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 | azcentral.com
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.”