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Major Valley Healthcare Providers Plan New Academic Affiliation

Creighton University to Oversee and Broaden Medical Education Programs at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s and Maricopa Integrated Health System

With Arizona facing a significant shortage of physicians, Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS), District Medical Group, Inc. (DMG), and Creighton University School of Medicine today entered into an agreement aimed at increasing the number of doctors and other health professionals in Arizona.

The agreement, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), establishes a partnership designed to improve and expand the parties’ current health education programs. It is also meant to develop new academic and clinical education programs in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and allied health through a collaborative organization tentatively called the Creighton University Arizona Health Education Alliance.

The appropriate formal agreements are still to be executed, but plans are underway for the early partnership of residency and fellowship programs to begin July 1, 2017, following approval from the national accrediting organization. Currently, St. Joseph’s and MIHS have a total of more than 400 residents who would be part of the new program. In addition, Creighton University would, along with the alliance partners, begin an accelerated nursing program by January 2018 that would require state approval.

For more than a decade, Creighton University, which is located in Omaha, Nebraska, has been an academic mainstay in Phoenix, sending medical students to St. Joseph’s for rotations. That relationship grew in 2009 when the Jesuit, Catholic University and St. Joseph’s established a Creighton campus at the Phoenix hospital for third- and fourth-year medical students.

Through the new alliance, Creighton’s role in Arizona will expand again, since it has been asked to be the sponsoring entity for the broader partnerships. While the Creighton relationship will be enhanced, the partners will continue to offer educational training to students from a number of other universities and programs.

“We are very pleased to be creating additional opportunities for Creighton health sciences students in Phoenix with three outstanding partners in support of the growing healthcare workforce needs of Arizona and the Southwest,” said the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, president of Creighton University.

“Arizona is home to some of the best and most cutting-edge medicine in the nation,” said Patty White, president and CEO of St. Joseph’s Hospital. “With this affiliation, we have the opportunity to continue to cement that reputation by increasing the numbers of doctors and other healthcare professionals who will want to make Arizona their home.”

Currently, Arizona ranks 34th in the nation in active MDs per 100,000 population. As the alliance matures, officials say the goal is to expand training opportunities in residencies, fellowships, and medical student spots. With that expansion, it is likely that more physicians and clinical staff who have studied in Arizona will remain and practice in the state.

“Our physicians see this as an opportunity to further our mission of patient care, education, and research,” said Kote Chundu, MD, president and CEO of District Medical Group, which has over 650 credentialed providers representing all the major medical and surgical specialties and subspecialties. “We are excited about how this partnership will be instrumental in providing for Arizona’s healthcare workforce needs and allowing us to continue to recruit excellent faculty for our medical students and residents.”

Steve Purves, president and CEO of Maricopa Integrated Health System, said MIHS firmly believes in strong partnerships between teaching hospitals, physicians, and medical schools to provide the very best environments for training future generations of physicians and other healthcare professionals.

“The signing of this MOU fully embraces the belief that pooling resources between four accomplished organizations dedicated to medical and health education will improve healthcare and the health of our communities,” he said.

About Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center
Located in the heart of Phoenix, Arizona, St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center is a 586-bed, not-for-profit hospital that provides a wide range of health, social and support services with special advocacy for the poor and underserved. St. Joseph’s is a nationally recognized center for quality tertiary care, medical education and research. It includes the internationally renowned Barrow Neurological Institute, the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center, the Norton Thoracic Institute, a campus of Creighton University’s Medical School and the first Level I Trauma Center in Arizona verified by the American College of Surgeons. U.S. News & World Report routinely ranks St. Joseph’s among the best hospitals in the United States for neurology and neurosurgery. For more information please visit our website at

About Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS) Located in Phoenix, Arizona, Maricopa Integrated Health System has a proud tradition of being both the community safety net health care system, with a mission and commitment to serving the underserved and Arizona’s only public teaching hospital. MIHS consists of Maricopa Medical, the only Level I Trauma Center in Arizona verified by the American College of Surgeons to care for both adults and children, Arizona’s only nationally verified Burn Center serving the entire Southwestern United States, MIHS’s McDowell Healthcare Center, which is the largest provider of HIV primary care in Arizona, the Refugee Women’s Health Clinic, the Arizona Children’s Center, two behavioral health centers, and 13 neighborhood Family Health Centers. To learn more about MIHS, please visit

About District Medical Group, Inc. (DMG)
District Medical Group is a not-for-profit entity consisting of over 650 credentialed providers representing all the major medical and surgical specialties and subspecialties. DMG prides itself on clinical excellence. Over 95% of District Medical Group physicians are board certified in more than 25 specialties. Patient satisfaction surveys consistently rate the physician performance above the national average. DMG physicians have garnered both local and national acclaim for their contributions, including serving on advisory boards, appointed to governors’ councils, elected to top leadership positions in national associations, and are well known as innovative leaders in medicine. DMG, the physician organization for MIHS, has lead the way in training medical residents throughout the system and ambulatory settings and sets the bar high in providing high quality care to patients. Visit for additional information.

About Creighton University
Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, enrolls 4,200 undergraduates and 4,200 graduate and professional students among nine schools and colleges. No other university its size offers students such a comprehensive academic environment with personal attention from faculty-mentors. Jesuit and Catholic, it affords incomparable interprofessional education, bridging health professions programs with law, business and arts and sciences– all on one walkable campus. Creighton has been top-ranked by U.S. News & World Report for more than 20 years. Visit:

Creighton University is a Jesuit, Catholic university bridging health, law, business and the arts and sciences for a more just world.