The University of Arizona Health Sciences


Delivering Health-Care Services to People ‘Where They Need Them’

Two University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson programs that bring health-care services to people in Arizona’s rural, underserved communities are reaching major milestones this year: the Mobile Health Program, launched in 1976, and the Arizona Telemedicine Program, which got its start in 1996.

Four decades of health care on wheels

In October 1976, what was then the UA Rural Health Office launched the Mobile Health Program (MHP) with Augusto Ortiz, MD, a UA family physician, as medical director. Dr. Ortiz and his wife, Martha Ortiz, who managed clinic details, took their clinic on wheels – an RV donated by a Tucson missionary and outfitted with two small exam rooms – to such tiny communities as the Yaqui Pueblo and Picture Rocks northwest of Tucson; Continental and Amado, south of Green Valley; and later into Cochise County. Some families were so poor that their homes lacked electricity and running water. But the MHP payment policy was then what it is today: Pay if you can, and if you can’t, you still will get care.

The Ortizes, with their staff and...

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$7 Million NIH Grant to UA College of Medicine – Tucson Aimed at Helping Asthma Sufferers Reduce Severe Attacks

About 25 million people in the United States—7 million of them children—suffer from asthma. A five-year, $7 million National Institutes of Health grant awarded recently to Monica Kraft, MD, an internationally renowned physician-scientist who specializes in translational asthma research at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson and the UA Health Sciences’ Asthma and Airways Diseases Research Center, will seek a better understanding of mediators that help control lung inflammation and improved therapies to reduce severe attacks in those with asthma.

Funded through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the grant will support a research study, “Dysfunction of Innate Immunity in Asthma,” with three projects, including analysis of human samples of people with asthma and investigation of genetic markers related to dysfunctional immune response mechanisms in asthma. The goal is to develop a better understanding of those mechanisms and refine novel therapies to moderate or eliminate asthma attacks and enable asthma sufferers to breathe...

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Arizona Telemedicine Program Receives Federal Grant to Expand Telehealth Services in the Southwest

The Southwest Telehealth Resource Center – a division of the nationally renowned Arizona Telemedicine Program – has received $325,000 in federal funding to help advance the use of telehealth and telemedicine throughout five Southwestern states.

The grant will support the Southwest Telehealth Resource Center (SWTRC) from Sept. 1, 2016, through Aug. 31, 2017. The funding comes from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The SWTRC was established in 2009 to bolster the work of the Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP) in underserved and rural communities in Arizona and its neighboring states: New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Nevada.

The SWTRC assists start-up telehealth programs as well as existing programs in hospitals, clinics, public health offices and private-practice health-care providers in the broader Southwest region. The SWTRC provides information and technical assistance to health-care providers in various communities – including the Navajo Nation – as they set up telehealth programs for the first time, or as they expand existing services...

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Growing up on an Amish Farm Protects Children Against Asthma

By probing the differences between two farming communities—the Amish of Indiana and the Hutterites of South Dakota—an interdisciplinary team of researchers found that specific aspects of the Amish environment are associated with changes to immune cells that appear to protect children from developing asthma.

In the Aug. 4 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, the researchers—from the University of Arizona, University of Chicago and the Dr. von Hauner Children’s Hospital in Munich, Germany—showed that substances in the house dust from Amish, but not Hutterite, homes were able to engage and shape the innate immune system (the body’s front-line response to most microbes) in young Amish children in ways that may suppress pathologic responses leading to allergic asthma.

“We have proven that the reason the Amish children are so strongly protected from asthma is how they live,” said study co-author, immunologist Donata Vercelli, MD, associate director of the Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center at the University of Arizona Health Sciences....

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COM-T Welcomes Record-breaking Class of 2020

COM-T Welcomes Record-breaking Class of 2020

A record number of applicants and a record yield rate of accepted students led to record enrollment for the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson’s Class of 2020.

The College welcomed 135 students into the new class during the traditional White Coat Ceremony, where the future physicians received their white coats – the visible mark of a physician – before hundreds of their family and friends.

Bruce Coull, MD, professor of neurology and medicine and chair of the College’s Professionalism Program, gave the keynote address, sharing the “two cornerstones of what you need to acquire to be an outstanding professional physician.”

“On one hand you need to have a deep knowledge of medical science and all that it entails. On the other hand you need to be a person who understands human illness and humanity and how you can help to heal,” he said. “Having the knowledge alone is not enough.”

Each student received a stethoscope and white coat thanks to alumni, faculty, staff and friends from across the U.S. who gave to this year’s Stethoscope and White Coat Campaign.

Watch a short...

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Banner – UMC Tucson Ranked Among Nation’s ‘Best Hospitals’

Banner – University Medical Center Tucson has been ranked among the best hospitals in the nation in geriatrics and nephrology in U.S. News & World Report’s 2016-17 Best Hospitals’ ratings, and as “high ranking” in five other medical specialties.

The publication also rated Banner – University Medical Center as the best hospital in the Tucson metro area, and the No. 3 hospital in Arizona, after the Mayo Clinic and Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix, its sister hospital.

The annual U.S. News Best Hospitals rankings, now in their 27th year, recognize hospitals that excel in treating the most challenging patients.

“We are pleased that U.S. News has recognized the caregivers, educators and researchers at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson for their focus on patients and for producing outstanding outcomes.  It takes an entire team to garner results like these,” said Tom Dickson, chief executive officer of Banner – University Medical Center Tucson.

The Tucson academic medical center was ranked 46th in the medical specialty of geriatrics and 39th in nephrology out of...

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UA Cancer Center Retains Prestigious NCI Comprehensive Status with $17.6M Award

The University of Arizona Cancer Center has been recognized for its multidisciplinary cancer research and research-driven clinical care through a highly competitive grant award from the National Cancer Institute. The NCI renewed the Center’s status as a Comprehensive Cancer Center and awarded a five-year, $17.6 million Cancer Center Support Grant, based on the strength, depth and breadth of basic laboratory, clinical, prevention, control and population-based research.

The UA Cancer Center is one of only 45 NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the nation and is the only one headquartered in Arizona. The renewed designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center gives patients throughout Arizona and the greater Southwest access to the most comprehensive, research-driven cancer care and treatments.

The UA Cancer Center received its initial NCI designation in 1978 and was elevated to Comprehensive Cancer Center status in 1990.

The grant supports the important work in cancer research that has been the cornerstone of the mission and history of the UA Cancer Center, which is led by Andrew S. Kraft, MD...

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The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson has seen many advances and accomplishments s

Shaping the Future of Medicine: The College of Medicine – Tucson

The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson has seen many advances and accomplishments since it was founded in 1967, and this publication—Shaping the Future of Medicine [PDF]—captures the history and highlights of the College and each of its departments.

Within the pages of the COM – T report, you’ll learn …

which artificial body part was the developed here and recognized as one of the nation’s 10  most important medical advances in 1976; how a single photon of light may eventually help prevent and treat a disease with no current cure; about new technology that shows fine details of breast tissue without added radiation to breast cancer patients;

and much, much more about the people, programs and ground-breaking research at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson!

White Coat Ceremony, Class of 2020, UA College of Medicine - Tucson

The 22nd annual ceremony marks the students’ entrance into the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson.

Bruce M. Coull, MD, UA professor of neurology and medicine, will deliver the keynote address, “Fifty Steps in Four Years: Professionalism on the Road to Becoming a Doctor.”


LOCATION:  Centennial Hall
1020 E. University Blvd., UA Main Campus, Tucson

TUCSON, Ariz. – The largest class ever admitted to the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson – 135 students – will celebrate their entrance into medical school at the College’s 22nd annual White Coat Ceremony, on Friday, July 29, 5 to 6:30 p.m., in Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd., on the UA Main Campus.

Open only to family and friends of incoming medical students, not the general public, the ceremony may be viewed live on the Internet at http://streaming.biocom....

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UA Steele Children’s Research Center Receives $3 Million Continuation Grant for its Arizona LEND Program

The UA Steele Children’s Research Center has received a five-year, $3 million, LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities) continuation grant to train individuals to improve the health status of infants, children and adolescents with neurodevelopmental and related disabilities.

A center of excellence at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, the UA Steele Center is part of the University of Arizona Health Sciences – the statewide leader in training health professionals.

Sydney Rice MD, MS, associate professor, and Eileen McGrath, PhD, assistant professor, are co-directors of the Arizona LEND programDr. Rice is an associate professor of pediatrics and a developmental and behavioral pediatrician; Dr. McGrath is an assistant professor of pediatrics and public health and the training director for Arizona LEND.

“This program enables us to bring together the expertise of families and professionals across Arizona,” said Dr. Rice. “The Arizona LEND...

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