Dr. Stuart Flynn, dean of the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix, is a recognized leader in the health care field and community. His mission is to train the next generation of health care providers.
He is the author of more than 100 articles and books and has received numerous honors including America’s Top Physician’s Award from the Consumers’ Research Council of America and Teacher of the Year Award from Yale University, among others. In addition to being a member of the National Board of Medical Examiners Pathology Test Committee, Dr. Flynn is also the co-chair of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce’s Health Care Leadership Council.
In this Q&A, the first of two parts, Dr. Flynn answered a few questions about his perspective on Arizona’s thriving health care industry and some of the interesting health care projects.
- From your perspective, what is the state of the health care industry in Arizona?
It’s an exciting time. The environment in medicine is changing at an incredibly fast pace, from cutting-edge genetics to geriatrics. Unfortunately, there is a physician shortage in Arizona. Why? For a number of reasons actually. There are a small number of medical schools in the state, Arizona has an aging physician population, and the tremendous growth of the state. The good news is that we’re doing something about it. The University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix was established to address the physician shortage. Moving forward, we need to elevate health care to be able to attract and retain big companies. And we need to attract biomedical and pharmaceutical companies, as well as lab space
- What are some of the interesting health care projects that people in Arizona may not be aware of?
I see great things coming from the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, the University of Arizona in Tucson, the Mayo Clinic and Barrow Neurological Institute…they are making inroads and doing clinical trials. I think back to about 20 years ago and I don’t think there was as much awareness around Alzheimer’s disease as there is today. It was certainly there, but it didn’t nearly have the attention it does now. So I’m excited about that.
I think from a cancer center perspective, there are great opportunities in the state based on excellence at the University of Arizona Cancer Center and other cancer centers in the state. MD Anderson is also a tremendous asset to Arizona. And Mayo’s proton beam therapy is really the next chapter in cancer treatment. These are major players. But we need a lot of growth in this state as far as cancer treatment because people are leaving Arizona to go elsewhere for treatment. I’d like to see Arizona become more of a health care destination.
- When you go to other states and talk about Arizona, what are some of the research findings, projects, etc. that you highlight? What should we be proud of as Arizonans?
So of course I’m biased, since I’m usually asked to talk about the University of Arizona medical school. I talk about our new-generation medical school that I’m very pleased about. We probably have the country’s best simulation center in which medical students and residents train on very smart mannequins. Until the relatively recent past, procedures such as IVs, arterial lines and catheters were done on actual patients because that was the only way students and residents could learn it. But with the high-tech mannequins, students can get hands-on practice without harming real patients.
When I’m out and about, I also talk about the world-renowned Banner Alzheimer’s Institute. I also talk about the Barrow, which also is world-renowned for their neurosurgery and neuro-oncology. Barrow is also doing great things with neuroscience…they’re trying to cure Parkinson’s and they’re trying to cure ALS. Those are really exciting things to talk about.
-Written by Jill Brownley, director, marketing and communications for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce