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SPECIAL REPORT 2017

THE REGION’S BUSINESS MAGAZINE

The University of Arizona College of Medicine Tucson

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Picking Up

UA College of Medicine – Tucson Takes the Fast Lane in Research, Education

By Christy Krueger There’s a lot for Tucson to hang its hat on when one of the top public research universities in the country sits smack in the middle of the city along with a world-class medical school that’s breaking barriers with cutting-edge initiatives. The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, just north of the main campus and adjacent to Banner – University Medical Center Tucson,

is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year with a laundry list of accomplishments that are saving lives and contributing to the advancement of medicine worldwide and to the economy here at home. Leading the march into the next 50 years is Dr. Charles B. Cairns, a nationally recognized leader in emergency medicine and critical care who initially was hired as vice dean of the College

1964

50 Years in the Making

Dr. Merlin K. DuVal becomes first dean of the College of Medicine.

1967 First class of 32 students begins classes.

of Medicine – Tucson in 2014 and was named permanent dean in April 2016. Cairns was lured away from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine. In his move to the UA, Cairns was part of a package deal with his equally renowned wife, Dr. Monica Kraft, now the Department of Medicine chair.

1971 University Hospital, now Banner - University Medical Center Tucson opens. Arizona Respiratory Sciences Center, now University of Arizona Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center, established.

1974 World’s first artificial wrist designed by orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Robert Volz.

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Speed at 50

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Enthusiastic about becoming part of one of the country’s top research schools, Cairns and his capable staff took no time in generating a huge win for the college. The UA was one of four universities selected in 2016 by the National Institutes of Health for its All of Us Research Program, formally known as the Precision Medicine Initiative. The NIH selected four partnership groups,

1976 Arizona Cancer Center, now University of Arizona Cancer Center, established.

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UA Health Sciences and Banner Health being one of them, to conduct studies with the goal of advancing genomic research. The award, led by Dr. Lolu Ojo, totals $43.3 million over five years and is the largest NIH peer-reviewed grant in Arizona history. It signals that the university is considered one of the nation’s top research facilities in the field of genomics, suggesting a high level of prestige and the opportunity to be in-

1980 Arizona Center on Aging, now University of Arizona Center on Aging, established.

1983 Native American Research and Training Center established.

strumental in the future of medicine in the United States. Cairns credits the 2015 affiliation agreement with Banner Health and the physical growth of the hospital and UA Health Sciences for many of the positive changes that have taken place at the college since he arrived, as well as those still to come. “All the changes have enhanced academics and the missions of the college,” continued on page 162 >>>

1985 First successful total artificial heart used as a bridge to transplant led by cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Jack Copeland. Arizona Arthritis Center, now University of Arizona Arthritis Center, established.

1986 University Heart Center opens. Renamed UA Sarver Heart Center in 1998 in recognition of generous support from the Robert Sarver family. continued on page 162 >>> BizTucson 161


University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson Deans from legislative approval of the college to present

1964-1971 1973-1974

1971-1973 Dr. Jack M. Layton Dr. Merlin K. DuVal (interim)

continued from page 161 Cairns said. “They provide students with new opportunities for clinical experiences and to be at the forefront of technology. They allow the faculty to be engaged in the highest quality research and clinical care. And it allows for better interaction with the community, to serve the needs of the people in Tucson and around the nation.” Growth and changes go beyond the Tucson campus. The Banner affiliation opens opportunities for students and faculty at any of Banner’s Phoenixarea hospitals and facilities where, incidentally, the UA operates the recently fully accredited College of Medicine – Phoenix. To top off all the excitement around the College of Medicine – Tucson, the Arizona Board of Regents couldn’t have hired a more appropriate and qualified leader than Dr. Robert C. Robbins as the UA’s new president. Robbins happens to be a cardiac surgeon whose previous job was leading the world’s largest medical complex, the Texas Medical

1990

1992

Arizona Emergency Medicine Research Center opens.

Steele Memorial Children’s Research Center, now University of Arizona Steele Children’s Research Center, opens.

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Dr. Neil A. Vanselow

1977-1987

Dr. Louis J. Kettel

I think we can do things together (with Banner Health) not only to catch up to but actually lead in the discovery of new drugs, new devices, new digital platforms, new diagnostics, new ways of delivering healthcare that will be higher-quality, lower-cost, with a more patientcentered focus to service.

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1974-1977

Dr. Robert C. Robbins President University of Arizona

1993 Dr. Andrew Weil starts the nation’s first integrative medicine program based at a medical college. It is now the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.

1988

Dr. Vincent A. Fulginiti (interim)

1988-2001

Dr. James E. Dalen

Center in Houston. He comes with a long, highly visible background in medicine, research and large-institution leadership, including time as a professor and chairman of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Stanford School of Medicine. “The partnership with Banner is in its nascent stages,” Robbins said. “I thought one of the reasons the Regents chose me was my background, and that I could hopefully have a positive influence on the evolution of this partnership, which I think could be tremendous between the University of Arizona and Banner Health. “I think we can do things together to not only to catch up to but actually lead in the discovery of new drugs, new devices, new digital platforms, new diagnostics, new ways of delivering healthcare that will be higher-quality, lower-cost, with a more patient-centered focus to service.” Sarah Hiteman, retired deputy dean of finance and administration, who was

1996 Arizona Telemedicine Program established. Valley Fever Center for Excellence, now the University of Arizona Valley Fever Center for Excellence, established.

2000 UA Liver Research Institute, now UA Thomas D. Boyer Liver Institute, established.

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Dr. Raymond L. Woosley

2001-2002 Dr. William S. Dalton

2002-2004

2004-2008

Dr. Kenneth J. Ryan Dr. Keith A. Joiner (interim)

at the college for 22 years, sees Robbins as an important part of the medical school’s future. “We now have a UA president who understands the Colleges of Medicine. It’ll be a benefit to all health sciences in Tucson and Phoenix.” Hiteman has lasting memories of the continuous struggles with having enough funding, a dilemma that has changed over the years as the UA consistently has landed high in the rankings as a top public research university. “One of the biggest challenges the College of Medicine faced through time was state budget cuts,” Hiteman said. “Historically, UA decided the College of Medicine would have deeper cuts because they thought the college had additional resources to tap into to reach budget, like access to hospital resources and from doing well in research. It was considered a cash cow.” Hiteman explained that researchers basically had to generate their own income, some of which was used to pay

2008-2009 2009-2014 Dr. Steve Goldschmid

their salaries. “It’s hard to work with $12 million in deficits. A lot of tenured faculty left to go to other institutions where they were paid 100 percent by the state and didn’t have to generate part of their own salary.” Today, Hiteman said, the keys to success of any medical school includes research, funding and retaining faculty. “We need to take care of people to keep talent.” She points to the UA Cancer Center as being a “huge research engine; it’s very important.” Philanthropy also is integral to the school’s funding. Much of it comes from patients who had positive experiences with the hospital and specific centers connected with the school, such as the UA Cancer Center, the UA Sarver Heart Center, the UA Steele Children’s Research Center, the UA Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center and the UA Center on Aging, among others. The centers include College of Medicine – Tucson graduates, who contribute to the Tucson community’s

2003

2005

After 16 years of research, Dr. Gordon Ewy and Dr. Karl Kern, of the UA Sarver Heart Center, advocate chest-compression-only CPR.

Arizona Simulation Technology and Education Center (ASTEC) established.

2006 VIPER Institute (Venom Immunochemistry, Pharmacology and Emergency Response) established.

2014-2015

2015-present

Dr. Joe G.N. “Skip” Dr. Charles B. Cairns Garcia (interim)

economic stability while strengthening and growing the services the centers provide. Of course, the whole purpose of a medical college is education. Its admissions office received more than 7,200 applications for 120 spots for the class of 2021, a 50-percent increase since 2014. It’s a strong indication that the university’s medical school is benefiting from an increased level of visibility and reputation as a top research institution. “I think that when people look at a UA graduate, they know they’ve had excellent clinical training,” said Dr. Kevin Moynahan, the deputy dean for education who also oversees admissions. “They’re going to see an excellent physician, a well-rounded physician, one who has core competencies, including professional behavior and empathy. I think that’s what people see. We see that when our students are accepted for admission.”

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2007

2015

UA College of Medicine – Phoenix welcomes first class of medical students.

Beginning of a 30-year landmark affiliation with Banner Health.

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IMAGES: COURTESY THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA COLLEGE OF MEDICINE – TUCSON

2001


Dean University of Arizona College of Medicine â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Tucson

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Dr. Charles B. Cairns


Q&A

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with

Dr. Charles B. Cairns Dean, University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson By Christy Krueger Dr. Charles B. Cairns came to the University of Arizona in 2014 as vice dean of the College of Medicine – Tucson and assistant vice president of health sciences. After a national search in 2015, he took over the position he holds today as dean of the college. Prior to his move to Tucson, Cairns spent his professional career in North Carolina, Colorado and California. He is a nationally recognized leader, researcher and educator in emergency medicine and critical care, serving in university leadership roles. His research interests include the host response to acute infections, asthma, trauma and cardiac resuscitation. Positions he has held include professor and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of North Carolina; associate chief of emergency medicine at Duke University and director of emergency research at the Duke Clinical Research Institute; and director of the Colorado Emergency Medicine Research Center at the University of Colorado. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Cairns held faculty and research positions at Denver Affiliated Residency in Emergency Medicine, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, University of North Carolina and Duke University. Cairns has received numerous awards, including Arizona Business Leader, 2017; Outstanding Contribution in Research Award of the American College of Emergency Physicians in 2000, and the 2014 John Marx Leadership Award, the highest award of the Society for American Emergency Medicine. He has published more than 200 articles, appearing in such prestigious journals as New England Journal of Medicine, Critical Care Medicine, Circulation, Journal of Trauma and Science Translational Medicine. While attending Dartmouth College, Cairns was recognized as a National Merit Scholar and a Daniel Webster Scholar. In 1980, he was an NCAA Division I national finalist in cross-country. He still enjoys staying fit today and has a treadmill desk set up in his office at the College of Medicine – Tucson. www.BizTucson.com

Q. What is the

University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson’s niche nationally?

and in 10 years. We look for people who have led multidisciplinary teams and inherently link clinical needs and research. I’m not sure if any other medical schools have such a strategic and comprehensive approach.

We truly are one of the A. nation’s leaders in preQ. cision medicine, as evidenced by the large NIH All of Us grant and the groundbreaking research performed here. We’re also internationally known as one of the centers of excellence for pulmonary, asthma and allergy research and internationally known in cardiac resuscitation.

Q. Talk about blending clinical initiatives with research and education.

We strive to fully inA. tegrate clinical and research excellence. As an

example, we recently developed 10 strategic initiatives in research. These are built on the foundation of what are important initiatives for health care in Arizona, where the strengths in science at the UA are, and what are the health needs in Tucson and in Arizona now

Can you give examples of how the college has adapted to changes in health care in general? We’ve been an examA. ple to the country in the transformation of health-

care. The hospital and the college have been partnered since their founding in 1971. As a result, the UA Health Network was a successful healthcare delivery organization with a vibrant academic portfolio and stable finances until 2013. Then market forces, healthcare finance changes and technology upgrades led to a compromised position, same as many other academic medical centers. Banner Health has recruited high-quality providers and developed unique healthcare delivery systems, and in 2015 we started our partnership,

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BizMEDICINE continued from page 165 designed to adapt to the changing landscape.

Q. What changes did you bring with you?

A.

To successfully navigate new partnerships and address our missions in this healthcare market, we incorporated a number of changes – to structures, education, training, research and governance. Some important components are a new curriculum for medical students to expose them to clinical medicine and engage them in communities earlier in their training. We have incorporated research processes to take advantage of opportunities available by working across Banner’s 28 hospitals. We received the NIH All of Us Research grant because we made this change. We’ve increased the number of opportunities for faculty to be directly engaged in the direction and governance of the college. And we incorporated new promotion tracks to recognize scholarly excellence in healthcare delivery and innovation.

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Q. Does having innovation attract faculty?

Having innovation has been critiA. cal in attracting the best faculty and students from all over the world to Tucson. These innovation programs are recognized globally as a forefront of medicine, and they provide a foundation for our research, educational and training efforts.

Q. Are most medical

schools associated with a hospital like here and are all your faculty members involved with research?

Q. What are your thoughts

on new University of Arizona President Robert Robbins and his support of moving the college into the future?

I look forward to working with A. President Robbins on the evolution of the College of Medicine – Tucson, as well as academic medicine and healthcare delivery. That will enhance all of our endeavors and benefit the people we serve in Arizona and beyond.

Q. What is the College of Medicine celebrating in its 50th year?

Our record year of excellence Most major medical schools A. and impact. We’ve had a record A. closely associate with a hospital number of medical school applicants, to form academic medical centers. All of our faculty are engaged in academic activities. Most UA College of Medicine – Tucson professors are involved with research, but some focus mainly on education and training.

up 50 percent during my time here, a record number of promotions, up 30 percent, record number of faculty and the remarkable record of innovation and research with grants, funding, publications, patents, licensing and startups up by more than 25 percent.

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Major Economic Driver in Arizona & Beyond UA College of Medicine – Tucson’s Annual Budget is $365 Million By Jay Gonzales

When the word “university” is in the name of an organization, it’s a nobrainer that learning is first and foremost in its mission. That remains so at the University of Arizona and its College of Medicine – Tucson. Yet over the years, the ball game has shifted to the point that in a college town like Tucson, the university is a major economic driver measured by billions of dollars. Some of it is obvious, such as the fact that the UA as a whole is Tucson’s largest employer with a total annual budget of $2.5 billion. Within that is an economy – at the College of Medicine – Tucson, for instance – that stretches throughout the community, the nation and even the world as the college competes for the best of the best in faculty and students, and where world-class researchers develop and put their technologies on the market for the betterment of mankind. All with the blessing of a research-focused institution like the UA. Gone are the days when a faculty member could just hole up in an office or a lab stacked with papers and documentation and surrounded by test tubes and microscopes, emerging long enough to teach classes and churn out the next generation of physicians. “The best teachers are the ones who are going to be really inspirational and drive people to go forward and be outstanding – the cutting-edge research170 BizTucson

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ers,” said Anne Cress, deputy dean for research and faculty affairs at the College of Medicine – Tucson. “They’re at the cutting edge of how to make healthcare better, how to make discoveries that impact people, rather than just make discoveries that you put in a textbook.

One of the most important reasons for a college of medicine to function in our state is to serve the needs of the population of Arizona.

– Dr. Francisco Moreno Deputy Dean for Diversity and Inclusion College of Medicine – Tucson University of Arizona

“Twenty years ago, you could do things in isolation. Not anymore,” Cress said. “Science has moved way beyond that. You’ve got to get in there and really make it real.” By “real,” Cress means that research no longer is done for the sake of doing

research. It has an end. Sometimes it results in a company being formed or a patent filed for a new medical device. Other times it leads to a next level of research, it lures a prominent faculty member to the college or, in its simplest form, it can draw in research dollars – sometimes millions – that lead to more opportunities to change the world. “It does seem rather mind-boggling,” Cress said. Not just teaching and learning

With an annual budget of $365 million, the College of Medicine – Tucson is no slouch as an economic driver on its own. As Cress mentioned, companies are spun off, often getting into the market through the UA’s technology incubator, Tech Launch Arizona. Or something big happens – like UA Health Sciences receiving a $43 million grant over five years from the National Institutes of Health to study precision medicine. Or the school turns out doctors who find their calling in helping a small, rural community, practicing medicine where no one else will and making an impact not in dollars but in service. This is the norm – the expectation – when faculty members and students make their way to the UA colleges of medicine in Tucson and Phoenix. With a new UA president who also is a cardiac surgeon, Dr. Robert C. Robbins, continued on page 172 >>> www.BizTucson.com


Anne Cress

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Deputy Dean for Research & Faculty Affairs College of Medicine â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Tucson University of Arizona

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continued from page 170 there’s a sense that an even brighter light is shining on the fortunes of the college. “Being a land-grant, state university, we have a responsibility to be able to not only give our students the best education that we possibly can, but also to discover new knowledge and to translate that knowledge into commercialize-able products,” Robbins said. “If we discover the new knowledge and it just lies dormant in some article, that would be important. But if it never gets translated into something that could help make the world a better place and improve the status of humanity, then what a missed opportunity that is.” Reaching out to make an impact

Dr. Francisco Moreno

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Deputy Dean for Diversity & Inclusion College of Medicine – Tucson University of Arizona

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Even as millions of dollars pass through the college, one of its primary economic impacts is on the smaller communities around Arizona that might not have the financial resources to attract doctors who have gone through the rigors of medical school and might see it as a path to financial well-being. “One of the most important reasons for a college of medicine to function in our state is to serve the needs of the population of Arizona,” said Dr. Francisco Moreno, deputy dean for diversity and inclusion at the college. Moreno pointed out that Arizona has an abundance of rural communities with high minority populations, and the UA sees diversity in its students as a way to impact those communities with doctors who understand the culture. “The health needs of these populations are very unique,” Moreno said. “When we train individuals from those backgrounds, they’re more likely to go back and serve those populations. We’re training individuals to be asking the next questions, to be conducting the new research projects that serve the needs of the state.” That effort starts early at the college – for example with the Med-Start program that brings high school students who might be interested in a health career to the campus during the summer for exposure to the campus, its academics, the labs, the classes and the work. Students apply for the program and those who are accepted receive a scholarship while getting a close-up look at a future in a medical field. continued on page 174 >>>


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continued from page 172 “It’s hard to measure a program like that, but anecdotally, it’s been wildly successful,” said Linda Don, former assistant dean for outreach and multicultural affairs, which administers the program. “Whenever I go to a hospital or a clinic, I literally run into someone who will say they went to Med-Start and they will say what they’ve been doing with their lives. A lot of them are working in health-related jobs, whether they’re a physician or a nurse or working in a county health department.” Buildings for the future

Deputy Dean for Finance & Business Affairs College of Medicine – Tucson University of Arizona

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David Elmer

While there’s plenty going on inside the College of Medicine – Tucson, outside major construction is signaling a commitment to technology, learning and an environment for the future of healthcare. Banner Health, the UA’s partner that runs the teaching hospital now known as Banner – University Medical Center Tucson, has a brand-new building going up next to the old hospital originally known as University Hospital. Two other UA buildings – the Bioscience Research Laboratories and the Health Sciences Innovation Building – are in line with the direction the college is taking in its teaching and research, giving students more hands-on training and lab opportunities earlier in their time at the college, said David Elmer, deputy dean for finance and business affairs. All of those projects had their own economic impacts – providing construction jobs. And while adding new facilities and new technology for new ways of teaching and learning is not a competition like one might find across campus in collegiate athletics, there’s a mindset that it contributes to attracting the best students and faculty who see an opportunity for turning out better-trained doctors and conducting higher levels of research. “While there’s a building going up, it’s really the strategic positioning of our education that’s hopefully attracting the students,” Elmer said. “It’s going to be beautiful. It’s always nice to work in an environment like that. The technology will be advanced. But it will give us an opportunity to change the way we teach.” Biz www.BizTucson.com


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A Passion for Patients The Right Reason to Become a Doctor By Jay Gonzales

If there’s a Medical School 101 for getting into the University of Arizona, the first lesson is knowing the right reason to be a doctor. “If you’re going into medicine for any other reason than you want to serve patients and help them better their lives, you’re not going to be successful in medicine,” said Dr. Kevin Moynahan, the deputy dean for education who oversees the UA College of Medicine – Tucson’s admissions and medical education programs. As the college turns 50, the admissions and education process is constantly evolving to keep aligned with the rapidly changing medical profession and the way students learn. Yet, even as teaching and students and the practice of medicine continue to change, Moynahan said, the way to be a good doctor does not. A prospective medical student has to have a strong desire to serve patients. No questions asked. “If that’s not your motivation, if you’re going into medicine because of money or because there’s prestige, if serving patients isn’t there in front of you, driving you forward through the good and the bad, you’re not going to be happy because things are changing so rapidly,” Moynahan said. The UA works on developing the service mindset from the outset – starting in the admissions process – and underscores it the day medical students set foot on campus and they see patients on their first day of school. 176 BizTucson

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Getting in

The students who are admitted are the ones who demonstrate, in a detailed and thorough admissions process, that they have specific traits the school is looking for – “empathy, excellent com-

We’re trying to create an environment where students understand the commitment that it takes to be a physician and the trust that our society has placed in them.

– Dr. Kevin Moynahan Deputy Dean for Education UA College of Medicine – Tucson University of Arizona

munication skills, resilience, appreciation of diverse populations and then the absolute commitment to the profession,” Moynahan said. Applicants for medical school – last year there were 7,200 applications for 120 spots – get a first look, like at other schools of medicine, based on their undergraduate grade-point average and the Medical College Admissions Test

or MCAT, Moynahan said. But once an applicant gets the needed score to be considered for the college, other personal attributes and overall fit are considered along with grades. In the UA process, the applicant is put through nine to 10 mini-interviews intended to draw out the aforementioned qualities the school desires. It’s hard to fake it in the process, Moynahan said. “They want to get into medical school so they might be trying to think about what they’re supposed to be answering and maybe not what they’re thinking,” he said. “They’re probably not going be able to do 10 of those because it’s rapid fire. We’re hoping that we’re picking up students where we see these traits that we value. “We’re trying to create an environment where students understand the commitment that it takes to be a physician and the trust that our society has placed in them,” he said. “And then we fill that with the medical knowledge and the traits that they need to be a successful physician – all the while maintaining their ideals in terms of wanting to help people.” To serve the underserved

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Dr. Kevin Moynahan

PHOTO: BRENT G. MATHIS

Deputy Dean for Education College of Medicine â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Tucson University of Arizona

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BizEDUCATION Gonzales said that in urban areas nationwide, there are about 290 doctors per 100,000 residents. In the urban areas of Arizona, it’s about 250 per 100,000. In the rural areas of Arizona, it’s about half that. Another program geared toward the college’s mantra of serving people is the student-run volunteer program, Commitment to Underserved People, or CUP. The CUP program puts students in both clinical and non-clinical programs where they get first-hand experience with the needs of underserved communities.

PHOTO: AMY HASKELL

continued from page 176 Mexican border, and where there is a significant underserved population both inside and outside the urban centers of Phoenix and Tucson. At the same time students are learning how to practice medicine, they have opportunities to experience what their future work will entail by participating in the college’s community engagement programs. The Rural Health Professions Program, under Dr. Carlos Gonzales, matches medical school students with physicians working in rural communities throughout Arizona. Students apply for the program and 22 get into the program each year, taking at least two rotations, one in the summer after their first year of school and a second during the third year. The purpose is two-fold, Gonzales said. One is to get future doctors to consider the idea of providing their services in underserved and rural areas by attracting potential students from those areas. “We try to recruit kids from the rural communities because it’s been proven time and time again that (doctors) who go into rural communities come from rural communities,” Gonzales said. “Also, you can often get students interested in rural medicine if you give them exposure to rural medicine early on in their education.” The second purpose is that students in the program tend to get more hands-on experience when they’re working with a rural doctor as opposed to a setting at a hospital in an urban area. “They get the same clinical experience, but sometimes it’s a little better because often, when you’re in the big hospital here, you’re going to be on a team of seven to 10 people seeing one patient,” Gonzales said. “If you go to rural Arizona, there are no teams. It’s you and the doc.” The need for doctors in the smaller communities is constant and growing. www.BizTucson.com

Dr. Carlos Gonzales

Assistant Dean, Curricular Affairs College of Medicine - Tucson University of Arizona

Gonzales said the programs are recruiting tools for the college. Students are attracted to the College of Medicine – Tucson to have an opportunity to participate in them. He said he usually gets 30 to 35 applications for the 22 slots in the Rural Health Professions Program. “Our program has been somewhat successful,” Gonzales says modestly. “We know that since the year 2000, we have placed between 40 and 50 physicians in rural Arizona. It has worked.”

The community programs also help fulfill what Moynahan said is one of the primary goals of the college – to get doctors into communities throughout Arizona. “We’re a state school and we’re committed to educating our state’s population. That’s a big thing that we are obligated to do and feel passionate about,” he said. Learning communities

In the fiercely competitive world of medical schools, the college takes a lessthan-traditional approach to the education it provides with what are called “learning communities.” In a learning community, new students are assigned to one of 21 “clinical mentors” in the college, and they make their way through their four years of medical school with the same mentor and group of five to six peers. They get one-on-one training with the mentor. They learn their clinical skills from the mentor sideby-side with other students in their community. They start seeing patients with the mentor on the first day of school. “It’s a movement that’s really growing nationwide. We were one of the first to have such a program,” Moynahan said. The approach also leans toward less class time and more practical experience. He said that the traditional, 50-minute classroom lecture is becoming somewhat obsolete in favor of hands-on work, mentoring and relationship-building because “medical school is a tough place,” he said. It’s an approach that is intended to make sure the student arrives, thrives and leaves with the same motivation to be a doctor. “We’re trying to preserve the empathy and the passion for medicine by using educational modalities like learning communities and close mentorship so that students feel connected for the four years that they’re here,” Moynahan said “While they’re certainly a different person when they come out, hopefully they have the same values they came in with.” Biz Fall 2017

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School of

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Innovation Multimillion Dollar Grants Fuel Research By Christy Krueger A five-year $43 million grant is a significant award for a university, especially when it benefits a medical school like the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson that already is focused on innovation, research and technology. They’re still celebrating at the college over the 2016 National Institutes of Health grant and the opportunities it presents. Although the grant, led by Dr. Lolu Ojo, was awarded a year ago, the work just got underway in July. First called the Precision Medicine Initiative and then renamed the All of Us Research Program, the award is the largest peer-reviewed NIH grant in the history of the state of Arizona, said Dr. Charles B. Cairns, dean of the College of Medicine – Tucson. “This initial award of $43 million enables us to be at the forefront of the genomics revolution. We were one of only four awarded,” said Cairns, obviously proud of the excellent company the college is keeping. The partner groups are the New York Presbyterian Hospital system,

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which includes both Columbia University and Cornell University; the University of Pittsburgh; and a consortium made up of the University of Chicago, University of Illinois and Northwestern University. “UA’s goal is to enroll 150,000 people across the Western region to better understand their individual differences and how it applies to health and disease. The goal nationally is to enroll 1 million people. We’re interested in having everyone participate in this landmark study,” he said. Cairns invited members of the public to learn more about the program at https:// allofusaz.uahs.arizona.edu. He emphasized that innovative programs like this and others at the school are critical to attracting faculty and students from all over the world. “These programs are recognized globally as the forefront of medicine and provide a foundation for research efforts.” Precision medicine is among several areas that faculty at the medical school recognizes as its top cutting-edge research programs, said Anne Cress, who holds a continued on page 182 >>>

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gist, to start a heart center,” said Cress. “He realized how important it is to have a heart center devoted to cardiac health.” The UA Center on Aging has brought the field of immunology into its programs, hoping to gain a better understanding of aging and its connection to the immune system and T-cells. Moreover, researchers connected with UA Sarver Heart Center, Cress said, also would like to study the relationship between cancer and immunology and the ability to block tumors using the immune system. “Another one of the innovative areas,” she said, “is the pain group, which recently received a program grant. It’s important to study pain because of the opiate problem, and lots of people require pain management. They’ve come up with new compounds that are not addictive.” This group consists of medical pharmacologists, chemists and anesthesiologists. While the public may not hear much about the Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center, formerly the Arizona Respiratory Center, it’s one of the largest and oldest centers connected with the school. “It was established in 1971 and it’s one of the top and biggest legacies of the college,” Cairns said. “The natural history of asthma was defined here. Many fundamental discoveries

came from here.” The Center is led by Dr. Fernando Martinez and Dr. Monica Kraft, both world experts in research and clinical care of asthma and airway diseases. Cress added, “There are 32 new faculty members at the College of Medicine – Tucson this year and a good part of them are studying asthma.” Although innovative findings at all the centers of excellence play a critical role in the future of medicine, a system must be available for moving these inventions into the marketplace where they can help patients. There was a time when this process was not very efficient, but that has changed. Cress praised former UA President Ann Weaver Hart for hiring David Allen to lead Tech Launch Arizona, the arm of the UA that works toward taking research and technology developed at the UA into the marketplace. “David Allen jump-started this. He was a good hire. Before, we lost researchers and inventors because many went to join collaborators in other places. He’s brought a lot of knowledge and processes,” said Cress. That includes figuring out what’s marketable, knowing what to do and knowledge of patent disclosures. “It’s good to have (Tech Launch Arizona) on your side,” said Cress.

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IMAGES: COURTESY THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA COLLEGE OF MEDICINE – TUCSON

continued from page 181 doctorate from the UA and is the deputy dean for research and faculty affairs. She also is a professor of cellular and molecular medicine. “We’re very interested in genomic instability and the disease process – how DNA damage is repaired and if it’s repaired properly or not,” she said. “A study we have here is on centrosomes – organelles that direct chromosomes. If there’s a defect, that’s an early event that leads to gene instability, cancer, immune system alterations and arthritis. A group here identifies defective targets for cancer and drug combinations that are very specific for those targets.” Other cutting-edge innovations at the college include research efforts in the fields of cardiovascular, cancer, aging, asthma and pain. “The cardiovascular team is interested in how fundamental properties of the heart muscle work. Researchers are looking at heart progenitors – stem cells used to repair the heart,” said Cress, herself a researcher at the UA Cancer Center. There’s been much interest in this area of work ever since the days of Dr. Jack Copeland and his development of the artificial heart back in the 1980s, which eventually led to the opening of what is now the UA Sarver Heart Center. “One of the former deans of the College of Medicine – Tucson, Jim Dalen, asked Gordon Ewy, a cardiolo-


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Philanthropy Critical to the Mission Decreases in state funding for Arizona’s universities have presented real challenges to those in higher education leadership positions. Despite a stellar reputation in research and learning, the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson has not been immune to budget cuts as the school’s leaders strive to support the best faculty, lead a superior level of research and give the best possible education to Arizona’s future medical professionals. Fortunately, the school has a loyal philanthropic following to help fill the gaps. Donors range from appreciative patients to those interested in advancing medical research to well-known local philanthropists who are giving back to the community they love. “The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson was the first public medical school founded primarily on private funding, so philanthropy was always a critical component of our evolution and, no doubt, to our future,” said Dr. Charles B. Cairns, dean of the medical school. 184 BizTucson

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“We’ve had remarkable success in obtaining federal grant funding. We rely upon philanthropy to attract the best faculty and promote new areas of discovery. In addition, we’ve done this despite dramatic reductions in state support. In the last 10 years, state support dropped 35 percent to the college.” As vice dean for innovation and development at the college and co-director of the UA Sarver Heart Center, Carol Gregorio has a hands-on approach to fundraising. Although she’s not a development officer, the center often connects her to potential donors who are interested in the university’s cutting-edge research programs, often in cardiac research. “Frequently, paired with a development officer, I have the opportunity to speak with potential donors to inform them about the exciting research that is occurring at the university with the ultimate goal of providing the best care for our patients now and into the future,” Gregorio said. With her credentials as director of the Molecular Cardiovascular Research

Program and head of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, she’s more than qualified to explain research studies being conducted at the school and provide tours of the facilities to get donors interested in contributing financial resources to the work going on at the college. A researcher herself, Gregorio is well aware of the importance of private funding. “The impact of community donations is immense. For example, donations provide essential state-of-the-art equipment, fellowships for trainees, and endowments essential for the future of the medical school,” she said. “They help us to recruit and retain top clinical and biomedical researchers, allow us to accomplish things not possible otherwise, be more creative in finding solutions, and contribute to raising the bar of excellence.” Cairns considers the benefits of philanthropy from an educational standpoint. continued on page 186 >>> www.BizTucson.com

IMAGE: BRENT G. MATHIS

By Christy Krueger


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The impact of community donations is immense. For example, donations provide essential state-of-the-art equipment, fellowships for trainees, and endowments essential for the future of the medical school. –

Carol Gregorio, Vice Dean for Innovation and Development, UA College of Medicine – Tucson

continued from page 184 “Tuition increases can’t cover our shortfalls and we hope to further reduce the impact of tuition challenges on our students,” he said. “The only way this can happen is through philanthropy and private scholarship support.” While donations come from around the country, most originate locally, and sometimes the trend repeats through generations of a family. “A huge part of our fund-raising stems from our grateful patients who have had excellent healthcare here and who want to make a difference in making research happen faster in the areas of interest they are passionate about,” Gregorio said. “Frequently, families get involved with parents initially support-

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ing our work, and then their children and extended families and friends start giving.” Although many potential donors know they want to make a difference, they are not always sure where they want to their funds to go, she said. As such, “I frequently write up proposals and take them on tours so they can meet, for example, our medical students and/or investigators who are involved in active research projects,” Gregorio said. “In other words, I provide them with options and help them discover funding opportunities that interest them the most.” Gregorio is personally familiar with several of the longtime contributors to the college, especially to the UA Sarver

Heart Center. “Long term relationships are important. Endowments are forever.” She emphasized the importance of philanthropy to the college. “Philanthropic funds are critical to our mission to raise the bar of excellence – to provide outstanding education for our trainees, care for our patients, and innovative and impactful research ultimately leading to prevention and treatment of disease,” she said. “Simply, it is essential and makes a difference. It allows us to be more creative in finding solutions to important biomedical challenges, and in training the next generation of physicians.”

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Department Leadership at the University of Arizona College of Medicine â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Tucson Basic Science Departments and Department Chairs

Cellular & Molecular Medicine Carol Gregorio, Ph.D.

Chemistry and Biochemistry Roger L. Miesfeld, Ph.D.

Immunobiology Janko Nikolich-Zugich, M.D., Ph.D.

Pharmacology Todd Vanderah, Ph.D.

Physiology Nicholas A Delamere, Ph.D.

Clinical Departments and Department Chairs

Anesthesiology Wayne K. Jacobsen, M.D.

Emergency Medicine Samuel M. Keim, M.D.

Family & Community Medicine Myra Muramoto, M.D.

Medical Imaging Diego Martin, M.D., Ph.D.

Medicine Monica Kraft, M.D.

Neurology David M. Labiner, M.D.

Obstetrics & Gynecology Kathryn L. Reed, M.D.

Ophthalmology and Vision Science Joseph M. Miller, M.D.

Orthopaedic Surgery John T. Ruth, M.D.

Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Steven J. Wang, M.D.

Pathology Achyut K. Bhattacharyya, M.D.

Pediatrics Fayez K. Ghishan, M.D.

Psychiatry Ole J. Thienhaus, M.D.

Radiation Oncology Baldassarre Stea, M.D.

Surgery Taylor S. Riall, M.D., Ph.D.

Source: The University of Arizona College of Medicine â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Tucson

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