Officials hope new Mayo Clinic medical school in Scottsdale will help ease state’s doctor shortage

SCOTTSDALE – Dr. Amit Shah smiles as he demonstrates the new technology at the Mayo Clinic’s new medical school campus in Scottsdale.

“There is no center stage in the middle, (with) just a person beaming down information at you, as many of us – unfortunately – learned in medicine,” he said.

The Mayo Clinic School of Medicine in Scottsdale will open in July. The first class will have 50 students. (Photo courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

Shah, the school’s associate dean for faculty affairs, shows off classrooms armed with big-screen monitors and simulated office settings equipped with cameras so teachers can watch and provide feedback to the students.

The school plans to open in July. A spokeswoman said more than 3,000 students applied, but the school only accepted 50 students. The campus will serve as a sister school to the company’s location in Rochester, Minnesota.

Shah said the school will provide a new way to learn the practice of medicine.

“You’re not smart anymore as a physician because you know some small detailed fact,” Shah said. “You’re great as a physician if you know how to communicate to patients, to work in teams and how to access information.”

The medical school will feature cadaver labs set up with touch-screen technology. A monitor, the size of a human, mimics a body on a table and allows students to interact with it. And the campus includes a student lounge with a ping-pong table so students can de-stress.

The Mayo Clinic School of Medicine in Scottsdale boasts new technology, including touch screens and interactive labs. (Photo courtesy of Mayo Clinic)

In a 2016 job report, health care was one of the fastest-growing job sectors in Arizona. However, experts said the state needs more doctors.

Arizona ranked 34th in active medical physicians per 100,000 residents, illustrating the state’s doctor shortage, according to a November 2015 study by the Association for American Medical Colleges.

Matthew Benson, a spokesman for the Arizona Hospital and Health Care Association, said keeping doctors within Arizona is extremely important.

“That is a long standing problem,” he said. “Getting the individuals who train here, who go to medical school here, to stay here.”

Shah said he hopes adding a medical school at the Mayo Clinic could help ease that shortage.

“Because we’re in Phoenix, you have lots of opportunities to be involved in patient care,” he said. “Your clinical training is not just at Mayo Clinic, we have partnerships.”

Students in the program also can earn a master’s degree from Arizona State University in health care delivery, which trains students to create doctor, patient bonds.

(Video by Amanda Luberto/Cronkite News)