Gov. Katie Hobbs announces $11M investment in to state’s health care workforce

Sep 29, 2023, 2:00 PM

Arizona will see its first medical school in Flagstaff as part of the Arizona Board of Regents’ call to its public universities to close the health care workforce gap in the state. (Arizona Board of Regents photos)

(Arizona Board of Regents photos)

PHOENIX — Gov. Katie Hobbs announced Friday the state will invest $11 million into the Arizona Board of Regents’ AZ Healthy Tomorrow Initiative.

The program is an effort by all three state universities to prioritize programs that attract and retain health care professionals. Northern Arizona University also announced Friday it will open Flagstaff’s first medical school.

Strengthening Arizona’s health care workforce is a top priority, according to the governor’s office.

Nearly 3 million Arizonans have limited access to primary care. Also, more than one in three Arizona hospitals faces a critical staffing shortage, according to medical experts.

The Arizona Board of Regents will also invest an additional $15 million into the program. The funds will be used from previously negotiated American Rescue Plan Act dollars.

“As Arizona continues to grow and attract businesses and families, it’s critical that we have qualified health care professionals to keep our state safe and healthy,” Hobbs said in a press release.

“I am extremely encouraged by the efforts of our state universities, and am confident that these new programs will help close the gap so many Arizonans are feeling when it comes to accessing quality healthcare services. We are stronger when every single Arizonan can get the care they need, and I am committed to getting that done.”

What improvements will AZ Healthy Tomorrow bring to state schools?

The state schools will have different focuses as a result of the initiative.

NAU announced Friday it will create a new medical school to serve rural and tribal communities. The Flagstaff school plans to double the number of degrees awarded in professions like physical and occupational therapy, physician assistant studies and dental hygiene.

Arizona State University will create a new medical school with a focus on engineering. The school plans to grow its partnership with the Mayo Clinic and expand the nursing workforce.

The University of Arizona is working to double the size of its medical schools in Phoenix and Tucson. It will also work to expand its partnership with Banner Health to create a fully integrated academic medical center.


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Gov. Katie Hobbs announces $11M investment in to state’s health care workforce