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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

State shorts med school in Phoenix

Despite an increase in medical student enrollment at the UA College of Medicine — Phoenix, the Arizona Legislature’s budget proposal for the 2013 fiscal year does not add any funding to the college.

The Legislature allocated $13 million to the college and planned on having constant state funding when it was initially created in 2006, but funding has decreased to $10 million per year since then.

The college has not received constant funding due to Arizona’s economy, according to Stuart Flynn, the dean of the college.

“We can’t grow, number one, without an increase in funding and we cannot sustain the quality we’re at right now. Certainly we need to, for the university’s sake and for the state’s sake,” Flynn said. “The state won’t get another chance, nor will the university, to design and build another medical school in an environment such as this.”

Currently, there are 48 students enrolled at the UA College of Medicine — Phoenix. The college plans to eventually expand to 80, then 120 students, according to Flynn.

With an increase in students there must be better quality physician training, he said.

“Medical students want to go to where they’re going to get a variety training, so the lesser the level of training you can offer, the less appealing you are to people who have more than one place they can go,” Flynn said.

The College of Medicine’s expansion to Phoenix was in response to Arizona’s need for physicians. But according to Ted Vogt, the state representative from Legislative District 30, there must be more funds allocated to the college in order to meet this need.

Vogt recently proposed House Bill 2551, which will increase funding for health science education in downtown Phoenix. The bill requires $15 million in state funds to carry out its policies, Vogt said, and would increase the output of doctors in the state.

Vogt said the current funding levels cannot produce enough doctors for the state.

“Also, the university and the taxpayers of Arizona have made a huge capital investment in this campus up in Phoenix and now we’re not making the appropriation to open the doors and allow the utilization of these buildings,” he said. “That’s wasteful.”

HB 2551 is now awaiting assignment to the appropriations committee, though it has passed in the House Higher Education Committee.

Students don’t like the situation anymore than the administration.

Christian Dameff, a second-year medical student at the College of Medicine — Phoenix, said it was “frightening” that no new dollars had been allocated, because the college’s composition was intended to train physicians to be able to support the state’s growing population.

“We have a shortage of physicians in Arizona and we’re trying to address that concern by training more physicians,” Dameff said, “We need these funds to continue that mission so we can train not just doctors to be in the community, but great doctors.”

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