Leadership exodus, accreditation problems: Arizona Medical Assc. wants UA College of Medicine investigated

Accreditation issues and the abrupt departure of six leaders are creating a wealth of questions at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix, and the Arizona Medical Association wants answers, according to Tucson.com.

Here are four things to know about the goings-on at the medical school.

1. Six leaders are leaving UA. In April, Dean Stuart Flynn, MD, announced he'd be departing for a position as dean at a new medical school started by Texas Christian University and University of North Texas Health Science Center, both based in Fort Worth. Five additional leaders will also be leaving the school shortly. One is taking a job at Cleveland-based CaseWestern ReserveUniversity and four are heading to Dr. Flynn's new medical school.

2. UA leadership and the Arizona Medical Association disagree on whether these changes are positive or negative. Joe G.N. "Skip" Garcia, MD, senior vice president of health sciences at Tucson-based Arizona Health Sciences Center, said leadership being recruited to other positions is a sign of the school's success. However, the Arizona Medical Association claims the leadership changes are a "significant loss for the medical school and to the state of Arizona."

3. The University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix has been facing accreditation problems as well. Last June, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education visited the medical school and cited four areas of non-compliance, two of which have to do with the "academic affiliation between Phoenix-based Banner Health and the UA that was created when Banner merged with the Tucson-based UA Health Network," according to the report. The medical school made numerous changes — including altering its contract with Banner — to comply with the LCME's standards, and it received "provisional" accreditation status from the LCME in February.

4. The Arizona Medical Association wants the Arizona Board of Regents to conduct an independent investigation. Due to these problems, the association hopes the board will take "corrective action ... to ensure long-term excellence in medical education at the U of A College of Medicine Phoenix and Tucson," according to the report.

In a statement, board of regents Chair Jay Heiler said "the board, [University of Arizona] Pesident [Ann Weaver] Hart, PhD, and her executive team's consideration of the present structure and operating challenges at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix continues, and will continue in earnest at the board's meeting this week in Flagstaff," according to the report.

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