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Creighton University Phoenix Campus Announces $10 Million Grant

Rendering of Virginia Piper Foundation buildingCreighton University’s expansion into Arizona just got a big boost.

The trustees of the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust have awarded a $10 million grant to Creighton to support the construction of the health sciences building on the Creighton’s Arizona Health Sciences Campus — a 180,000-square-foot, nearly $100 million campus set to open in the heart of midtown Phoenix in 2021.

Creighton officials flew to Phoenix for Monday's announcement of this lead grant as well as the news that the new campus will be home to the Creighton University Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Health Sciences Building.

Since the Piper Trust began awarding grants in 2000, it has invested more than $437 million in local nonprofits and programs. The Piper Trust supports organizations that enrich health, well-being and opportunity for the people of Maricopa County, Arizona — a mission that perfectly aligns with Creighton’s expansion into Phoenix.

“This investment from the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust will be transformative as we look forward to 2021 with the opening of the Creighton University Arizona Health Sciences Building,” said the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, Creighton president. “I am so grateful to the trustees and their support for this project, which will bring so many future health care professionals to care for the residents of Maricopa County.”

Creighton’s Phoenix campus will serve nearly 900 health sciences students seeking degrees in medicine, nursing, pharmacy and other health care professions. The school is scheduled to open in the fall of 2021, with full enrollment by 2025.

The campus will include a community center offering continuing education opportunities for nonprofit organizations; a clinical learning center integrating simulation and virtual reality; and active-classroom learning centers that develop individual and team-based skills.

The grant is the latest development in Creighton’s longstanding partnership with the Phoenix health care community. That partnership arose out of a need, and Creighton was invited to help fill that need as Arizona faced a critical shortage of health care workers and a looming boom in population.

Creighton University, with longtime ties to the state’s medical community, felt compelled to help. The University headed west.

A decade ago, Creighton teamed up with Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center to establish a School of Medicine in Phoenix. In 2017, Creighton and St. Joseph’s partnered with District Medical Group and Maricopa Integrated Health System to form the Creighton University Arizona Health Education Alliance.

The Alliance and Creighton’s expansion into Phoenix are filling a distinct need in the state.

Arizona is facing growing shortages in most health care professions, having one primary care doctor for every 1,500 citizens and a projected shortage of 50,000 nurses by 2030.

Creighton's presence is not only bringing more medical professionals to the state; it’s keeping them there. Overall, 70 percent of the residents Creighton has placed in Arizona over the past decade are still in-state.

Currently, Creighton’s School of Medicine sends 84 medical students annually to St. Joseph’s Hospital for clinical rotations and the College of Nursing has 96 students in a 12-month accelerated nursing program in partnership with St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Creighton’s long presence in Arizona includes more than 2,000 alumni and 260 Creighton-trained physicians practicing in the state.

“The generous investment by the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust will bring future Creighton physicians and health care providers to Maricopa County who are educated in the Jesuit tradition of caring for the whole person,” said School of Medicine Dean Bo Dunlay, MD. “The world needs more of these servant leaders who are formed by Creighton University’s full array of health sciences programs. With the expansion of the Arizona Health Sciences Campus, Creighton University will become the largest Catholic health sciences educator in the United States.”


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