Governor’s commission accepts consultant report on medical school

July 21, 2005

By hammersmith

The consulting team assisting the Governor’s commission that is studying the implementation of the Phoenix medical school presented its report at the panel’s June 15 meeting.

Kurt Salmon Associates (KSA), a global management consulting firm and leading authority on medical-school development, was engaged to assist the Arizona Commission on Medical Education and Research in developing an initial analysis. The commission, while not a decision-making body, will offer its recommendations to Governor Janet Napolitano on specific implementation issues regarding the Phoenix campus of the University of Arizona College of Medicine in partnership with Arizona State University.

On a monthly basis beginning in December 2004, KSA facilitated elements of the commission’s discussion. KSA staff also performed extensive research and interviewed individuals and committees affiliated with the numerous parties involved in such a major undertaking — the state’s universities, teaching hospitals, private faculty, TGen, and government entities at the state and local levels.

The medical school is viewed as a needed resource to address Arizona’s lagging supply of physicians. A recent study by ASU and UA reported that the state has 208 physicians per 100,000 residents, far below the national average of 283. While the medical school cannot fully resolve this gap, its impact would be felt most substantially in addressing severe imbalances involving specific subspecialty areas. The medical school would also fill an important void in Arizona’s research infrastructure in its drive to become a competitive biosciences center.

The report to the Commission presented analysis, observations, and counsel on weighty issues that must be addressed in developing a state-of-the-art medical school involving partnerships with multiple institutions. It is available online here.

Here are paraphrased excerpts from the report that provide a broad summary of its overall message:

  • Based on the specific circumstances in Phoenix relating to timing of budgets, accreditation, building, organizing, and the like, it is clear the full implementation of the final envisioned medical school in downtown Phoenix must occur in phases.
  • The initial phase — termed “Level I” — is immediate and oriented towards the inaugural matriculating class of 24 students based in three historic Phoenix Union High School buildings on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus. The initial capital funding is earmarked for the renovation of the historic structures, construction of the first Arizona Biomedical Collaborative building, and campus site improvements. The medical school’s first year operating budget has also been established. The current teaching hospital and clinical faculty arrangements in Phoenix will suffice to carry Level 1 implementation, with some adjustment for the envisioned Phoenix Track curriculum. A new, dedicated teaching hospital is not needed for Level I, nor is one recommended for this first phase. In sum, this phase is planned in considerable detail, and certainly sufficiently understood to continue proceeding on the timeline envisioned.
  • The subsequent developments necessary to advance the class to upwards of 150 students — broadly classed as Level II — will require additional capacities and organizational alignments best undertaken once an actual Phoenix medical school operation is up and running. Having the medical school in place will provide both the dedicated leadership and organizational framework for advancing the range of topics necessary. It is suggested these topics, all extensions of the Level I implementation, be based around nine key concepts — vision, leadership, partnerships, teaching hospitals, clinical facility, Phoenix Biomedical Campus clinical, research, Phoenix Biomedical Campus master planning, and stewardship.

Governor Napolitano established the commission on October 19, 2004, (Executive Order 2004-25) and charged it with developing a plan to implement the principles enumerated in an August 4, 2004 Memorandum of Understanding signed by the presidents of the Arizona Board of Regents, Arizona State University, and University of Arizona for an expansion of the College of Medicine and other health science programs in Phoenix.

The commission will next meet on September 12. In the mean time, its task forces are continuing to meet and develop plans throughout the summer, and the University of Arizona is taking the lead in compiling a report on the formation of the medical school for submission to a legislative committee on September 1.

For more information:

Arizona Commission on Medical Education and Research

August 2004 Memorandum of Understanding

October 2004 Executive Order

University of Arizona College of Medicine (Phoenix Campus)

Kurt Salmon Associates