Maricopa County and Creighton University are working together to address a major challenge to the region’s prosperity and well-being: the growing shortage of doctors and nurses.
The Maricopa County Industrial Development Authority (IDA), backed by the Board of Supervisors, is investing $2.5 million in the construction of the Creighton University Health Sciences - Phoenix Campus, which will train new doctors, nurses, therapists and more.
“Creighton could have picked anywhere in the country to build this campus but they chose to come to Maricopa County. That says something about the vibrant community we are building together,” said Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates, District 3, who represents the area where the campus will be built. “I want to thank Creighton for its vision and the IDA for its leadership and investment. I know we all look forward to welcoming new doctors and residents to our region.”
Creighton's expansion into Arizona comes at a crucial time for the state, which faces a population boom and shortage of health care workers.
Arizona currently ranks 32nd in the nation in physician availability, with just one primary care doctor per 1,500 people. That shortage is projected to grow. The state is also expecting a shortage of 50,000 nurses by 2030.
"Maricopa County IDA's investment in the health sciences campus makes a huge difference both for Creighton and the future of health care in the Southwest," said Creighton President the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD. "Because of the vision of our great partners in Phoenix, we will be able to bring Creighton-educated health care professionals to an area very much in need of them.”
The Greater Phoenix Economic Council estimates that Creighton’s health sciences campus 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.
The nearly $100 million project broke ground this summer. The seven-story, 183,000-square-foot building is set to open at Park Central in 2021.
“Workforce development. Higher education. Health care. We are pleased when one of our investments can make a significant impact in just one of those areas, but this project addresses all three,” said Shelby Scharbach, Executive Director of the Maricopa County Industrial Development Authority. “The IDA believes a new health sciences campus in the heart of Phoenix will be good for our economy and community health as we build the Maricopa County of tomorrow.”
Since 1973, the Maricopa County IDA has issued more than $9 billion in bonds and millions of dollars to the community. The organization’s mission is to improve the lives of county residents through job creation and economic growth — areas Creighton’s expansion will cover.
The campus will serve nearly 900 students, invigorating Arizona’s health infrastructure with physicians, nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants, occupational therapists, physical therapists and more. It will also 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 education.
The health sciences campus is the culmination of Creighton's longtime ties to the area. For more than a decade, Creighton 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 Maricopa Integrated Health System) to form the Creighton University Arizona Health Education Alliance. Creighton Alliance aims to increase the number of physicians and other health care professionals in Arizona by improving and expanding current health education programs.