From an economic-development standpoint, Arizona’s health care sector has all the right ingredients: high-wage jobs, a highly educated workforce and a growing impact on the state’s economy.

Jennifer_Mellor

Jennifer Mellor is GPCC’s VP of economic development.

Our hospital system alone employs more than 80,000 people and contributes $11.5 billion to the gross state product. The health care industry helped stabilize our economy during the most recent economic recession.

But it’s the human impact that matters most. Our hospitals and research facilities are constantly striving for new innovations that lead to improvements in our daily lives.

And lately, Arizona is on a roll in that respect, specifically in the area of cancer treatment. Recent health care developments at just a few of Greater Phoenix’s innovative hospitals include:

  • Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Western Regional Medical Center: This Goodyear hospital became the first in the Southwest and one of six hospitals in the nation to earn the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Lung Cancer Certification. The seal is a symbol of quality that affirms the hospital’s compliance with national disease-specific standards and requirements.
  • The University of Arizona Cancer Center: In August, the U of A Cancer Center at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center opened its doors and the collaboration became the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center headquartered in Arizona. The $100 million facility on the Downtown Biomedical Campus in Phoenix will treat about 60,000 patients a year and create hundreds of biomedical jobs.
  • Mayo Clinic: The Mayo Clinic in Phoenix is introducing its Proton Beam Therapy Program available to patients next spring. It’s an advancement over traditional radiotherapy by using spot scanning to deposit streams of protons back and forth through a tumor, targeting the tumor and sparing healthy tissue. The hospital is one of only a few facilities in the nation to offer the technique. Cancer patients at Phoenix Children’s Hospital will have access to this cutting-edge radiation therapy in collaboration with Mayo Clinic.

Health care is one of the four key industry sectors targeted through the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce’s Phoenix Forward economic development initiative. Through our health care leadership council, co-chaired by Linda Hunt, CEO of Dignity Health of Arizona and Dr. Stuart Flynn, dean of the University of Arizona College of Medicine -Phoenix, we are identifying solutions to address workforce needs, facilitate innovation through care coordination and expand wellness initiatives for the region. We’re off to a great start and see tremendous opportunity for new developments in health care in the years to come.

-written by Jennifer Mellor,vice president of economic development at the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber’s economic development department supports the retention and expansion of existing businesses in the Greater Phoenix region by connecting members to resources and information that can help them grow and flourish. The economic development department also oversees and executes Phoenix Forward, a strategic economic development program in collaboration with the Arizona Commerce Authority, Maricopa County and the City of Phoenix.

Posted by Alexie Chavez