Mayo Clinic, joined by ASU, announces Arizona medical-school campus

October 5, 2011

By hammersmith

Mayo Clinic has announced that its second medical-school campus will be established in Scottsdale and could enroll a class of 48 physicians-in-training as soon as 2014. Mayo will undertake the $266 million project in conjunction with Arizona State University, whose faculty will teach courses in the science of health-care delivery.

At the core of Mayo Medical School-Arizona is the belief that with the right kind of training, doctors can help the health-care system become more efficient, with better outcomes. As a provider, Mayo Clinic has a strong reputation for providing high-quality care at relatively low cost. Officials at Mayo and ASU view the new medical school as a way to propagate such practice on a wider scale.

“This is one of the most important and exciting initiatives we can undertake,” said John Noseworthy, Mayo Clinic president and CEO. “This new branch of Mayo Medical School is firmly aligned with Mayo’s commitment to patient-centered academic excellence and redefining the field of medical education. Together with ASU, we will create the health-care workforce of the future.”

Students graduating from the new medical school will earn an M.D. degree from Mayo and a master’s degree in the science of health-care delivery from ASU. That combination, believed to be the first of its kind, will include coursework in the social and behavioral determinants of health, health-care policy, health economics, management science, biomedical informatics, systems engineering, and value principles of health care.

“We’re trying to build physicians who understand how to design a higher value health-care system.” Dr. Noseworthy said in the Arizona Republic.

Mayo and ASU have been developing a closer relationship for several years. A collaborative nursing-education program is already in place, and the ASU biomedical informatics department recently moved to the Mayo campus in Scottsdale. Denis Cortese, previously Mayo’s president and CEO, is now director of ASU’s Health Care Delivery and Policy Program. In February, the two institutions signed an agreement to deepen their cooperation on education, research, and clinical practice. And a $182 million cancer-treatment facility employing pencil-bean proton therapy that Mayo is building on its Scottsdale campus will draw on the expertise of engineers and physicists from ASU.

Opening the new medical school by 2014 will require a significant fundraising push by Mayo and ASU, who have begun a joint $75 million capital campaign. An additional $45 million will be contributed from Mayo’s existing resources so that startup can begin sooner. The overall $266 million price tag includes costs associated with remodeling buildings on the Mayo campus, ramping up operations, and building a funding base for scholarships for the new medical students.

Elected officials including Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane applauded the development. Scottsdale’s director of economic vitality, Jim Mullin, noted the impact the medical school could have beyond health care.

“A school … is a great economic engine for any community,” Mullin said in the Republic. “That’s because you have visitors, speakers, other people involved in clinical trials, etc., so that’s good for economic vitality and tourism. But more importantly, it’s an attractor. When you announce something like this … people are going to want to be here.”

Stuart Flynn, dean of the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix, said that he does not see the Mayo-ASU partnership posing a threat to his own upstart endeavor, which graduated its first class of doctors this year, and is building toward enrollment almost three times as large as that which Mayo projects.

“I don’t think we’ll be competing for students. We’re first and foremost looking for Arizona students,” Dr. Flynn said in the Arizona Daily Star. “If the motive for all of us is to increase the number of physicians in Arizona, including primary-care physicians, the bigger numbers ought to be good.”

Wayne Decker, Mayo Clinic vice president and CEO of Mayo Clinic-Arizona, said that metropolitan Phoenix is large enough to accommodate even more physicians in training, noting that regions of similar size frequently have three to five medical schools.

““We’ll still have a relative under-supply of graduating physicians,” Dr. Decker said in the Phoenix Business Journal. “Every little bit helps, but the message is, there is still a substantial need.”

For more information:

Civic leaders says Mayo Medical School will be boon for Valley,” Arizona Republic, 10/3/2011

Mayo Clinic plans medical school in Scottsdale,” Arizona Republic, 09/28/2011

The Mayo Clinic will open an Arizona medical school,” Arizona Daily Star, 09/27/2011

Mayo Clinic expanding medical school to Arizona,” Phoenix Business Journal, 09/27/2011