Design of a new NAU medical school part of ABOR’s comprehensive effort to improve health outcomes across Arizona

Arizona will see its first medical school in Flagstaff as part of the Arizona Board of Regents’ call to its public universities to close the health care workforce gap in the state.

Image: ABOR newsroom (Arizona Board of Regents)

Northern Arizona University announced today that it is designing a new medical school to prepare doctors for primary care practice in rural, underserved and indigenous communities in Arizona. NAU Health is also looking to affordable pathways for Arizona residents to graduate and practice in-state with minimal debt, similar to the Arizona Teachers’ Academy.

The new Flagstaff medical school is part of the multi-faceted AZ Healthy Tomorrow initiative that will rapidly accelerate the health care workforce in Arizona with the creation of two new medical schools and increased medical school graduates.

“Arizona’s public universities are driving our state forward and responding to meet the health care needs of residents,” said Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs. “Building an Arizona for everyone means ensuring people across the state have access to quality, affordable health care. Thank you to the board of regents for leading on this important issue.”

Currently, it is estimated nearly 3 million Arizonans have limited access to primary care, and more than one in three Arizona hospitals face a critical staffing shortage. Unless action is taken, annual growth in all Arizona health care professions over the next decade is projected to slow.

The board voted today to request $153 million in the FY2025 state budget to advance the AZ Healthy Tomorrow initiative and fill the shortages. In partnership with the Governor’s office, the board has also allocated $56 million to launch these initiatives.

“Our state’s population is growing yet Arizona ranks among the top five states with the most severe health care workforce shortages. We must act now to make sure our families and loved ones have access to the care they need,” said ABOR Chair Fred DuVal. “We are asking our universities to hit the accelerator and grow more qualified medical professionals. The result will be greater access to quality  care for residents across the state.”

Arizona State University announced in June that it is launching a new medical school that will integrate clinical medicine, biomedical science and engineering, and plans to grow its partnership with the Mayo Clinic and expand the nursing workforce. The University of Arizona has committed to double the number of doctors graduating from its medical schools and expand its partnership with Banner Health to create a fully integrated academic medical center.

In addition to a new medical school, NAU is growing its role as a national leader in nursing and allied health programs with the creation of a College of Nursing to enhance national visibility and impact of its successful nursing programs. NAU plans to double the number of degrees awarded in other much-needed health care professions including physical and occupational therapy, physician assistant studies, dental hygiene, and more.

Learn more about AZ Healthy Tomorrow here.

Posted in AZBio News.