Regents approve College of Health Sciences

UArizona Health Sciences campus

The UArizona Health Sciences campus. The College of Health Sciences is the sixth college under the UArizona Health Sciences umbrella.

Noelle Haro-Gomez and Kyle Mittan/University of Arizona

The University of Arizona Health Sciences is addressing critical health care needs in Arizona with the launch of a new College of Health Sciences, approved by the Arizona Board of Regents at its meeting in Flagstaff June 14-15.

Access to health care services can help prevent chronic conditions, fend off diseases and allow people to live longer with a better quality of life. But approximately 3.2 million Arizonans – nearly 40% of the state's population – live in an area with a current health care shortage. Recent research shows that 1 in 5 Maricopa County residents are worried about accessing health care, and the concern is even more dire for people in rural areas.

"We are grateful to have the support of the Arizona Board of Regents for the College of Health Sciences, which aligns perfectly with ABOR's AZ Healthy Tomorrow initiative," said Dr. Michael D. Dake, senior vice president for the University of Arizona Health Sciences. "This new college will augment the educational programs we currently offer through our two accredited medical schools and our colleges of nursing, pharmacy and public health. The health care professionals and research scientists that graduate from the College of Health Sciences will play a vital role in meeting the needs of Arizona residents and alleviating health disparities throughout the state."

The College of Health Sciences, the sixth under the UArizona Health Sciences umbrella, initially will offer five graduate-level degree programs: midwifery, physician assistant, Doctor of Physical Therapy, genetic counseling and clinical translational sciences. The latter is a research-based degree that examines the connections between basic laboratory science and treatments, diagnostics and drugs used in clinical practice.

Kevin C. Lohenry

Kevin C. Lohenry

Kris Hanning/University of Arizona Health Sciences

In Arizona, only 40% of primary care needs and 25% of genetic counseling needs are currently being met. Seven counties have no or limited access to maternal care, and physical therapy options in rural areas are limited. There is also a growing demand for trained clinical translational scientists to work in academia or industry and to advance understanding of the scientific bases for effective clinical management of a wide range of diseases.

"The College of Health Sciences will help fill much-needed positions in many crucial health care professions, while at the same time keeping education costs down for students," said Kevin C. Lohenry, interim dean of the College of Health Sciences and assistant vice president for interprofessional education at UArizona Health Sciences. "By creating a culture of health and wellness coupled with student success, the College of Health Sciences will play a strong role in training students to serve the needs of Arizona's diverse and rural communities with compassionate and culturally sensitive care as health professionals and through inclusive and innovative translational research as scientists."

The College of Health Sciences and some of the degree programs are being developed in part using New Economy Initiative funding provided to the University of Arizona and allocated to UArizona Health Sciences.

A version of this article originally appeared on the UArizona Health Sciences website.

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