Multiple Affiliations Enhance Health Education

Multiple Affiliations Enhance Health Education

Creighton health sciences schools have dozens of formal and informal affiliations with clinical education partners locally and regionally, in addition to the primary partnership with CHI Health. Among those are the VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System and Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha; Mary Lanning Healthcare in Hastings, Neb.; and Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.

Two of those partnerships recently made announcements that could provide even more educational opportunities for Creighton health sciences students.

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

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in late October has established this partnership in order to improve and expand current health education programs in Arizona. It also aims 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.

Formal agreements are pending, but plans call for certain medical residency and fellowship programs to begin operating under the guidance of Creighton’s School of Medicine on July 1, 2017, following approval from the national accrediting organization. Currently, St. Joseph’s and MIHS have more than 400 residents who would eventually be part of the new program. In addition, Creighton and the alliance partners would begin an accelerated nursing program by January of 2018, pending state approval.

For more than a decade, Creighton has been an academic mainstay in Phoenix, sending medical students to St. Joseph’s for rotations. That relationship grew in 2009 when a Creighton campus was established in Phoenix for third- and fourth-year medical students.

A second announcement concerns two of Creighton’s health care education partners, CHI and Dignity Health, who have signed a nonbinding letter of intent to explore aligning the organizations and expand their shared mission of service to more communities.

The boards and sponsors of the two health systems are evaluating this potential alignment in order to strengthen their leadership role in transforming health care through increased access and enhanced clinical excellence.

“I am very pleased with how the alignment could benefit current and future students by enhancing clinical opportunities for those enrolled in our health sciences programs,” says Creighton’s president, the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ. “The joining of the two organizations should also result in improved economies of scale and create a stronger, unified health care system.

“In addition, further expanding our presence in the west and southwest U.S. would provide additional outreach for our educational mission and increased recognition of Creighton’s national reputation in a rapidly growing region. The enhanced visibility could lead to an expansion of Creighton programs and aid in the recruitment of students.”