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Mayo Clinic, ASU Partner for Medical Education, Healthcare Innovation

October 24, 2016
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University have announced a partnership centered on transforming medical education and healthcare in the U.S. through a variety of innovation efforts.

The Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University Alliance for Health Care will create doctors “more broadly scoped and more empowered to change healthcare outcomes at the individual scale, change healthcare at the national scale and help us to be able to afford this fantastic medical care that we all would like,” ASU President Michael Crow said in a statement.

The pairing between the two institutions brings together all aspects of the field—including clinical, legal and administrative work—under one curriculum, officials stated.

As part of Mayo’s new medical school in Scottsdale, Az., the partnership is creating a specialized curriculum and certification in the science of healthcare delivery. The jointly developed courses will focus on how patients receive care to improve quality, outcomes and cost, Crow said. Students will earn this certificate concurrent with their medical degree from the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine and have the option of pursuing a master’s degree in the program through ASU.

Evidence of the alliance soon will rise close to Mayo Clinic Hospital. ASU plans to build a 150,000-square-foot medical facility as a home of Mayo’s new medical school as well as a medical technology innovation accelerator and biomedical engineering research labs. The Health Solutions Innovation Center is scheduled to break ground in 2017, officials said.

“The Alliance for Health Care between our two organizations is really a national relationship,” said Wyatt Decker, vice president and CEO of the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. “Mayo Clinic has operations in over five states, including our flagship operations here in Arizona; Rochester, Minnesota; and Jacksonville, Florida.”

Decker added that ASU and Mayo share “a bold vision that will help create legions of doctors that are not only taught in the important skills of diagnosing and treating illness, but also in how to keep populations healthy, and how to keep people healthy, how to work in teams” and use skill from other disciplines, including business, engineering or social sciences, “to measure the system that they’re in and understand it and improve it.”

One project as part of the collaboration is the Mayo Clinic Proton Beam Program, which draws on ASU physicists, engineers and technologists. Another is a $40 million effort to develop a prototype to detect radiation exposure. Other collaborative work involves a range of fields, including biomedical informatics, molecular detection and medical imaging, metabolic and vascular biology, regenerative and rehabilitative medicine, and wearable biosensors and knowledge management.

The formalized alliance, Crow said, grew out of a recognition that U.S. healthcare needs to evolve beyond individual specialties and organizational walls. “We need to innovate to transform healthcare and train the next generation of healthcare professionals who will help lead this change,” he said.

“We do this by, basically, reimagining the physician of the future,” he said, as “not only scientist, doctor, healer, designer, but also engineer, economist, administrator, problem solver, community engager — all those things together.”

Victor Trastek, director of ASU’s School for the Science of Health Care Delivery, suggested that more institutions in healthcare should be collaborating rather than competing. We have found that in healthcare, going forward, in terms of sustainability, you can’t do it alone,” Trastek said. “So you have this huge, wonderful university, and you have this great medical center. Instead of competing against each other, why don’t we share?”

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