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The Man Behind Downtown Phoenix’s forthcoming Institute for Advanced Health

[Source: Lynh Bu, Arizona Republic]

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is CEO of the Institute for Advanced Health, which is opening in downtown Phoenix.

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is CEO of the Institute for Advanced Health, which is opening in downtown Phoenix. (Photo: Associated Press)

Do a Google image search of the man who plans to develop the world’s largest health-care data center in Phoenix and two major figures crop up.

One is Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, dedicated to shrinking the time it takes to get drug discoveries from a laboratory to the hands of medical providers to save lives. In the medical field, he is considered a visionary.

The other is Magic Johnson, retired star of the Los Angeles Lakers. Soon-Shiong, an avid basketball fan, bought Johnson’s 4.5 percent share of the Lakers last year.

Despite living in Los Angeles, Soon-Shiong, 59, has poured millions of dollars into the Arizona economy.

In 2009, he opened a nanotechnology manufacturing plant in west Phoenix that produces a chemotherapy treatment for breast-cancer patients. This week, Mayor Phil Gordon announced Soon-Shiong would be investing even more in Phoenix as the doctor opens his non-profit Institute for Advanced Health downtown, helping boost the city’s image as a hub for the biomedical industry.

Forbes estimates Soon-Shiong has a net worth of more than $5.2 billion, ranking him 196 out of the world’s more than 1,100 billionaires.

Soon-Shiong has developed several life-saving drugs and cancer treatments. He goes by many labels: doctor, inventor, philanthropist and entrepreneur.

When medical breakthroughs are made, it could take more than 15 years to get that discovery from the lab to an actual patient for treatment. The Institute for Advanced Health is part of Soon-Shiong’s vision of streamlining the delivery of health care in America by creating a centralized database that houses biomedical information so hospitals and health-care providers can access the most up-to-date information on patients and how to treat specific conditions.

Philip Schneider, clinical professor and associate dean for the College of Pharmacy at the University of Arizona, predicted Soon-Shiong’s investment in downtown Phoenix would help grow the bioscience industry in Arizona.

“Dr. Soon-Shiong is well-known for his vision of making patient information much more widely available to other caregivers and improving the exchange of information,” Schneider said.

At an international technology conference in Florida weeks ago, Soon-Shiong wowed the audience as a keynote speaker, discussing his hopes of connecting medical research with the care patients receive and how medical providers are paid for the treatment. He showed videos of a shaking Parkinson’s patient using new technology to control his body and walk smoothly across a room. He had a demonstration of a chip for the blind that allowed one visually impaired patient to walk a red line marked on the ground.

“It would be one thing if Soon-Shiong simply wanted to point the finger at a broken system and then ramble on about rainbows and unicorns, but the lofty concepts he’s been toiling over are already being implemented in the real world,” Wireless Week wrote about Soon-Shiong’s 40-minute speech.

Soon-Shiong is the CEO and chairman of several other enterprises, including the Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation and the Healthcare Transformation Institute, and founder of the National Coalition for Health Integration, according to his biography. He graduated from high school at 16 and earned his medical degree at 23.

He was born and raised in South Africa, the son of immigrants who fled China during World War II. Last fall, he sold his company, Abraxis BioScience, for $2.9 billion.

Jeffrey Trent, president and research director of the Translational Genomics Research Institute, said several notable health-care professionals had put their faith in Phoenix. Among them are former Mayo Clinic CEO Denis Cortese, who assumed a position at Arizona State University in January 2010, and Nobel Prize winner Lee Hartwell, head of the Arizona-based Partnership for Personalized Medicine.

Trent said Soon-Shiong’s work would help Phoenix advance in the field of personalized health care.

“It brings together a terrific, focused collection of people with great knowledge in the biomedical and health-care world,” Trent said.

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UA’s Health Sciences Education Building under construction in downtown Phoenix

[Source: UA News]

Dr. Stuart D. Flynn, dean, UA College of Medicine–Phoenix. Photo:

The University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix began construction Friday on the Health Sciences Education Building at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, or PBC, located at 600 E. Van Buren St.

Mayor Phil Gordon, councilman Michael Johnson and Dr. Stuart Flynn, dean of the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix, moved the first dirt in the construction of the $129 million building that will allow for the expansion of the medical education facilities.

“Even in a treacherously down economy, our city has remained committed to forging ahead when it comes to attracting bioscience research jobs, education jobs and creating new doctors who will save lives,” Gordon said.

“This building and our partnership with the University embodies the collaborative spirit that has made our success possible. When the Health Sciences building opens and we’re graduating 120 new doctors a year, we’ll look back on this day as a landmark.”

The College of Medicine-Phoenix anchors the PBC and currently hosts 168 medical students, admitting 48 per year, with the completion of this building the college will be able to grow its class size to 120 students per year to meet the demand of Arizona’s growing population.

“Today highlights the city’s commitment to building a knowledge-based economy in bioscience research and education,” Flynn said.

“Located on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, this building embodies the collaborative environment where current and future doctors will learn side-by-side with pharmacists, nurses and allied health workers to advance science and improve patient care.”

“This is an important milestone; it marks our significant effort to create jobs and build a brighter future in our community though health care and scientific education,” said Johnson, in whose district the building is located.

“Once this building is complete, all three state universities will have a presence in downtown Phoenix.”

Also on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus are the UA College of Pharmacy and the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, the headquarters of the Translational Genomics Research Institute and International Genomics Consortium and the Arizona Biomedical Collaborative building.

DPR Construction and Sundt Construction will jointly build the new six-story, 264,000-square-foot-facility, scheduled for completion in summer 2012. The building was designed by CO Architects and Ayers Saint Gross.

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Get Smart Breakfast Series restarts in downtown Phoenix

After a summer hiatus, the next program in the Get Smart Breakfast Series will be on Wednesday, September 15th from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. at Tom’s Restaurant and Tavern.

The program will feature presentations by Betsey Bayless, President and CEO of Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS), and Bil Bruno, MISH Board Member, speaking on “An Overview of Maricopa Integrated Health System – Your Public Health Care System.”  RSVP if you are planning to attend.

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UA College of Medicine and Phoenix Children’s Hospital Expand Affiliation


University of Arizona College of Medicine — Phoenix

The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix and Phoenix Children’s Hospital [recently] announced an agreement to expand their affiliation, a move designed in part to address Arizona’s severe shortage of pediatricians.

Under the agreement approved by the Phoenix Children’s Hospital board of directors on July 29 and the Arizona Board of Regents on Thursday, the College of Medicine – Phoenix designates the hospital as its principal pediatric affiliate while the hospital names the university as its principal academic affiliate.

“Our formal affiliation positions the College of Medicine – Phoenix and Phoenix Children’s Hospital as one of the nation’s premier sites for pediatric health care, training and research,” said Stuart Flynn, MD, dean of the College of Medicine – Phoenix. “We are creating a dynamic partnership to bring the top physicians and scientists to make lifesaving discoveries and expertly train the next generation of pediatricians.”

The hospital is in the midst of an exciting expansion that will make Phoenix Children’s one of the largest free-standing children’s hospital in the nation.

“During the course of our expansion thus far, Phoenix Children’s has had to recruit many of our pediatric specialists from out of state. But this new affiliation allows us to train and retain our own top talent,” added Murray Pollack, MD, Chief Medical and Academic Officer for Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

The two entities plan to step up collaborative research projects and expand the breadth and depth of research conducted in Arizona to prevent, cure and treat childhood diseases and injuries.

“Phoenix Children’s has long been conducting cutting edge research and this affiliation with the University of Arizona – and the tremendous amount of research infrastructure that comes along with it – will allow us to jointly take pediatric research in Arizona to the next level,” said Robert L. Meyer, President and CEO of Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

“We now have a much stronger standing in attracting the top physician-scientists as faculty members,” Dr. Flynn said. “It also gives us a leg up in garnering research grants, donations and graduate medical education funds.”

The College of Medicine–Phoenix just admitted its fourth class and now has 168 students enrolled in the four-year program in Phoenix.

“The University System has taken another step forward in fulfilling Arizona’s critical need for medical professionals,” stated Arizona Board of Regents Vice Chair Fred DuVal. “The enterprising affiliation between a world-class children’s hospital in Phoenix and the University of Arizona will provide for a collaborative research program and have a profound impact on the ability of the College of Medicine – Phoenix to train, educate and retain pediatric specialists in Arizona.”

According to William Crist, MD, vice president of health affairs for UA, this agreement sets the stage for an aligned and collaborative pediatric research program as well as providing groundwork for coordinated medical student and graduate medical education programs.

Source: Phoenix Children’s Hospital and University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix

Phoenix Children’s Hospital is Arizona’s only licensed, freestanding children’s hospital, providing world-class care in more than 40 pediatric specialties to our state’s sickest kids. Though Phoenix Children’s is one of the 10 largest children’s hospitals in the country, rapid population growth in Arizona means the hospital must grow as well. Phoenix Children’s recently announced 50 percent completion of a $588 million expansion plan to bring its special brand of family-centered care to even more patients and families. The plan includes a significant upgrade to the Hospital’s current campus, an aggressive physician recruitment effort, and new satellite centers in high growth areas of the Valley.

The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix is the only MD degree-granting college in the metro Phoenix area. The college is part of the University of Arizona College of Medicine which began in 1967 in Tucson. The college today encompasses full, four-year medical-education programs in Tucson and in Phoenix. The College of Medicine – Phoenix now plays host to 168 students and will graduate its first four-year cohort of students in May 2011. The College of Medicine – Phoenix is housed in the historic Phoenix Union High School buildings owned and renovated by the city of Phoenix and is part of the downtown Phoenix Biomedical Campus.

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Arizona proposition resolution 2008

[Source: Tucson Weekly] — The payday-loan industry may be on its way out of business in Arizona.  Gay marriage is even more illegal in the state, and once again, voters have rejected the idea of giving lawmakers a raise.  With 99.1 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office, here are the latest results.

The payday-loan industry suffered a stunning defeat after 59.5 percent of voters rejected Proposition 200, the Payday Loan Reform Act.  Prop 200, which was funded with more than $14 million from the payday-loan industry, would have allowed the industry to continue to operate in the state past 2010, the year in which the law that allowed them to set up shop will expire.

Business owners did not get a break from voters after the stunning defeat of Proposition 202.  The Stop Illegal Hiring Act, supported by a variety of business interests, would have granted Arizona companies additional defenses if caught with illegal workers on their payroll.  However, with the defeat — 59.1 percent of voters were saying no — the state’s employer-sanctions law, said by many to be the toughest in the nation, will remain on the books.

Voters also ensured that they will still be able to increase taxes at the ballot box by overwhelmingly rejecting Proposition 105, aka Majority Rules, which would have required that any statewide initiative that hiked taxes or fees be approved by a majority of all registered voters, not just the ones who cast ballots in the election.  A whopping 65.7 percent of voters rejected the measure…

Gay marriage became even more illegal in Arizona after 56.5 percent of the voters supported Proposition 102, which will amend the Arizona Constitution to limit marriage to being between only one man and one woman.  Arizonans rejected a broader law that would have also banned civil unions and domestic partnerships by a narrow margin two years ago…

State lawmakers will continue to be a bargain for taxpayers after 64.5 percent of voters rejected Proposition 300, which would have increased annual legislative salaries from $24,000 to $30,000.

Proposition 101, aka the Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act, remained too close to call as of Wednesday morning, when voters were rejecting it by just more than 2,100 votes.  If it were to make up the difference and somehow pass, Prop 101 would amend the state Constitution to ban the state from interfering with health-insurance options.

Arizonans will never be required to pay a sales tax on the purchase of a home after voters resoundingly approved Proposition 100, aka Protect Our Homes, which was placed on the ballot by the Arizona Association of Realtors to block the state from charging a real-estate transfer tax, a revenue mechanism in some states.  Some 76.9 percent of voters added this amendment to the state Constitution.

However, buyers of new homes will not be getting a longer guarantee on their houses after 77.9 percent of voters rejected Proposition 201.  Homebuilders successfully argued that the proposition would increase lawsuits and raise home prices…