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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Q&A with Dr. Joe G.N. Garcia, new senior VP for UA Health Sciences

Dr. Joe G.N. Garcia was recently appointed to serve as the new senior vice president for the UA’s Health sciences, where he will overlook five colleges under the Arizona Health Sciences Center. He currently serves as vice president for health affairs the University of Illinois, and will begin his new position at the UA on Sept. 1.

The Arizona Summer Wildcat asked Dr. Garcia a few questions about his move to the Southwest and transition into his new leadership position.

Here’s what he had to say:

Are you nervous about leading two medical schools, in Tucson and Phoenix?

I’ve been at other state institutions that have had regional campuses. I think for the University of Arizona, it is unique, the fact that you have separate colleges of medicine both in Phoenix and in Tucson. But given that those are the two largest cities in Arizona it’s an opportunity I think of training outstanding students for careers in medicine and also to increase the number of academically-oriented trainees and students that perhaps will stay in Arizona and help address many of the problems within the state with regard to medically underserved patients. So I think it’s an opportunity and obviously the College of Medicine in Phoenix is much newer and has a lot of growth before it but these are opportunities that, I think, will be exciting to develop over the next few years.

What do you look forward to about moving to Tucson?

I think the people are terrific there … I’m from El Paso [Texas] so I know the Spanish southwest very well and it’s very attractive to me and … [I] don’t think I’ll be missing much the weather in Chicago … It’s a great part of the country.

What do you look forward to at the University of Arizona?

It’s always exciting to start at a new institution with a leadership position. I’m looking forward to getting to know the faculty and the leadership much better … further identify where our strengths are and really work with everyone so that we can, you know, move our university forward.

What are some of the strengths the UA’s Health Sciences programs have and what are some things you think you can help improve?

I think that there are strengths across the board in … particularly cancer-related research is very strong there. Increasing our capacities in population health I think will be important. There’s a strong push and a lot of interest and expertise in genetics and translational research that I think will be important for us … moving forward. I think our research programs maybe need some additional support in the infrastructure there. It’d be nice to expand our depths in specific areas around comparative research and translational research and in genetics and genomics and informatics. I think those are important areas in every institution and I think they’ll be important areas as well for us in Arizona.

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