The University of Arizona College of Medicine has appointed Beth Schermer, a noted Phoenix attorney who has worked in health care law for more than 25 years, to a one-year appointment as vice dean for administration, UA College of Medicine-Phoenix.
The appointment takes effect Tuesday, Sept. 6. The UA College of Medicine soon will begin a national search for a permanent vice dean for the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix, whose duties will include all academic matters, such as curriculum development, instruction and faculty development.
Schermer, who has been a partner at Coppersmith, Gordon, Schermer, Owens & Nelson PLC, since 1998, will take a one-year leave from the firm to help lead the UA effort to expand its College of Medicine into Downtown Phoenix, in collaboration with Arizona State University.
Her responsibilities will focus on building excellent relationships and facilitating open communications with the myriad stakeholders critical to the project's success -- health care organizations, hospitals, educational institutions, governmental bodies, industry and foundations, among many others. Dr. Keith Joiner, dean of the UA College of Medicine, said "We're extremely fortunate that Beth Schermer has agreed to serve as vice dean for administration in Phoenix. Her vast knowledge of health care policy and law, as well as her strong relationships with Arizona hospitals and health care organizations, will be a tremendous asset to this important effort. Because the medical school expansion is extremely fast-paced and complex, we needed someone immediately to help enhance communication and build stronger relationships in Maricopa County. We believe Beth Schermer is the ideal person to serve in this role."
Schermer has served as lead counsel to the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association, where she was responsible for coordinating legal services for health care advocacy and legislation. She also co-authored AzHHA's compliance manual. A former president of the American Health Lawyers Association, her past experience also includes strategic planning for health care providers and negotiation of multi-party arrangements for health care joint ventures, contracts and settlements. She has taught health law as an adjunct professor at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University and currently serves on the Flinn Foundation's Translational Research Project Advisory Committee. She graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale College in 1977 and then received her law degree from Harvard Law School in 1980.
University of Arizona President Peter Likins said, "We are excited to have the benefit of Beth's experience, wisdom and skills as the vice dean for administration. She will represent Dean Joiner and her new UA colleagues as our full-time Phoenix representative, facilitating collaborations in Maricopa County and improving critical communication pathways. I deeply appreciate her willingness to take leave from her law firm to serve a cause so critical to the people of Arizona."
Arizona Regent Bob Bulla said, "The appointment of Beth Schermer is another major step forward in collaboratively advancing this expansion of medical education and research in Phoenix - an initiative that is of critical importance to the citizens of Maricopa County and the State of Arizona."
Arizona State University President Michael Crow, said "The new branch of the medical college in Phoenix is a strategically important project for all of Arizona. Beth Schermer will provide the skills and experience needed to move the enterprise forward."
The interim appointment is part of a reorganization of the leadership structure at the current Phoenix campus in preparation for the expansion. Arizona Board of Regents approved a concept comprehensive plan outlining the details for the expansion on Aug. 16. The plan will be presented to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee as part of the requirements of SB 1517, which appropriated funding for the initial expansion. The new campus is expected to open in July 2006 and the first class of 24 first-year students will begin in July 2007. Ultimately, the campus is expected to graduate as many as 150 physicians per year.