Creighton University Arizona Health
Education Alliance
Frequently Asked Questions

1.What exactly does this affiliation between Creighton University, Dignity Health, Valleywise Health and District Medical Group (DMG) mean?

These entities have signed a binding agreement that outlines a strategic partnership designed to improve and expand graduate medical education (GME) programs and develop academic and clinical education programs in nursing, pharmacy, allied health and medicine through a collaborative organization called the “Creighton University Arizona Health Education Alliance.”

2. Why did DMG, Valleywise Health and Dignity Health select Creighton University as their academic partner?

Due to closely aligned missions and core values, this Affiliation is uniquely positioned to combine the best and brightest to take a leadership role in attracting both top caliber faculty and students, expanding educational training programs, developing joint research institutes, and collectively being a greater advocacy voice for medical education funding.  In addition, these healthcare leaders have already experienced successful relationships; Valleywise Health and Dignity Health’s St. Joseph’s Hospital have had an integrated obstetrics residency program dating back to the 1980s, and in 2009, Dignity Health partnered with Creighton University in an academic affiliation that created a Creighton medical school in Phoenix.

3. What do these parties hope to accomplish through Creighton University Arizona Health Education Alliance?

These parties, with their exceptional track records, reputation and proven expertise in running teaching hospitals, medical schools and medical training, see this affiliation as a commitment to being at the forefront of advanced medical education and research and training new

generations of physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals to improve the health outcomes of our community, state and nation.

How will this affiliation operate?

  • Governance: An oversight committee serving as the governing body of the Alliance will develop a strategic plan, provide program oversight, and ensure an optimal clinical learning environment.
  • Operations: The Alliance will provide centralized coordination and oversight, expanded clinical research and training, increased access to greater patient/community diversity, reduced costs due to consolidation, and expansion of existing training programs by developing new specialty/sub-specialty fellowships and clinical training programs, improving advocacy for medical education funding, and addressing the work force needs of the State of Arizona.
  • Programs: Through the development of, among other things, a charter, policies, monitoring, coordination of faculty and support for research, programs will be standardized. All Valleywise Health and Dignity Health residency and fellowship programs in good accreditation standing will be brought under Creighton Institutional sponsorship, including the training programs of podiatry and pharmacy training programs and a new Creighton nursing program.
  • New Program Development: The Alliance will develop new sub-specialty programs for physician training, as well as assist in developing new programs in nursing, pharmacy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, medicine, and various medical specialties and sub-specialties.  The Parties will collaborate through the Alliance for clinical rotations for applicable educational programs.

6. How long is the agreement?

The agreement is for an initial term of 20 years followed by two five-year renewals. The new affiliation is designed to be a permanent partnership among the members.  The five years allows the Alliance to fulfill their commitment to health care trainees to finish their programs.

7. What is the financial implication of this affiliation?

We do not anticipate any significant cost increases for this collaboration as these are currently funded positions and programs.  Opportunities to examine any duplicate activities to determine if the training programs can be operated more effectively will be explored.

8. Each partner has important teaching and research relationships in health education; how will these relationships change?

Prior to the Alliance, students from the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine in Phoenix have rotations at Valleywise Health and Dignity Health.  Additionally, Creighton School of Medicine sends about 90 students to complete their final two years on their campus at St. Joseph’s Medical Center, and Creighton School of Pharmacy sends 20 students.  These opportunities have not decreased or diminished.  In fact, by expanding residency and fellowship training opportunities have increased. The same holds to students in other medical schools and health education including nursing and other allied health fields.  Similarly, we expect the ability to collaborate with other research institutions to grow.

9. How will faculty’s relationship change with the Alliance?

We have not experienced a material decrease in faculty and expect to see expansion as GME programs increase, to include residency and fellowship programs.  As faculty are involved with students of other institutions, we expect to see continued faculty appointments with relevant institutions including but not limited to Arizona State University, Creighton University, Mayo Clinic and Midwestern University and University of Arizona.

10. Has faculty’s employment changed as a result of this Alliance?

The partnership does not include any provision to change employment status, other than some centralization of academic administrative activities.

11. Has residents’ employment changed as a result of this partnership?

The Alliance has worked towards being the employer of Alliance residents to achieve parity of total compensation across the institution.

12. Will this Alliance mean a four-year Creighton University School of Medicine campus at St. Joseph’s Medical Center?

The Alliance provides the foundation for the potential that Creighton University School of Medicine to enhance its current campus at St. Joseph’s to a full four-year medical school planned to open in 2021. Currently, Creighton University School of Medicine Regional Campus at St. Joseph’s currently provides third- and fourth-year medical students the training they need to become physicians.

13. Will this Alliance result in a new nursing school in Phoenix?

Creighton University worked with Alliance partners to determine the demand for additional nursing education programs in Arizona and the Southwest.  As a result, Creighton opened a nursing school in Phoenix offering undergraduate and graduate level programs.

14. How will the people of Arizona benefit from this Alliance?

 The first goal of the Alliance was to bring together the strengths of each residency program and thereby raise the quality of the combined programs- a clear example of the “sum being greater than the parts.”  The second goal is to recruit the “best and brightest” to our training programs who will potentially serve and stay in Arizona.

In  2017, Arizona ranked 32nd in active medical doctors (MD) per 100,000 Arizonans.  As the Alliance matures, our goal is to expand training opportunities by way of residencies, fellowships, and medical student clerkship and education opportunities.  Because they train here, Arizona will be more likely to retain some of these medical students and residents in the region. Additionally, the Alliance continues to pursue expanded development of training and education programs in nursing, allied health and pharmacy to benefit all Arizonans.

15. Does this agreement include clinical growth opportunities?

This Alliance relates to training; no planned joint clinical expansions are contained in this agreement.  The Alliance provides additional opportunities to develop more specialty training programs that will assist members in developing new clinical services.