Celebration Marks Beginning of New Era of Health Education in Arizona for Creighton University

Phoenix, Ariz. — Creighton University marked its commitment to expanding health education in Phoenix today with a ceremonial groundbreaking of the nearly $100 million, 180,000-square-foot home of its new Health Sciences – Phoenix Campus at Park Central.

Expected to be completed by 2021, the campus will serve nearly 900 students, invigorating Arizona’s health infrastructure with physicians, nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants, physical therapists, occupational therapists and more — each educated in Creighton’s distinctive Jesuit, Catholic mission of service.

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council estimates Creighton’s expansion will create more than 250 jobs; $124.5 million in personal income; $12 million in tax revenues and more than $300 million in total economic output.

“We are extremely grateful to be in Phoenix and to be working with such great partners,” said Creighton President the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ. “Together, we hope to guide the changing medical landscape and bring the extraordinary skills and care of Creighton-educated health care professionals to the people who need them the most.”

For more than a decade, Creighton University has been an academic mainstay in Phoenix, sending medical students to Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center for rotations.

In 2009, Creighton teamed up with St. Joseph’s to establish a School of Medicine in Phoenix. More recently, Creighton and St. Joseph’s partnered with District Medical Group and Valleywise Health (formerly known as Maricopa Integrated Health System) to form the Creighton University Arizona Health Education Alliance. The Alliance aims to increase the number of physicians and other health care professionals in Arizona by improving and expanding current health education programs.

“We are very pleased to be working with Creighton University to make this exceptional medical facility a reality,” said Sharon Harper, BA’69, chair of the Presidential Phoenix Health Sciences Advisory Board, and chair and CEO of Plaza Companies, the building’s developer. “The new building will help fill a critical need in the Arizona medical community.”

Creighton’s infusion of medical professionals comes at a crucial time for Arizona, which faces both a boom in population and a shortfall in medical professionals. By 2030, the state is expected to have just one primary care doctor for every 1,500 people.

Creighton will help face this shortage not just by bringing more health care professionals to the state but keeping them there. Over the past decade, more than 70% of the medical students Creighton has placed in Arizona have remained in-state — with hundreds more on the way over the next decade.

“Our Phoenix campus will increase the number of Creighton University graduates in the state of Arizona,” said School of Medicine Dean Bo Dunlay, MD. “It is important to realize that we are not just training health care personnel. Rather, we are forming distinctive Creighton physicians, Creighton nurses and Creighton therapists dedicated to caring for the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of those we serve in the Jesuit tradition.”

The state is also in need of nurses, with a projected shortage of 50,000 by 2030. Nurse by nurse, Creighton is pushing back against this trend with rapid growth. Last year, enrollment for Creighton nursing students exceeded 1,000 for the first time in the college’s history.

In December 2018, Creighton graduated it first class of accelerated nursing students in Phoenix. The fourth class enrolled in August 2019.

“Creighton’s College of Nursing is growing to produce more of the highly competent and compassionate nurses for whom we are known,” said Dean Catherine Todero. “In doing this, we can combat the nationwide nursing shortage that is particularly acute in the Southwest.”

Creighton’s Health Sciences – Phoenix Campus will anchor the redevelopment of Park Central Mall, the city’s first large-scale shopping mall. Plaza Companies and Tucson’s Holualoa Companies have teamed up to change the space from a retail center to an almost 500,000-square-foot community hub suited to work, play and, of course, education.

Construction on the building at 3100 N. Central Ave. started this summer. Okland Construction will be the general contractor for the first phase of the building. Butler Design Group will serve as the architect, and RDG Planning & Design as the conceptual and tenant design and improvement architect.

Creighton University, based in Omaha, Nebraska, is one of 27 Jesuit colleges and universities in the U.S. It enrolls more than 4,000 undergraduates and more than 4,000 graduate and professional students among nine schools and colleges. No other university its size offers students such a comprehensive academic environment with personal attention from faculty-mentors. Creighton has been top-ranked by U.S. News & World Report for more than 20 years.

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