What is the Creighton University Arizona Health Education Alliance?
In September 2017, Creighton University, Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS) and District Medical Group (DMG) signed an agreement to enter into a strategic partnership designed to improve and expand Graduate Medical Education (GME) programs and to develop academic and clinical education programs in nursing, pharmacy, allied health and medicine through a collaborative organization. The Creighton University Arizona Health Education Alliance will serve as the centralized organization administering residencies and fellowships previously managed by each partnering institution. Those programs will be under the sponsorship of Creighton University.
Why was the Alliance established?
The collaboration reflects the desire of three institutions – St. Joseph’s, MIHS and DMG – to have a strong affiliation with a medical school. Creighton’s medical school presence in Phoenix provided an opportunity to partner with a well-regarded School of Medicine. Due to their closely aligned missions and core values, this affiliation is positioned to serve a leadership role in attracting top-caliber faculty and students, expanding educational training programs, developing joint research institutes, and collectively serving as a greater advocacy voice for medical education funding.
How will the Alliance help the people of Arizona?
The partners each have exceptional track records, reputations and proven expertise in health professions education. The affiliation combines those strengths into an organization that can be at the forefront of advancing health professions education, research and training of new generations of physicians, nurses and allied health professionals to improve the health outcomes for our community, state and nation. Also, Arizona currently ranks in the bottom third of all U.S. states in the number of practicing physicians per 100,000 people. With its booming population, the metro Phoenix area and the entire state need more physicians and other health professionals, and those professionals need more local, high-quality training opportunities.
When will this collaboration begin?
The collaboration is already in place and those seeking to apply for Alliance residencies and fellowships at partnering institutions should search ERAS for Creighton University School of Medicine programs in Phoenix at creighton.edu/Alliance.
How is the Alliance structured?
Governance is led by the Alliance board of directors, who represent the major institutions that make up the Alliance. The board is responsible for developing, implementing and evaluating the Alliance strategic plan in order to enhance the educational experience and ensure an optimal clinical learning environment. Operationally, the Alliance is headed by Executive Director Jacqueline Chadwick, MD, and her staff. Moreover, two Designated Institutional Officials ensure accreditation standards are met by the respective institutions.
How is the Alliance funded?
Each member of the Alliance contributes to the operation. This funding covers staffing, facility leasing, and other general operating expenses. Economies of scale will be sought as will the opportunity for strategic investment in enhanced services and programs.
How many residents and fellows train at Alliance member institutions?
More than 300 residents and fellows currently train at member institutions, Maricopa Integrated Health System and St. Joseph’s. A resident is a doctor in training who has completed medical school and must serve a “residency” to complete his or her medical training to become a practicing physician in a particular specialty, such as internal medicine, family medicine, surgery, radiology, obstetrics/gynecology, psychiatry, emergency medicine and others. More often than not, residents stay in the community where they complete their residency. The Alliance also will coordinate fellowships, which are available to practicing doctors seeking highly specialized training in certain sub-specialties, such as cardiology and gastroenterology.
What role does the Alliance have in the Health Sciences Regional Campus recently announced by Creighton University?
The Alliance and Creighton University’s expansion in Phoenix are separate efforts although the goals of each intertwine. The Alliance is committed to providing the collaborative infrastructure that leads to more practicing physicians and other health-care professionals in Arizona. Creighton is seeking to expand its health sciences presence in Arizona to include a four-year medical school, an expanded nursing program (an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program started in January 2018), as well as programs in pharmacy, occupational and physical therapy, and physician assistant training. Alliance members will benefit from the pipeline of future professionals who receive their medical education from Creighton and will continue to partner with the school to provide residencies, fellowships, rotations and other clinical training opportunities for Creighton students and residents.
Will this partnership impact current teaching and research relationships in health education?
Although the member institutions have primary responsibility to Creighton learners, both MIHS and St. Joseph’s are committed to continuing to support training opportunities for students from other schools. Similarly, collaborations in research are expected to grow.