Beyond an income, it gives us pride and purpose, a reason to get up in the morning. The Helping hands: TSI employees make folks at Transition Sergreeting cards. vices, Inc. get this. TSI is a local nonprofit that supports people with developmental disabilities by offering them meaningful labor. Currently, the organization employs about 350 individuals in various businesses it’s specifically created to suit its employees. “What we’ve done is to develop little businesses based on things that individuals have told us they enjoy doing,” explains TSI’s Director Cathy Freeze. TSI began with greeting cards 14 years ago. This led to other art projects and today, there are more than 50 different products available for sale at Studio 8 Ten, TSI’s store in the Arts District. “That was one department that grew quite extensively, because there are so many parts to making things that any individual, regardless of their limitations, can participate,” explains Freeze. “It takes a group, but they can put together a fantastic greeting card.” TSI has also developed housecleaning and yard-cleaning services for labor-oriented individuals. Circles is a lifestyle magazine published entirely by people with disabilities. For those who enjoy working with animals, there’s even kitten-sitting. “We’re very good about moving them from place to place until we find the right situation that they enjoy coming to do every day,” says Freeze. This is about more than menial labor; it reflects a major shift in society’s view of people with disabilities as deserving of rich and fulfilled lives. The progression is due in part to the Developmental Disability Assistance Act

Hear more

Stephanie Pierotti arrived in Vegas just in time to see the economy tank and watch the finger-pointing begin: Who’s to blame? Who’s gonna fix this?

Staging a movement: from left, Rehan Choudhry, Joey Vanas and Michael Cornthwaite

A teacher at The Art Institute of Las Vegas, Pierotti believes we’re all responsible. “If we can support each other by shopping local and keep that money in the local economy, we’re taking onus upon ourselves to actually make things better,” she says. To further the cause, she founded ShopLOV (Locally Owned Vegas), a new “shop local” program in town. First and foremost, ShopLOV (shop-lov.

of 2000, which ensures they have access to community services promoting self-determination, productivity and inclusion. TSI is just one of many organizations reflecting this trend. Today, there are several government organizations for people with disabilities, such as Nevada’s Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities and the Nevada Division of Mental Health and Developmental Services. The latter is where a person starts on the path to employment with TSI, or with one of the five similar organizations, such as Opportunity Village or Easter Seals Nevada. An applicant may interview with one or all of the employment providers to find the most suitable match. Then, depending on the individual’s capabilities and the job, a salary is set. For TSI’s cleaning crews, this amounts to minimum wage. For others, it can mean a lecontinued on pg. 18 gally allowable sub-minimum wage. TSI works closely with the Department of Labor to determine what is appropriate. However, this pass that programs such as TSI receive is not without controversy. In June, Goodwill Industries came under fire when NBC reported that it paid some employees with disabilities as little as 22 cents per hour. Keep up with Desert As for Dominique Clay-Brown, a reCompanion events, news ceptionist with TSI, she says, “I love my and bonus features at job. I have been able to make friends and be accepted for who I am, and I continue to learn more and more each day.” — Chantal Corcoran

Brenda How doPriddy we best discusses educate “car disabled spy photography” children? Hearon a discussion “KNPR’s State on “KNPR’s of Nevada” State at of Nevada” at | 17

com) preaches consumer awareness. According to the website, for every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $73 stays in the community, versus $43 that remains when the same amount is spent at a nonlocally owned company. The site also illustrates how these funds that have remained are further dispersed within the community, when employees spend money and when tax funds are distributed. Secondly, the program assists locally owned businesses with marketing and exposure, so ShopLOV maintains a directory of locally owned businesses (also available online), organizes shopping events and publishes a quarterly field guide. ShopLOV also promotes localism by selling products designed by local artists — tote bags and T-shirts, currently — which come with ShopLOV Connect cards. Those cards earn users special discounts at locally owned businesses — just one more reason to shop local. — Chantal Corcoran

ON THE TOWN Speaking of local talent: When not performing with KÁ, cellist Shana Tucker performs “chamber soul” — a blend of pop, soul, jazz and more. She performs 2p Aug. 11 at Clark County Library’s Main Theater. Free. Info:

18 | Desert


Rising above pain (and pain pills) Someone you know has a drug problem — but not the kind you think. With more than 100 million Americans suffering chronic pain that prevents them from working, playing or resting, at least 8 million Americans fall asleep at night under the influence of an opioid such as Vicodin, Lortab or OxyContin. Every morning, 40 of those people don’t wake up. In 2009, more people in the U.S. died from prescription medication overdoses than from motor vehicle accidents. And those who don’t die face the risk of addiction and side effects ranging from cognitive impairment to erectile dysfunction. Who knows — Dr. Mel Pohl could have been among those statistics. Ten years ago, he began experiencing chronic pain after simply trying to pick something up. “I bent forward to pick up a very light computer case,” he recalls. “As I was straightening out, something snapped or caught in my back and I developed excruciating pain. I was traveling home from San Diego to Las Vegas and I thought I was going to die. On that day, my journey into chronic pain began and has continued until today.” That journey took him through pain-management techniques both exotic and extreme. “I’ve tried all sorts of interventions including epidurals, radiofrequency ablation, prolotherapy and others.” That was until he began exploring alternatives — and launched a program to teach others how to use them. Pohl, medical director of Las Vegas Recovery Center (, founded the Pain Recovery Program, which includes such techniques as meditation,

Companion | August 2013

distraction, yoga, Pilates, reiki, acupuncture, physical therapy —  “Acupuncture, hydrotherapy, music therapy, aromatherapy, oxygen therapy, hypnotherapy, yoga, meditation, exercise, nutrition, biofeedback, chiropractic, and also cognitive behavioral therapy,” Pohl adds, running out of fingers to count on. Better yet, most of these techniques are inexpensive or free. Perhaps the most effective tool? Attitude adjustment. “My solution is to face the emotional aspects of my pain, exercise, meditate daily and not take myself too seriously,” says Pohl. He’s since written several books on the topic, including A Day without Pain. Dan Mager, who has a chronic pain condition and used pain medications every day for over eight years, completed the program at the center in 2006, and hasn’t taken opioids since. “I never would have thought it possible for me to experience significantly less pain while being opioid-free. ... Through my experience at LVRC, I’ve learned to accept and live with my chronic pain with as much grace as I can mobilize.” Three hundred clients have gone through the program since it started. Notice Mager says “accept,” not “fix.” No miracle cures promised here — pain is real. But just as real is functionality, a core value of Pohl’s program. “We must be realistic about our pain,” he says. “It may always be with us, to greater or lesser degrees. The goal of pain recovery should be to reduce and manage pain, while focusing on restoring or recovering functionality. And the emphasis should be on the word ‘functionality.’” He adds: “Pain is inevitable. Suffering, however, is optional.” — Helen Moore

I l l u s t r at i o n : B r e n t h OLMES

continued from pg. 17







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Companion | August 2013

Dr. Stanley Cohen Stroke doctor PHOTOGRAPH BY Christopher Smith

Dr. Stanley Cohen says he is a very dull person. He doesn’t like to gamble or party. But an outsider looking in might see things differently. While not interested in Texas Hold ’Em or slot machines, Cohen has dedicated much of his life to a pursuit where the stakes run much higher: as a vascular neurologist in Southern Nevada. Now semi-retired, Cohen still consults on stroke cases with colleagues as well as for the National Institutes of Health. One thing hasn’t changed, however: He’s still adamant about stroke prevention through healthy lifestyle changes. “I was fat as a kid,” he says. “Staying non-obese has been my life’s work. I tell my patients to find a diet that they can stick to and do it.” (Unfortunately, sometimes they’re not convinced until they’re on the operating table. “Patients I’ve followed for years: no lifestyle change. Then they have open-heart surgery and come back 25 pounds lighter.”) According to the National Stroke Association, stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. and the No. 1 cause of disability in adults. Dr. Cohen says Nevada ranks higher than the national average in both risk factors and occurrence of stroke. In fact, outside of the “Stroke Belt” (the Southeastern states), our state and our city sees far more blocked and burst blood vessels than most. Almost seven years ago, Dr. Cohen brought his practice to Las Vegas, knowing full well that Southern Nevada would test his medical know-how. “People who already have risk factors come here and push it,” he says. Head to the hospital these days with signs of stroke and docs will pop you in an MRI machine or give you a CT scan. They will give you meds that can help you live. These are relatively new phenomena. “When I started practicing, there was nothing to do for stroke besides diagnosis and prognosis,” Cohen says. The best doctors had was an angiogram, a procedure that involves shoving a very large needle into the carotid artery at the base of the neck, driving a stent into the resulting hole, pumping in radioactive fluid, and then snapping as many X-rays as possible

before the liquid dissipated. The angiogram is a fun night out in comparison with a pneumoencephalogram, something like a failed Six Flags attraction. (“Have you seen The Exorcist?” Cohen asks jokingly.) Air or gas is pumped into the spine of the patient, who is sometimes rotated like a kid at space camp so the air travels up into the brain and X-rays can be taken. Cohen’s career has seen the advent of major breakthroughs in imaging technologies. In 1975, during his intern year in Albany, N.Y., he got to work with the only CT scan north of New York City. He also got to work with one of its inventors, Bill Oldendorf. “He was just a doctor,” says Cohen. “He took an orange, stuck nails in it and put it on the flatbed car of his son’s toy train set. Then he put a radioactive source in a container with a small opening on one side of the tracks and some film on the other.” Oldendorf turned on the train, ran the orange between the radioactive source and the film and — presto — he produced images of the flesh beneath the orange peel. Such advances have significantly increased accurate diagnosis and rates of recovery. A doctor cannot rely on technology alone, and Cohen has proved himself to be a patient and perceptive diagnostician. When he was practicing in California, he treated a 7-year-old girl, Gabriella, who suffered a baffling series of strokes. “I saw her up and playing,” says Cohen. “I thought that she should be in an ICU.” For two difficult years, Cohen engaged in careful monitoring, testing and analysis before he finally cracked the code: She had moyamoya disease, a rare disorder caused by blocked arteries in the base of the brain. Nancy, Gabriella’s mother, says, “(Dr. Cohen) dealt with (my daughter) directly and explained to her what was happening and answered her questions. He empowered her.” Thanks to his correct diagnosis, Gabriella had surgery and recovered. She is now 17 and just finished her junior year of high school. — Kathryn Kruse



The faith of Las Vegas Remember when Vegas was a crucible for reinvention? These authors do by Ian Mylchreest At the heart of these three recently published books lies one question: “What kind of place is Las Vegas?” Gov. Bob Miller and former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman say they know. It’s the kind of town where hard-working people can do well. Both Miller and Goodman dip their pens in nostalgia when they describe their early days in the hot, dusty little town where people all knew each other. Goodman loves the frontier spirit. Miller calls his father “a gambling man” and implies that his shady past was left behind in Chicago. He intends “Son of a Gambling Man” to be the tale of a working-class boy made good, but Miller admits his family was very comfortable — his father was well-placed in the casino elite as soon as he moved to Las Vegas because he was part of the outfit that owned the Riviera. Miller’s own star rose steadily: As Clark County district attorney in the ’70s, he parlayed that job into a successful law-and-order campaign that made him lieutenant governor. His biggest political break came when Gov. Richard Bryan was elected to the Senate and Miller became governor, serving the rest of Bryan’s term and

22 | Desert

Companion | August 2013

two more in his own right. Despite that political longevity, Miller has little interest in policy. Large casino companies dominated the Strip by the time he went to Carson City, so he mostly sat back and watched Steve Wynn and others work their magic. As he reflects on his career, Miller praises the great opportunities in Las Vegas but more often he seems like a Forrest Gump knock-off — an average Joe in the right place at the right time. His prose exudes a plainness that often dulls his story. Oscar Goodman has always embraced his identity as a “mob lawyer.” Much of “Being Oscar: From Mob Lawyer to Mayor of Las Vegas” recounts his dogged defense of evildoers such as Tony Spilotro and Jimmy Chagra. The moral of all these stories is that law enforcement plays dirty and to keep them honest, Oscar fought the good fight. That said, Goodman makes little of his sudden decision to become a politician. Why did a man who obviously relished a fight, quit? Wealthy mobsters were still being indicted. Had they left Las Vegas? Were mobsters involved in unpalatable activities like drug dealing and child pornography? Or was it a more personal revulsion at a career of defending the indefensible? We never find out the cause of this mid-life epiphany — and perhaps it’s asking too much of a man as self-assured as the former Las Vegas mayor to reflect on his own self-doubt. Former Las Vegas resident and academic geographer Rex Rowley has written a study to capture the experience of the “local.” In “Everyday Las Vegas: Local Life in a Tourist Town,” he em-

phasizes the big idea that Miller and Goodman embrace: The city remains an attractive boomtown for those Bob Miller, Son of a seeking to make Gambling Man (St. Martin’s, $26) their fortune. Rowley examines Rex J. Rowley, Everyday Las Vegas: Local Life in a some of the unTourist Town happier aspects (University of Nevada Press, $39.95) of a gambling boomtown: how Oscar Goodman, Being Oscar: From Mob Lawyer tourist temptato Mayor of Las Vegas tions seduce (Weinstein Books, $26) many locals, and how any sense of community is crippled by the transience of those moving out of the region. He takes shots at some tenets of the locals’ faith: Gridlock is exaggerated and Las Vegas has become much less of a 24-hour town than many people imagine. On points such as this, Rowley succeeds in getting locals to see themselves anew. Rowley’s writing is accessible but often anecdotal, and that leads to inconclusive conclusions that some locals like this or that and, well … some don’t. Ultimately, all three authors depict Las Vegas as the place where opportunity abounds and people can re-invent themselves. If the growth machine restarts, they’ll be right. Still, these books are suffused with a yearning for a Las Vegas that has passed away — and their promise of a bright future has to be taken largely on faith. Ian Mylchreest is senior producer of “KNPR’s State of Nevada.”

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Mashisoyo 4 This mom-and-pop spot provides a quick fix for Korean cuisine without the trek to Spring Mountain Road. The ambience is no-frills, but the menu has a few: Sizzling rice bowls, barbecue and sundubu (tofu stew). 5035 S. Fort Apache Road #106, 684-7263 The Perfect Scoop & Boba Tea 5 For dessert with Asian flair, stop at this familyrun parlor for a scoop of sesame or red bean ice cream. Owner Mr. Wong uses his own recipes and makes everything fresh on-site, including familiar choices like banana chocolate chip and rum raisin. 5035 S. Fort Apache Road #104, 701-7888, Rabbit Valley Comics 6 If you’re unfamiliar with the term “furry fandom,” a Google search may surprise you. Interest still piqued? Explore

Companion | August 2013


10 your curiosity with a few anthropomorphic books and zines from this online shop (pickups at the office can be arranged). 5130 S. Fort Apache Road #215, 2918286, Tokyo Discount 7 Your one-stop shop for Asian pop culture tchotchkes: Sanrio merch, Anime toys, Japanese snacks and cosmetics. Why go to the neighboring Lowe’s when you can buy pink Hello Kitty appliances here? 4960 S. Fort Apache Road, 227-3027 Putt Park 8 The city’s only outdoor 18-hole mini-golf course is a popular attraction for young couples, families and Tiger Woods wannabes. Glow-in-the-dark cosmic golfing and late hours are a plus — you want to work on your

7 stroke, not die of heat stroke. 6085 S. Fort Apache Road, 2547888, Ron’s Market 9 You don’t have to hail from the Motherland to appreciate the grub at this Eastern European market. Expect street meat lunch plates, feta by the brick and pastries baked inhouse. 6085 S. Fort

Apache Road #140, 431-6444 Inferno Hot Pilates 10 It’s not a dry heat at this Pilates studio. A team of pro athletes, including a Cirque du Soleil performer, help work your core in a room set at 95 degrees and 40 percent humidity. 5752 S. Fort Apache Road #155, 2625557, hotpilateslasvegas. com — Debbie Lee

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Raw Food Express 2 This raw vegan juice bar and café is more than a hippie dining destination — it’s practically a storefront church for the Cult of Raw Foodists. For former meat-eaters who’ve seen the light, health seminars, raw cookbooks and kitchen equipment ease your conversion. 5105 S. Fort Apache Road #110, 992-0499,


4 5

Suburban sprawl be damned. Peppered among fast food chains and big-box stores on the southern end of Fort Apache Road is a diverse array of small businesses that are more deserving of your dollars. The Human Bean 1 Unless you insist on having a green mermaid emblazoned on your coffee cup, head to this drive-thru kiosk for fair trade beans served by friendly baristas. The staff’s bright-eyed enthusiasm will wake you up faster than your double espresso. 5335 S. Fort Apache Road, 798-4100,

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Author Melinda Moustakis recounts life in Alaska on “KNPR’s State of Nevada” at

discomfort zone

time with grizzly bears as people, and showered on a once-amonth basis, whether I needed to or not. When I vacationed, I went to the Arctic to migrate with caribou or to ice-fields to slog through wildernesses of glaciers and mountains. “What’s wrong?” the lady asked. “Four months ago I lied to a girl, telling her I’d been on the television show ‘The Deadliest Catch,’ so she’d date me. She moved to Vegas for university and is forcing me to visit,” I said, fibbing a bit. The truth was I didn’t want to spend another long, cold winter alone and this girl, MC, a wandering writer, was pretty and nice to me: two attributes that were rare amongst the women I’d encountered in the north. Uninterested, my seatmate launched into a lecture on an environmental convention she was attending. “The world is getting warmer, and lawmakers and politicians are doing nothing to stop it!” she said, slamming her plastic cup on the seat tray. A bleary-eyed and flustered man looked back. “I’m for global warming,” I offered, trying to make her feel better, “but against climate change.” “They’re the same thing! That’s what I’m talking about. Everyone is so ignorant.” She rambled on. I wiped her spittle from my ear and studied the dreamlike city surrounded by a sea of sand and mountains. I was struck by how Vegas resembled an island in the desert, how its network of streets and buildings ended and desolation began. Right then and there I decided if things went well with MC, and visiting became a regular occurrence, I might have to make a long walk around the city. S m a l l a nd f rag i l e During the next few years, MC taught me about V-neck sweaters, skinny jeans and how to deal with loud noises. She kept me on a point system, and when I’d earned enough, she’d take me out into the desert so I could run around, listen to the wind and howl with coyotes. “See, it’s not so bad here,” she said as we watched bighorn sheep standing beneath red mountains. The shock of crowds, flashing lights and billboards of nearly naked women — The discomfort: He’s a rugged Alaskan who’s never hiked the desert The zone: A quixotic quest to trek the entire circumference of Las Vegas


The ice man cometh By Bjorn Dihle | Illustration Hernan valencia

To understand what happened during my 2013 expedition to hike the circumference of Las Vegas, I have to start from the beginning. It was late September of 2010. I was sitting on an Alaskan Airlines plane, watching the sunset redden an expanse of brown mountains, as a loquacious woman in the next seat claimed she’d recently separated one of her

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buttocks in a freak canoeing accident — an injury I didn’t know was possible. Somewhere between ordering her fifth mini-bottle of wine and describing her physical therapy regimen, I saw the distant lights of Las Vegas radiating below. “Lord, what have I gotten myself into?” I muttered. A lifelong Alaskan, I was what you might call a bit woodsy. I spent almost as much

it was a rare and giddy experience to see more than a brief flash of a woman’s ankle where I’m from — faded. Vegas soon felt normal, even tame despite its flamboyance and revelries. In relation to the surrounding desert, it seemed small and fragile. Fancying myself an explorer, yet being lazy and prone to Oreo and Cheeto binges, I procrastinated making the long walk. My only real desert exploration had been in polar regions, where my beluga whale-like physique was much better suited. When Nevadan friends asked whether or not I was going to make the expedition, I was evasive and countered with stories of bear encounters. “Once, a grizzly was this close to my head!” I said, gesturing and spilling my cocktail on my face. If that failed to impress, I pointed out the well-known fact that you’re five times more likely to be abducted by aliens in Alaska than Nevada, and that they’re bigger and meaner the further north you go. If that didn’t work, I’d challenge them to a thumbwrestling match. In the spring of 2013, shortly before MC graduated from her masters program, I visited Vegas for what I imagined would be the last time. After my once-a-year haircut and shave, I wiped off my Cheeto-greased hands on my shorts, loaded my backpack full of gallons of water, candy bars and basic camping gear. MC tried to talk me out of it. “Why are you doing this?” she asked as she drove me to the city limit. “You should just hang out with me.” “Look, some of us take the path less taken. In the wild is where I find the preservatives for life. Every man lives, but not every man really dies.” I tried to bestow my wisdom on her, but after a while, she kind of zoned out. Near a dried-up Joshua tree and an entrance to the Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, she pulled over. Her blond hair rustled in the wind; I thought I saw tears in her deep blue eyes, tokens of love mixed with sorrow, and knew they were justified. How many women before her had fallen in love with explorers and had to watch them leave, perhaps never to return? “Wait for me,” I whispered. “And if I don’t return, listen to the north wind. You’ll feel me then.” “Stop being weird. I’ll see you in two days,” she said before driving off. I n to the wild Being alone in the wild, faced with the unknown, with only your wits to rely on,

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discomfort zone is an incredible feeling. A jogger stretched and asked me what I was up to, but I ignored him and walked into the desert. The silence, except for the cars speeding behind me and the jets rumbling overhead, was nearly overwhelming. For the first 20 minutes the landscape’s scorched beauty engulfed my soul, then my pack got heavy and I got bored. Due to what I’m claiming were time restraints, my dream to walk around Vegas had turned into a trek through Red Rock Canyon and the seldom-visited mountains to the north. Two days from setting out, MC would pick me up on Kyle Canyon Road, and together, we’d hike Mt. Charleston. I was somewhat ashamed of the abbreviated nature of the expedition, so I thought of bear stories and did thumb-strengthening exercises as I walked. I picked my way through scrub-brush and cactuses until I got to the edge of a wall of red mountains. Canyons, from which small, foul-smelling creeks trickled, offered boulder-ridden and spectacular routes deep into

the singed monoliths. A mule deer, her ears so large they seemed clownish, emerged from the juniper brush and watched me for a few moments. Lizards ran across the sand and disappeared into rock crevices. Two adult bighorn rams, their massive horns casting shadows on the front halves of their bodies, chewed their cuds. Turkey vultures, with ebony wing feathers glowing, hovered overhead. The sun beat down mercilessly; it was moving to see these animals thriving in such a hostile environment. Dripping sweat and coughing, I couldn’t quite claim to be thriving. Following faint trails, used mostly by hoofed Nevada residents, I approached the boundary of Red Rock Park. Hikers began popping out of the desert, some on their way to rock-climb in canyons, while others moved more casually, content with the gifts the horizontal world offered. The sun fell behind me as I linked trails together and made my way towards Turtle Head Mountain. I hiked up Calico Basin, enjoying the company of a pair of western

scrub jays as I smiled at hikers who gave me funny and sometimes envious looks, perhaps because they’d never seen the likes of my giant green-checkered sun hat. From the end of the trail, I took in a view of cliffs, desert and the sprawl of Vegas. ‘Can you please come with me?’ I still debate what happened next. I’m Alaskan, so it’s safe to rule out I got turned around. Somehow I lost several hours while wandering in circles, clinging to precipices and following canyons that led nowhere healthy. Eventually, I climbed to the top of a ridge and was surprised to see a group of elderly people having a picnic. “Where am I?” “You’re at the top of Calico Basin trail,” a woman said. “Are you okay?” “Yeah, I just wandered in a big circle.” I shrugged. “Can you please come with me? I’ll take you back to the road,” she said. I convinced her I was fine, mumbled something about grizzly


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Companion | August 2013

bears, showed her the size of my thumb and headed back into the maze of cliffs. An hour later, after scrambling down a steep canyon and surprising a few rock climbers in the process, I emerged near Red Rock’s park entrance. The sun was setting, I was several hours behind schedule and had used more water than planned; I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to make it to Kyle Canyon Road the following day. Knowing it’s better to be a pushover than to push it in the desert, I swallowed my pride and called MC. “Are you okay? What happened?” she asked. “I’ll tell you in person,” I said and walked down the road into the dusty twilight. Forty minutes later, MC, with a smug smile on her face, pulled over onto the gravel shoulder. “Hey, Mr. Alaska explorer-man, can I rescue you?” she asked, then stopped short when she saw how ghastly I looked. “What happened to you?” “I’ve been alone in the wild for so long, I fear I’m no longer the man you use to love,” I said. “You mean the man I dropped off this morning?” she said, and we drove off into a landscape lit crimson in the last of the day’s twilight. Physically, emotionally and spiritually spent, I hung my head in defeat. We sped along Highway 215, beneath billboards marketing infidelities, blue aliens and happy endings. The lights of Vegas grew brighter as the desert faded into the darkness. I’m back home in Alaska now. I’ve had time to reflect on my attempted walk around Las Vegas, and come to the conclusion that hiking in Nevada is just too easy. In Alaska, on hikes, we live in constant fear of being mistaken for a wolf or grizzly, and being gunned down by one of our state’s politicians. And, it’s so cold here, your spit freezes before it hits the ground; you literally can’t pee outside or you’ll be frozen to the tundra. Also, we have three species of bears, as well as wolves and wolverines to contend with every time we go outside. The worse are the hybrids; when a wolf mates with a bolverine (a cross between a bear and wolverine) you have a wobolverine, and trust me, that’s one ferocious beast. Bjorn Dihle has spent much of the last 14 years living in a tent, exploring the mountains, tundra and forests of the north. He is a lifelong Alaskan who works as a commercial fisherman, guide and freelance writer when he’s not wandering wild places.

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Learn the secret of Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum’s success on “KNPR’s State of Nevada” at www.desertcompanion/hearmore



Diversity on display: The Hispanic Museum of Nevada

Learning can be small

These lesser-known regional museums boast big ideas, forgotten histories and retro fun By Sarah Vernetti | Photography BRent HoLmes

August is a restless time in Southern Nevada: It’s ridiculously hot and the novelty of summer vacation wore off back in, what, late June? Luckily, there are plentiful regional museums nearby to entertain the historian, the burgeoning artist, the high-score-obsessed arcade geek and, for that matter, just about anyone who wants to find a way to add a few brain-fortifying excursions to their late-summer agenda. The Lost City Museum in Overton, Nevada (721 S. Moapa Valley Blvd., 397-2193) focuses on the archaeology of the region and the excavation process that took place prior to the museum’s construction. Lost City features ancient artifacts, like Anasazi pottery and petroglyphs, but also highlights some of the prehistoric creatures that once roamed eastern Nevada. Worried the kids will be bored? Never fear. Just make sure you point out the large piece of mummified sloth poop proudly displayed in one of the glass cases. After you’ve explored the galleries, head outdoors to the pueblo reconstructions to see how some of the original Nevadans once lived. On your way back to the car, don’t miss an ex-

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ample of the earliest type of structure found in Nevada, the eerily spartan pithouse. Although this particular pithouse was built by the Civilian Conservation Corp in 1935, the original structure found on the site dates to 655 A.D. With its emphasis on Anasazi culture, the Lost City Museum pairs well with a hike at the petroglyph-rich Mouse’s Tank trail at nearby Valley of Fire State Park. Breaking news: It turns out Kingman, Ariz. is more than a freeway exit and a Cracker Barrel. With its Route 66 pedigree, it makes sense that Kingman is home to the Powerhouse Route 66 Museum (120 W. Andy Devine Ave., 928-753-9889). Stop by this historic building, located along the longest remaining stretch of “the mother road,” for an educational yet quirky look at the former road-trip staple. You’ll find a 1950 Studebaker Champion, two antique gas pumps and a variety of vintage signs, souvenirs, brightly colored murals and soda bottles. The exhibits range from Route 66’s beginning as a conduit of trade and its Dust Bowl history to the road’s glory days as an icon of American travel. The build-

Get your kicks: The Powerhouse Route 66 Museum

History train: the Southern Nevada Railroad Museum

ing itself is significant, too. Built in 1909 and providing power to area mines, the powerhouse played an important role in early-20thcentury Kingman. Admission to the museum is only $4 for adults, and tickets are also good for admission to the Mohave Museum of History and Arts and the Bonelli House, both located in Kingman. After you’ve explored the Route 66 Museum, head across the street to Locomotive Park for a picnic under a shade

tree and a look at the historic Sante Fe train that is the park’s centerpiece. For dessert, stop by Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner for a chocolate malt. Parents whose children qualify as fullfledged Thomas the Tank Engine addicts will want to check out the Southern Nevada Railroad Museum in Boulder City (600 Yucca St., 486-5933). Explore the outdoor exhibit, which features a number of historic train engines, then buy a ticket and hop aboard the air-conditioned train (or head for the open-air car if you want to feel the 100-degree wind in your hair) for a 45-minute ride. Although visitors can’t ride all the way to Hoover Dam today, the original Union Pacific line was built to help construction of the nearby engineering marvel. Adults willing to pay $250 can make a reservation to be an “engineer for an hour,” which includes operating one of the locomotives with the help of a licensed engineer. Sight of a grown man excitedly shouting, “Choochoo!”: Priceless. Looking for quiet contemplation rather than train whistles and squealing children? Visit the Hispanic Museum of Nevada (3680 S. Maryland Parkway, 773-2203). After moving from one venue to another, it looks like the museum has found a permanent home at Boulevard Mall. Luckily, this gallery doesn’t feature the usual cringe-worthy, mass-produced, emotionless fare that you find at most shopping mall art galleries. The Hispanic Museum of Nevada includes works | 35


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in a variety of media, from textiles and jewelry to paintings and sculptural pieces. Prominently displayed in the gallery space, visitors will find the MTV wall, signed by an array of celebrities including Kanye West, Christina Aguilera and Jay-Z, who appeared on TRL Live and autographed the wall to help raise funds for Hurricane Katrina relief. With a collection of Mesquite-themed items that make the set pieces on Mad Men look positively futuristic, the Virgin Valley Heritage Museum (35 W. Mesquite Blvd., 346-5295) showcases items of local significance, from an early film projector to the area’s first slot machine. Add to that a fabulously retro kitchen, a collection of early telephones, a 1920s-era parlor and more antique irons than you’ve ever seen in one place, and you won’t be so quick to forget to appreciate your modern-day comforts again. Housed in the town’s former hospital/library/ Boys Scouts of America hall, the museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is well-suited to its latest reincarnation. Before you leave Mesquite, stop by the Mesquite Fine Arts Center, located next door to the museum, which showcases the work of Mesquite artists and also offers lectures and art classes. If a nude woman made of cinderblocks is more your style, visit the Goldwell Open Air Museum (, 870-9946) near Beatty, Nevada. This outdoor sculpture museum showcases the work of a group of European artists who were fascinated by the

p h oto : A n i ta G e t z l e r

She’s a brick house: “Lady Desert” at the Goldwell Open Air Museum

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history unique desert landscape. Several sculptures are set against the barren Mojave Desert with nothing else in sight except the lightly traveled Highway 375 and a few power lines. After you’ve met “Lady Desert” (the cinderblock blonde) by Hugo Heyrman and pondered the enigmatic, draped figures of “The Last Supper” and “Ghost Rider” by Charles Albert Szukalski, take the short drive up the road to an outdoor educational experience of a different kind. The ghost town of Rhyolite is the perfect stop for photographers, with its Instagramready abandoned buildings and silent main thoroughfare. It may seem quiet now, but the town was bustling with mining industry folks in the early 1900s. Production fell and people left, making Rhyolite a ghost town by the early 1920s. Visitors shouldn’t miss the saloon keeper’s house, which was constructed using glass bottles, and the lonely yet picturesque Cook Bank. (Those driving to Rhyolite from Las Vegas can stop along Highway 95 for a photo-op with a roadside attraction billed as the “world’s largest firecracker,” although

Flip out: The Pinball Hall of Fame

it seems to be, predictably, just a really large metal drum.) Those who aren’t in a high-culture, historyand-art mood can take their competitive spirit to a different kind of museum: the Pinball Hall of Fame (1610 E. Tropicana Ave., 597-2627). Museums don’t get much more joyous than this: a 10,000-square foot funhouse of pinball madness full of hands-on entertainment for those

who want to relive their arcade glory days. Admission is free; patrons only need to come prepared with a bag full of quarters in order to play one of the vintage pinball machines, most of which still cost only a quarter to play. From mid-century games to colorful machines from the 1970s and ’80s, the Pinball Hall of Fame offers more than 200 ways to practice your pinball finesse — just be careful not to tilt.

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Corner pocket: The small town of Winslow sits at the crossroads of several exciting historic developments.

Standin’ on the corner Once on the brink of fading away, quaint Winslow, Arizona has made a historic comeback With its quiet storefronts and sleepy vibe, the town of Winslow, Arizona may seem like a placid hamlet on Route 66, but don’t be fooled. It’s situated at a crossroads of several exciting historic developments: the advent of modern-day hotels, the explosive popularity of that American ritual of “hitting the road,” and major advancements in aviation. Today you can visit Winslow — popping sedately up out of sand and sagebrush between Flagstaff and Holbrook on US 40 and bordering the Navajo Nation — to relive each of these nostalgically heady eras. You can also eat a great meal, view excellent art and feel perfectly innocent checking out a topless bar (it earned its punny name because the roof came off ). A town takes flight For hospitality with a historic touch, consider La Posada, the last great Harvey House. Fred Harvey launched the concept of regulated restaurants and hotels distinguished by silverware, china, crystal and impeccable service along the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Line in 1870. In so doing, he developed the world’s first chain of hotels, created the world’s first female workforce and played a major role in civilizing the West. Most Harvey Houses no longer stand, let alone operate. Yet in Winslow, the 1929 La Posada ( still welcomes guests a few hun-

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dred paces from the train stop, just as it did in the old days — imposing, beautiful and, after dark, illuminating the evening with warm golden lights inside and out. Mary Elizabeth Jane Cotler, revered Southwestern architect famous for her Grand Canyon structures, considered La Posada her masterpiece. Tourists embraced it. So did movie stars, among them Hollywood power couple Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. At about the same time on the outskirts of town, Col. Charles A. Lindbergh brought air service to, more or less, La Posada. The headlining hero had made history with the first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927. Two years later, he laid out Transcontinental Air Transport Company’s inaugural coast-to-coast service, New York to Los Angeles with a stopover in Winslow. He selected the site and personally supervised the airport’s construction. After that, he liked to visit to escape relentless admiring crowds. The 1920s also witnessed the birth of Route 66, ultimately 2,448 miles of cities, burgs, sights and souvenirs that stretched from Chicago through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and finally to Santa Monica, California, and the Pacific Ocean. “The Mother Road” had a constant stream of motorists and families migrating west in search of the American Dream.

P h oto : C h a r l e s D i L i s i o P h oto g r ap h y, co u r t e s y W i n s l ow C h a m b e r o f C o m m e r c e

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In Winslow, the hotel, the airport and Route 66 rolled gloriously along until the end of World War II, when travel patterns shifted and the Interstate Highway System left the “Mother Road” obsolete and the rail losing riders. La Posada closed to the public in 1957. The airport’s commercial flights dried up in the 1980s. A new leaf A group of Winslow townsfolk dubbed “The Gardening Angels” hated to see La Posada abandoned. They would come to water the trees, hoping that someone would save the building. In 1994, Allan Affeldt decided to check it out before it was razed altogether. He bought it instead, negotiating for three years with the Santa Fe Railway and resolving financial, legal and environmental challenges. Wife Tina Mion had a successful career as a painter. Sculptor Dan Lutzick, the third to join the team, says, “We had in common that in our past, whatever we did, you did everything yourself. So now the scale was larger, but otherwise it wasn’t much different.” The Santa Fe Railroad had used the space for crew offices, dropped the ceilings, refloored it and then gave up because it was too big. In another avatar, part of the building had doubled as a hospital. For four years, Lutzick slept there at night to guard it. Affeldt, Mion and Lutzick refurbished, overhauled and reopened it in 1997. The results speak for themselves. You can enjoy an exquisite breakfast, lunch or dinner in La Posada’s elegant Turquoise Room — finishing splendidly with desserts on the order of bread pudding and prickly pear cactus sorbet. You can browse a remarkable gift shop stocked with books, Native American art and jewelry and superb, reasonably priced multi-dimensional fabric art. In an upstairs gallery, you can browse

P h oto : co u r t e s y W i n s l ow C h a m b e r o f C o m m e r c e

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Above: Town members restored the historic La Posada to its original glory. Left: The Winslow Chamber of Commerce is also a museum of sorts.

Getting there

Winslow is about 60 miles east of Flagstaff. Take US 95 south to US 93, taking US 40 east at Kingman.

Tina Mion’s collection of smart, strikingly rendered subjects ranging from the evocative “Last of the Harvey Girls” to “A New Year’s Party In Purgatory For Suicides In Which Liberace Makes A Guest Appearance Down From Heaven Just For The Hell Of It.” Beyond history Winslow’s Downtown Historic District meanders from La Posada for 10 blocks two streets deep to the Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau that occupies a former trading post. If you walk it end to end, you pass Kenna’s – billed “Winslow’s topless bar” (owing to the removal of the roof to realize the present courtyard with flowers and trees.) Farther on, the Standin’ on the Corner trompe l’oeil mural pays tribute to the 1970s Eagles hit tune “Take It Easy” (“standin’ on the corner in Winslow Arizona / such a fine sight to see”). Each year at the end of September, the two-day Standin’ on the Corner Festival draws thousands. Also in the works is a Route 66 gallery and art museum planned for the old train depot on the La

Posada grounds. Across the street, the Arizona 66 Trading Company affords gallery space for local artisans. Nearer to the Visitors Bureau, Dan Lutzick’s Snowdrift Art Space ( features breathtaking objets d’art and hosts model railroad clubs for Winslow Railroad Days in April and a popular quilt show in late September. Outside of town, Route 66 buffs will enjoy Meteor Crater, the Little Painted Desert 18 miles to the northwest, the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest 60 miles east. About 35 miles southeast, they’ll also enjoy Holbrook’s iconic Wigwam Motel, where the units look like teepees. In the category of hotels of 180 rooms or less, this year’s “Ranking Arizona” magazine has chosen La Posada as number four in the entire state. Thanks to The Gardening Angels, La Posada has risen from the ashes as a landmark hotel listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and Winslow has revitalized around it. Yet if you ask Lutzick about the accomplishment, he says, “Visionary? No. We’re just stubborn.”

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Does the Strip have too many nightclubs? Hear a discussion on “KNPR’s State of Nevada” at www.desertcompanion/hearmore


Take a dive

Some of the valley’s most colorful casinos are well off the neon path. (Don’t forget your player’s club card and cowboy boots)


By Kathryn Kruse Illustration aaron mckinney

It is Friday night and I live in Las Vegas and I have $1 in my pocket. I’ve been here a few years. The trudge from Mandalay Bay to Circus Circus is old hat, and I’ve sampled all the Stations. But the small, off-Strip, off-Fremont casinos that speckle this town — usually I fly past those places at 50 miles an hour, resisting the blinking lights, gaming specials and meal deals. Not tonight. Tonight I’m going to take the bait. I start my engine and head north to see how far my dollar will go and, more importantly, find entertainments hidden in the rough.

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Silver l i ni ng The Silver Nugget (2140 Las Vegas Blvd. N.) — low and squat with a run of rainbow neon light around the top and a starburst over the door — harkens back to the era of rollerrink parties. Just through the front doors, take a right for the best of the Nugget. Pass the events center (yes, you can get married here!) and The Winner’s Hall of Fame (a wall featuring raw portraits with titles such as “Marcy $500,” “Rosalita $2,000,” “Bob Grill” — apparently, the Nugget gives away lots of grills) and the demographic changes. Families with kids (kids!) and then … teenagers. All clearly

on the eternal quest of high schoolers on a Friday night: for something to do. The corridor dumps me, unexpectedly, into a 24-lane bowling alley and the cosmic bowl is on. Black lights and Justin Bieber. (“We are working on the music,” promises an employee.) $2.50 per game ($1, non-cosmic, days during the week). The teens are respectful and quiet. You know. The kind of kids who bowl on Friday night. A few blocks north of the Nugget I give in to the siren call of The Opera House (2542 Las Vegas Blvd. N.). $1.50 beer (MGD and Bud) and meals under $5. Everyone in this place is a character and they are all regulars.

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46 | Desert

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I get eyed on the way in, maybe because the guys are trying to figure out my profession or, perhaps because I am not, as they say, from around here. But the patrons quickly return to drinking and gambling and general palling about. Everything in this small space is unavoidable. At 7:15 and 9:15 p.m., the whole casino becomes the bingo parlor, players finding hard surfaces catch-as-catch-can: leaning on slot machines, booth tables and the bar to mark their squares. There is no Puccini at The Opera House, but Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays a DJ spins R&B, the best of the ’70s-’90s, and Latin tunes. The effect of all these close quarters, though, is cozy rather than claustrophobic. Castl e m e Okay. So the Poker Palace (2757 Las Vegas Blvd. N.) is actually a castle. Crenelated parapets. (Parapets!) The whole deal. A massive wave of tiny light bulbs crests over the door and around the building, bright enough to draw you in from the night, blind you when you exit and warm the air around the entrance several degrees. The interior walls of the Palace are two-toned. Wood paneling rises from the floor and, after a few feet, gives way to Art Deco shafts of mirror that reach to the ceiling. It is not unimpressive. Open your heart a little and the Palace is full of kitschy quaint experiences. Get your player club card and spin a wooden wheel — I guarantee a surge of nostalgia for third-grade carnivals — to win between $5 and $250 in free play. (C’mon $250! I get $5.) Visit the castle scullery, Maddy’s Paddys Café, featuring an aquatic mural — starfish and dolphins — and daily steak specials. Sit down at slots or tables and the complimentary drinks arrive in quick order. And at the far end of the Palace, karaoke starts at 10 p.m. on Fridays and goes till everyone’s had enough — about 3 a.m., one singer tells me proudly. It’s all Spanish and I am the only gringa. I do not step up to the mic because, while I can keep up with a Maná or Café Tacuba number, this crowd rocks to a less commercial beat and the fans are for real. When singers start wailing norteña, cowboy boots and stilettos hit the dance floor. I head south, looking for luck on Boulder Highway — and find it at the Skyline Casino (1741 N. Boulder Hwy.). The Skyline remodeled last year and did it right: low, pressedtin ceilings, antiques (real ones!) from the yesteryears of gaming. Bring a date here. The mauve-filtered light casts a timeless glow of Gothic romance. You will look more attrac-

tive than usual. (Imagine!) People overflow the dance floor and tables around a small stage. I am, according to a bartender, witness to the premier over-60s-singles scene in Vegas. The pace on the floor is an easy mosey — old friends and lovers taking a turn to the rhythms of a one-man country band. All you need is a gentle sway. Country on Thursday and Friday. Saturday, Jerry Tiffy does old Italian hits — when I ask the manager what that means he says, “You know,” and croons a few bars of “That’s Amoré.” Sunday afternoon is polka and the evening features a steel guitar and vocalist duo. Jack Berweger, Skyline barman for 30 years, leads me to a black-and-white photo depicting a tiny shack of a building. Lettering proclaims “Dixie’s Bar Casino Texas Chili” across the side and “Dance Band Fri Sat Sun/Dice 10¢” on top. “That’s how this place started,” says Jack. “In the ’40s.” G r e e n mi nd The Emerald Island (120 Market St.), ablaze with light in quiet downtown Henderson, has undertaken an aggressive transformation. The result: a delightfully incongruous physique. An Art Deco turret straight out of Gotham beckons into the night. The rest of the casino, inside and out — even the loading dock — is like a community theater production of Hamlet. Or the Secret Garden. Or a Yeats poem. Endless murals of decaying stone walls, distant castles, rolling dales and a few swords for good measure. But the patrons have come for the entertainment of gambling. A lake of machines fills the room. A corner of display cases and shelving glitters — watches, wallets, jewelry — an adult arcade. I sign right up as a player. Every Thursday, players line up to pick a free gift, but no free play. The restaurant serves corned beef, ice-cream fudge pie and award-winning barbecue 24/7. I take my chances with the Enchanted Garden machine and my earlier winnings disappear. The words of a man I met bellied up to a video poker machine ring in my ear: “Make your peace with how much you’re going to lose. Never go beyond that.” I’ve lost my dollar. I’m exhausted from all the dopamine surges, and I’ve made my peace — with, for at least one night, letting Vegas do what it does best: promise fun and riches, lull you into admiring the layers of flash and attraction, and trick you into giving in, for a moment, to the embrace of hope. Just don’t bring more than a dollar.

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How are physicians disciplined when they make mistakes? Hear a discussion on “KNPR’s State of Nevada” at www.desertcompanion/hearmore


The doctor will ‘like’ you now

In an era when we spend much of our lives online, does social media help or hurt our health care decisions?


By Elisabeth Daniels Illustration CHRISTOPHER SMITH

If you gave Elle DeLacy a choice between her neurologist and her online stroke support group, it’d be an easy choice: the support group. “I suffered a stroke and two concussions and now seizures — all leading up to great losses in my life,” says the Las Vegas woman, a member of the Facebook group Post Concussion Syndrome Awareness. “I joined this online group for help and support with my posttraumatic concussion syndrome. What great support and insight I receive from the group. They have helped me so much through the good and the bad. Really quite better than my own neurologist.” Indeed, we all use the Internet to share pics, shop for stuff and keep up with the news. But how about diagnosing a medical condition or simply finding a sympathetic ear about your achin’ joints? Don’t smirk. There never seems to be TMI

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on the Internet — particularly when it comes to our health. In an age when we divulge an increasing amount of our private lives on the public sphere of the web, people are increasingly seeking — and sharing — health information. Consider: According to a 2012 PricewaterhouseCoopers survey, 30 percent of consumers use social media to discuss health matters. And, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project’s Health Online 2013 report, 59 percent of adults said they have looked online for health information in the past year. And 35 percent of adults have specifically tried to figure out what medical condition they or someone

else might have. It’s a relatively new phenomenon that piques a range of responses in the medical professional community. Some doctors embrace social media, others regard it with caution, and still others take a dim view of jumping online to research health-related concerns. But one thing’s for sure: “Like” it or not, the trend is as persistent as that long-lingering invite to play Farmville. F i r st, u nd o h a r m Many physicians find themselves deploying social media as a Band-Aid after the fact, using services such as Facebook and

Twitter to correct bad information. “It’s tremendously helpful when we want to clear up misinformation online and promote healthy lifestyles,” says Kevin Pho, founder of, a site for medical news. A practicing physician in New Hampshire, Pho himself has become something of a national pundit on health care issues, and is also author of Establishing, Managing, and Protecting Your Online Reputation: A Social Media Guide for Physicians and Medical Practices. “One of social media’s greatest strengths is to really increase that transparency between doctors and patients,” he says. Transparency is great — as long as the information is trustworthy. Other doctors encourage users of social media to be cautious when seeking health advice online from their virtual circles of friends  or from medical websites. Misinformation — often shared with the best of intentions — abounds. “I think that the web, including Facebook, is a great place to find information,” Dr. Joseph Adashek of Desert Perinatal Associates writes in an email. “However, I think that patients think that just because it is written down that it must be indisputable fact. ... That said, I also love the fact that I can tell a patient a certain diagnosis that she may have, and she can go and read about it and then ask me questions and learn about it.” “Patients need to know which are the sites with professionally approved clinical content. They also need to know that just because someone writes about or discusses a medical topic online, it does not mean that they are a doctor or their advice is appropriate for every patient,” adds Mike Coyne, CEO of QuantiaMD, an online physician community. There’s a lot of material for would-be selfdiagnosers to weed through. “Not all of it is reputable,” agrees Pho. (Thankfully, according to the Pew study, 53 percent of those who sought health information online talk to a clinician about what they’ve uncovered, presenting the opportunity to fix the bad advice they’ve received from “Dr. Google.”) That said, let’s not discount the positive impact social media services have on public health. For instance, social media can actually help track — and thus prevent — the spread of disease. Data shared online at Google Flu Trends is available to anyone with a web browser. Being aware of outbreak areas can provide incentive to use protective measures like hand-washing. Plus, Google’s stats on the incidence of influenza-like illnesses come out

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50 | Desert

Companion | AUGUST 2013

technology two weeks sooner than those provided by the Centers for Disease Control. That early warning can be a huge help in dealing with a possible pandemic. S h o u l d yo u ‘ f r i e nd ’ yo u r d o c to r ? Patients and consumers must navigate a tricky terrain online, avoiding scams, bad information and possible quacks. Meanwhile, in the world of social media, physicians face a dilemma that is more subtle but no less challenging. In the examining room, the doctor-patient relationship is private, even sacrosanct, and also highly regulated. But what about on Facebook? Can a doctor also be a patient’s “friend”? Drawing those lines is an ongoing challenge for local doctors. “I end up very close with many of my patients, so I have become Facebook friends with some of them,” Dr. Adashek writes. “Typically, my patients are of very similar demographics as me and we have a lot in common, and I have become true friends with some of my patients.” Adashek’s open-arms attitude might be the exception. According to a 2011 QuantiaMD study, one-third of physicians said a patient had tried to “friend” them on Facebook — and three-quarters of them declined. Those who accepted got more friendship than they bargained for, and were left in an awkward position when patients messaged them with questions. To help navigate these murky waters, the American Medical Association has issued guidelines urging physicians to maintain appropriate boundaries with their patients and encouraging them to separate their personal and professional online personas. Vegas cosmetic surgeon Michael Edwards follows the AMA’s advice. He has a Facebook page and a Twitter account just for his practice. Content is very specific. He focuses on educating patients about “aspects of health and plastic surgery I believe are important and timely,” he says. “I don’t correspond with patients there other than general comments or (saying) thanks.” Meanwhile, Adashek sees close ties with patients as enhancing his care rather than complicating it. “Both my wife and I have met some great friends through my practice. I do not really draw a line in the sand with my patients. I try and treat them like they were my sister and I give advice to them as though they were my family member. I don’t just give op-

tion A with the risks/ benefits and option B with the risks/ benefits — and then tell the patient to make a decision. I give my advice to them.” Local internist Dr. Traci Grossman uses social media to weigh in on health-related topics, like the state of medicine or changes in health insurance. She’s careful to limit her comments to “general advice when a conversation about a certain medical topic is going completely sideways.” Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada might be one of the valley’s most avid users of social media, with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and Pinterest in their toolbox — not to mention profiles on and entries in Wikipedia. But the goal is scrupulously sharing news with an audience they’ve grown organically. “We use it to communicate to our followers new happenings at CCCN, such as new physicians joining our practice, new research trials, awards or accolades our physicians have earned, cancer awareness days and other general health advice,” Director of Marketing and Public Relations Lisa Santwer writes in an email. “I think social media plays a positive role in health care as long as no patient information is exchanged and no medical advice is given.” (Still other doctors ask: Facewhat? CCCN oncologist Dr. Nicholas Vogelzang writes: “No social media, never have done it, probably never will. I’m busy enough!”) There is a rapidly developing form of social media that physicians seem to embrace: online physician communities such as QuantiaMD. Think a Facebook for doctors where they can keep up on medical developments, share insights with other doctors and comment on the healthcare topics of the day. Perhaps most importantly, physicians also use these sites to consult with others in their field on issues they’re dealing with in their practices — and it’s helping patients. Coyne of QuantiaMD is proud of his website’s success stories when sharing information saves patients time, money and discomfort. In one scenario, Coyne says, after watching a QuantiaMD presentation about a patient with a partial small bowel obstruction related to taking an ACE inhibitor (a hypertension and high blood pressure drug), a member physician realized she had a patient with similar troubles. She successfully adjusted her patient’s treatment. “The doctors saved her patient from having to undergo some painful testing,” Coyne says. That’s definitely something we can all “like.”


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Hear a discussion of end-of-life issues on “KNPR’s State of Nevada” at www.desertcompanion/hearmore


This is not the end

As more Southern Nevadans take advantage of hospice and palliative care, the often-misunderstood specialties are becoming crucial pieces of the health care puzzle

m By Linda J. Simpson Photography bill hughes

Meet Jimmy Bryant. He currently has stage IV emphysema with severe chronic pulmonary obstructive disease. It’s a terminal diagnosis. But trust us — this is a happy story. The 58-year-old New Jersey native moved to Las Vegas in 2010 to be with his girlfriend. Numerous trips to doctors, lung specialists and hospital emergency rooms finally ended in December of 2011. That’s when his doctors told him to start working on his bucket list and enroll in a hospice program. He enrolled. And he graduated. In fact, BryRenewal notice: ant now has graduated from in-patient hosJimmy Bryant “graduated” from pice four times. Graduate? Yes. Each time, Bryhospice — and got ant stabilized in hospice and was deemed well a new lease on life. enough to be discharged. Bryant is an object lesson in what happens when hospice does its job especially well: giving certain patients a new lease on life. In fact, Bryant not only got better, but he found the inspiration to even launch a nonprofit, Lights 4 Love, which donates red porch-light bulbs to anyone who needs first responders to easily find their home in the case of a life-threatening emergency. “Maybe I can’t do anything to save my own life, but I know I can help other people,” Bryant says. Bryant is a perfect example of a common misconception that people die sooner in hospice than in curative care — or that hospice is simply synonymous with a death sentence. In fact, research has shown that overall survival rates of seriously ill patients who receive hospice care live an average of 21-81 days longer than those who do not receive hospice care. A d i ff erent k i nd of g raduat e “Graduate from hospice”? Most people think the only way you can graduate from hospice is to die. Not so, says Jerry Bolyard, regional executive director of Creekside Hospice, which has been in business in Las Vegas since 2001.

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He explains graduating from hospice like this: “Sometimes there is a debilitating event in somebody’s life (like a broken hip, stroke, or heart attack in a patient who has a life-limiting disease). We send in a nurse or a certified nursing assistant. What happens is you go from living alone and not being able to get your medications — not able to care for yourself,” he says. “We’re making sure that (you improve) and now you no longer qualify for hospice.” Part of Bolyard’s job is educating people on what it means to enter hospice — and what it means to exit hospice. He says jokingly, “I love the idea of a ‘I survived Creekside Hospice’ (T-shirt).” Most people think hospice is only for the last few days of life and that it’s a place where you go to die. In fact, about 65 percent of hospice services are provided in the home. Hospice includes more than just attempts to control pain. Besides a physician and registered nurse who make house calls, the hospice interdisciplinary team includes a social worker, nursing assistant, spiritual counselor, speech, physical and occupational therapists. Medical equipment, supplies and pharmaceuticals are also provided. And if you are a Medicare recipient, 100 percent of the cost is paid for by Medicare.

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hospice penetration by Medicare Recipients in Nevada (By County) Percentage 0










Clark Washoe ELKO

10% 0%








“People come off of hospice programs all the time — even more so in palliative care programs, because people don’t have to have a limited prognosis (in palliative care),” says Brian Bertram, vice president of Infinity Hospice Care and executive director of Nevada Palliative Care. “They have their symptoms addressed, they feel better, they go back to doing what they were doing before they faced their serious illness.” And increasingly, Las Vegans are taking advantage of this evolving conception of hospice. A 2011 report compiled by Health Planning and Development and the Summit Business Group details how many Medicare recipients are using hospice services at the time of their death in Nevada. Clark County has a “hospice penetration rate” of 80 percent. (To put that in context, Washoe County has 57 percent, Elko County has 10 percent, Eureka County has 0 percent and Lincoln County has a 101 percent hospice penetration rate.) The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services currently has approximately 50 licensed and inspected hospice providers on its Clark County roster. The number of for-profit hospices has increased nationwide from 34 percent in 2001 to 60 percent in 2011. The notfor-profit providers have remained constant at 34 percent in the same time period. Also, consider that The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, the professional organization that includes physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers, began with 250 charter members in 1988 and has grown to nearly 5,000 today, a 950 percent increase in membership in 25 years. “I think that competition has made hospice

54 | Desert

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101% better. It’s increased the quality of everybody’s game,” says Bolyard of Creekside. Creekside has offices in Pahrump and Las Vegas and inpatient care facility in town. Meanwhile, family-owned Infinity Hospice Care — with offices in Reno, Phoenix, Pahrump and Las Vegas — has recently opened a new inpatient 12-bed facility in town. It features two buildings totaling 20,000 square feet, and even a dedicated palliative care exam room for nonhospice patients. House of (controlling) pain Also growing in profile in the Las Vegas Valley is palliative care — that is, a form of care that seeks primarily to relieve the symptoms of a patient’s disease. When Dr. Brian Murphy, chief medical officer of Nathan Adelson Hospice, Southern Nevada’s oldest and largest non-profit hospice, graduated from medical school in 1999, he remembers he had a lecture or two on pain medicine. “That’s it,” he said. “So imagine when I got to my residency program and I had to treat someone’s pain. I didn’t really know what to do. You’re just not taught it.” The advent of these specialties is part of generating a larger dialogue about a more holistic approach to health. “Palliative care is an extra layer of support,” says Bertram of Infinity Hospice Care. “Nowhere in medicine except for palliative care medicine are people getting this kind of interdisciplinary care. As a health care team, we start focusing on aligning ourselves with the patient and the family so we can have plenty of plans in place so that we can kind of know what to expect even when

our loved ones are declining.” Recent studies by Dr. Jennifer Temel and associates at Massachusetts General Hospital have demonstrated a lower incidence of depression, higher quality of life and a 2.7 month longer survival rate in patients with incurable metastatic lung cancer who received palliative care. Better yet, the specialties are making professional strides as well. In June 2006, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education began the process of accreditation for hospice and palliative medicine fellowship programs. By September of the same year, the American Board of Medical Specialties had approved the creation of hospice and palliative medicine as a subspecialty of eleven established specialty boards. Starting in 2013, only applicants who have completed an ACGME-accredited hospice and palliative medicine fellowship will be eligible to take the certification exam to become board certified in hospice and palliative medicine. “The medical community is taking hospice a lot more seriously and (it) understands that it really is a specialty and it hasn’t been recognized in the past,” says Bolyard. Playi ng catc h -u p Will Nevada keep up with this growing movement in health care? It looks like it, but challenges lie ahead. Based in Reno, the University of Nevada School of Medicine has a fellowship program in hospice and palliative care medicine, headed by Dr. Kelly Conright. The program has produced nine graduates since the program launched in 2008; six of those graduates will continue to practice in Nevada. Rotations with the VA hospital, St. Mary’s hospice and Infinity hospice in Reno enhance their learning experience. Conright explains that in Reno doctors are now building what she calls “a palliative bridge.” When a doctor recognizes the need for a “higher approach to care,” the palliative team is called. Then when the time comes that a patient qualifies for hospice, “the relationship has been established and there is an earlier enrollment into hospice care.” Will the program expand into Southern Nevada? Not anytime soon. Conright explains that the interest is out there, but finding faculty and “people who have the skill-set to administratively create these fellowships” in the southern part of the state is the challenge. We’ll need those newly minted specialists sooner rather than later.


“Since the baby boomers are getting older, we know that there is a workforce shortage in end of life care, and only a handful of specialists,” says Bertram. To meet workforce needs, Angela Ricker, director of patient services at Creekside Hospice, is always on the hunt for talented people. “There is a challenge in finding quality nurses, and so we have basically been having ongoing interviews because I’m trying to anticipate positions.” When she finds what she calls a “shining star,” they place the candidate with “a nurse who has been here a long time and who has so much to offer. She will be the dedicated preceptor for this person.” Creekside’s patients receive a continuity of care, the nurse develops new skills and Creekside gains a more valuable employee. “If hospice was easy,” says Ricker, “everyone would do it!” “It’s a special calling,” says Bolyard. “It’s so different than hospital nursing.” Pay now or pay later In the book “The Best Care Possible,” author Dr. Ira Byock, Director of Palliative Medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, argues that a shift in our approach to how we die will improve the quality of healthcare —  and result in a lower cost to families and our country. Instead of spending $6,000-$10,000 per month on chemotherapy drugs with all of their side effects, Byock estimates the cost of palliative care in the hundreds of dollars per month — with an extension in both quality and length of life. Byock cites research that analyzed Medicare data from 1998-2002 and compared survival rates of comparable groups of seriously ill patients with hospice and those without. Overall, in each group, those that received hospice care lived an average of 29 days longer than those who did not. “It’s all in the allocation of resources, and the people who are providing care need to be the gatekeepers of those resources,” says Dr. Lisa Lyons, associate medical director of Infinity Hospice and Nevada Palliative Care. “Hospice and palliative care can help lower costs for health care overall, because when we stop all the highend stuff at the end — and possibly place those patients in palliative care programs or in hospice — that is where better care can be delivered for the patient and definitely for the family.” Furthermore, researchers at the Mt. Sinai Icahn School of Medicine have found that hospice patients have lower Medicare costs, reduced rates of hospital and intensive care use, hospital readmissions and in-hospital







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deaths when compared with matched nonhospice patients. In their study published in the March 2013 issue of Health Affairs, the authors found that if beneficiaries enrolled in hospice earlier, Medicare could save millions of dollars. Even better, these patients would reap the benefits of an improved quality of care and a better quality of life. “We are the only nation on the planet that creates six-month-or-less issues,” says Murphy of Nathan Adelson Hospice. “If you look at the U.K., Australia, Canada, you can go to hospice at any time. They don’t do this sixmonth thing, and they save money as well.” But the growing awareness of hospice as a wellness option has a downside with a ironic twist: Patients not dying on time can be costly too. “We’ve become a $20 billion industry and Medicare notices it now,” Murphy says. “The not-for-profits have historically just bled money. It wasn’t uncommon in the 1990s for hospices to lose over $1 million a year and then they would raise money to make up the difference.” Medicare hospice reimbursement is paid as a flat rate per day. As of Oct. 1, 2012, Clark County hospice providers are paid $178.52 for routine home care and $786.49 for general care at an inpatient facility. If Medicare finds inconsistencies with the Medicare regulations, such as allowing patients to enroll or stay enrolled when they do not meet Medicare criteria, providers are required to pay back all of the Medicare money that was paid for that particular patient. Appeals can only be made after the fact. This type of audit caused one of the largest nonprofit hospices in the U.S., San Diego Hospice and the Institute for Palliative Care, to declare bankruptcy and close its doors. Their crime was being “too liberal” in their admissions and, because of their excellent care, the patients did not die on schedule. “Medicare created all these levels of review,” says Murphy. “There are enough acronyms to cause someone a headache. What’s really sad is that it is making people question, maybe too rigorously, whether this (particular) person is appropriate for hospice. If they have a prognosis for seven months, maybe they’re not getting signed up and they’ll still die in five months because we got our prognosis wrong. Now we are almost in a culture of fear of signing people up because we don’t want to have to pay back Medicare.” The nex t wav e Estimates of how many Americans

But the new awareness of hospice as a wellness option has a downside with an ironic twist: Patients not dying on time can be costly too. have dementia/Alzheimer’s range from 4.1 million to 5.2 million. The Alzheimer’s Association expects those numbers to rise to 14 million by 2050, with one diagnosis every 33 seconds. We know that people with the disease live on an average four to eight years after diagnosis, but some can live up to 20 years. A new RAND study estimates direct costs such as providing medicine to nursing homes at $109 billion per year in 2010. With the sheer number of baby boomers approaching the age of 70 when nearly 15 percent of them will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the impact to our health care system and our society at large looms. The bestcase scenario is that a cure will be found. Otherwise? “Dementia will overwhelm our health care system and it will overwhelm our economy as the baby boomers go through it,” predicts Murphy. “We are in for a shock.” According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, in 2011, 62.3 percent of hospice admissions were for non-cancer diagnoses. Using Medicare figures, 14.4 percent of Medicare recipients with a dementia diagnosis received three or more days of hospice care in 2001 and by 2007 that number had increased to 33.6 percent. In other words, the market for hospice and palliative are only looks to be growing — fast. “We need to change the perception that hospice means death,” Bolyard says. “Hospice means a quality of life before you die. We have one time. There are no do-overs. That’s what I think about every day — there are no do-overs!” | 57


News Reviews Interviews second helping O n t h e P l at e


The dish

Flour power


On the plate

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Eat this now

Soup is on


second helping

Eat your homework Rolling in the dough: Bread by Kamel Guechida



Bake it ’til you make it: Kamel Guechida

the dish

Let them eat cheesecake


Elite pastry chef Kamel Guechida joins the people-pleasing Wolfgang Puck empire. What the puff is going on? By Al Mancini | Photography SABIN ORR

Kamel Guechida is facing a strange new world — one filled with cookies and cupcakes. For eight years, the French pastry chef oversaw the desserts and breads for two of Las Vegas’ finest dining rooms: the city’s only Michelin three-star restaurant, Joël Robuchon, and its one-star sister L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon. The first restaurant averaged only 55 customers a night, while the latter did about double that. His customers were among the most sophisticated of diners. They expected exquisite attention to detail in every aspect of each course.

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Guechida’s ability to satisfy their demands — and the demands of the notoriously demanding Robuchon — earned him a reputation as the town’s finest pastry chef. (In fact, Desert Companion named him Pastry Chef of the Year in our 2010 Restaurant Awards.) Then he left. Earlier this year, Guechida resigned his exalted position with the “Chef of the Century” to accept a job with another culinary legend: Wolfgang Puck. It’s a huge coup for Puck — stealing a pastry chef away from Robuchon, a man almost universally considered the greatest fine dining chef alive. It’s also a new challenge for Kamel, who is moving from an elite dining institution to a people-pleasing culinary empire that embraces every type of customer. While Guechida technically oversees the desserts and breads of 21 Puck restaurants around the world, his first assignment has been revamping the menus at Puck’s six local restaurants. They run the gamut in styles, from the casual Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill in The MGM Grand to The Palazzo’s ultra-chic steakhouse, CUT. Puck’s flagship restaurant Spago, alone, serves in excess of 350 people a day, while his celebrity draws diners from every level of culinary experience. Yet even the most sophisticated of them would likely balk at the prices charged at Robuchon’s restaurants.

Swe e t a nd si mpl e Guechida isn’t exactly the kind of guy who makes chocolate lava cakes, so how is he going to satisfy the more mainstream customers?


August’s dining events you don’t want to miss mcfadden’s From July 18. Shamrocks and shenanigans return to Las Vegas with the recent opening of McFadden’s Irish Restaurant and Saloon in its new Town Square location. Famous for its Irish-American cuisine, the menu will feature things like the Pickle Back Burger (a Jameson Irish Whiskey-glazed beef patty topped with Applewood smoked bacon, pepper jack cheese, and fried pickles); plenty of Irish draft on tap; 80-ounce fishbowl cocktails; and a “bomb” shots menu. Expect bustling happy hours and wild, late-night debauchery both inside and outside on the 6,000 square-foot patio across from AMC Theaters.

National Filet Mignon Day Just desserts: Guechida’s grasshopper cheesecake; below, piña colada dessert

Simplify without sacrificing quality. At Robuchon, he baked 18 different breads daily for the restaurant’s famed bread cart. At Spago (the first Puck restaurant he’s tackled), he limits it to four or five varieties. Nonetheless, his staff still makes each one in house and they’re already drawing high praise from the boss. “I walked in the back,” Puck says during a recent visit to the Forum Shops restaurant, “and I’d said ‘I don’t want to eat any bread tonight’ because I’m trying to slim down. The summer is coming up, so I have to be in a bathing suit. But the bread is so amazing. It looks so good you say, ‘All I want is a sandwich with that and I will be happy.’” Of course, Guechida’s main appeal lies in

his desserts, and Puck has given him free reign in that category. “I don’t want to go and tell him, ‘OK, Kamel, you have to make a chocolate soufflé or a raspberry soufflé,” he explains. “I said, ‘You know what, you’re a great pastry chef, you make what you think is the best.’ And that way, we’ll always have great things.” The first desserts rolled out at Spago still retain the intricacy and attention to detail the chef’s fans have to come to expect. Dishes like a strawberry shortcake panna cotta, raspberry sabayon, frozen piña colada dessert and grasshopper cheesecake are light and beautiful. Yet, amazingly, none is priced over $13. Guechida explains he’s been able to keep prices down by eliminating the expensive plates and bowls and lavish touches he was once known for. “All the plates are white,” he concedes. “There are no more details like gold (leaf ) or whatever we did before in the past. It’s only the dessert, not the presentation of the dish.”

‘A g r e at e ducati o n’ With Spago’s new menu under his belt, the pastry chef has moved on to Postrio in The Venetian. From there, he’ll be tackling Puck’s other local restaurants: his Pizzeria and Cucina in Crystals, The Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill in The MGM Grand, the Palazzo steakhouse CUT and Trattoria del Lupo in Mandalay Bay. Each presents unique challenges. But the more casual places will be the ones that take him furthest out of his element. “The Cucina and the Bar & Grill are some-

Aug. 11-15. Silverado Steakhouse is grilling up a weeklong celebration in honor of this meaty occasion. Enjoy a three-course specialty menu including lobster bisque or wedge salad, your choice of six different filet mignon options, like the Rossini (topped with duck liver, black truffle and maidera sauce), the Carpet Bagger (marinated in a merlot reduction), or a trio of gourmet sliders and a summer dessert for $49. Available August 11-15. 797-8075

Restaurant Week Aug. 23-30. Three Square’s Restaurant week is back. Visit any participating restaurant — like Don Vitos, Primarily Prime Rib and Ron’s Steakhouse — this week and enjoy a multi-course, prix fixe menu especially created for the food bank’s fundraiser. Each restaurant will craft its own special menu ranging from $20.13 to $50.13, and a portion of the proceeds will help Three Square to fight hunger in Southern Nevada. Seriously philanthropic foodies can help create awareness by posting photos on social media.

Greek Food Festival Sept. 27-29. Get your Greek on. St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church is having its 41st annual festival all weekend long. Enjoy traditional Greek cuisine and pastries, browse through Greek shops for art and jewelry, dance to live music by the Olympians and Etho Ellas, and bring the kids along for games and fun. Daily admission is $6 or $10 for a weekend pass. Kids under 12 and military families (with ID) get in free. 3p-11p Friday and Saturday; noon-10p Sunday. | 61

dining thing simple, American style,” he muses when contemplating how to satisfy their customers’ cravings for sweets. “I think we’re going to do some cupcakes maybe with the desserts. Why not? Because the American style is people want to eat fast.” In addition to cupcakes, he’s also contemplating simple cookies and perhaps even cheesecake. Ironically, the European chef’s

classical training never included those dishes. They’re an art form he picked up in the U.S., cooking for the VIP guests in the MGM Grand’s most exclusive suites. “When I was at Robuchon, I also took care of The Mansion,” he recalls. “And a couple guests asked me for some crazy requests. And it was, for me, a great education for the future. Chocolate chip cookies I’d never done before I came to America.”

L a S V e g a S’ T o p c H e f S a r e p r e pa r i n g To f e e d T H e H u n g r Y. H e L p o u T B Y d i n i n g o u T.

august 23-30 H e l p o u t d i n e o u t LV. o r g

Once the chef re-launches the menus at all six restaurants, it’ll be time for him to start all over again. His goal is to re-design every menu every three months to take advantage of seasonal ingredients. “I think it’s simple,” he says. “From April 15 until September 15, we have the best strawberries from California — the best berries. I think after that it’s not worth it. The color is there, the form is there, but you don’t have the taste. And I don’t like to add artificial (things like) sugar and say, ‘That’s a strawberry.’ I want to be sure we can use the existing fruits in the winter: lemon, apple, pear in the winter.” Clearly, Las Vegas alone will be keeping the chef busy for a while, without even considering Puck’s restaurants in other cities. But he insists the variety is what inspires him. “In the beginning of my career, I was working at a pastry shop,” he recalls. “And one reason why I left was because you do the same job every day. Nothing changed. Your pastries were Danish, croissant, small cakes — and that makes the job uninteresting. “One thing that’s interesting in a restaurant is you change all the flavors every three months. You change the desserts, you change the form and the presentation. You change the little things. And what makes me happy in my life is not doing the same thing.”

M ay w e r e c o m m e n d … Grasshopper cheesecake. Considering that Guechida never made cheesecake before moving to the U.S., he hit a home run with this version currently offered at Spago. The light, delicious individual cheesecake is topped with chocolate — which would be good enough on its own. But the chef takes it further by accompanying it with toasted marshmallows, brownie bits and a scoop of mint chocolate ice cream. The chef is promising more cheesecakes at Puck’s other restaurant, and if they’re half this good, they’re guaranteed to be hits.

Your 1 meal could feed 18. Help Three Square fight hunger in our community.

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Piña colada dessert. Forget about the tropical drinks you had on your last Caribbean vacation, this frozen dessert version puts them all to shame. The chef starts with aloecoconut shaved ice. Next, he adds pineapple compote. A crisp caramel tuile finishes it off. While capturing the namesake drink’s flavors, it’s much lighter. — AM

eat this now! Our favorite recent dishes that have us coming back for seconds

Do you have an IRS TaX PRoBLeM? DIVORCED? SEPARATED? WIDOWED? BAD MARRIAGE? IRS may owe you! Richard A. Perlman, Enrolled Agent Licensed by Department of the Treasury 30-yeaR CaReeR WITh The IRS


Gazpacho at Central

This bright and colorful chilled soup is an ideal antidote to recent record-breaking temperatures. Think Bloody Mary in a bowl: Yellow tomato purée is poured tableside over an artfully composed mix of cucumbers, tomatoes and basil. A hint of garlic adds depth and a boost of flavor while crunchy croutons contribute texture. Minus the vodka, it makes for virtuous sustenance. Debbie Lee

central Inside Caesars Palace,

Spicy guacamole at Dos Caminos

Once one of the best Mexican restaurants on the Strip, Dos Caminos is now one of the best Mexican restaurants in Summerlin. Made-to-order guacamole is a staple everywhere these days, but somehow this kitchen combines fresh avocados, salt and lime in a peerless way. You may be tempted to add interesting extras like lump crab meat, papaya or chicharrón, but trust us: Just order it spicy and let those guys blend creamy goodness with the right amount of jalapeño pop. Brock Radke

Dos Caminos 10820 W. Charleston Blvd., 462-8800

PHOTOGRAPH BY Christopher SMith

Table 34 Featuring Chef Wes Kendricks’ contemporary American cuisine including safe harbor certified fresh fish, wild game, duck, lamb, angus beef, and comfort food classics. Conveniently located off the 215 and Warm Springs. Dinner Tuesday - Saturday 5pm until closing (around 10pm) 600 E. Warm Springs Road Las Vegas, NV (702) 263-0034 | 63


e A little class: scenes from a cooking demo at Mon Ami Gabi

second helping

Now you’re cooking

Savvy chefs, eager students and secret spices: Tasting notes from our survey of four cooking demonstration classes By Elisabeth Daniels Photography Brent Holmes

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Everyone knows Las Vegas has blown up as a global dining destination. But it’s not because our chefs are sitting on a stash of secret recipes. Rather than locking away the methods that power their menus, many of our culinary leaders are throwing open the doors to their kitchens and teaching us to cook like they do. Don’t know a whisk from a wonder pot? Don’t worry. In these demonstration classes, chefs cover all the terminology and utensils. No skills? No worries. All you need is a couple hours, a few bucks and an appetite for culinary adventure. Best of all: You get to eat the homework. I put on my chef’s hat and took a few local classes for a spin — um, make that stir.

Mo n Ami Ga bi : Th e Fre nch co nnecti o n

One thing’s for sure: Executive Chef Terry Lynch doesn’t merely recite recipes. His classes, held in a wood-paneled, private dining room at Mon Ami Gabi in the Paris Las Vegas Hotel, focus on technique. Lynch is French on his mother’s side, and he trained in Paris at Le Cordon Bleu. Translation: This is the real deal, with authentic recipes and kitchen-tested tips. Menus vary, but for my class, we enjoyed four-mushroom soup; sea scallops with butternut squash purée; Brussels sprouts, hazelnuts and brown butter; and warm chocolate pudding cake. Louis Latour wines, made especially for Mon Ami Gabi, are paired with each course, and


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Cruise Antarctica – December 2013 W e’re taking an 11-day cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula during the Antarctic summer. See the continent’s unique wildlife and landscapes. Weather permitting, we’ll ride in Zodiacs among icebergs, walk across ice, snow and rock to visit penguins, and explore on-land cultural sites.

> The new Continuing Education Catalog is out. There are months of programs, courses and experiences available in our free catalog. Try something fun. Go somewhere exciting. Build your knowledge. Amp your career. Never stop. For more information on courses and the cruise, call 702.895.3394 or visit us online at

dining you also learn about the regions where the wine is produced and how to properly hold a wine glass. (By the stem, rather than the bowl, so you’re not warming up your wine.) Lessons learned: 1. Want perfect sautéed mushrooms? Brush them off rather than wash them — that way they’ll caramelize properly. And use pomace oil rather than extra virgin olive oil, because it has a higher heating






point. 2. The proper way to whip cream is with a whisk in a figure 8. It adds more air to the cream and goes faster. (It’s also a fantastic arm workout.) Sweet spots: Each seat in the class has a spiral-bound recipe book and pen. The book includes all the recipes along with places to write notes. Also, Chef Lynch takes volunteers from the class to act as his sous chef for various parts of the meal. It’s a hands-on way to

Love Your

.. you’ll love it!

2013-14 Season begins September 28. Masterworks Series

Operatic Love

Pops Series Dancing & Romancing

September 28 Arias by Opera Masters including Puccini, Verdi and Mozart

October 12, 2013

Love of Country

We Love The Holidays

1930s Broadway and Hollywood

November 23, 2013

December 7, 2013

Remembering President John F. Kennedy

Holiday Cheer For The Season

Battle Born – Nevada Proud!

Love On The Big Screen

January 18, 2014

February 15, 2014

Celebrating Nevada’s Sesquicentennial

Valentine’s Weekend Presentation of Casablanca

Love Vintage Las Vegas Style

Rising Star March 8, 2014 Cleveland Competition Winner performs TCHAIKOVSKY Piano Concerto No. 1

April 5, 2014

Love Around the World

Paris, Je t’aime!

Rat Pack’s Big Band Hits

May 17, 2014

April 26, 2014

DEBUSSY Claire de lune



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master technique. Finally, your wine glass will never be empty. Sour note: Chef Lynch takes this stuff seriously. At one point, he scolded me for talking to my classmates too much while I was carrying around the demonstration dish. I was admonished to “get back to work.” ($50, inside the Paris Las Vegas,

El Seg undo So l : You can Me xi ca n I’m not sure how Chef Lynch does it, but he oversees both Mon Ami Gabi and El Segundo Sol, the Mexican restaurant in the Fashion Show Mall. Classes start before the restaurant opens, and the private access adds to the restaurant’s cachet. Chef Lynch still dispenses great information and plucks volunteers from the audience, but he’s much less formal here. Munching started with chips and salsa, which was soon accompanied by homemade guacamole. Beef and chipotle tacos followed, finished by crisp buñuelos (Mexican fritters) with fresh raspberries and cream. The meal was accompanied by a cucumber mojito and then a delicious strawberry margarita. Lessons learned: 1. Chop everything in equal sizes for even cooking. 2. For the besttasting, most authentic buñuelos, use real cinnamon, which can be found in Mexican markets throughout Las Vegas. Sweet spots: You get two different cocktails, and you leave with a lovely bag filled with goodies and an El Segundo Sol gift card. Sour note: No refills on the cocktails without handing over your debit card. ($25, in the Fashion Show Mall,

C h o co l ate & Spi ce B akery: Ba k e i t ’ ti l yo u make it There’s a reason why Megan Romano, owner and chef of Chocolate & Spice Bakery, has been named Desert Companion 2011 Pastry Chef of the Year. Her shop is filled with fresh-baked pastries, handmade chocolates, rock candy swizzle sticks and fruit sorbets. But that’s just the brûlée on the crème now that Romano has expanded her offerings to include a range of savory dishes and seasonal cooking classes, including special courses for kids and holidays. The bakery is charming but fairly small, with most of the space taken up by the glass display cases, modern four-seat tables and conversation areas flanked by zebra-striped, overstuffed chairs. Not much room for a class of eight. I was surprised when we were led behind the counter into the compact kitchen, where three rows of three armless chairs awaited. It was cramped, but we were up close

Sizzle and skills: a cooking class at Mis En Place

and personal with the food preparation. We began with an egg white frittata, followed by an arugula spring salad with citrus vinaigrette, and ending with blueberry buttermilk scones. Recipes were provided on a stapled color printout. Lessons learned: 1. Season at every step, rather than just at the end of a dish, for more consistent seasoning. 2. Grate butter into the flour mixture for your baked goods. It keeps your hands from making the butter warm and overmixing it. Sweet spots: Between the meal itself and the “small bites” for noshing before the meal is cooked, there’s plenty to eat — and it’s all scrumptious. You leave with an amazing goodie bag filled with beautifully packaged Chocolate & Spice Bakery treats like artisanal chocolates and gourmet popcorn. Sour note: Almost every recipe had a small error or omission. Chef

Romano pointed these out along the way — but it was hard to jot down the changes while balancing dishes on our laps. ($75, 7293 W. Sahara Ave., 527-7772,

T h e Coo k i ng Expe ri e nce by M is e e n Pl ace : In th e h ot s eat The Cooking Experience is a culinary school featuring an 18-seat open kitchen. Guests watch chefs prepare meals during demonstration lunches or dinners, or chairs and place settings are cleared away for handson classes. Aside from the black- and whitechecked floor, the space is done in blue and white with stainless steel appliances, giving it a clean, professional look. The demo class I attended benefitted the Southern Nevada Pug Rescue, and Chef Cody Hinckley prepared British food. We were served salmon tartare,

Beef Wellington and sticky toffee pudding with Chantilly. Lessons learned: 1. Use phyllo dough instead of puff pastry for a lighter Beef Wellington. 2. The key to good shepherd’s pie is using beef short ribs. Sweet spots: Large, flat-screen TVs situated on each end of the room provide overhead views of the cooking process; with the broad range of classes, you can choose the price point and instruction level that works for you. Sour note: A recipe book would’ve been great — if only for a memento from yet another wonderful meal. ($35 or $45 with wine pairing, 9500 S. Eastern Ave. #170, 754-4400, | 67


Eat this town! From Centennial Hills to Downtown to Green Valley and beyond, these are the places (and the plates) we’ve been eating lately — and we recommend you give them a taste, too. (Contributors: Jim Begley, John Hardin, Max Jacobson, Andrew Kiraly, Al Mancini, Danielle McCrea, Brock Radke)

Cent ral Big Wong Eating at Big Wong, a hole-in-the-wall in our expansive Chinatown neighborhood, is like eating at the house of some longtime family friends — no frills, just simple, great food. Hoi Nam Chicken is the epitome of that vibe, a huge plate of tender, juicy, stewed chicken (complete with skin and other odd but delicious parts) served with a pile of white rice and soy and ginger-chili sauces for a dipping extravaganza. It’s an utterly satisfying, ridiculously cheap meal, following in our Chinatown traditions. BR 5040 Spring Mountain Road, 368-6808

Eat Natalie Young’s menu is filled with simply prepared, classic comfort dishes. The chicken-fried steak may be one of the best dishes I’ve had all year. (Health food this is not, but I can think of few tastier ways to go out.) Smothered in robust gravy, the lightly battered and freshly fried steak arrives at your table piping hot. Young’s huevos motuleños — a Yucatanese breakfast dish with black beans, tortillas and plantains — have gotten more press and, while they’re good, they’re no chicken-fried steak. If you live downtown, this is likely already your favorite breakfast/lunch joint. If you’re in the suburbs, it’s worth the jaunt. JB 707 Carson Ave., 534-1515, eatdowntownlv. com

Las Famosas de Jose Sixteen ounces of chicken breast, cheese, beans, tomatoes, avocado, jalapeño peppers and lettuce sandwiched between two humongous slices of fried bread make up Le Titanic, una torta gigante or, as I like to call it, A REALLY BIG SANDWICH (technical specs: 12 inches long by 5 inches wide by 4 inches thick). But the novelty of its size isn’t a mere gimmick; on top of that, the ingredients are fresh, making for a gloriously juicy monster. Add in some of owner Fernando Rojas’ homemade, secret recipe salsa and you, sir, have got yourself a sandwich (A REALLY BIG SANDWICH). I recommend sharing — with up to 3 people. But if you’re broke and starving, Rojas will buy you and your friends’ meals if you can gobble up the five pound La Paquita in less than 15 minutes. DM 2635 E. Tropicana Ave., 450-2444

Fogo de Chão Several churrascarias or Brazilian steakhouses

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Shore is good: Eat’s shrimp and grits

have popped up in recent years, but at Fogo de Chão, though the concept isn’t any different — rapid-fire meat delivery that you can’t possibly keep up with — the service and quality is impressive. “Churrascaria” means barbecue in Portuguese. And when you go for barbecue, you want to eat too much of different kinds of meats. Fogo de Chão is a great place to do that. The “picanha,” or garlicky top sirloin, is the best cut, the perfect blend of buttery texture and beefy taste (especially when you get a slice with fatty, charred crust on one side). The lamb chops are perfect. The linguica sausage is nicely spiced, and even the beef ribs are tender and full of flavor. The side dishes of caramelized bananas and crispy polenta cakes are hard to stop eating,

too. It’s hard to criticize what seems like a gimmicky restaurant when the food is this good. BR 360 E. Flamingo Road, 431-4500, fogodechao. com

Forte Forte doesn’t serve just a single type of ethnic cuisine. Rather, it’s an amalgamation of some unique types of cooking available in Las Vegas. The sign on the door calls it a European tapas restaurant — and there are plenty of traditional Spanish tapas available. But Bulgarian-born Nina Manchev has also brought the recipes of her native country — and Russia, Georgia and Croatia — to the west side of town. And she’s tapped her well-traveled father Stephan to oversee the


kitchen. The menu is heavy on meats, sausages and dumplings. But many of the dishes are surprisingly light and delicate, defying the stereotype of Eastern European cooking. The food is best enjoyed family-style, at reasonable prices allowing large parties to sample a bit of everything. There are several standout dishes, but be sure to try the adjarski khachapurri: a large bread boat filled with bubbling cheese and a fried egg. Oh, and don’t leave without sampling the homemade flavored vodkas and brandies. JB 4180 S. Rainbow Blvd., 220-3876,

Monta The best soul food in Las Vegas is Japanese. I hope that’s not offensive or blasphemous. No disrespect to your favorite fried chicken joint. It’s just that “soulful” is the perfect descriptor for a bowl of noodles so simple yet so sophisticated, flavors so clean and precise, a dish simultaneously exotic and reassuringly homey. Take your seat at the bar in this tiny Chinatown treasure. You can choose from pork bone (tonkotsu), chicken-vegetable (shoyu) or miso broth as the perfect base for a mountainous portion of fresh, hand-pulled noodles and two slices of buttery chashu (roasted pork). Impossibly, it’s about $7. Splurge if you must, and drop a couple more bucks for toppings such as extra chashu, hardboiled egg, sweet corn, tangy kimchi or wonderfully bitter mustard leaf. Simple ingredients for a simple soup, but it’s sublime eating, with so much soul. BR 5030 Spring Mountain Road #6, 367-4600,

W est/ No rth we st Chocolate & Spice Bakery Attack your breakfast or lunch with plastic utensils — the casual vibe here suits the neighborhood. Though many are pre-packaged graband-gos, the savories do not disappoint — tasty stuff like Mediterranean salads, burly turkey or ham sandwiches on baguettes or ciabatta, and a fresh pasta with toasted garlic, Parmesan and broccoli rabe. But don’t dare do Chocolate & Spice without indulging in at least a couple desserts. You’d be missing the point. There are flaky raisin pinwheels or apricot croissants. The banana cream pie is small but so rich, you’ll beat yourself up for not being able to finish it alone. Chocolate? How about blended with Nutella in a decadent dome, swirled with caramel in a linzer torte, or married to peanuts in a dense bar that begs for coffee. And then there are daily special desserts and rotating, featured bites ... just get

one of everything. BR 7293 W. Sahara Ave., 5277772,

Dom Demarco’s Pizzeria and Bar It’s every New Yorker’s God-given right to lament the absence of good pizza in Vegas. But with the arrival of Dom DeMarco’s, in 2012, my maw was muzzled. The Di Fara Special — named after the pizzeria’s main camp in Brooklyn — wipes the floor with competing deep-dish pies. The square-cut behemoth, cooked in cast iron, boasts a crust with crisp, rich edges and a light, soft crumb. Thick coins of pepperoni are strewn across the top to please the pork-lover, while ribbons of basil add a fresh finish. Make like a real New Yorker and elbow your tablemates so you can stake your claim on a piece of the pie. DL, BR 9785 W. Charleston Blvd., 570-7000,

Due Forni Due Forni’s slogan is “pizza and wine,” but this is a pizza place you can visit several times without

Thai Food to Go Third time’s the charm for this east-side eatery, which has seen three different owners. The food was always good, but ever since the newest owners stepped in, it’s been exceptional. Some dishes, such as the green curry (lunch $5.50, dinner $6.95), are simply transcendent. They top your choice of beef, chicken, pork or tofu with market-fresh vegetables and herbs, then stew it all in a mix of traditional Thai curry made from fresh green chilies, shallots, garlic, lemongrass and coconut milk. The result is savory, creamy, spicy, not-too-sweet and phenomenal when poured over rice. Spice levels range from one to 10; the main ingredient is fresh chili, so one means “mild tingle” and 10 means “mind-altering trip into the heart of a live volcano.” Order wisely. JH 3242 E. Desert Inn Road #9, 7788898,

Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse doesn’t get much ink, but the crab cake here is killer, and the steaks are fine, too. But the real reason to come is for their brioche bread pudding: two warm, egg-rich slabs of pure heaven alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream, served in a pastry tuile. This bread pudding might not be the visual stunner that you’ll find at a place like L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, but it has a solid, down-home appeal at Vic & Anthony’s where the décor has a retro feel, courtesy of a stained glass skylight and amber-colored chandeliers shaped like giant starfish. There’s also a gallery of black and white snaps of old Vegas. Say, isn’t that Elvis standing toe to toe with Liberace? MJ Inside the Golden Nugget, 129 E. Fremont St., 386-8399,

Oh, what a peeling: Chocolate & Spice’s banana cream pie | 69

dining ever eating pizza. Case in point: the mozzarella bar ($12.95). The mozzarella bar comes to your table as a choice of three different mozzarella cheeses and a side dish. The cheeses are made of imported bufala mozzarella, and all are excellent. The smoked-in-house affumicata is smoky and delicious, but the stracciatella, a shredded mozzarella mixed with cream, is otherworldly. It’s rich and decadent, with just a hint of sourness that pairs incredibly well with salty flavors of the proffered taggiasca olives or prosciuttio san daniele. Other sides include basil pesto, marinated artichokes, roasted tomatoes and roasted red peppers. It’s accompanied by hot, freshly baked triangles of cheese bread that tie all of the flavors together. This cheese stands alone. JH 3555 S. Town Center Drive #105, 586-6500,

Marché Bacchus Once the city’s best kept suburban secret, Marché Bacchus is now a regular award-winner, so it would have been totally acceptable for the most recent owners Rhonda and Jeff Wyatt to rest on their restaurant’s reputation as a charming, tasty French bistro with an impeccable (and affordable) wine selection. But since they took the reins in 2007, the energetic couple hasn’t rested, constantly renovating the food and remodeling the beloved lakeside experience. The great Alex Stratta is master chef and Dave Middleton is in charge of the kitchen. The result is a finely sharpened menu improving the dishes favored by regulars who storm the lake for dinner, brunch, or both in one weekend. Seared duck breast is moister. Steak is richer, frites are crispier. And there are more tables on that hotly requested patio, for sipping Bordeaux, enjoying baguettes and watching the geese float by. BR 2620 Regatta Drive #106, 804-8008,

how vinegary kimchi belongs with a mountain of crisp sweet potato fries. For fun, there’s also spicy-sweet grilled pork, diced onions and jalapeños, mounds of melting cheese to glue it all together, and a nice fried egg, because why not? Funky, sweet, spicy and rich, this basket of insane flavor confetti cannot be defeated. And even though you’ll only eat half, it’ll stay with you for days. BR 2291 S. Fort Apache Blvd. #102,

done in the kitchen, not at table. Kim’chi pancake, a thin crêpe with a persistent crunch, and mandu, that’s fried dumplings to us, both offer any dedicated barfly an excuse to drink. Other dishes not to miss are soon du bu, soft, silky tofu, a suspension with the texture of crème brûlée, and some of the best fried chicken in the city, laced with hot spices. MJ 7775 S. Rainbow Blvd. #105, 897-7696

Goyemon Sushi House

Th e Stri p

All-you-can-eat sushi is not for everyone; however, under the right circumstances, it can be quite the windfall. This is true of the spread at Sushi House Goyemon, where their mission is simply to make their customers happy and where their high-quality fish, served alongside Japanese staples, tends to do that. Besides the sushi, don’t miss the seared pork belly or innovative desserts. And here’s an insider secret: If you’re dining there after 11 p.m., you can even order Monta’s renowned shoyu ramen. Just keep that secret between us — they’re busy enough already. JB 5255 S. Decatur Blvd. #118-199,

Comme Ça

Soyo Korean food hasn’t quite spread to Vegas from the Left Coast in the same way that Chinese food has, although we do have a Korean food court at the Greenland Market and occasional flashes of brilliance at places such as Honey Pig. However, Soyo, which bills itself as a “barstaurant,” stands up to any good eatery in L.A.’s sprawling Koreatown. The décor features muted colors and booths carved cannily into the walls. Cooking is

Maybe you haven’t yet tasted the best housemade charcuterie on the Strip, or the brilliant egg-topped steak tartare in a jar. Maybe you haven’t lunched on the terrace overlooking Las Vegas Boulevard, wolfing down a BLT made with luscious pork belly. Maybe you haven’t plunked down at the comfy bar and dabbled with the creative Prohibition-era cocktail list, and then, when you’ve had too many, indulged in perhaps the greatest bar snack of all time: roasted bone marrow with rich oxtail jam. If you haven’t done these things at Comme Ça, transplanted from Los Angeles to The Cosmopolitan by David Myers, then you should. This modern brasserie is pitch-perfect for the ever-changing Vegas dining universe. Its modular design provides experiences both casual and formal, taking apart the question of fine dining. It’s a foodie haven and a specialty eatery while remaining approachable and affordable. BR The Cosmopolitan, 698-7910,

Wine 5 Café I appreciate a meal that must be ordered in advance. It requires a strong commitment to eating that most people don’t possess. If you have that kind of devotion, then Wine 5 Café’s Kenyan feast (requiring 24 hours’ notice) is just the meal for you. A fusion of classic American dishes with exotic spices from Kenya make this a unique restaurant in Vegas, and this meal combines your choice of meats with traditional Kenyan sides for an introduction to a cuisine you’re not familiar with. Just trust me when I say under no circumstance should you miss their samosas — you’ll thank me for the suggestion. JB 3250 N. Tenaya Way,

So uthw e st Buldogis Having the Angry Kimchi Fries delivered to your table at Buldogis, a crazy Korean hot dog joint, equates to that part in ’80s action movies when one guy shoots a machine gun and the other guy pulls out one of those wide-barreled grenade launchers. It makes you smile — because you know something is going to blow up. In this instance, the explosion will be in your face, as your hapless taste buds attempt to understand

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Bird up: Marché Bacchus’ seared duck breast


corned beef and cabbage to lights-out fish and chips. One side dish has proven extremely addictive: hand-cut chips (French fries) and Irish curry sauce. At first, the thought of Irish curry seemed like a joke, but this is a serious snack, beating out other countries’ versions of fries and gravy. Ultimately savory, rich and flavorful sauce on perfect potato sticks. Tough to beat. BR Inside Mandalay Bay, 632-7771,


Your fish is granted: Balboa Pizza Company’s tuna sandwich

Mizumi There’s more than a touch of metaphorical significance to Mizumi having taken over the space formerly occupied by Okada in the Wynn — something about sweeping away bad vibes from that whole Steve Wynn-Kazuo Okada mogul bromance gone sour. Mizumi’s covered up that era with a décor that calls to mind the boudoir of a glam geisha, equal parts fantasia and restraint. That’s also an apt description of the Seafood inaniwa pasta, a standout dish on Executive Chef Devin Hashimoto’s menu. The seafood elements (scallops, king crab, octopus) and uni butter sauce scream pure decadence, but the light touch and delicate inaniwa noodles — offset by lime and the tonic of shiso — make this pasta dish a Zen study in savory balance. AK Inside the Wynn, 770-3463,

Old Homestead Steakhouse This steakhouse has been in the meatpacking district in Manhattan since way before it was cool: 1868. The Vegas version is compliments of Greg and Marc Sherry, brothers whose family has been operating Old Homestead from the very start. With such an impressive pedigree, it’s a given this place serves up prime beef in big, bold portions. The signature steak is a velvety 16-ounce bone-in filet mignon ($72). Old Homestead steaks have the best outer-meat-char I’ve ever drooled over. They also do the ribeye lollipop-style, served on the massive “dinosaur bone” (32 ounces, $99). My pick is the New York Strip (16 ounces, $63), impeccably beefy and needing none of the four classic sauces available. There’s a little bit of seafood, and extensive if unsurprising appetizers and side starches rounding out the menu and, as you have read, the prices are high. Worth it? If you love beef, and appreciate an undiluted steakhouse experience, this might be your spot. BR Inside Caesars

Shawn McClain’s Sage is one of the true originals of the Strip, a bona fide American restaurant that serves dishes that reflect both the skill and the aesthetic of the chef. McClain’s cooking is confident and creative. Witness dishes such as his Wagyu beef tartare garnished with slowpoached egg, crushed caper aioli and crisp chocolate wafer, or a note-perfect Iberico pork loin with milk-braised cannellini, baby eggplant, and boutique Italian mortadella, and you’ll get the idea. But it’s his Kusshi oysters with Tabasco sorbet — five delicate, buttery bites perfectly offset by the acidity in the sorbet — that we always come back for. Their sweet complexity is the perfect metaphor for the chef’s approach to cooking. MJ Inside Aria at CityCenter, 230-2742,

Palace, 731-7560,

Public House Once the scorch of summer subsides and you’re craving some ultra-hearty, crazy rich, soul-satisfying grub, for the love of all that is holy, get down to Public House. It’s hard to choose from the list of small plates at this gastropub which prides itself on celebrating contemporary tavern dining and BEER!, but the potted farm egg is a no-brainer: crusty chunks of sourdough bread riding shotgun with a cast-iron dish of savory gravy with forest mushrooms, melting ricotta cheese and a soft cooked egg. Dip away, and feel no guilt. Oh, and pair your fare with some of the finest brew in the world. Public House has more than 200 premier ales, lagers, IPAs and stouts. Cheers. DL, BR Inside The Venetian, 407-5310,

Red Square More a retro-Russian twist on lox and bagels than a Spago-style pizza, the smoked salmon pizza is an addictive appetizer and just one of several new bites on the re-imagined menu at Red Square. The foundation isn’t pizza dough, but a toasty, crispy tortilla layered with cream cheese and richly flavored fish. Topping it off? Capers and lightly pickled onions, of course, to add vinegary and briny notes to an impressively well-balanced bite. And oh yeah, there’s a generous amount of luxurious domestic caviar sprinkled about. No Soviet-era austerity here. Thirsty? Surely there’s something cold to satisfy you in the vodka vault. BR Mandalay Bay, 6938300,

Rí Rá Rí Rá is a big chain of Irish pubs that’s set a new standard of quality for local Irish cuisine. All the greatest hits are on the menu at what is an original Irish pub, meticulously restored in Ireland then shipped to Las Vegas, from house-brined

He nde rso n/Gre e n Valley Balboa Pizza Company I’m on a quest for the most mouth-watering, tear-inducing, pleasure-sense-peaking tuna sandwich ever created. (Hey, we all have dreams.) I came pretty close to finding it at Balboa Pizza Company. Theirs might not be the end of my holy tuna pilgrimage, but this sandwich certainly satisfies. First of all, it’s got pepper bacon, a key ingredient that shifts any sandwich into flavor overdrive. Second, the mayo doesn’t overpower the tuna, meaning it’s not a gooey mess but actually a tasteful texture of sauce (garlic-tomato mayo) and fish. Finally, the thin, doughy pizza bread pulls it all together — none of that thick sourdough crust that out-machos the fleshy goodness of the tuna salad. It also comes with homemade chips, which truly hold their own against this catch of a sandwich. DM The District at Green Valley Ranch, 2265 Village Walk Drive,

Layers Bakery Café Layers Bakery Café’s menu says, “All Natural. No Preservatives. No Artificial Ingredients,” and they mean it. The breakfast soup is a must-have. The intriguing dish consists of a house-made chicken stock with sage, afloat with a mixture of scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, spinach, onions and carrots. What reads like cacophony is actually a symphony — this savory soup is a perfect starter for the cooler winter months ahead. It’s served with a buttered piece of the daily bread selection. Not in a “soup for breakfast” mood? Try the scone-wich. It’s a simple dish — your choice of a savory scone topped with a single fried organic egg, with the option to add bacon or ham. JB 665 S. Green Valley Parkway, 2212253, | 71

Gallup® has audited and certified Best Doctors, Inc.’s database of physicians, and its companion Best Doctors in America® List, as using the highest industry standards




survey methodology and processes.

Published studies show that misdiagnosis

Ask your doctor questions about your diagnosis and treatment. Keep asking questions every step of the way until you’re satisfied with the answers.


Get a second – or third, or fourth – opinion. Given today’s misdiagnosis rates, you become your own best health advocate by actively seeking the right answers for your particular condition.


Take the time to get to know your family medical history – and make sure your doctor knows about it. If you search for “My Family Health Portrait” on Google you’ll find a handy online tool from the U.S. Surgeon General to assemble your own family medical history.


Take someone with you to doctor’s visits. Bring along a friend or family member to remind you of questions you want to ask, and to help you write down important notes.


If you had a biopsy and your diagnosis is based on your pathology report, try to get it reviewed again. If that interpretation is wrong, your diagnosis – and your treatment – could likely be wrong, too.

occurs from 15-28% of the time in the U.S.

In 2012, Best Doctors, Inc. reported it had corrected or refined diagnoses in 34 percent of cases in the U.S. and corrected or improved treatment in 68 percent of cases.

For further information, call (800) 223-5003 or visit

“We all have the power to make a real difference in our own care or that of a loved one.” David Seligman, Chairman and CEO at Best Doctors, Inc.,

Despite the best efforts of dedicated, time-strapped doctors, misdiagnosis still happens far too often. In today’s overburdened health care system, it’s harder than ever to have enough time to do the deep thinking needed to carefully examine each piece of a patient’s case. From a care and policy perspective, there is much that can and should be done to acknowledge and address the problem, but the private sector is taking proactive steps to combat the issue. Many of the world’s leading corporations and health plans are offering expert second opinions and other services such as helping employees find the right doctor or decide on the best treatment options, in an effort to ensure that employees get the right diagnosis. The truth is everyone must be involved when it comes to getting the right diagnosis – doctors, patients, hospitals, employers, and policymakers alike. Misdiagnosis doesn’t have to happen. We all have the power to make a real difference in our own care or that of a loved one.

David Seligman Chairman and CEO

Unsure if you have access to Best Doctors as an employee benefit? Share this with your Human Resources Department.

Alternate Medical Director Syed F. Rahman, M.D., and Medical Director Mike Jeong, D.O.

Solari Hospice Care understands the true value of home. Over 11 Years of Compassionate Care in Southern Nevada • All services provided to you in your home, including delivery of medications • New home-like inpatient facility for short-term acute care • Experienced team of Board-Certified hospice physicians • Professional support for patients, family and caregivers • 100% covered by Medicare/Medicare HMO, Medicaid and most private insurances

Contact us today for compassionate care at home. 5530 S. Jones Blvd., Las Vegas, Nevada 89118 702.870.0000






best physicians in Southern Nevada, as chosen by their peers | 75

A ddiction Medicine

How To use this Guide:

Doctors are listed alphabetically beneath specialty areas. Private practices are then listed with address and phone number. How the Best Doctors were chosen Founded in 1989 by Harvard Medical School professors, Best Doctors, Inc. is transforming and improving health care. The global company, headquartered in Boston, serves more than 30 million members in every major region of the world. The company works with the best five percent of doctors to find the right diagnoses and right treatments and seamlessly integrates its services with employers’ other health-related benefits. More than a traditional second opinion, Best Doctors delivers a comprehensive evaluation of a patient’s medical condition — providing value to both patients and treating physicians. By utilizing Best Doctors, members have access to the brightest minds in medicine to ensure the right diagnosis and treatment plan. Best Doctors’ team of researchers conducts a biennial poll using the methodology that mimics the informal peer-to-peer process doctors themselves use to identify the right specialists for their patients. Using a polling method and balloting software, which Gallup has audited and certified, they gather the insight and experience of tens of thousands of leading specialists all over the country, while confirming their credentials and specific areas of expertise. The result is the Best Doctors in America List, which includes the nation’s most respected specialists and outstanding primary care physicians in the nation. These are the doctors that other doctors recognize as the best in their fields. They cannot pay a fee and are not paid to be listed and cannot nominate or vote for themselves. It is a list that is truly unbiased and respected by the medical profession and patients alike as the source of top quality medical information.

Gallup has audited and certified Best Doctors, Inc.’s database of physicians, and its companion The Best Doctors in America List, as using the highest industry standards survey methodology and processes. These lists are excerpted from The Best Doctors in America 2013 database, which includes more than 45,000 U.S. doctors in more than 40 medical specialties and 400 subspecialties. The Best Doctors in America database is compiled and maintained by Best Doctors, Inc. For more information, visit or contact Best Doctors by telephone at 800-675-1199 or by email at Please note that lists of doctors are not available on the Best Doctors website. Best Doctors, Inc., has used its best efforts in assembling material for this list, but

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Melvin I. Pohl Las Vegas Recovery Center 3371 N Buffalo Dr Las Vegas, NV 89129 702-515-1373

Cross Dr Las Vegas, NV 89144 702-360-7600

Carlos Fonte Advanced Cardiovascular Specialists 3201 S Maryland Pkwy, Ste 502 Las Vegas, NV 89109 702-733-8600


Mark Stuart Scheller Cardiovascular Anesthesia Consultants 2850 S Mojave Rd, Ste A Las Vegas, NV 89121 702-388-8062

Cardiovascular Disease

John Bedotto HealthCare Partners of Nevada Department of Cardiology 9280 W Sunset Rd, Ste 320 Las Vegas, NV 89148 702-534-5464

David Lloyd Navratil HealthCare Partners Cardiology 2865 Siena Heights Dr, Ste 331 Henderson, NV 89052 702-407-0110 Charles Allen Rhodes Nevada Heart and Vascular Center 4275 S Burnham Ave, Ste 100 Las Vegas, NV 89119 702-240-6482

Jerry Routh HealthCare Partners Cardiology Summerlin Hospital Bldg 3, Ste 250 10105 Banburry

Erik Sirulnick Cardiovascular Consultants of Nevada 3131 La Canada St, Ste 200 Las Vegas, NV 89169 702-731-8224

Leo Spaccavento Advanced Heart Care Associates 2470 E Flamingo Rd, Stes A and B Las Vegas, NV 89121 702-796-4278

Colon and Rectal Surgery

Ovunc Bardakcioglu University of Nevada School of Medicine Department of Surgery 1707 W Charleston Blvd, Ste 160

does not warrant that the information contained herein is complete or accurate, and does not assume, and hereby disclaims, any liability to any person or other party for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions herein, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident, or any other cause. Copyright 2013, Best Doctors, Inc. Used under license, all rights reserved. This list, or any parts thereof, must not be reproduced in any form without written permission from Best Doctors, Inc. No commercial use of the information in this list may be made without the permission of Best Doctors, Inc. No fees may be charged, directly or indirectly, for the use of the information in this list without permission. BEST DOCTORS, THE BEST DOCTORS IN AMERICA, and the Star-in-Cross Logo are trademarks of Best Doctors, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries, and are used under license.

Las Vegas, NV 89102 702-671-5150

Joseph P. Thornton University of Nevada School of Medicine Department of Surgery 1707 W Charleston Blvd, Ste 160 Las Vegas, NV 89102 702-671-5150

Critical Care Medicine

Paul A. Stewart Pulmonary Associates 2000 Goldring Ave Las Vegas, NV 89106 702-384-5101

Dermatology Miriam S. Bettencourt 1701 N Green Valley Pkwy, Ste 7B Henderson, NV 89014 702-257-7546 Douglas Thomas 9097 W Post Rd, Ste 100 Las Vegas, NV 89148 702-430-5333

Endocrinology and Metabolism

Brian Alfred Berelowitz

KE Centers for Advanced Medicine 8205 W Warm Springs Rd, Ste 210 Las Vegas, NV 89113 702-724-8888

W. Reid Litchfield Desert Endocrinology 2415 W Horizon Ridge Pkwy Henderson, NV 89052 702-434-8400

Freddie G. Toffel 2700 E Sunset Rd, Ste D-34 Las Vegas, NV 89120 702-736-2021

Gastroenterology Donald Lawrence Kwok Gastroenterology Associates 3820 S Hualapai Way, Ste 200 Las Vegas, NV 89147 702-796-0231 Gregory Kwok Gastroenterology Associates 3820 S Hualapai Way, Ste 200 Las Vegas, NV 89147 702-796-0231 Frank J. Nemec Gastroenterology Associates 3820 S Hualapai Way, Ste 200 Las Vegas, NV 89147 702-796-0231 | 77

Bradley J. Thompson 3650 S Eastern Ave, Ste 300 Las Vegas, NV 89169 702-796-8036

Hand Surgery

William A. Zamboni University of Nevada School of Medicine Department of Surgery 1707 W Charleston Blvd, Ste 190 Las Vegas, NV 89102 702-671-5110

Infectious Disease Jerome Frank Hruska Infectious Disease Consultants 3006 S Maryland Pkwy, Ste 780 Las Vegas, NV 89109 702-737-0740 Brian J. Lipman Infectious Diseases of Southern Nevada 10001 S Eastern Ave, Ste 307 Henderson, NV 89015 702-776-8300

Gary Skankey Infectious Disease Consultants 3006 S Maryland Pkwy, Ste 780 Las Vegas, NV 89109 702-737-0740

Eugene L. Speck Infectious Disease Consultants 3006 S Maryland Pkwy, Ste 780 Las Vegas, NV 89109 702-737-0740

Internal Medicine Paul T. Emery King Edward Medical Group 8205 W Warm Springs Rd, Ste 210 Las Vegas, NV 89113 702-735-8734 Sarah Heiner 70 E Horizon Ridge Pkwy, Ste 100 Henderson, NV 89002 702-778-8828

Medical Oncology and Hematology

Heather J. Allen Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada 3730 S Eastern Ave Las Vegas, NV 89169 702-952-3400

John S. Hou HealthCare Partners 4275 S Burnham Ave, Ste 220 Las Vegas, NV 89119 702-369-0088 Michael J. Petruso Internal Medicine Associates 3006 S Maryland Pkwy, Ste 400 Las Vegas, NV 89109 702-369-5582

Jerrold Schwartz 3530 E Flamingo Rd, Ste 100 Las Vegas, NV 89121 702-737-8657 78 | Desert

Candice Tung 3530 E Flamingo Rd, Ste 100 Las Vegas, NV 89121 702-737-8657

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Mary-Ann Allison Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada 1505 Wigwam Pkwy, Ste 130 Henderson, NV 89074 702-856-1400 John A. Ellerton Cancer & Blood Specialists of Nevada 2460 W Horizon Ridge Pkwy Henderson, NV 89052 702-822-2000

Russell Gollard Cancer & Blood Specialists of Nevada 2460 W Horizon Ridge Pkwy Henderson, NV 89052 702-822-2000

Edwin Charles Kingsley Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada 3730 S Eastern Ave Las Vegas, NV 89169 702-952-3400

James Delfino Sanchez Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada 7445 Peak Dr Las Vegas, NV 89128 702-952-2140 Rinah I. Shopnick Cancer & Blood Specialists of Nevada 2460 W Horizon Ridge Pkwy Henderson, NV 89052 702-822-2000

Nicholas J. Vogelzang Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada 3730 S Eastern Ave Las Vegas, NV 89169 702-952-3400

Nephrology Marvin Jay Bernstein Kidney Specialists of Southern Nevada 500 S Rancho Dr, Ste 12 Las Vegas, NV 89106 702-877-1887 Robert W. Merrell Kidney Specialists of Southern Nevada 2865 Siena Heights Dr, Ste 140 Henderson, NV 89052 702-877-1887 Zvi Sela Kidney Specialists of Southern Nevada 653 N Town Center Dr Bldg 2, Ste 70 Las Vegas, NV 89144 702-877-1887

Neurological Surgery


Jeffrey Lee Cummings Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health 888 W Bonneville Ave Las Vegas, NV 89106 702-483-6029 Luis Diaz 653 N Town Center Dr, Ste 312 Las Vegas, NV 89144 702-233-0755

Nuclear Medicine Paul D. Bandt Desert Radiologists 2020 Palomino Ln, Ste 100 Las Vegas, NV 89106 702-387-6900

Obstetrics and Gynecology

John A. Anson The Spine and Brain Institute 8530 W Sunset Rd, Ste 250 Las Vegas, NV 89113 702-851-0792

Derek A. Duke The Spine and Brain Institute 861 Coronado Center Dr, Ste 200 Henderson, NV 89052 702-948-9088

David R. Aberman Women's Health Specialists 1934 E Sahara Ave Las Vegas, NV 89104 702-369-5758 Robert J. Futoran Las Vegas Gynecology Oncology 341 N Buffalo Dr, Ste D Las Vegas, NV 89145 702-410-5822 Irwin G. Glassman Women's Health Specialists 1934 E Sahara Ave Las Vegas, NV 89104 702-369-5758

Your weight is a matter of life and death. According to the National Institutes of Health, obesity and overweight together are the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States. James D. Atkinson, M.D., FACS and Darren W. Soong M.D., FACS, of Surgical Weight Control Center offer proven treatment options like the gastric sleeve and gastric band. All weight loss procedures are performed at Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center – a bariatric surgery Center of Excellence.

James D. Atkinson, M.D., FACS Medical Director

Darren W. Soong M.D., FACS Bariatric Surgeon

Call (702) 337-2282 or visit Most Insurance Accepted (including Medicare) Physicians are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center. The hospital shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians. Surgical Weight Control Center is proud to perform all weight loss procedures at Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center – a designated, Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence.


3150 N Tenaya Way, Ste 112 Las Vegas, NV 89128 702-671-6480


Florence Jameson 5281 S Eastern Ave Las Vegas, NV 89119 702-262-9676

Mark Doubrava Eye Care for Nevada 9011 W Sahara Ave, Ste 101 Las Vegas, NV 89117 702-794-2020

Steven Kramer Women's Health Specialists 1934 E Sahara Ave Las Vegas, NV 89104 702-369-5758

Emily Fant Shepherd Eye Center 3575 Pecos-McLeod Las Vegas, NV 89121 702-731-2088

Michelle M. Lewis 1701 N Green Valley Pkwy, Ste 3A Henderson, NV 89074 702-566-3040

Kirsten B. Rojas Meadows Women's Center 9120 W Post Rd, Ste 200 Las Vegas, NV 89148 702-870-2229 J. Michael Scarff Women's Health Specialists 1934 E Sahara Ave Las Vegas, NV 89104 702-369-5758 Bruce S. Shapiro The Fertility Center of Las Vegas 8851 W Sahara Ave, Ste 100 Las Vegas, NV 89117 702-254-1777

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Otolaryngology Jerold E. Boyers Ear, Nose and Throat Associates 700 Shadow Ln, Ste 235 Las Vegas, NV 89106 702-382-3221

Department of Pediatrics 2040 W Charleston Blvd, Ste 402 Las Vegas, NV 89102 702-671-2229

Pediatric Pulmonology

Darren Thomas Wheeler Quest Diagnostics Gynecologic and Breast Pathology 4230 Burnham Ave Las Vegas, NV 89119 702-733-3785

Pediatric Cardiology Ruben Acherman Children's Heart Center 3006 S Maryland Pkwy, Ste 690 Las Vegas, NV 89109 702-732-1290

Craig T. Nakamura Children's Lung Center 3820 Meadows Ln Las Vegas, NV 89107 702-598-4411

Pediatric Urology Ranjiv Mathews Children's Urology Associates Summerlin Hospital Bldg 2, Ste 114 653 N Town Center Dr Las Vegas, NV 89144 702-369-4999

Pediatrics/ General Walter (Russ) Schroeder Ear, Nose and Throat Consultants of Nevada 3195 Saint Rose Pkwy, Ste 210 Henderson, NV 89502 702-792-6700

Abraham Rothman Children's Heart Center 3006 S Maryland Pkwy, Ste 690 Las Vegas, NV 89109 702-732-1290

Pediatric Dermatology Douglas Thomas 9097 W Post Rd, Ste 100 Las Vegas, NV 89148 702-430-5333

Robert C. Wang University of Nevada School of Medicine Department of Otolaryngology

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Pediatric Medical Genetics Colleen Morris University of Nevada School of Medicine

Renu S. Jain Kid's Healthcare 3006 S Maryland Pkwy, Ste 315 Las Vegas, NV 89109 702-992-6868 Beverly A. Neyland Kid's Healthcare 3006 S Maryland Pkwy, Ste 315 Las Vegas, NV 89109 702-992-6868 S. Charles Snavely Kid's Healthcare 3006 S Maryland Pkwy, Ste 315 Las Vegas, NV 89109 702-992-6868

Plastic Surgery

Goesel M. Anson Plastic Surgery Associates 8530 W Sunset Rd, Ste 130 Las Vegas, NV 89113 702-822-2100

Radiology Paul D. Bandt Desert Radiologists 2020 Palomino Ln, Ste 100 Las Vegas, NV 89106 702-387-6900 William W. Orrison, Jr. Nevada's Imaging Center 5495 S Rainbow Blvd, Ste 101 Las Vegas, NV 89118 702-214-9729

Rheumatology Julio L. Garcia Bldg C 6020 S Rainbow Blvd Las Vegas, NV 89118 702-870-0058 William A. Zamboni University of Nevada School of Medicine Department of Surgery 1707 W Charleston Blvd, Ste 190 Las Vegas, NV 89102 702-671-5110

Pulmonary Medicine Paul A. Stewart Pulmonary Associates 2000 Goldring Ave Las Vegas, NV 89106 702-384-5101

Radiation Oncology Mark Bernard Hazuka Las Vegas Prostate Cancer Center 7150 W Sunset Rd, Ste 100 Las Vegas, NV 89113 702-834-3961

Michael A. O'Hanlan Arthritis Associates 8905 S Pecos Rd, Ste 23A Las Vegas, NV 89074 702-734-8311

Sleep Medicine W. Jeff Willoughby, Jr. 653 N Town Center Dr Summerlin Hospital Bldg 1, Ste 608 Las Vegas, NV 89144 702-998-1400


Terence G. Banich General Surgery Associates 700 Shadow Ln, Ste 370 Las Vegas, NV 89106 702-382-8222

Las Vegas, NV 89102 702-383-2224

Surgical Oncology

Annabel E. Barber University of Nevada School of Medicine Department of Surgery 3150 N Tenaya Way, Ste 112 Las Vegas, NV 89128 702-671-6480 Dennis Chong General Surgical Consultants 10001 S Eastern Ave, Ste 206 Henderson, NV 89052 702-617-1981

John J. Fildes University of Nevada School of Medicine Department of Surgery 1707 W Charleston Blvd, Ste 160 Las Vegas, NV 89102 702-671-5150 Arthur A. Fusco General Surgery Associates 700 Shadow Ln, Ste 370 Las Vegas, NV 89106 702-382-8222

Annabel E. Barber University of Nevada School of Medicine Department of Surgery 3150 N Tenaya Way, Ste 112 Las Vegas, NV 89128 702-671-6480

Daniel M. Kirgan University of Nevada School of Medicine Department of Surgery 1707 W Charleston Blvd, Ste 160 Las Vegas, NV 89102 702-671-5150

Thoracic Surgery Peter G. Vajtai 5745 S Fort Apache Rd, Ste 100 Las Vegas, NV 89148 702-240-3198 Robert Wiencek St. Rose-Stanford Cardiovascular Surgery Clinic 2865 Siena Heights Dr Henderson, NV 89052 702-616-6580

Urology Ranjit Jain Urology Associates 700 Shadow Ln, Ste 430 Las Vegas, NV 89106 702-384-0500

John Ham University Medical Center Center for Transplantation 1120 Shadow Ln, Ste D100 82 | Desert

Companion | AUGUST 2013

Alex Sparkuhl Urology Associates 700 Shadow Ln, Ste 430 Las Vegas, NV 89106 702-384-0500

EvErything EvErything wE wE havE. havE. For For every every part part oF oF you. you.

C C om om pr pr e eh he e nsi nsi v ve e

Cancer strikes more than your body. It can weaken your constitution, overwhelm your mind and undermine your spirit. It can Cancer strikes more than your body. It can weaken your constitution, overwhelm your mind and undermine your spirit. It can bring financial hardship and impose overwhelming stress on entire families. It can turn worlds upside down in an instant. bring financial hardship and impose overwhelming stress on entire families. It can turn worlds upside down in an instant. Hundreds of thousands of patients have come to Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada for treatment over the years, Hundreds of thousands of patients have come to Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada for treatment over the years, which means we’ve had hundreds of thousands of opportunities to learn what cancer can do to the lives of our patients which means we’ve had hundreds of thousands of opportunities to learn what cancer can do to the lives of our patients and their families. We know what it takes to make you better goes beyond medicine. and their families. We know what it takes to make you better goes beyond medicine. Through our affiliations with The US Oncology Network and UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, your Through our affiliations with The US Oncology Network and UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, your Comprehensive oncologist can also collaborate with nearly 1,000 oncologists nationwide – bringing the best available Comprehensive oncologist can also collaborate with nearly 1,000 oncologists nationwide – bringing the best available care to you, including access to the latest clinical research studies. care to you, including access to the latest clinical research studies. Comprehensive treatment. Comprehensive care. Everything we have, for every part of you. Comprehensive treatment. Comprehensive care. Everything we have, for every part of you. There are thirteen Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada treatment facilities in Southern Nevada. There are thirteen Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada treatment facilities in Southern Nevada. Visit our website or call for details: • 702.952.3350 Visit our website or call for details: • 702.952.3350

United in Healing United in Healing

The US Oncology Network is supported by McKesson Specialty Health. © 2013 McKessonNetwork Specialty All rights reserved. The US Oncology is Health. supported by McKesson Specialty Health. © 2013 McKesson Specialty Health. All rights reserved.




Health Care With

courage, compassion and a

commitment to results, these Southern Nevada doctors are here to save the day — and save lives

Story by CHANTAL CORCORAN photos by Bill Hughes | 85

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Companion | AUGUST 2013

Heroes of health care

Dr. Paul Bandt Radiologist

With steady hands and X-ray vision, Dr. Bandt is known for performing the first of a life-saving procedure in Nevada


hen Paul Bandt graduated from medical school at the University of Minnesota in 1966, he couldn’t have imagined the future of his work. Even as a diagnostic radiology resident at Stanford Medical Center, he couldn’t have fathomed the exploding future of his field. Nobody could have. Intrigued by the ability to diagnose and treat things that were hidden to the naked eye, but apparent through X-ray, Bandt chose to sub-specialize in interventional radiology, using image guidance to perform minimally invasive surgery. At the time — when there were no such things as diagnostic ultrasounds or CAT scans — his work was primarily fluoroscopy, an imaging technique incorporating X-ray and fluorescence. Then came the advent of three-dimensional imaging, computer demographic scanning, magnetic resonance scanning and ultrasound scanning; physicians suddenly had the ability to clearly see inside the body in 3-D. The field of interventional radiology ignited. Suddenly, radiologists were able to do things never before done and interventional radiology evolved into a type of surgery. “That became intensely fascinating,” says Dr. Bandt, an interventional radiologist at Desert Radiologists ( “To be able to treat these patients who previously had required really large surgical procedures. And we were able to do them in out-patient procedures.” Now with the latest in medical imagery, Bandt commonly treats arterial malformations in the vascular system. He diagnoses, dilates and treats arterial blockages in the brain or the renal arteries. He drains cysts or abscesses to avoid operative procedures. He performs biopsies via needles anywhere in the body. Interventional radiology has since surged into nearly every other area of medicine. “It was truly interventional radiology that pioneered this whole idea of doing things on a minimal basis with image guidance,” Bandt says, pointing to surgeon’s and fiber-optic scopes in his office. When

asked what sets him apart as a top doctor, he’s humble. “Just because there are people picked out as the 10, 20 or 30 top doctors, there are 10 times that many who practice the same skill with the same results.” But, when pressed, he admits that aptitude and agility are important. “It’s like anybody doing anything, whether it’s a ballplayer or a violinist, you have to have a certain aptitude and agility with your hands, and coordination and all those things. ... If there’s something that sets you apart, maybe it’s just a matter of what you’re doing, where you’re doing it and that you get a chance to do procedures in large volumes, so you become expert at it. That’s really the secret.” Most doctors who earn recognition for being the best, Bandt says, work 10- and 12-hour days and 50-hour weeks. “We all have to thank our families for putting up with dad not being around a lot of times,” he says, grateful that his younger colleagues now afford him the luxury of weekends off. In 1991, when he was still working weekends, Bandt performed the first TIPS shunt (transjugular intrahepatic portocable shunt) in Nevada. Traditionally, the operation necessary to treat a patient with liver failure had a high morbidity (disease) and mortality rate. But the TIPS shunt, which creates an artificial channel within the liver to allow the blood to get back to the heart more easily, has a significantly higher success rate. “The patient was bleeding to death and you just had to do it,” Bandt recalls of the heavy drinker's delicate situation. “The surgeons refused to do it because the patient had such bad lungs that he couldn’t take the general anesthesia. It had to be done with conscious sedation,” or the patient would die within 68 hours. Although the procedure was essentially a combination of everything that interventional radiologists did, at the time, it wasn’t clear to Bandt how it all came together. The FDA had only a month earlier approved the stent needed for the procedure; it had been performed only 10 or 20 times in the country. “There wasn’t anybody to hold your hand. You just had to watch the videos of how it’s being done and that’s about it.” The surgery was a success. A month later, Bandt’s 35-year-old patient walked out of the hospital. The patient hasn’t had a drink since — although we don’t imagine his hands are as steady as the good doctor’s.

QUOTE FILE •O  n performing the first TIPS shunt in Nevada: “There wasn’t anybody to hold your hand.” •O  n the role of family in a doctor’s life: “We all have to thank our families for putting up with dad not being around a lot of times.” •O  n the skill required for interventional radiology: “You have to have a certain aptitude and agility with your hands.” | 87

Heroes of health care

Dr. Ruben Acherman Pediatric cardiologist

With a big love for little ones, Dr. Acherman created a program to diagnose the valley’s tiniest hearts


QUOTE FILE •O  n teaming up with valley perinatologists at their offices to monitor high-risk pregnancies: “That’s the way it should be done.” •O  n how his clients talked him into performing his first prenatal balloon dilatation of an aortic valve: “They said, ‘Listen, we want our baby to be your first baby for that balloon dilatation. We have all of our confidence in you and we want to have it here.’” •O  n the satisfactions of his profession: “It’s fantastic. It’s beautiful. This profession is beautiful.”

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r. Ruben Acherman had been the Director of Fetal Cardiology at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles for eight years when he was asked to join the Children’s Heart Center Nevada. It wasn’t exactly a tough sell. There were a few things that attracted him to this particular group practice. According to Acherman, the doctors at the Children’s Heart Center ( are more concerned with caring for children with congenital heart disease than they are with their patients’ insurance or ability to pay. In fact, they’re so committed that they reach into their own pockets to fund their clinical research. “That caught my attention. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have even come for a visit,” says Acherman, whose desire to specialize in pediatric cardiology brought him from South America, where the specialty didn’t exist in the mid ’80s, to the United States. Here, he completed a second residency in pediatrics at the University of Southern California Medical Center. Then he completed a cardiology fellowship at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada before heading to Los Angeles. When Acherman made that first visit to Vegas, 11 years ago, only 25 percent of the valley’s serious congenital heart disease cases were being diagnosed prenatally. Now, thanks in part to the unique fetal assessment program he’s instituted through Children’s Heart Center, that number has shot up to nearly 75 percent. It works like this. Seven days a week, Acherman and four other doctors from the Children’s Heart Center travel throughout Las Vegas, meeting patients and performing fetal echocardiographic evaluations (a sort of ultrasound) at their perinatologists’ offices (specialists in high-risk pregnancies). That way, doctors in both specialties can speak simultaneously to the mothers about their babies’ heart conditions. “Because in my view, that’s the way it should be done. But, financially, it’s very inefficient and that’s why not very

Companion | AUGUST 2013

many people do it,” Acherman says. Other programs are apt to require the patients to come to them and may only offer fetal evaluations once a week, since fetal cardiology doesn’t pay particularly well. At the very least, diagnosis of a baby’s heart problems before birth allows a family to be better prepared, often preventing further complications. For instance, a mother from Mesquite will know to deliver in Las Vegas, where her baby can be whisked to a neonatal intensive care unit to be immediately treated. Acherman’s program also has nurses accompany parents to the hospitals, in advance of births, to introduce them to the intensive care unit setting, answering questions and allowing them to be more mentally prepared for the experience. Psychologists are also made available, as are social workers to help families to organize and cope with the logistics of a long hospital stay. Early fetal diagnosis also allows doctors to immediately do what can be done — sometimes while the baby is still in the womb. In the case of a fetus with cardiac arrhythmia, a mother can be prescribed medication to treat her baby’s heart. Also, in Las Vegas, catheters can now be inserted prenatally. “If one of the (aortic) valves is too narrow, you may go in through the mother’s tummy with needles, put (in) a little catheter with a little balloon and open the valve,” Acherman explains. The procedure had never been done in Nevada until two years ago. Acherman remembers the case. Having diagnosed a fetus of 24 weeks gestation with a “very sick aortic valve,” he told the parents that he intended to send them elsewhere to receive treatment because, while the center was preparing to do its first, it hadn’t performed any yet. “They called me and wanted to talk to me a couple of days later. They said, ‘Listen, we want our baby to be your first baby for that balloon dilatation. We have all of our confidence in you and we want to have it here.’” Acherman beams as he recalls the compliment — and the results. Today, his patient is a healthy toddler who the good doctor says you’d never know was once a very sick baby. Children’s Heart Center has since become one of only eight centers in the country to perform a prenatal balloon dilatation of a narrow aortic valve. Furthermore, it’s only been performed eight times on the west coast. “It’s fantastic,” says Acherman. “It’s beautiful. This profession is beautiful.” | 89

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Heroes of health care

Dr. Annabel Barber and Dr. Robert Wang General surgeon and oncologist

Teaming up on a tough case, this medical couple ensured the show would go on for a Strip musician


r. Annabel Barber is a general surgeon who subspecializes in oncology. Dr. Robert Wang is a head and neck cancer specialist. The two share an office at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, although they’re not often there at the same time; naturally, they’re both very busy. Occasionally, they teach together, do research together or write papers together. On Wednesdays, they assist each other in surgeries. Oh, and they’ve been married for 25 years. Barber grew up in Texas, although she’s originally from Mississippi. Wang is a New Yorker. They met “Grey’s Anatomy”-style when Wang, having completed his ear, nose and throat studies at Harvard Medical School, was doing his fellowship in head and neck cancer surgeries at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, which is where Barber was doing a rotation as a fourth-year student of the University of Texas Medical School. They wrote their first paper together and were married three years later. “It’s a good relationship to have,” says Wang. And not just because they get to spend a lot of time together in a demanding field. Barber points to the professional advantages. “We’re able to bridge techniques, the way we think about things. I’m like, ‘Hey, you might want to try this instrument that you might not be familiar with in doing this operation.’” She adds, “I think that my husband and I are able to do a lot of big operations ... because we know we can count on each other.” Big operations such as a complicated, 10-hour surgery they performed last spring. Wang’s patient, a trombone player in “Donny and Marie” at The Flamingo, had a rare and advanced thyroid cancer that was invading his trachea and had spread to the lymph nodes in his neck. With Bar-

ber assisting, Wang was able to take out the infected segment of the patient’s windpipe — a rare procedure in a most complicated portion of the anatomy that could easily have left the patient without his voice or the ability to continue playing his trombone — remove the cancer and put the windpipe back together again. “Within four to six weeks, he was back playing the trombone. We just saw him perform. It was great,” says Wang. When the couple operates together, one leads and the other assists, depending on the surgery. “Interestingly enough, we don’t have too many disputes during surgery,” says Wang, because they are respectful of each other’s immense expertise and experience. The more serious challenge the surgeons face is outside the operating room: “As a physician who practices here, you have to question each bit of information that you get,” says Barber, who commonly operates on breast cancer and colon cancer patients, and is also head of the Nevada chapter of the American College of Surgeons. That’s because of the instability of the medical system here. She’s referring to the habit that many of our large healthcare providers have of routinely changing insurance contractors, which necessitates that patients jump from place to place each year for their cancer screening services. “So, your same doctors are not comparing your mammogram from last year with this year.” This irregularity in Southern Nevada increases the odds that something — in this case, something being cancer — will slip through the cracks. “That’s what we fear. It’s the biggest fear,” says Barber, who copes with the extra responsibility this entails of her with a shrug and a smile. “It’s the wild, wild west.” As much as they believe in teamwork, the docs also believe in a sense of humor and a positive attitude toward fighting cancer and healing. “It helps people to deal with very the serious and awful things, if you can find something to laugh about,” says Barber. “You’ve got to laugh. I’m being serious.”

QUOTE FILE •O  n working as a team: “I think that my husband and I are able to do a lot of big operations ... because we know we can count on each other.” •O  n the importance of humor in a high-stress profession: “It helps people to deal with very the serious and awful things, if you can find something to laugh about,” says Barber. “You’ve got to laugh. I’m being serious.” •O  n practicing as a married couple: “Interestingly enough, we don’t have too many disputes during surgery,” says Wang. | 91

Heroes of health care

Dr. Sarah Heiner General internist

Inspired as a child to study medicine, this doctor takes a maverick approach to health care — and gets results

W QUOTE FILE •O  n the physician of her youth that inspired her: “He was just a really good role model.” •O  n the rise of group practices in the ’90s: “We all thought we were going to get paid to think, which is what primary care doctors are really supposed to be doing, but the system is completely stacked in reverse.” •O  n preferring cash over insurance plans: “And if (patients are) having hard times or are going to need a bunch of follow-up appointments, it’s my luxury to say, ‘I’ll give you a 50 percent discount’ or, ‘This visit’s on me.’”

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hen she was only 8 years old, Sarah Heiner knew she wanted to practice medicine. She was a sick little girl in suburban Chicago who, along with her older brother, suffered from acute asthma. It was her pediatrician who inspired her career choice. “He was just a really good role model,” Dr. Heiner says of the physician. She recalls how he sympathized with the unique difficulties her single mother faced raising two sick children in the ’60s. She remembers how he would make house calls whenever necessary. “He made it possible for my mother to keep her job.” Heiner got her start early. As a high school student, she was accepted into Northwestern University’s Honors Program in Medical Education in Chicago, an accelerated track that had her complete four years of pre-med in just two. It was a little intense, she says — “They had enough kids crack up that now it’s a three-year program” — but it was worth it for the two expensive years it shaved off her tuition. By the time she was 20, she was in med school. She completed her residency at University of California, San Francisco and Mt. Zion Hospital, then opened a private adult care practice on Rancho Drive in Las Vegas in 1986. “A lot of us came in the mid-’80s. Vegas was bustling. It was supposed to be a great place to practice medicine,” she says. Then, by the mid-’90s, local insurances started cutting reimbursements, prompting the rise of group practices. According to Heiner, medicine became less about the quality of care than the quantity of care. “We all thought we were going to get paid to think, which is what primary care doctors are really supposed to be doing, but the system is completely stacked in reverse. The more time you spend with a patient and think about what’s best for the patient, the less you get paid.”

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In 2007, having trouble making ends meet — “No one wanted to pay me” — she closed her office, joining the masses in group practice, where she lasted only a year. Frustrated by what she refers to as “sweatshops for doctors,” she quit. Heiner was headed back to Illinois when she was asked to be the founding medical director for Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada, a free clinic for the uninsured in Las Vegas. During the year and a half that she treated the uninsured, Heiner met and married her second husband and began again. Using money from her savings, she opened a small private practice in Henderson in 2012 ( “But the only way to do it, because the insurances don’t pay enough to open the front door and turn on the lights, was to do cash,” she explains. Her experience treating patients at the free clinic led her also to accept Medicare. While Heiner admits that some of the only 20 patients she’ll see in a day balk at her $100 fee for a 15-minute visit, the business model suits her. It allows her to take the time to properly care for patients. “And if they’re having hard times or are going to need a bunch of follow-up appointments, it’s my luxury to say, ‘I’ll give you a 50 percent discount’ or, ‘This visit’s on me.’” Taking time to properly treat her patients is important to Heiner. In 2006, she had a patient suffering a viral illness of the heart. She sent him to a cardiologist, where he was diagnosed and prescribed antibiotics thought to have healed him. A year later, he collapsed. The man’s wife called Heiner from the emergency room, where the doctors could find nothing wrong with him. They were preparing to release him the next morning, but before they did, Heiner decided, “I’m just going to take a minute and examine him.” It was when she placed her stethoscope to his neck that she heard the swishing sound in his carotid artery. A CAT scan revealed that the infection of the previous year had not gone away but had, in fact, eaten at the main outflow valve of his heart; the valve was splitting open. Heiner’s patient would likely have died within the following 12 hours. Instead, for the time she took to re-examine him, he was rushed into the eight-hour surgery that saved his life. | 93

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Heroes of health care

Dr. Luis Diaz Neurologist

With tenacity in the face of adversity, Dr. Diaz went the extra mile to diagnose a rare condition — and save a soldier’s life


s a boy in Mexico City, Luis Diaz watched as his physician father spent most of his life helping people. He became inspired to do the same. “You develop a feeling for people who have nothing — nothing materially and they lose their health. That’s the main reason I’m a doctor.” Diaz graduated from med school at Universidad Nacional Autonoma De Mexico in 1982 and interned in internal medicine at State University in New York. He spent another three years there for a neurology residency before earning a fellowship in neuro-oncology at the University of California San Francisco. While his father provided him with a good life, poverty surrounded them. So Diaz, now a neurologist with a private practice (, is particularly keen about treating the poor. “Patients in this specialty become handicapped and disabled and they end up in that (economically disadvantaged) category in many ways,” he says. Debilitating conditions means they can’t work. “Yes, I do see a lot of people on Medicaid and Medicare,” says Diaz. He doesn’t mind at all, except that it tends also to present a challenge for him in Southern Nevada where, he says, neurologists tend to be isolated academically. “We don’t have, like in Los Angeles and Chicago and so on, tertiary care centers with active research to which practitioners can actually refer patients for clinical trials or special diagnostic testing.” That academic isolation often leaves local neurologists to figure out for themselves what’s going on with a patient. After 20 years in practice, Diaz has learned how best to do this — by keeping up with the research and literature, at-

tending continuing medical education conferences and networking with national speakers so he can telephone them for consultations when necessary. Still, it’s difficult for him to get second opinions. “It’s very difficult to have Medicaid pay for a referral for a second opinion or some diagnostic procedures.” He says that many insurances also refuse to pay for these important medical services. “Sometimes we have questions, as physicians, as to what to do with certain cases, difficult diagnoses, or no diagnoses, so that’s a challenge,” he says. Neurology deals with the diagnosis and treatment of all categories of disease — and there are hundreds — involving the central and peripheral nervous systems, the autonomic nervous systems and the somatic nervous systems. While Diaz praises the doctors at the Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health for beginning research in Vegas on Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis, that still leaves many neurological disorders unattended academically in Nevada. That means Diaz will need to continue to roll up his sleeves and dig in deep when confronted with mysterious and challenging cases, such as the “stiff person syndrome” he diagnosed in the early ’90s. His patient, a soldier who had recently returned from the Gulf War, suffered from pain and muscle cramping, physically handicapping him. Diaz suspected stiff person syndrome, a very rare, little-understood autoimmune disease affecting possibly less than one person in a million. However, he wasn’t able to prove it conclusively, because the patient’s blood work came back negative. Still convinced, Diaz decided to prescribe the recommended medication for the disease and, after six to nine months of treatment, his patient’s condition improved tremendously. Now, after several years, the ex-soldier is 90 percent improved, his muscles are loose and normal again, and he’s grateful that Diaz didn’t give up on him. “In neurology, it happens a lot that a patient will come into an office with pain or other symptoms and the initial testing shows nothing to go by,” says Diaz. “I don’t give up on those patients.”

QUOTE FILE •O  n his commitment to treating the economically disadvantaged: “You develop a feeling for people who have nothing — nothing materially and they lose their health.” •O  n challenging cases: “In neurology, it happens a lot that a patient will come into an office with pain or other symptoms and the initial testing shows nothing to go by. I don’t give up on those patients.” •O  n academic isolation in the neurology subspecialty: “Sometimes we have questions, as physicians, as to what to do with certain cases, difficult diagnoses, or no diagnoses, so that’s a challenge.” | 95



J.W. Randolph Bolton, MD, PhD

Cardiothoracic surgeon and Medical Director

Robert G. Wiencek, MD Cardiovascular surgeon

Two cardiothoracic surgeons, Dr. J.W. Randolph Bolton and Dr. Robert Wiencek, have joined St. Rose-Stanford Clinics. They share St. Rose’s mission of advancing the standard of care in our community and look forward to serving you.

Welcoming former and new patients. Please call 702-616-6580 for an appointment.

St. Rose-Stanford Clinics 2865 Siena Heights Dr., #131 Henderson, NV 89052


Our August Baby of the Month.


Photographer: Meghan Poort

Samantha's Story

Samantha’s parents found out a few years ago that Mom has a single gene defect, and knowing this, they wanted to make sure they did not pass this on to their baby. So they needed to do in vitro fertilization (IVF) with Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis. This beautiful bundle is healthy and disease-free thanks to that procedure. It just goes to show you how amazing our technology is today. It really makes you smile knowing you were able to ensure a healthy baby due to a simple genetic test on the embryo and IVF procedure. Congratulations to Samantha, our August Baby of the Month! Red Rock Fertility Center is Nevada’s 1st and only boutique-styled center specializing in personalized physician care and expertise in an intimate, cozy setting. Giving the gift of life all year long...

We are proud to announce the opening of our 2nd location and our new team member Shannon McGrath! Our new Henderson address is 870 Seven Hills Dr., Ste. 103, Henderson, NV 89052.

Eva Littman,

Mark Severino,

Shannon L. McGrath,

Practice Director, Trained at Duke & Stanford Universities

Medical Director, Board Certified in Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility

Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, Received Master’s Degree in Nursing from Vanderbilt University with the Highest Honors

M.D., F.A.C.O.G.

“Voted 2012 and 2013 Top Infertility Doctor”

M.D., F.A.C.O.G.

M.S.N., W.H.N.P.-C.

“2012 Compassionate Doctor Award”

6410 Medical Center Street, Suite A • Las Vegas, NV 89148 I Schedule An Appointment Today I 702.749.4902 I Follow us on:

doctor ? Is there a

in the house

Nevada has one of the worst physician shortages in the country. Yet most of our medical school graduates leave the state to train and practice elsewhere. What’s the cure for this condition? story by Andrew Kiraly photography Jacob mcCarthy


Karleen Adams looks forward to weekends — not because she’s off, but because she’s on. Her day at Valley Hospital starts at 5 a.m. and quickly ramps up into an intense and well-orchestrated whirlwind of activity. She examines patients, scrutinizes charts and lab results, consults with nurses about patients’ medication, attends lectures on diseases and hospital policy, discusses cases with attending physicians and stands by in surgeries to hold a laparoscopic camera or help close a wound. Phew. If there’s a lull, she’ll answer some emails, get in some studying or grab a quick nap. A graduate of Touro University in Henderson, Adams is in her second month of a family medicine residency at Valley Hospital, a threeyear training program at the end of which Adams will be a fully fledged medical professional ready to practice as a physician. “You work incredibly hard,” she says of the 12-hour days that consume two of her weekends a month, “but it’s so rewarding. And it’s just an amazing place to be. If you work a 12-hour day without feeling like you’ve been there all day, it’s because you like being there. At the end of every day, I’m like, ‘Wow, what a cool job.’” Sounds like the job is growing on her — and you might say Vegas is growing on her, too. “I’m a Northwest girl,” says Adams, who grew up in Spokane, Wash. “I miss the greenery, the lakes and streams, but I’m starting to grow more attached to the whole Vegas area — because of the things to do, and how you become connected with the other residents here.” In fact, she’s thinking about staying on to work after her residency, as part of a United Health Services program. The program will pay her a stipend now in exchange for practicing in Nevada for two years after she wraps up her hospital training.

The fact that Dr. Adams is starting to like Vegas is important. It’s vital for doctors to like Nevada. Indeed, there’s another purpose to hospital residencies and fellowships beyond training tomorrow’s physicians, a purpose that’s a kind of social engineering for the greater good: Keeping that newly minted medical talent in our own community. According to surveys, 60 percent of Nevada medical school students end up leaving the state after graduation to eventually practice medicine. That’s quite a brain drain. But that percentage improves when medical school grads stick around for training. Consider another statistic: About 58 percent of actively licensed physicians who completed their graduate medical education — residencies — in Nevada continue practicing in the state. That’s a bit better. Now consider this: Eighty percent of physicians who complete both their undergraduate studies and graduate medical education in Nevada remain to work in the state. It’s a rare (and positive) distinction that puts us at No. 4 in the nation for retaining our med graduates as physicians — a ranking that managed to hold steady even during the economic downturn. “It’s an important statistic,” says John Packham, director of health policy research at the University of Nevada School of Medicine. “My mantra is, ‘Build these programs and they will stay.’”

The doctor is ... out? And we need those doctors to stay — badly. Nevada has one of the worst physician shortages in the country. According to Packham’s most recent study, Nevada ranks 46th in the nation for the number of primary care physicians per capita — there are 173 of them for every 100,000 of us, according to some of the latest figures. And we rank dead last or close to last in

the U.S. for general surgeons, orthopedic surgeons and psychiatrists. Fewer doctors doesn’t mean it’s just harder for you to get an appointment — or that you may spend a bit more time flipping through a month-old Time Magazine in the waiting room. The physician shortage also drives people to the emergency room for routine issues — expensive care that can drive up health care costs. And a physician shortage isn’t exactly good for the local economy. “If there are certain specialties we don’t have, patients take their business out of state,” says Packham. “We know there’s a significant outmigration of patients who go elsewhere for care.” Packham tells an anecdote about an acquaintance who took his daughter to a doctor friend in San Diego to take care of a minor finger fracture because he wasn’t sure how long he’d be waiting in a Vegas hospital. Sure, we can encourage the doctors we currently have to stay in the state, and try to import talent from beyond our borders. But the most common-sense approach on the table is to keep the talent we’re growing. Every year, Nevada produces about 200 combined medical school graduates from the University of Nevada School of Medicine and the private nonprofit Touro University Nevada, which opened in 2004. “That’s not an unreasonable number of graduates,” says Dr. Thomas Schwenk, dean of the University of Nevada School of Medicine. “We rank comparatively well to other states for medical graduates. But it’s in sharp contrast to how low we rank in medical residencies and physicians per capita.” We rank 45th in the nation in primary care residents per capita. In other words, there’s a bottleneck: We’re producing a healthy number of medical graduates, but not as many opportunities for postgraduate training in the form of residencies and fellowships — again, the glue that keeps those | 99

The lack of numbers of residencies and fellowships is an issue," says John Packham of the University of Nevada School of Medicine. "But we also lack breadth. We have a pediatric residency you can get here, but we don't have pediatric oncology or pediatric endocrinology.

Above: Valley Hospital resident Dr. Karleen Adams examines a patient, overseen by Dr. David Park. Left: Dr. Jennifer Baynosa, far left, talks to residents at University Medical Center.

brand-new doctors in town for years to come. In any given year, there are anywhere from 100 to 130 residency slots available in Nevada, which are open to medical grads around the world. The University of Nevada School of Medicine has 12 residency programs, including internal medicine, family medicine, general surgery, plastic surgery, pediatrics and OB/GYN. Those programs have more than 100 slots open for a multi-year residency in any given year, most of which take place at University Medical Center. Meanwhile, Valley Hospital, which partners with Touro University to train its graduates, has seven residency programs. In any given year, about 30 slots are open in those. There’s the bottleneck: About 200 med grads a year statewide, with 130 or so residency slots open to applicants from around the world. Plenty of med grads, not enough residencies. That disparity feeds into an annual glut of medical graduates who don’t match into a residency program at all. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, this year, more than 34,000 medical students applied to more than 29,000 residency slots — leaving many eager young doctors without a program to complete their final training required to practice as doctors in the U.S. 100 | Desert

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Money infusion, stat! why don’t we just make more residency slots? We don’t control the purse strings. Largely through Medicare, the federal government is in charge of paying for graduate medical education, kicking in about $9 billion a year to fund more than 100,000 residencies nationwide. State governments, grants and other money fill the gaps. The problem? The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 essentially froze the number of federally funded residencies, leaving states to scramble and scrape for ways to create new post-grad medical training programs to meet rising demand. “Whether there are 10 or 100 spots, once they’re filled, that’s it. I blame Bill Clinton,” jokes Dr. Jerome Hruska. He just completed his residency in internal medicine at Valley Hospital, and is about to start a fellowship there in pulmonary critical care. He witnesses firsthand the physician shortage, noting he often sees patients in the emergency room for routine issues. “At certain times, you’re taking ER calls, and you’re kind of like, ‘Where’s the help?’ It can get a little frustrating.” Hruska originally wanted to pursue a residency in orthopedics after medical school,

but such a residency didn’t exist in the state at the time. It brings up another issue. The residency shortage is not just a question of depth. With its relatively slim portfolio of slots, Nevada lacks residencies in specialties and subspecialties that Nevadans need. “The lack of numbers of residencies and fellowships is an issue,” says Packham. “But we also lack breadth. We have a pediatric residency you can get here, but we don’t have pediatric oncology or pediatric endocrinology. We lose that person we might have had as an undergraduate. We need more specialized training.” He adds: “But I caution people that if I were the czar, I’d say we need to expand our primary care offerings as well. Yes, we’ll need specialists, but those 300,000 or 400,000 (Nevadans) who will be newly insured through the Affordable Care Act will need primary care doctors.” “Last year, we graduated the first class of oncology fellows, and 75 percent of them stayed on to practice in Nevada,” says Dr. Miriam Bar-on, associate dean for graduate medical education at the University of Nevada School of Medicine. “That’s very good, but if we have students who want to go into anesthesiology, radiology, orthopedics or pathology, they absolutely have to leave the state. We can’t address these because we don’t have the programs.”

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There are emerging alternatives to relying on the feds to bankroll residencies, but it’s not like you can create a program with a fat check and a handshake with a hospital. Establishing residency and fellowship programs is a complex endeavor. In fact, some hospitals are hesitant to embark on building them, and little wonder: It’s like bolting on an entire new department. “Money is the first step,” says Dr. Bar-on. “We need resources, and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education is very specific about faculty-to-resident resources. For example, if you want to have an orthopedic residency, the requirement says there has to be a specific resident-to-faculty ratio, and orthopedic faculty don’t come cheap.” “It’s an investment,” says Dr. David Park, Touro���s chief academic officer for the residency program at Valley Hospital. “It’s a money investment and a personnel investment. The hospital needs to create a new department of graduate medical education, hire a program director, hire a director of medical education, have coordinators for each program, and obviously these people work with medical staff. We’re talking a seven-figure investment. Once the residency gets going, Medicare will pay that back, but it takes time.”

Don’t need no (undergrad) education You might think those involved in the campaign to improve Nevada’s graduate medical education opportunities would favor another medical school. Not the case. At least at the moment, they see another medical school as only throwing the ratio of med school grads to residency slots even more out of whack. “The confusing thing is that often the media and our legislators think that undergraduate medical education and graduate medical education are the same,” says Dr. Mitchell Forman, Touro’s dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine. “They’re very different. We believe we don’t need more undergraduate medical education.” His response to Roseman University of Health Science’s April announcement of its intention to launch a medical school in Henderson is blunt: “That could not have happened at a worse time. All these entities will be competing for limited numbers of clinical clerkships and residencies. What we need is more graduate medical education. We have to have facilities willing to open up to these programs. We need to help them in doing that, and we need to look at alternate mechanisms of funding.” UNSOM’s Packham agrees. “My feeling on that is that we don’t really need another medical school as much as we need to expand those residency programs,” he says. “We can graduate all the M.D.s we want, but all that means is a much 102 | Desert

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more competitive race for those static number of residency slots.” Congress recently tossed Nevada an extra handful of residencies, but it’s a drop in the proverbial IV bag. “If you ask me whether we need a new medical school or more graduate medical education, I say double graduate medical education.” Packham wrote an April editorial for the Reno Gazette Journal, blasting the idea of a new medical school in Las Vegas. He writes, “Calls for a new medical school divert precious energy and attention from Nevada’s most pressing health workforce need: expanding our state’s primary care workforce. ... In particular, Nevada needs to aggressively expand residency programs and graduate medical education opportunities for physicians in primary care fields such as internal medicine, pediatrics and family medicine, and most of this expansion must take place in Las Vegas. The evidence is clear that if you build these programs, a significant majority of physicians completing their training in Nevada will remain in the state to begin their medical careers.”

Leaving the waiting room So what’s the solution? No easy ones but hard work, innovation and enterprise. Officials at Nevada medical schools aren’t waiting around for the feds to loosen the purse springs. Instead, they’re scraping up money from nontraditional sources and forging relationships with private institutions. Dr. Forman of Touro University is proud of the partnership Touro has struck with Valley Hospital. He hopes to create more of those partnerships, though he says it doesn’t help that our private hospitals are mere nodes of larger corporate healthcare juggernauts with distant headquarters out of state. Also in that vein, Dr. Park of Touro says he’s close to landing some landmark private funding to create even more residencies in the Las Vegas Valley. “Instead of being handcuffed to the 1997 Balanced Budget Act, we’re pursuing innovative new ways where local organizations may help fund new graduate medical education,” says Dr. Park. He declines to name the organization he’s hooked up with, but he says, “It’s moving forward and making great progress.” His target date for the launch of the program is July 2014. Meanwhile, over at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, Dr. Schwenk is overseeing the creation of a long-sought fellowship program to train child and adolescent psychiatrists, which he also hopes to launch in July 2014. “This is a very creative, non-federal government-based approach to developing training in a critical shortage area,” he says. Rather than hit up Congress for money, his team raised $2.5 million for a two-year fellowship program from state agencies such the Department of Child and Family Services and the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Cinching the money also required wearing new hats: Child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Lisa Durette led the fundraising campaign. “I’ve been essentially panhandling for the last couple years,” she jokes. “Fundraising was a totally new venture for me, so I was kind of a fish out of water. But on the other hand, I don’t know who could be a better advocate, telling these agencies, ‘Here’s what we do as child psychiatrists, here’s what we can offer to a community that needs us.’ This is one of the most underserved specialties in town. Kids need this, and we need fellows.” What also might ease the doctor shortage is a new state law that went into effect July 1, allowing nurse practitioners to practice limited forms of medicine without the supervision of a doctor. Previously, nurse practitioners had to be contractually tied to an overseeing physician. The new law allows N.P.s to practice independently, offering a menu of basic care that includes standard turn-your-head-and-cough fare such as Xrays, mammograms, diabetes care, blood testing and general consultation. The idea is to free up these skilled nurses to absorb the rising demand for health care amid our chronic doctor shortage — again, one that’s only going to become more apparent when the Affordable Care Act goes into effect in 2014, giving roughly 30 million more Americans health insurance. But Packham says we need “heavy lifting” — more graduate medical education — to meet the coming demand. None of this is to say that medical students leaving the state is all that bad — as long as those new doctors come back. “I actually like medical school students to get out and see a different perspective rather than staying here the entire time,” says Dr. Jennifer Baynosa, chief of UMC’s residency program. This summer, she’s overseeing 29 residents at the county’s public hospital. “We don’t want to inbreed. It’s valuable to get a good education elsewhere and bring it back to Nevada, and the medical school side is very active in trying to recruit those graduates back. They talk to those stellar students before they go away on their residencies, talk about what their plans are, and encourage them to come back.” And it doesn’t hurt if they’ve already got a soft spot for Southern Nevada. As Dr. Adams continues her family medicine residency at Valley, her post-residency plans and visions change with each new experience. “I kind of always imagined myself being a small town doctor, having some property off the grid and providing services for services in return,” says Adams. “But my vision has changed so much. At first I wanted to be anesthesiologist, then a dermatologist, and now I’m in family practice. I just want to complete this residency, learn as much as possible, and be the best damn doctor I can be.”

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Thomas Umbach, M.D.

Blossom Bariatrics

NATIONALLY RENOWNED surgeon Dr. Thomas Umbach is a board-certified and fellowship-trained bariatric surgeon. Newsweek magazine has identified him as one of the nation’s top bariatric surgeons. Dr. Umbach’s other notable achievements include being named “America’s Top Surgeon” in 2008, 2009 and 2010, and several “Who’s Who” listings. “Bariatrics has always been my passion,” says Dr. Umbach. “My practice is 100% devoted to helping obese clients achieve healthier lifestyles. It brings me great pleasure to see my clients shed their excess weight and enjoy the simple pleasures of life.” Unlike many bariatric surgeons who focus on one or two procedures, Umbach offers his experience and expertise in gastric banding, rouxen-y gastric bypass, gastric sleeve resection and revisional surgery. Some Canadian clients, for example, choose Dr. Umbach for gastric sleeve procedures that they cannot find in Canada. — Clients come from all over the world Many of Dr. Umbach’s out-of-state and foreign clients combine their surgical procedures with a fun-filled vacation in Las Vegas. Thanks to the advanced technology and surgical techniques used by Dr. Umbach, most procedures do not require lengthy recovery periods. As a result, his bariatric surgery clients – especially those who travel from other states or countries – often celebrate the blossoming of their new lives by enjoying the exciting thrills of Las Vegas after surgery. “Many overseas clients suffer from obesity related health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and heart disease,” says Umbach. “They present with digestive disorders, sleep disorders, respiratory problems and reproductive health issues and many are on medications for their conditions. My goal is to help them regain their health and their selfesteem so they can enjoy life.” — This doctor is always “in” for his clients Dr. Umbach offers his clients something they cannot get anywhere else – his own personal cell phone number and an offer to call him anytime, day or night. “I want my clients to be able to reach me m2 M e d i c a l P R O F ILES

24/7 with any questions or concerns they have for as long as they need me,” says Umbach. “Most are amazed when I give them my cell phone number, and even more amazed when I answer their calls.” Umbach offers every client comprehensive pre- and post-surgical programs, too. His pre-surgical program is aimed at maximizing client safety and increasing their chances for excellent surgical results. His post-surgical programs include nutrition and fitness counseling, support groups to help them adjust to life after bariatric surgery and psychological and emotional counseling to empower them for a better quality of life.

LOCATION Blossom Bariatrics 3235 E. Warm Springs Rd., Ste 100 Las Vegas, NV 89120 (702) 463.3300

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LOCATION Black Mountain Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine 1681 West Horizon Ridge PKWY., Henderson, NV 89012 702.564.1234

Black Mountain Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine Dr. Roger Fontes and Dr. Mario Quesada are two of the most respected orthopedic surgeons in the Las Vegas and Henderson communities, both among their colleagues and their patients. They are known for their expertise and training in the most state of the art surgical techniques, as well as their thorough and thoughtful approach to patient care. Drs. Fontes and Quesada are committed to helping their patients live pain free and getting them back to their full and active lifestyle. Drs. Fontes and Quesada are the only sur

geons in the Las Vegas valley who offer their patients the revolutionary Direct Anterior approach for hip replacement surgery. This approach, compared to the “traditional” approach, allows patients a shorter hospital stay, does not require any muscle to be cut, assures leg length accuracy, has no dislocation precautions and greatly reduces post operative pain. In addition to this exciting new approach for hip replacement surgery, Dr. Fontes and Quesada also specialize in joint replacement of the knee, shoulder and ankle, sports medi-

cine, trauma and fracture care, and shoulder reconstruction. “We believe in offering our patients comprehensive orthopedic care,” says Dr. Fontes. Dr. Fontes completed medical school at Washington University in St. Louis (ranked in the top 5 medical schools in the U.S.) and completed his residency in orthopedics at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). After residency, he completed a fellowship in trauma and shoulder surgery and then returned to UCSF as a teaching and research professor for four years before moving to Henderson, NV in 2002. Dr. Quesada completed medical school at the University of Southern California and completed his residency in orthopedics at Louisiana State University. Following LSU, he completed an orthopedic trauma fellowship at the University of Florida, Shands Jacksonville and a joint reconstruction fellowship at the Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopedics in Baltimore, MD. He pioneered the Direct Anterior approach in Albuquerque, NM and then moved to Henderson, NV in 2011. Drs. Fontes and Quesada both hold medical degrees (M.D.) and are Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeons. M e d i c a l P R O F ILE s m3

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Wolfram Samlowski, MD, FACP

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada

Medical oncologist, clinical professor, researcher and skin cancer expert, Dr. Wolfram Samlowski, is a consummate learner. Even after nearly 40 years of treating patients with cancer, conducting and participating in national research studies and teaching future physicians, he continues to seek opportunities that will teach him new ways to beat the disease. A physician with Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada (CCCN), Dr. Samlowski focuses on finding new treatments for advanced stages of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers, such as Merkel Cell carcinoma, as well as renal cancer and sarcomas. He is currently involved in multiple clinical research studies available in Las Vegas, including those that are testing exciting new treatment options. He has participated in hundreds of clinical research studies throughout his career, testing new medications and therapies against multiple types of cancers. His work has contributed to the approval of many new drugs in the United States, and has earned three patents. Dr. Samlowski is passionate about developing novel cancer immunotherapy agents and gene therapies, which use the body’s own defenses to fight the disease, and translational medicines, which use results from basic research advances to create new treatments or procedures. He has earned numerous awards for his research and medical skills, including “America’s Top Doctors,” “America’s Top Doctors for Cancer” by US News and World Report, and “Health Care Headliner.” Dr. Samlowski earned his bachelor’s and medical degree from Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. He completed his internal medicine residency at Wayne State University in Detroit, and his hematology oncology fellowship at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Prior to joining CCCN in 2011, Dr. Samlowski served as director of Translational Research, Multidisciplinary Melanoma program at the m4 M e d i c a l P R O F ILES

Huntsman Cancer Institute. He was professor of oncology and adjunct professor of pathology and dermatology at the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City, and was subsequently Chief, Section of Melanoma, Renal Cancer and Immunotherapy at the Nevada Cancer Institute. He also has a teaching appointment as clinical professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. Board certified in medical oncology and internal medicine, Dr. Samlowski has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters and editorials. He is a member of multiple professional organizations, including the American College of Physicians, American Society for Clinical Oncology, and the American Association of Cancer Research.

LOCATION Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada Wolfram Samlowski, MD, FACP 9280 W. Sunset Road, Suite 100 Las Vegas, NV 89148 702.952.1251

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Michael T. Sinopoli, MD

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada As one of seven children, Radiation Oncologist, Dr. Michael Sinopoli, is well acquainted with the unique qualities and expectations of each individual, as well as the importance of communication and working together to achieve success. In the same way, he understands the individual needs of his patients, and he strives to provide a personalized, tailored approach to treatment – forming a cancerfighting partnership with his patients in order to maximize treatment success. A physician with Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada (CCCN) since 2010, Dr. Sinopoli is board certified in radiation oncology and has extensive experience in several types of radiation therapies, including: Image-Guided Radiotherapy (IGRT), which uses three-dimensional CT Scans or Ultrasound to capture images of the treatment area before delivering radiation, and is often used to treat cancers in organs that move, such as the prostate or lung. High Dose Rate Breast Brachytherapy, in which a radioactive source is temporarily placed directly inside a breast cancer patient’s

tumor site, allowing radiation to be delivered to the high-risk portion of the breast, while simultaneously protecting the surrounding normal tissues. CyberKnife® Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS), which is ideal for treating tumors without the need for invasive procedures – it is essentially ablation/removal of a tumor without open surgery. CyberKnife is an outpatient treatment that uses a computerguided targeting system to aim highly focused beams of radiation directly into tumors. It can treat lesions throughout the body, including the brain, lung, liver, spine, pancreas, and prostate. Prior to joining CCCN’s Radiation Oncology Division, which earned its fifth consecutive three-year accreditation from the American College of Radiology, Dr. Sinopoli was in private practice in St. Augustine, Florida. While there, he served as chairman of the Flagler Hospital Cancer Committee, was the Medical Officer on the St. Johns County Operating Board for the American Cancer Society, and was an active member of the community.

After graduating from Duke University and MCP Hahnemann School of Medicine in Philadelphia, Dr. Sinopoli completed his radiation oncology residency training at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, during which he served as chief resident. In addition, he was the school’s representative to the Texas Radiological Society, and earned the American Radium Society’s Young Oncologist Award for his research on adult medulloblastoma brain tumors. Outside of the office, Dr. Sinopoli enjoys golf, beach sports, mountain biking, snowboarding, wine tasting, photography, and travel.

LOCATION Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada Michael T. Sinopoli, MD 7445 Peak Drive Las Vegas, NV 89128 702.952.2140

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Desert Radiologists Founded in 1966, Desert Radiologists began with two small outpatient facilities and one hospital contract. Today, we operate five ACR accredited outpatient facilities throughout Southern Nevada and are the exclusive radiology provider for a multitude of hospitals and medical practices in Nevada and beyond. Our group’s mission is to provide the highest level of medical imaging available where quality is first and foremost. At Desert Radiologists, we define quality as report turnaround, thoroughness, and delivery of accurate reports to referring physicians. Our greatest strength is our highly trained Board Certified Radiologists and the significant volume of studies/procedures they complete. The practice, which now employs 51 radiologists, has great depth in terms of subspecialty coverage. Our highly subspecialized radiologists can handle and diagnose the very difficult oncological, pediatric, musculoskeletal or neurological cases. In addition, all of our radiologists provide cross-sectional coverage. This keeps their skills honed in all aspects of radiology so they can cover the practice at any time, 365 days a year. m6 M e d i c a l P R O F ILES

Rather than outsourcing reads to another practice at night or on the weekends, Desert Radiologists provides all of its interpretation services in-house, and always has. Additionally, our practice provides teleradiology services to other healthcare facilities and physician groups around the country, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Desert Radiology Solutions, LLC. At present, we provide radiology services to twelve hospitals throughout Nevada, Oklahoma and Texas. Furthermore, we are the exclusive radiology source for a large group of multi-specialty clinics, a leading oncology organization and several smaller physician practices. One of the reasons our radiology group continues to grow is because our radiologists deliver exceptional service to our referring physicians and clients. This is due, in large part, to our unified worklist from which our radiologists read, across 64 sites of service. This unified worklist is essential because it means all studies are prioritized in one system, ensuring that every exam is read in a timely manner. Desert Radiologists measures report turnaround in terms of minutes – not hours. Due to the nature of our hospital related

business, many of our reports are turned around in under 15 minutes, with the majority available in under an hour. In 2012, Desert Radiologists completed over 1.3 million studies/procedures. We focus foremost on the quality of care we provide, putting patients and their referring physicians first. Desert Radiologists is a leading provider of quality medical imaging and radiology interpretations. In 2012, our group ranked as one of Imaging Economics “Best Radiology Facilities”. Additionally in 2012, U.S. News & World Report named a number of our physicians as “Top Doctors” nationally.

LOCATION DESERT RADIOLOGISTS 2020 Palomino Lane, Suite 250 Las Vegas, Nevada 89106 702.759.8600

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LOCATION Desert Valley Audiology Las Vegas

501 S. Rancho Suite A6 Las Vegas, NV 89106 702.605.9133 Henderson 1701 N. Green Valley Pkwy., Building 8 suite B Henderson, NV 89074

Desert Valley Audiology Dr. Tim Hunsaker is the director of audiology at Desert Valley Audiology and has worked hard to establish and build the practice into a premier diagnostic hearing center in the Las Vegas Valley. A graduate of Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho, Dr. Hunsaker has lived in Las Vegas since 2008. Dr. Hunsaker is aware of all of the confusing information about hearing aids and hearing loss. One of his goals is to provide as much information as needed to help patients make informed decisions. Desert Valley Audiology’s website was designed to provide quality information to patients concerning hearing health. Hearing health is a vital part of overall health and, if treated correctly, can lead to a

higher quality of life and increased confidence. When Dr. Hunsaker moved to Las Vegas, he noticed there was a need for more pediatric hearing care. Since then he has teamed up with Easter Seals and Positively Kids to provide quality testing and care for the pediatric population. In addition to pediatric evaluations and treatments, Dr. Hunsaker and Desert Valley Audiology provide excellent care for adults needing hearing help. With over 2000 hearing aids fit in the last three years, he has more than enough experience to know what is right for each of his patients. Unfortunately, not all patients who require hearing aids are able to afford them. Through generous donations from current patients, Dr. Hunsaker and Desert Valley Audiology have

been able to provide over twenty hearing aids to people who otherwise would not have obtained hearing aids. “It’s a unique opportunity that we have had and it has been a blessing to both the patient and us as providers”, says Dr. Hunsaker. Dr. Hunsaker really enjoys living in the Las Vegas Valley with his wife, raising their two kids with one on the way. In his free time he enjoys working on that golf swing and counting down the days until World Cup 2014 in Brazil. Follow his blog (www.lasvegashears. com/blog) where he writes to keep people informed about the constantly changing hearing industry. Feel free to contact him directly by emailing or by calling 702-605-9133. M e d i c a l P R O F ILE s m7

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FAMILY HOME HOSPICE People may think of Hospice as a place. It’s not. It is a service. Since 1989, Family Home Hospice has offered medical services and emotional support when care shifts from treatment for a cure, to pain management and maximum comfort. It is all about quality of life, and Family Home Hospice makes every moment count. Dean Shi-Keh Tsai, M.D., is the Medical Director for Family Home Hospice and Ferozan Malal, M.D. is the Associate Medical Director. Dr. Tsai’s passion for hospice care began when he saw the approach traditional medicine took with patients with serious illnesses and thought there had to be a better way. Now he oversees a team of experienced registered nurses, social workers, therapists, home health aides, pastoral counselors, and trained volunteers that provide fully integrated care to patients and families during the end stages of life. Dr. Tsai also visits patients and their caregivers at home and conducts patient re-certification visits. Dr. Tsai attended medical school at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI. He m8 M e d i c a l P R O F ILES

completed his residency at the University of California at Irvine/Long Beach VA Medical Center in Long Beach, CA. Board Certified in Hospice and Palliative Care and Internal Medicine, Dr. Tsai joined Southwest Medical in 1999 and became part of the Family Home Hospice team of health care providers in 2007. Prior to joining Family Home Hospice, Dr. Tsai spent eight years as a primary care provider with Southwest Medical. He also served as the division chief responsible for supervising four health care centers. Dr. Malal focuses on enriching lives with mental, physical, and spiritual care through extensive visits with patients and families. Dr. Malal attended medical school at Silesia Medical University in Katowice, Poland. She completed her residency at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, IL. Dr. Malal joined Southwest Medical in 2005 and became part of the Family Home Hospice team of health care providers in 2009. Dr. Malal is Board Certified in Hospice and Palliative Care. She speaks English, Farsi, Hindi and Spanish.

LOCATION Family home hospice 8655 S. Eastern Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89123 702.671.1111

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Red rock fertility center Eva Littman, M.D., F.A.C.O.G. Dr. Eva Littman is one of the Las Vegas Valley’s most trusted and knowledgeable fertility experts. As the Founder and Practice Director of Red Rock Fertility Center, she has successfully guided the Center to produce the highest pregnancy success rates in Las Vegas. Dr. Littman frequently assists patients with less than a five percent chance of pregnancy to welcome new lives into their families. She opened Red Rock Fertility Center in 2008 and the practice has grown each year. She has since brought more than 1,000 babies into the world. Dr. Littman completed her medical training at some of the world’s leading medical centers and universities, including Stanford University and Duke University. She has contributed to worldwide knowledge of specific infertility problems by publishing numerous papers in peer-reviewed journals and regularly presenting at international meetings and local conferences. Some of her previously recognized work has been for her groundbreaking research. Dr. Littman also helps mentor future OB/ GYN residents by serving as a Volunteer Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of OB/GYN at the University of Nevada School of Medicine.

In 2013, she was named a “Women to Watch” Honoree by Vegas, Inc. and a “Top Doctor” in the field of Infertility in 2012 and 2013 by Las Vegas Life Magazine. Mark Severino, M.D., F.A.C.O.G. For more than 20 years, Mark Severino, M.D., a board-certified and highly-experienced reproductive endocrinologist, has helped couples address their infertility issues. Dr. Severino brings to Red Rock Fertility Center the experience he has gained through his practices in Nevada, Wisconsin, New York, and Oregon. After medical school, he completed his residency at the State University of New York in Buffalo and received extensive training in infertility and microsurgery. He completed his fellowship in reproductive endocrinology at Oregon Health Sciences University followed by an appointment with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Nevada School of Medicine. Dr. Severino co-founded the Nevada Fertility Center for Advanced Reproductive Endocrinology and Surgery where he treated advanced infertility and helped many couples become pregnant. He then joined Aurora Health Care in 2002 where he

developed a premiere fertility service that provided the most advanced and comprehensive treatment available. In 2013, Dr. Severino was honored as one of “America’s Top OB/GYN, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility” and in 2012 was selected as one of the “Nation’s Compassionate Doctors” by Patients Choice and

LOCATION Red Rock Fertility Center Las Vegas

6410 Medical Center Street, Suite A, Las Vegas, NV 89148


870 Seven Hills Drive #103, Henderson, NV 89052 702.749.4902

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S p e c i a l A D V E R T I S I N G S EC T I O N

Roseman University of Health Sciences When Roseman University of Health Sciences was founded in Henderson in 1999 as the Nevada College of Pharmacy, the institution aspired to create the best Doctor of Pharmacy program in the world. Today, Roseman is on the forefront of preparing tomorrow’s health care professionals thanks to its proven educational model and the strong dedication of its Board of Trustees, faculty and staff, students, alumni, partners, supporters, and friends. Over the past fourteen years, Roseman has experienced remarkable growth that has seen expansions into the fast-growing and highdemand fields of nursing, pre- and post-doctoral dental medicine, health care business and robust research. This growth demonstrates Roseman’s commitment as a transforming force in vital areas of health care education. Much of the university’s success is due to how it’s different. Roseman created a highly effective pedagogical model that is unique to health professions education. The Roseman Educational Model is immersive and incorporates mastery learning, problem-based and m10 M e d i c a l P R O F ILES

active learning, cooperative or team-based learning, and a block system model of curricular design specifically engineered to support attainment of learning outcomes and the highest level of achievement for all students. Roseman assesses students based on its mastery learning philosophy, rather than the traditional testing and letter grading system. Students are assessed regularly on their knowledge and skills, and must score 90% or higher on assessments of their programmatic knowledge and clinical skills before they may progress to the next curricular block. This model has been employed from the inception of the university and is utilized in all academic programs. Throughout the institution’s history, the Roseman Educational Model has been proven to produce successful graduates. The best evidence of this success is student achievement on board licensure examinations; Roseman students and graduates achieve passing rates that are consistently better than national averages, with individual exam scores that are typically much higher than national averages.

Roseman’s evolution continues with the university in the early planning stages to establishment of a regional, community-based allopathic medical school in Southern Nevada and, along with its partners, the development of complementary academic programs that will address a regional and national shortage of health care professionals. In addition to its Henderson, Nevada campus, Roseman also operates a campus in the Salt Lake City suburb of South Jordan, Utah. The university is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and each of its academic programs is accredited by its respective accrediting body.

LOCATION Roseman University of Health Sciences 11 Sunset Way Henderson, Nevada 89014 702.990.4433

S p e c i a l A D V E R T I S I N G S EC T I O N

Desert Perinatal Associates Twelve years ago, Desert Perinatal Associates founders Dr. Joseph Adashek and Dr. Paul Wilkes, began their practice when they recognized the need for unparalleled perinatal care in Las Vegas. In the words of Dr. Wilkes, “It’s not enough to have advanced equipment, you have to provide the woman and her family old fashioned comfort during what can be a stressful time.” Over the years, Desert Perinatal Associates has been providing patients with cutting edge procedures and technologies combined with unprecedented compassion and medical care. Our maternal-fetal team of experts act quickly to provide every patient with answers to their questions and to address complex medical conditions with prompt action and attention

to every detail. Women who are referred to Desert Perinatal Associates can feel confident that they are in the best, most capable and most experienced hands; striving for the best possible outcome for every pregnancy. Our exceptionally skilled and experienced team of doctors, nurses, sonographers, genetic counselors, and diabetic counselors are available to our established patients 24 hours a day providing both medical and emotional support through a woman’s entire pregnancy. Each member of the Desert Perinatal Associates team understands that it is a privilege to care for our patients and not a right. We look forward to each interaction with our patients and enjoy helping parents-to-be achieve their dreams of starting and growing their families!

LOCATION Desert Perinatal Associates & Belly Bliss Summerlin

10105 Banburry Cross Suite 430, Las Vegas, NV 89144


5761 So. Fort Apache Road Las Vegas, NV 89148

Green Valley / Henderson: 3001 W. Horizon Ridge Pkwy, Henderson, NV 89052 702.341.6610

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S p e c i a l A D V E R T I S I N G S EC T I O N

The Fertility Center of Las Vegas Bruce S. Shapiro, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.O.G. The Fertility Center of Las Vegas founder, Dr. Bruce Shapiro, has dedicated more than two decades of scientific research to improving the safety and success rates of fertility treatments. Dr. Shapiro’s findings have reduced the incidence of side effects following ovarian stimulation, improved embryo implantation rates allowing the transfer of fewer embryos. This has resulted in better safety and success through good science, ultimately leading to some of the highest reported birth rates in the U.S. Dr. Shapiro presents his widely published research regionally, nationally and internationally, most recently as a featured presenter at the European Society of Human Reproduction & Embryology. Dr. Shapiro holds specialty board certification in obstetrics & gynecology and subspecialty board certification in reproductive endocrinology & infertility. He established and heads the University of Nevada School of Medicine – Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and holds a PhD from the University of Amsterdam, Holland. He completed his fellowship in reproductive endocrinology and m12 M e d i c a l P R O F ILES

infertility at Yale University after his residency at Yale New Haven Hospital. Said Daneshmand, M.D., F.A.C.O.G. Dr. Daneshmand holds specialty board certification in Obstetrics & Gynecology and sub-specialty board certification in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. He completed his residency and fellowship training at UCLA Medical Center. His research at UCLA focused on the effect of female age on ovarian reserve. He assisted in the development of a blood test to determine the quality of eggs in the ovaries. His dedication to research would service him well in his future endeavors. After joining The Fertility Center of Las Vegas in 1999, Dr. Daneshmand was integral in establishing the city’s first egg freezing program. He’s collaborated with his partner, Dr. Bruce Shapiro, to develop IVF protocols to improve pregnancy rates, including PTEC (post thaw extended culture), one of the most successful IVF regimens currently available. Their groundbreaking findings were published

in Fertility and Sterility, hence their protocols adopted worldwide. Drs. Daneshmand and Shapiro’s voluminous research and publications have been presented at both national and international conferences. As a result of their breadth of research, The Fertility Center of Las Vegas was recognized in for its stellar pregnancy rates.

LOCATION The Fertility Center of Las Vegas 8851 West Sahara Ste 100 Las Vegas NV 89117 702.254.1777 phone 702.254.1213 fax

S p e c i a l A D V E R T I S I N G S EC T I O N

Life Guard International

Rapid Air Medical Transportation of Organ Transplant Recipients Life Guard International, Inc., also known as FlyingICU, provides comprehensive emergent and non-emergent air medical transport services for patients throughout Nevada, the United States and the World. Life Guard’s services include medical escorts, commercial airline stretcher transports; and medical transports aboard specially equipped private aircraft. In other words, Life Guard can care for and transport any patient from the very simple to the most complex critically ill or injured anywhere, anytime. One example of Life Guard’s service is providing rapid air medical transportation of organ transplant recipients to specialized transplanting facilities. Prior to the availability of fixed-wing air medical transport, Nevada transplant recipients were forced to live in the immediate vicinity of the facility performing the transplant procedure. That is because the time allotted to arrive to the transplant facility is on average three to five hours from the time the call is received. With such a small window of opportunity, in order to ensure a successful transplant operation, each and every minute is critical.

Life Guard International makes it possible for these patients to remain in the privacy and comfort of their own home. Once an organ is available, Life Guard can then fly the patient to the transplant facility within the limited transplant time window. How is this possible? Once placed on the organ waiting list, the organ recipient or his/ her insurance company notifies Life Guard that the patient has been placed on the list. Life Guard then arranges for the patient and family to visit our facility and learn about the urgent transportation process, the aircraft; and how to best prepare for the call when the organ is available. When the patient is notified that the organ is available, he or she then immediately meets Life Guard’s medical crew and its aircraft. The patient is then flown to the predetermined airport nearest to the transplanting facility and then transported the rest of the way by ground ambulance. Our mission is to deliver the highest quality medical care focused on the patients’ needs, yet cost effective. That is why Life Guard also offers to Nevada’s organ recipients a membership program, created to help offset

the out-of pocket air ambulance cost not covered by health insurance. This membership provides patients with peace of mind knowing that the flight will not create extra financial hardship. Licensed and accredited, Life Guard International truly does provide “MEDICAL CARE ON A HIGHER PLANE.” For more information visit

LOCATION Life Guard International 145 E. Reno Ave. Ste. E7 Las Vegas, NV 89119 888.359.6428

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S p e c i a l A D V E R T I S I N G S EC T I O N

HealthIE NEvada HealtHIE Nevada is a non-profit, community-based, and privately funded organization dedicated to state wide health information exchange (HIE). An obvious questions is, “What is an HIE?” An HIE is an electronic (versus paper) method for sharing your personal health information with all of your health care providers. The HIE allows for “real time” transfer of information between your doctors, hospitals, labs, radiology centers; anywhere you receive health care treatment. Do either of these situations sound familiar? You go to an emergency department or to a new primary care doctor that you’ve never visited before. The doctors have no information about you and must spend a great deal of time asking you questions about your past medical history, your allergies, previous procedures and surgeries, and your current medications. -OrYou go to your primary care doctor for a follow-up visit after a hospitalization. Sometimes, your doctor doesn’t even know you’ve been in the hospital. You have to wait while the office staff calls the hospital and has your records faxed to the doctor. m14 M e d i c a l P R O F ILES

Consider this revised situation You go to a doctor or emergency room for treatment. You have consented to have your personal health information shared on HealtHIE Nevada. The physician logs on to the secure HIE website, types in your name and birthdate, and within seconds, all of your information (insurance, allergies, current medications, past test results, treatments, hospital stays) shows up on the screen. The physician now has your most up to date and complete medical history. What are the benefits of the HIE to you and your health care provider? Our physicians do the very best they can with the information they currently have available to them. But, more often than not, our health providers still use a largely paper-based system. This requires them to use, file and retrieve hard copy charts, photocopy results, fax information to other providers, and make phone calls to confirm hospitalizations and test results. Paper charts can also be lost, misplaced, or viewed/ copied by individuals without your knowledge or permission. Any access of your electronic information is automatically recorded and available for review and auditing. With an electronic system, you and your doctor both save time and frustration. With a few clicks of a mouse, your doctor

can have your full medical history. This information helps him/her order only the tests and treatments you really need, avoid those you don’t need, and prevent duplication of those you may have already had; saving time, frustration, and money. Current HealtHIE Nevada Participants Hospitals, physicians, laboratories and diagnostic centers all across Nevada are connecting to the HIE. Is your provider connected? For a complete list of current participants, go to If your provider is not connected, ask them why! And send us a referral on our website. The management and operations of HealtHIE Nevada are performed by HealthInsight Nevada, a Nevada not for profit organization,

LOCATION Healthie Nevada 702.385.9933


S p e c i a l A D V E R T I S I N G S EC T I O N

Dr. Aury Nagy, MD, Faans

Neurosurgeon Aury Nagy, MD, FAANS, is a Las Vegas native and a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School. He is also a graduate of Yale University and Baylor College of Medicine. He is board certified through the American Board of Neurological Surgery and completed his residency training in Washington, DC where he served as a member of the White House Medical Core and was awarded the Harvey Cushing Fellowship, named in honor of the our country’s greatest pioneer in Neurosurgery. Dr. Nagy serves as Spine Committee Chair and Neurosurgery Section Chief for Spring Valley Hospital as well as an adjunct clinical faculty member for Touro University. He is a product development consultant and Speakers Bureau clinical lecturer and educator for Integra Neurosciences. Dr. Nagy is a frequent author on the subject of back pain and has participated in several research programs about spine and he performs deep brain stimulation procedures for Parkinson’s patients that are well-regarded. In 2012 and 2013, Dr. Nagy was named a “Top Doctor” in Southern Nevada with the highest ranking possible among neurosurgeons.

LOCATION Nevada Brain and Spine 8285 W. Arby Avenue, Suite 220 Las Vegas, NV 89113 702.737.7753

Senior MediCare Patrol Every year the Medicare system is drained of BILLIONS of dollars as a result of fraud, waste, errors and abuse – nearly $67 MILLION in Nevada alone! The Nevada SMP – Senior Medicare Patrol educates Medicare beneficiaries, their families and caregivers on how to avoid, detect and prevent health care fraud. This helps protect and promote the integrity of Medicare. SMP is funded and supported by the US Administration on Aging and administered by the Nevada Aging & Disability Services Division. There are 54 SMP programs nationwide. SMP staff and volunteers conduct outreach in the community through group presentations, exhibiting at events, answering calls to the SMP Help Line (888-838-7305) and meeting individually with beneficiaries. The main goal of the SMP is to teach Nevadans how to: • Protect their personal information and identity • Detect suspected errors and deceptive healthcare practices on their healthcare statements (i.e., charging for services that were never provided, providing unnecessary or inappropriate services) • Report to the SMP if they feel they LOCATION have been a target of errors, fraud, or Nevada SMP – Senior abuse, or illegal marketing practices Medicare Patrol If you want to make a difference in your community and fight Medicare fraud, volunteer today with Nevada SMP! Free training is provided. For more information, please call 888-838-7305. To receive a FREE printed or e-version of our Personal Healthcare Journal to help track your medical information, please contact us.

1820 E. Sahara Ave., Suite 205 Las Vegas, NV 89104 888.838.7305 702.486.3403

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Art Music


T h e at e r Da n c e



a r t s + e n t e r ta i n m e n t


Rey Isip wants you to lose yourself in dreamy contemplations as you gaze upon his paintings — and then THRILL VROOM WOOHOO FASTER as you gaze some more. His two shows, the contemplative “Expressions from Within” and energetic “Pedal to the Metal,” are on exhibit through Aug. 31 at Left of Center Gallery, 2207 W. Gowan Road. Info:

While most of us spent the formative years of our youth in roving neighborhood gangs, spraypainting grannies and cursing at puppies, Lyle Lovett took the high road and formed a big band. Goodie two shoes! An Evening with Lyle Lovett & His Large Band is 7:30p Aug. 16 at Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center. Tickets $29-99. Info:

The Girl Scouts have come a long way from being a smiling, pigtailed front for a global cookie cartel. Today’s Girl Scouts is a full-bore life-enrichment program for young women, offering them everything from financial literacy to arts education to how to tie a hemisphere knot. Their “World of Girls” expo features booths and exhibits on these and more 10a-4p Aug. 31 at Cashman Center. Free. Info:

Tired of weathering this troubled economy with spartan nights spent at home eating Ramen Surprise (surprise! It’s a bowl of ramen!)? Treat yourself by dining out for a cause. During Restaurant Week, every bite you take at select restaurants boasting special prix fixe menus priced from $20.13 to $50.13 goes to help Three Square Food Bank. Restaurant Week takes place at various Las Vegas restaurants Aug. 23-30. Info:

Aid for AIDS of Nevada is an institution that’s been bringing support to the HIV/AIDS community for 30 years — so, please, you’ll understand if they want to take one night to pour rum on their naked chests and then roll around in whipped cream. Better yet, all the partying’s proceeds support this fine organization. AFAN’s Black & White Party takes place 8p Aug. 24 at the Hard Rock Hotel’s Paradise Beach. Tickets $35$100. Info:

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Want your event in our Calendar? Submit your event with a brief description to

ART LILLY ONCOLOGY ON CANVAS ART COMPETITION AND EXHIBITION Through Aug. 2. A  n art exhibition honoring the difficult journeys people face when confronted by a cancer diagnosis, by artists who have been there. Themes explored in this inspiring collection range from fear and hope to loss and survival to isolation. Free. Humana Guidance Center in Summerlin. 8975 W. Charleston Blvd. #100 WHITE ROSE EXHIBIT

Through Aug. 22. Chronicling the student resistance group that peacefully opposed the Nazi regime during World War II. The exhibit includes 47 panels of photos, text and biographies depicting the actions of White Rose, the members of which were executed in 1943 when their activities were uncovered. UNLV Lied Library, EARTH SCIENCE

Through Aug. 22. Mon-Fri 7a-5:30p. S  hari Bray is a ceramicist who has spent the last decade experimenting with different primitive firing processes. She explores an unpredictable firing process with the pieces in this show called “Saggar Firing.” Free. Las Vegas City Hall Grand Gallery, EXPRESSIONS FROM WITHIN AND PEDAL TO THE METAL Through Aug. 31.Tue-Fri, 12-5p. T  hese two exhibits by local painter Rey Isip allow the viewer to see how his automotive design art techniques naturally transitioned into a more personal, expressive journey into painting. Free. Left of Center Art Gallery and Studio, 2207 W. Gowan Road, CELEBRATING LIFE! 2013 WINNERS CIRCLE EXHIBITION

Through Sep. 5, Mon-Thu, 7a-5:30p. L  ocal artists 50 and older show their works entered for this juried event sponsored by the City of Las Vegas Arts Commission and the city of Las Vegas. Free. Las Vegas City Hall Chamber Gallery, GEOGRAPHICAL DIVIDES: FINDING COMMON GROUND

Through Sep. 9, by appointment only. T  his is one of several exhibits that are part of the Nevada Arts Council-Nevada Touring Initiative/Touring Exhibit Program and features 16 artists who were asked to explore the geographical and cultural differences in Nevada, if such differences truly exist. The assembly of printmakers – eight from the north, eight from the south – produced two prints from each collaboration. Free. Historic Fifth Street School, Mayor’s Gallery, NEXT EXIT: ROUTE 66

Through Sep. 15. E  xplore how local artists have interpreted this icon of the American Auto Age using a variety of media and tech- | 123

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mer Camp for Kids 2013 delves into the minds of young people in search of personal truth and expresses the vision of today’s youth combining dance, music and spoken word to dramatize their experiences. Co-sponsored by City of Las Vegas and the International House of Blues Foundation. Free. Clark County Library, NEVADA STAR BALL

Aug. 14-17, 6p. S  ee ballroom at its best. The Nevada Star Ball is one of the premier championships in the US and has competitions at all levels. Tickets are available for individual sessions or as a discounted season ticket, starting at $55. Green Valley Ranch Resort, STARDUSTERS SQUARE DANCE

Aug. 17, 7:30p. P  articipate in square dancing

Kicking some axe The story goes that Joe Satriani was 14 years old and in football practice when he heard the news that Jimi Hendrix had died. Then and there, Satriani quit football to play guitar. That same dedication — and an abundance of talent — led him to play lead for Mick Jagger, then Deep Purple and, currently, Chickenfoot. He’s also taught David Bryson of Counting Crows and Kevin Cadogen of Third Eye Blind, as well as several others. But what Satriani does best — and what he’ll be doing at The Palms for one night only — is solo guitar: refreshingly crisp, finessed, fiery and faithful guitar playing. Joe Satriani performs 8p Aug. 30 at The Pearl in The Palms. Tickets $50. Info: — Chantal Corcoran

to live callers such as Andy Finch, Joe Valvo, Vern Vernazarro, Ron Sowash and international caller Mike Sikorsky. No need to bring a partner. Class-level dances and round dances will be included as well as a chance to win door prizes. Refreshments will be available. $12. Charleston Heights Arts Center, 800 S. Brush St., AUGUST SOCIAL DANCE

Aug. 24, 7p. D  oll up and dance like the stars! USA Dance Chapter #4038 hosts this ballroom dance social. $5 members, $10 nonmembers. Charleston Heights Arts Center,

MUSIC niques. Featured artists include Su Limbert, Todd Miller, Andreana Donahue, Justin Favela and JW Caldwell. Free with general admission. Springs Preserve, DOROTHY AND HERBERT VOGEL COLLECTION

Through Sep. 28, Mon-Fri 9a-5p; Sat 125p. In 2010, UNLV was the recipient of fifty contemporary works from the celebrated collectors Dorothy and Herb Vogel. The Vogel Collection has been characterized as unique among collections of contemporary art, both for the character and breadth of the objects and for the individuals who created it. Suggested donation: $5 adults; $2 children. UNLV Barrick Museum, ART IN MOTION: THE KINETIC WIND ART OF MARK WHITE Through Sep. 30. M  ark White’s kinetic wind sculptures were designed to encourage self-reflection. They are precisely balanced to respond to the lightest of breezes, yet strong enough to withstand 100 mph winds. Free with general admission. Springs Preserve FIRST FRIDAY

activities for the kids. Free. Arts District; hub at Casino Center Blvd. between Colorado St. and California St., SCULPTURAL PATTERNS: LIFE, NATURE AND REFLECTIONS FROM THE WORLD WE LIVE IN Aug. 29-Nov. 14, Mon-Thu 7a-5:30p. A  rtist Bobbie Ann Howell worked with a variety of materials to create designs and patterns that emerge in a layering of forms, shapes and colors. This exhibition features patterns and designs created from observations in nature and the Nevada landscape. Free. Las Vegas City Hall Grand Gallery,

DANCE ETHNIC EXPRESS INTERNATIONAL FOLK DANCING Aug. 7, 6:30. H  ave an evening of fun learning international dance styles, including Arabic, Armenian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Greek, Israeli, Macedonian, Russian, Serbian and Turkish folk dances. No need to bring a partner. Presented by Ethnic Express, a nonprofit volunteer organization. Ages 8 and older, only. $4. Charleston Heights Arts Center, 800 S. Brush St.,

Aug. 2 & Sep. 6, 5-11p. C  elebrate Downtown Las Vegas’ unique brand of arts and culture with exhibits, open galleries, live music and DJs, food trucks, vendor booths and special

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AFFIRMATIONS OF A GENERATION UNPLUGGED #D Aug. 8, 1p. T  he Performing & Visual Arts Sum-


Aug. 2-3, 8:30p, Aug. 4, 2p. C  lint Holmes never performs the same show twice. Instead, he features a constantly evolving kaleidoscope of music every single night, ranging from contemporary to jazz to Broadway. Showcasing the greatest songwriters from around the world, he creates a spellbinding evening of music that’s both live and alive. $35 and up. Cabaret Jazz in The Smith Center, CELEBRATE HARMONY - THE SILVER STATESMEN CHORUS Aug. 2 & 10, 7p, Aug. 11, 2p. C  elebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Barbershop Harmony Society with Nevada’s own – including the largest a cappella chorus in the state! With popular music from the past and present, both your grandparents and your kids will enjoy the shows. Aug. 12: $15, Freedom Hall, 2450 Hampton Rd, Henderson. Aug. 10: $12 residents, $15 non-residents, Starbright Theater, 2215 Thomas Ryan Blvd. Aug. 11: $10 advance, $12 at the door, Winchester Cultural Center, 3130 McLeod Dr. THE PRESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Aug. 3, 9p. P  art of the Rock of Vegas Summer Concert Series, hear the two-time Grammy-

a r t s + e n t e r ta i n m e n t

nominated Seattle alternative rock band for the best price ever: Free. Fremont Street Experience, LAS VEGAS TROMBONE CO.

Aug. 4, 2:30p. F  eaturing Mike Doranski, Nathan Tanouye, Dave Phillipus and Hitomi Shoji. Part of the VegasJazz and American Jazz Initiative Summer Sunday Series. $10. Shakespeare Company, 821 Las Vegas Blvd., JAZZ ON THE LAKE – EVERETT B. WALTERS Aug. 10, 7p. B  ring your blanket and enjoy a concert by Everett B. Walters. Free. The Village at Lake Las Vegas, CHAMBER SOUL Aug. 11, 2p. A  s part of the Summer Concert Series, cellist Shana Tucker and fellow musicians play a mixed bag of popular tunes and refreshingly original classical/jazz fusion music. Free. Main Theater, Clark County Library, ANN PARENTI & AMBIENCE


Aug. 17, 9p. H  ailing from San Francisco, this alternative band has been nominated for numerous American Music Awards and is best known for hits like “Semi-Charmed Life” and “God of Wine.” Free. Fremont Street Experience, FIFTY THREE

Aug. 18, 2:30p. F  eaturing Emanuel Schmidt on guitar and Kimberly Deliver-Glennie on harp. Part of the VegasJazz and American Jazz Initiative Summer Sunday Series. $10. Shakespeare Company, 821 Las Vegas Blvd., BUDDY GUY WITH SPECIAL GUEST QUINN SULLIVAN Aug. 22, 7:30p. G  uy is a five-time Grammy Award Winner, Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer and 2012 Kennedy Honor recipient who belongs to an era that pioneered the blues. He worked alongside such legendary figures as Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, Koko Taylor, B.B. King and Little Walter. $29 and up. Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center,


Aug. 1-4, 7p, Aug. 3-4, 3p. Dixie Longate travels the country throwing good old-fashioned Tupperware Parties filled with outrageously funny tales, heartfelt accounts, giveaways, audience participation and an assortment of Tupperware sold on a theater stage. See how she educates her guests on the many alternative uses she has discovered for her plastic products. Yes, it’s a real Tupperware party, but, no, it’s not quite what you think. $33 and up. Troesh Studio in The Smith Center, LES MISÉRABLES Aug. 7-8, 7:30p. H  eralded as one of the most moving musicals of all time, “Les Misérables” is an epic and uplifting story that captures the survival of the human spirit. Winner of eight Tony Awards, now celebrating its 25th anniversary, the musical features glorious new staging and spectacular reimagined scenery. $26 and up. Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center,

Aug. 11, 2:30p. F  eaturing Cocho Arbe, Jeff Davis and Mike Condito. Part of the VegasJazz and American Jazz Initiative Summer Sunday Series. $10. Shakespeare Company, 821 Las Vegas Blvd., AN EVENING WITH WILLIE NELSON & FAMILY Aug. 13, 7:30p. W  ith a career spanning more than six decades, country music star, American music legend and ten-time Grammy-winner Willie Nelson comes to The Smith Center for a one-nightonly performance. $29 and up. Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center,

BILLY STRITCH SINGS THE MEL TORMÉ SONGBOOK Aug. 23, 7p. S  tritch, backed by bass and drums, features some of Tormé’s greatest arrangements, including “Just One of Those Things,” “Lulu’s Back in Town” and “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.” Stephen Holden of The New York Times called this show “a loving tribute from one singer to another!” $39 and up. Cabaret Jazz in The Smith Center, JAZZ ON THE LAKE – JAMES BAKER

CHRIS ISAAK TOUR 2013 Aug. 14, 7:30p. W  ith a new set and new wardrobe, Chris Isaak’s ever-evolving show is filled with an intimate mix of his classic hits, classic originals and classic covers from Elvis to Johnny Cash to Jerry Lee Lewis. Hear his hits from his latest album “Beyond the Sun.” $29 and up. Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center, AN EVENING WITH LYLE LOVETT & HIS LARGE BAND Aug. 16, 7:30p. S  inger, composer and actor Lyle Lovett’s career spans 14 albums and numerous awards. His newest album “Release Me” mixes originals and songs written by some of his favorite songwriters. This event will fuse storytelling and sly humor into legendary alt-country music with hints of blues, gospel and swing for an unforgettable performance. $29 and up. Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center,

Aug. 24, 7p. T  he next installment in the phenomenal summer series. Bring your blanket and cozy up to the sounds of Anthony James Baker. Free. The Village at Lake Las Vegas, JAZZIN’ JEANNIE BREI & THE SPEAKEASY SWINGERS Aug. 25, 2p. W  hat better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than with a concert of swing music, big band style, with some local jazz favorites? Free. Main Theater, Clark County Library, ROJO

Aug. 25, 2:30 p. U  ltima Escena. Part of the VegasJazz and American Jazz Initiative Summer Sunday Series. $10. Shakespeare Company, 821 Las Vegas Blvd., PUDDLE OF MUDD

Aug. 31, 9p. T  his Kansas City, Missouri based JAZZ ON THE LAKE – ROCKY GORDON

Aug. 17 & 31, 7p. A  nother in the summer concert series, bring your picnic blankets and enjoy a night of jazz with Rocky Gordon. Free. The Village at Lake Las Vegas,

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post-grunge rock band has been capturing audiences for more than a decade with hits like “Blurry” and “Away from Me.” They have sold more than 7 million albums. Free. Fremont Street Experience,


Aug. 16-17 & 22-24, 7p, Aug. 17 & 24, 1p. O  ne of the most beloved musicals that spent years on Broadway and in Hollywood, this story about a matchmaker who tries to match herself brings in comedy, dance and well-known songs. $15. Summerlin Library, LAS VEGAS IMPROVISATIONAL PLAYERS

Aug. 24, 7p. Inspired by suggestions from the audience, the Las Vegas Improvisation Players create on-the-spot hilarious new scenes, songs and poems in a format similar to the popular TV program “Whose Line is it Anyway?” Keeping the comedy swift, fun and clean, these shows provide an enjoyable evening for the whole family. $10 at the door, kids free. American Heritage Academy, 6126 S. Sandhill Road,

LECTURES, SPEAKERS AND PANELS AUDI SPEAKER SERIES PRESENTS JIMMY CONNORS: WHAT IT TAKES Aug. 23, 7:30p. J immy will take questions and tell the stories of his life both inside and outside of tennis. One of the most decorated athletes of all time, Conners has become a tennis icon, coach and author. $32 and up. Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center, AN EVENING WITH FORMER GOVERNOR BOB MILLER: SON OF A GAMBLING MAN Sep. 5, 7p. F  ormer Nevada Governor Bob Miller and Steve Sebelius, Las Vegas Review-Journal political columnist, sit down to discuss Miller’s early life in Chicago to his reign as longestserving governor in Nevada history. Along the way, his life path crossed with some colorful characters, prominent politicians and historic

a r t s + e n t e r ta i n m e n t

collection that is a must-see this summer. $10 adults; $8 students/seniors/military; $5 children ages 3-11. Children 2 and under free. Las Vegas Natural History Museum,

pre-registration, $20 event day. Pavilion Center Pool, 101 S. Pavilion Center Drive, 229-1488 KIDS’ NIGHT OUT AT THE MUSEUM

Aug. 17, 5p. E  xplore the museum, make crafts, RAINFOREST ADVENTURE

Through Sep. 8. G  o on a multi-sensory expedi-

What a Guy Now here’s a ringing endorsement: Eric Clapton calls Buddy Guy the best guitarist alive. A pioneer of Chicago’s rhythm and blues, Guy is said to have influenced everyone who’s ever picked up a guitar, including Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn. His style transcended blues and shaped rock and roll — his solos pierced with long notes that tease with sweet tension, burst into good times, drop into whispers and plunge into the bluesy recesses of old Chicago. And 76-year-old Guy continues to influence the music scene. For seven years, he’s been mentoring 14-year old Quinn Sullivan. When he was only seven, Sullivan joined Guy on stage in his home state of Massachusetts, matching the master lick for lick. Now, he occasionally tours with his teacher and will join him on stage at The Smith Center — a rare opportunity to witness a guitar legend and prodigy, the past and the future, together, in the present. Buddy Guy performs 7:30p Aug. 22 at Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center. Tickets $29-$89. Info: — CC

moments, proving that he knew how to be in the right place at the right time. Free. Main Theater, Clark County Library, THE SMITH CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS WALKING TOURS 10:30a, Wed & Sat. T  ake a guided tour of the campus and learn about its architectural accomplishments, artwork and historic overview. Register in advance for free. The Smith Center,


Through Aug. 31, 9a-4p daily. D  iscover living sea monsters and diverse reef environments at multiple exhibits that blend science, conservation and fun. Sea Monsters, Discovery Reef and Sanctuary Reef compose the Sea Trek

tion of the world’s tropical rainforests. Delight in a wide variety of hands-on exhibits, role-play as scientists, climb a 9-foot kapok tree, explore a gorilla’s nest, study plant and animal life, visit a village and even weave on a loom. Free for members or included with general admission. Springs Preserve, NATIONAL NIGHT OUT BLOCK PARTY

Aug. 6, 6p. A  fun and educational evening intended to raise crime prevention awareness and strengthen neighborhood spirit and unity. Features demonstrations from first responders and emergency vehicles to see, touch and explore. Participants include METRO, Las Vegas Fire and Rescue, Medic West and Air Support. Free. Knickerbocker Park, 10695 W. Dorrell Lane FAMILY FUN DAY AT NATIONAL ATOMIC TESTING MUSEUM Aug. 10, 10a-3p. It’s a mini science fair! Come for the learning and fun activities in chemistry, biology and geology. Create your own moon sand, make your own pet jelly fish, join in an archaeological dig to find treasure rocks, produce your own alien slime, step inside of a giant bubble, make your own rainstorm inside a cup and win cool raffle prizes! $15 per family up to five. National Atomic Testing Museum, VEGAS STREATS FESTIVAL

Aug. 10, 6p. V  egas StrEATS is a street food and culture festival that is uniquely Las Vegas, showcasing the valley’s hottest local food trucks, artists, musicians and fashion. Hear local bands and DJs and try out the local flavors from various vendors. Free. Jackie Gaughan Plaza at the El Cortez Hotel & Casino, 600 E. Fremont St.,

have a pizza dinner and snacks - then settle in for a jungle adventure with the movie Madagascar 3. Ages 5-12. $20 members, $25 non-members. Springs Preserve, WORLD OF GIRLS EXPO

Aug. 31, 10a-4p. L  earn what cool things are available for girls in southern Nevada. Featuring four “Worlds” representing the four Girl Scouts initiatives: Environmental, STEM (girls in science, technology, engineering and math), Healthy Living and Financial Literacy/Entrepreneur, this event includes interactive booths with hands-on activities, an education and arts alley, three stages of entertainment, strolling performers and more. Free. Cashman Center, RTC VIVA BIKE VEGAS 2013 GRAN FONDO PINARELLO Sep. 21, start time tbd. R  egistration is open for the sixth annual RTC Viva Bike Vegas, the non-competitive ride that takes you through the Strip and Red Rock Canyon. Choose between 103, 60 or 17-mile courses. After the ride, meet at Town Square for a celebration that includes live entertainment and a children’s bicycle rodeo. Proceeds benefit local charities. $85 early registration, $65 jerseys. Timing chips available. Town Square Las Vegas,

FUNDRAISERS DUCKS UNLIMITED ANNUAL WATERFOWL BANQUET Aug. 17, 5:30p. S  upport the Henderson chapter of Ducks Unlimited in their wetlands conservation mission. This evening of fun and fundraising includes dinner, live and silent auctions and raffled prizes. $75 singles, $120 couples, $45 children under 18, $60 military. Boulder Station Hotel & Casino, events/31434/henderson-annual-dinner



Aug. 15, 7p. E  veryone gets six drinks and half-price

Aug. 24, 8p. T  his event benefits Aid for AIDS of

food. This fun pub crawl takes you to the hippest downtown party spots, starting at Hennessey’s tavern, then visiting the Gold Spike Bar, Hogs & Heifers, The Side Bar, Mickie Finnz, and finally the Las Vegas Country Saloon. There’s also free live entertainment! $20. Kicks off at Hennessey’s Tavern, 425 Fremont St., call 382-4421 to RSVP. DASH AND SPLASH Aug. 17, 7:30a. B  egin with a 1.5-mile run starting at Pavilion Center Pool and winding through Veterans Memorial Park. Race will conclude with a 300-meter swim at Pavilion Center Pool. There is no age limit, but participants must be able to successfully swim 100 meters. $15

Nevada and offers gourmet food, beverage samplings, eye-catching atmospheric entertainment and live stage performances. All proceeds from the evening go to support HIV/AIDS services. $35 general admission, $100 limited VIP tickets. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, FLAVORS OF THE HEART Sep. 7, 7p. M  eet this year’s celebrity Heart Chef, Anthony Vidal of Hash House A Go Go, at this multicultural culinary event that benefits the American Heart Association. Enjoy the silent auction, live music and food and wine tasting. $75, multiple ticket discounts available. World Market Center, | 127

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Wreckage from the mysterious 1955 plane crash on Mount Charleston

Secret fire on the mountain By Andrew Kiraly

Mount Charleston has long been a site of raging wildfires sparked by lightning, but in 1955, it was the site of a different kind of conflagration. These particular flames issued from a spectacular plane crash, a crash that killed all 14 passengers on board on the morning of Nov. 17. Immediately following the disaster, government secrecy reigned. Airmen from Nellis stood sentinel at a roadblock, turning back news reporters and curious drivers who got as far as the Charleston Lodge: Nothing to see here, just a, um, business plane that went down on its way to the Nevada Test Site. Unlikely tale. Why was a business flight flying over the Spring Mountains? Documents declassified in 1998 eventually told the entire story. Among the passengers were ... camera technicians? Physicists? Flight engineers? CIA agents? They comprised one of the teams helping build America’s next generation of reconnaissance aircraft. The men in the C-54 were en route from a Lockheed facility in Burbank, Calif. to Nevada’s Groom Lake. Later known as Area 51, that’s where the gov-

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ernment was continuing testing of its U-2 spy plane. According to later reconstructions of the accident, the pilots of the C-54 were skillful and experienced, but overwhelmed by several factors: Snow flurries in the Spring Mountains disoriented them; powerful crosswinds blew them off course and into the path of the mountain; the secrecy of the mission required radio silence; and the route over the mountains was new territory to them. This Cold War disaster does have one upbeat story tied to it. Passenger list in hand, Lockheed representatives traveled to the homes of the victims to inform their families of the tragedy. When they knocked on the door of a home on the evening of November 17, they must have been startled when Lockheed employee Bob Murphy answered the door — the man whose death they were there to report. He had overslept and missed the flight. Sources: Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base, the Las Vegas Sun

Believing that every child deserves a caring and supportive place to grow, Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®) of Greater Las Vegas creates and supports programs that directly improve the health, education and well-being of children in our community. The Ronald McDonald House® is the cornerstone program of RMHC, and provides temporary housing for families who travel to Las Vegas to receive critical medical treatment for their children.

Keeping families together when they need it most. Be a part of the RMHC family. Join us for our Gala Event: HeArt of Giving!

Jim Bovin Photography


September 7, 2013 | 6 - 10 pm

Gala Honoree Sunrise Children’s Hospital & House Hero Children’s Heart Center

Ticket and Sponsorship information available at or call 702.252.4663, x 6 Wells Fargo is proud to support the work of Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Greater Las Vegas in serving families with seriously ill children.


Custom homesites available 702.255.2500 |

Desert Companion - August 2013