Major new physician training alliance launches in Arizona

An alliance between some of the most respected names in health care in Arizona will become one of the largest providers of graduate medical education in the state.

The Creighton University-Arizona Health Education Alliance will now oversee the Graduate Medical Education (GME) programs for two of the Valley’s largest healthcare institutions — Maricopa Integrated Health System and Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, as well as the program for District Medical Group.

The consolidation, which was effective June 1, will mean that 325 GME residents will be under the Alliance’s umbrella. The move will make the Alliance the second largest provider of Graduate Medical Education programs in the state of Arizona behind the University of Arizona, which is the only state school with GME programming. Neuroscience residents and fellows will remain under St. Joseph’s sponsorship.

The transition is part of the formation of the Creighton University Arizona Health Education Alliance, an initiative formed last fall between Creighton, MIHS, Dignity Health and District Medical Group aimed at increasing the number of doctors and other health professionals in Arizona.

The formation of the Alliance and the sponsorship of the GME programs represents an expansion of Creighton’s impact on the Arizona medical community. The Jesuit, Catholic university has had a presence in Arizona for over a decade. More than 250 Creighton-trained doctors are currently practicing in Arizona, and the St. Joseph’s campus alone is currently home to more than 100 Creighton medical and nursing students.

Patty White, President & CEO of Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, said the partnership grew from a successful decade-long track record between Dignity Health and Creighton.

“Our organizations all benefit from access to the most highly trained health care professionals available,” White said. “The alliance allows us to take proactive steps to improve educational opportunities in health care in Arizona, which in turn provides us the opportunity to increase the number of doctors in the state and provide better care to our patients.”

Arizona currently ranks 32nd in the nation for the number of active physicians per 100,000 population.

“We are very pleased to be able to work with these outstanding medical providers to enhance the graduate medical education programs offered in Arizona,” said Creighton University President Rev. Daniel Hendrickson, SJ, PhD. “It is an honor to work with these three exceptional healthcare institutions and provide our students with a superior environment for learning medicine in Arizona.”

The Creighton University-Arizona Health Education Alliance, which was officially launched on Sept. 1, 2017, is designed to improve and expand current health education programs offered by each of the entities.The alliance will also develop new academic and clinical education programs in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and allied health.

Steve Purves, president and CEO of Maricopa Integrated Health System underscored that the Creighton University-Arizona Health Education Alliance will expand current health education programs offered by each of the entities and will also develop new academic and clinical education programs in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and allied health.

“Like many places across the country, Arizona faces a shortage of talented medical professionals as the population in need of medical care ages over time,” Purves said. “Alliances such as this one help meet the needs of our communities and enhance the level of care available to all Arizonans.”

“Our organizations each make a positive contribution to the Valley’s healthcare, but we truly are stronger when we work together,” said Dr. Kote Chundu, President and CEO, of District Medical Group. “This alliance will not only help those who work for us or are educated as part of the GME programs, they make our community’s health care better in the process.”