PHOENIX – With physician shortages expected to top 100,000 nationally by the end of the decade, the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix is doing its part to help meet the needs of Arizona citizens.
The fifth class of students began classes on the downtown Phoenix campus this week and is on its way to becoming part of the solution.
The traditional White Coat ceremony – which symbolically welcomes the class into the profession – is scheduled for Friday afternoon.
The expansion to Phoenix of the medical school in Tucson was developed as Arizona saw the growing physician shortage in the state's two largest cities, as well as in the rural areas.
Research in 2005 found the state in the bottom half of the nation in number of physicians per capita and well behind the national average. The American Association of Medical Colleges reported recently that the shortage will number more than 100,000 by 2020.
"As our citizens get older and live longer, we are facing a greater demand and Arizona consistency ranks near the bottom in physicians for our population," said Dr. Stuart D. Flynn, dean of the College of Medicine-Phoenix. "Our continued growth has become more critical with these startling figures and to address the evolving changes in health care delivery."
The medical school is poised to grow again in 2012 with the completion of the Health Sciences Education Building, which will allow the college to grow to 80 students per class and eventually grow to 120 students per class, pending approval of the accrediting body for medical schools.
Thirty-five of the 48 students in the 2011 incoming class are Arizona residents, the balance coming from six different states. The latest class of students was selected from a group of more than 600 applicants and completed the multiple interview process being used by a handful of medical schools.
The multiple mini-interview process puts applicants through 10 stations of questions and scenarios during a two-hour time period rather than the traditional one-on-one, one-hour interview. Students are also evaluated by the holistic admissions approach, assessing a wide array of qualities of the applicant.
Students at the College of Medicine-Phoenix will take classes based on a curriculum that addresses utilizing a diverse array of components in a patient-centric curriculum, including an emphasis on biomedical informatics, personalized medicine and the value of inquiry, discovery, and life-long learning highlighted by the four-year scholarly project that each student undertakes.
In 2004, the Arizona Board of Regents approved a historic agreement to expand the UA medical school to Phoenix to help address the physician shortage in Arizona where an aging and expanding population underscores the need for physicians.
The City of Phoenix provided land to establish the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, which includes the school, the Arizona Biomedical Collaborative building and the Translational Genomics Research Institute.