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Del E. Webb Foundation invests in Creighton’s new Phoenix campus

Oct 20, 2021
5 min Read
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Health Sciences building in Phoenix

The Del E. Webb Foundation is investing $1.5 million in the Creighton University Health Sciences Campus – Phoenix. The gift supports a new innovative facility that will expand much-needed health sciences education in Maricopa County.

The seven-story, 195,000-square-foot academic health sciences facility which opened in September 2021, is located in the heart of midtown Phoenix, in the Park Central area. The campus is expected to eventually enroll nearly 900 students, invigorating Arizona’s health care infrastructure with physicians, nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants, occupational therapists, physical therapists and more.

Creighton's expansion into Arizona comes at a crucial time for the state, which faces a population boom and an urgent shortage of health care workers. Currently, Arizona ranks 32nd in the nation in the number physicians per 100,000 people. Expanding training opportunities through residencies, fellowships, and a new four-year medical school on the Creighton Phoenix campus will increase the likelihood that more physicians and other health care professionals who have studied in Arizona will remain and practice in the state.

“This is an extraordinary moment in time in Arizona where the Del E. Webb Foundation recognizes the importance of investing in the education, training and growth of our health workforce. We are delighted to partner with Creighton University, which has an exceptional reputation for training physicians, nurses and health professionals who are deeply committed to healing and serving the whole person,” said John B. Lees, D.O., president of the Del E. Webb Foundation.

With a home campus in Omaha, Nebraska, Creighton is the largest Catholic health professions educator in the nation and the only Catholic university with two comprehensive health sciences campuses. Students enrolled in Arizona will experience the same rigorous, comprehensive education as their Omaha-based counterparts.

Creighton has maintained a presence in Phoenix for more than a decade, sending medical students to St. Joseph’s for rotations. That relationship expanded significantly in 2009 when Creighton and St. Joseph’s established a Creighton campus for third- and fourth-year medical students at the Phoenix hospital. When Creighton’s regional partners asked for help in meeting the growing need for health care professionals in the area, Creighton again expanded its footprint.

Through the Creighton University Arizona Health Education Alliance, the University partners with Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Valleywise Health and District Medical Group. This alliance gives Creighton students access to hands-on patient-care experience in these prominent Phoenix health care facilities.

“Creighton is a leader in interprofessional, team-based health care education, and it was essential to build that into the curricula on the Phoenix campus,” said Vice Provost of Health Sciences Campuses and College of Nursing Dean Catherine Todero, PhD. “Our graduates will enter the health care workforce experienced in holistic, patient-centered care and a focus on serving the community.”

Creighton research indicates that team-based care is more cost-effective for both care providers and patients, and patient outcomes are better than in traditional care. Creighton is also partnering with local organizations that share its desire to serve underrepresented populations and reduce health disparities that disproportionately affect low-income people and people of color.

“Creighton is committed to preparing highly qualified, compassionate health professionals for the Southwest. Its programs will address the growing shortage of Arizona health care professionals while also sparking economic growth throughout the region,” said Creighton President the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD. “We welcome the Del E. Webb Foundation to a growing group of partners who are eager to increase access to health care in the state.”

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council estimates that Creighton’s health sciences campus will create more than 250 jobs, $124.5 million in personal income, $12 million in tax revenues and more than $300 million in total economic output.

The Del E. Webb Foundation invests primarily in health and children’s initiatives in Arizona, California and Nevada. The foundation focuses on results-based programs that are defined by new and innovative ideas and create or enhance opportunities for sustainable change.