UA medical school in Phoenix a hub of growth

At UA medical school in Phoenix, new students and new  buildings underscore promise for future

by Ken Alltucker– Jul. 21,  2012 03:37 PM The Republic |

With the arrival of 80 fresh-faced medical students for classes this week at  University of Arizona’s medical school in Phoenix, Arizona’s  grand experiment to create a medical and research hub in downtown Phoenix takes  another step forward.

The 80 students represent the largest class since the UA College of Medicine  established a downtown Phoenix campus five years ago. Those  future doctors soon will share the newly opened health sciences education  building with Northern Arizona University students who are studying to become  physical therapists and physician assistants.

Beyond the new building, new programs and new students, the campus is  scheduled to expand later this year with the groundbreakings of a  250,000-square-foot University of Arizona Cancer Center and a privately funded  biotech lab next to the building anchored by the Translational Genomics Research  Institute and International Genomics Consortium.

The downtown Phoenix campus also could receive renewed focus from the  University of Arizona’s new president, Ann Weaver Hart, and the Arizona Board of  Regents’ newly formed health committee.

Arizona leaders have high expectations that the Phoenix Biomedical Campus  will sprout jobs, health-care professionals and medical discoveries that bolster  Arizona’s effort to grow its health-care and biotechnology sectors. And even  though the biomedical campus has had challenges — such as Arizona State  University ending its partnership with UA’s medical school and leadership  changes — university officials are optimistic about the biomedical campus’  potential.

“It’s important to show it is continuing forward progress,” said Jay Heiler,  who chairs the Arizona Board of Regents health committee. “It is critical not  only for the universities. It is going to end up emerging as a very important  piece of Arizona’s economy.”

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