Mayo Clinic, AZ State U. bet big on new medical school

Mayo Clinic Hospital in north Phoenix. Photo courtesy Arizona State University 

Add Mayo Clinic to the growing list of healthcare organizations taking the lead on transforming medical education in order to produce physicians who can improve the nation’s healthcare system.

Wyatt Decker, M.D

The nonprofit organization announced plans today to partner with Arizona State University to launch what it describes as a new comprehensive model for healthcare education and research. The Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University Alliance for Healthcare intends to develop the next generation of physicians and other health professionals.

“Our nation faces great challenges in healthcare today. Improving healthcare in face of change requires new ways of thinking,” Wyatt Decker, M.D., vice president of the Mayor Clinic and CEO of the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, said during a conference call with news reporters Friday.

The organizations will open a new medical school at the university’s Scottsdale campus beginning in June 2017. They already received 2,500 applicants for the 50 open spots.

The curriculum will be a radical departure from traditional medical education, according to Decker. Future physicians will not only be trained on diagnosis and treatment of disease--they'll also learn about the science of healthcare delivery. Whether doctors will work in the emergency room, hospital or a clinic, Decker said they will be trained on how to understand the system where they practice, how to improve the organization and how to keep costs affordable.

Michael Crow

In addition to hospital and medical care, students will learn about big data analytics and precision medicine.

The alliance will build what Michael Crow, Ph.D., the president of Arizona State University, described as a “never before created teaching facility and learning facility” that will promote innovation for new health solutions for new doctors and health professionals.

The cost of the building will be somewhere between $100 million and $200 million, he said. It will be funded with private donations.