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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “40 years in, med college looks ahead”

    When the UA College of Medicine commemorated its 40th anniversary Friday, casual talk of celebration gave way to progressive discussion of the college’s expansion beyond
    Southern Arizona.

    Following the founding of a multi-year Phoenix medical program in 2006, officials have continually searched for more ways to turn the College of Medicine into a statewide curriculum, said Regent Gary Stuart of the Arizona Board of Regents.

    The four-year Phoenix program is a collaboration of Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University, meant to assist medical students in the completion of their training in hospitals outside of Tucson, he said.

    The expansion of the college’s medical resources is crucial to creating a link with several other medical programs in the state of Arizona, said Keith A. Joiner, vice provost for medical affairs.

    He added that the connection among medical institutions is necessary to the advancement of statewide health care – due to the lack of health professionals and physicians in Arizona.

    The rapid growth of Arizona’s population is also an important reason for the college to continue its expansions, Joiner said.

    Because the state’s medical institutions often have separate strengths, these institutions will only adapt to the population growth by combining resources, he said.

    “”We must all work together to have a whole very much greater than the sum of its parts,”” Joiner said. “”We want Phoenix and Tucson to work together as a single entity.””

    While the College of Medicine has enjoyed much success throughout its history, UA President Robert Shelton said there is still much work to be done to ensure that the college’s high standards continue to be met.

    “”We need to continue to bring in best students,”” Shelton said. “”We are only going to do that by hiring the best faculty.””

    The college’s ability to efficiently deal with obstacles is one of the reasons it has lasted several decades, he said.

    “”They always tackle the hard problems,”” Shelton said. “”It’s impossible to deal with (these problems) unless you have a good health sciences program.””

    Joiner pointed to the College of Medicine’s standing as a forward-thinking institution to highlight its advantage over peers at other national universities. Current public needs in health care differ greatly from those of 40 years ago, he said.

    Factors such as the increase in life expectancy and advances in non-invasive surgical techniques require the ability and willingness to adapt and change, he said.

    The mass cooperation needed to continue the college’s expansion is not an unreasonable goal, Joiner said, adding that good collaboration is the reason the college still stands after four decades.

    “”Being versatile is definitely an advantage,”” he said. “”It’s not always simple, but we’re always going to try.””

    Stuart said health professionals must remember that adapting to emerging health care needs centers simply on helping individuals.

    “”We all want to save the world,”” he said. “”But first, we have to save the people.””

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