Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

August 10, 2010

Host: Ted Simons

UA College of Medicine - Phoenix

  • Dr. Stuart D. Flynn, Dean of the University of Arizona College of Medicine, discusses the latest news involving the downtown Phoenix medical school.
  • Dr. Stuart D. Flynn - Dean of the University of Arizona College of Medicine
Category: Medical/Health

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
The U of A college of medicine-Phoenix is currently training the next generation of doctors. And just this week, it announced a partnership with the Phoenix children's hospital that will make it a premier location for pediatric healthcare, training and research. Here with more on that partnership is Dr. Stewart Flynn, dean of the U of A college of medicine in downtown Phoenix. The affiliation with the children's hospital, talk to us about this.

Dr. Stewart Flynn:
It's a full affiliation in the sense, we will do education with PCH and do research with PCH and clinic care with PCH. So this is a full-fledged academic affiliation. And a pediatric affiliation in. They're entirely pediatric and subdisciplines and patients under the age of 18.

Ted Simons:
Tell me how, address the pediatric shortage of doctors here in Arizona.

Dr. Stewart Flynn:
The shortage is quite stark and hence the value of the medical school training more physicians and the pediatrics care, it's one of them where there's a shortage in the state and countrywide and a study that came out in the last week, also illustrated that there's a significant shortage of pediatric subspecialties and even though that's not the case in some of the adult arena, that's the case in part of this affiliation is meant to grow pediatric fellowships to train subspecialists.

Ted Simons:
Why is that shortage? What's going on there?

Dr. Stewart Flynn:
I think it's a reimbursement issue. These young people go to medical school and they're wise as to what they're choices are and lifestyles and the like and it's different than when my generation and the generation prior to me went to medical school and I'm not elevating my status in that regard. And the other thing is, and this is where the relationship will be very valuable, they look at models and now our students will see in a very robust way with the country's biggest children's hospital and they get turned on by that, so this will be a nice inducement for our students to go on to pediatrics.

Ted Simons:
Is it worse in Arizona than other parts of the country?

Dr. Stewart Flynn:
I don't know in pediatrics, we're one of the worst state force short ands of physicians and I would then make the assumption that we're probably down there in pediatrics also.

Ted Simons:
Obviously, talking about the shortage of doctors, what about faculty, research science and these things? How does this collaboration, how does this affiliation impact those things?

Dr. Stewart Flynn:
This is a major part. And they're intimately tied. So train fellows in -- in any residency discipline but this is pediatrics and subspecialties, by mandating the subspecialties they have to have a research component. PCH by themselves would struggle as any free standing hospital to bring the breadth of research to attract the best residences and fellows to come into their program. We've become a nice underpinning for all of that.

Ted Simons:
It sounds like research will be expanded here. Training of doctors expanding, are there new avenue, new ways of thinking regarding training of doctors that you guys are involved in.

Dr. Stewart Flynn:
Absolutely. And so one of the strong components of our school is -- and this is not unique. It's a buzzword across the country -- is the interprofessional training of healthcare disciplines where doctors and nurses and pharmacists and physicians' assistants and social workers know how to work together. It makes total intuitive sense that that's the way that healthcare should be delivered and we've been patients and we know that's how we like to be taken care of. The schools have not done a good job working collaboratively and we're doing that nicely and we have a big vision that we hope to accomplish here.

Ted Simons:
Speaking of collaboration, the collaboration with ASU has changed. Talk about what happened there and what you are trying to do.

Dr. Stewart Flynn:
What happened is probably at the presidential level but it's a fiscal, certainly a huge part was a fiscal reality that all of the three major universities have to be careful where they put their resources. The legacy of the ASU partnership, I should add, and to name David young as one individual, will be a very nice legacy and people are not going to know that, but we know that who have been there David and colleagues. So presently, we have still very strong collaborations with areas of ASU, with areas that want to grow collaborations but to your point, a big one still is the Arizona school of nursing, and we actually have a Macy's grant for medicine, nursing and pharmacy to put together an interprofessional curriculum that actually looks at training the three disciplines to work together in rural Arizona. So that's a very, very -- that's a nationally recognized collaborative effort.

Ted Simons:
And they include some research, faculty as well? Hasn't been completely severed there, correct?

Dr. Stewart Flynn:
No, no, absolutely and that will grow with time. That's what academic medical centers do. They find scientists regardless of the field. Find people that think like they to, have the same vision they do and can bring additional intellectual property to the mission. So, yes, different colleges and universities but you don't want to get between a scientist and another regardful the politics. They want to collaborate because that’s how they make discoveries.

Ted Simons:
As far as operating cost, that has to be a concern. What are you seeing out there?

Dr. Stewart Flynn:
Operating costs are absolutely a big deal and we're in a trough in that regard and so we have to find sources of revenue and those sources include grant funding and certainly include state funding. And -- and philanthropy and individual who's -- and groups of individuals that have a vision for -- and usually it's earmarked for something. Whatever area that individual wants to contribute to and then you develop your research mission around those kind of funding sources.

Ted Simons:
So the PCH, that affiliation is up and going and strong and pretty optimistic about it?

Dr. Stewart Flynn:
Very, both institutions are very upbeat about this and -- and it is a family and it feels like a family.

Ted Simons:
Very good. Thank you very much for joining us.

Dr. Stewart Flynn:
Thank you.

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