The biosciences continue to be one of the most dynamic sectors in our state’s economy, and northern Arizona had many highlights to share in the latest Arizona Bioscience Roadmap progress report.
The roadmap is a long-term strategic plan originally commissioned by the Flinn Foundation in 2002 and updated in 2014 with the goal of Arizona becoming globally competitive and a national leader in select areas of the biosciences by 2025.
In fields such as precision medicine, neuroscience, bioengineering, agricultural biotechnology and more, Arizona has become globally competitive because of its deep talent base, the ability to turn research and discoveries into commercial products, and the critical mass of entrepreneurship to turn those products into enterprises.
Much of the news in the latest progress report focuses on healthcare in Northern Arizona, including:
- Northern Arizona University’s Center for Health Equity Research receiving a $21 million National Institutes of Health grant to continue its work to support health and study disparities among diverse populations in the Southwest.
- Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation on the Navajo Nation receiving $8 million in federal money for its cancer-treatment center and to serve Navajo elders with long-term care and skilled-nursing services.
- The potential from recent legislation that will dedicate $150 million to alleviate the nursing shortage in the state. The money will be spent over the next three years to increase enrollment in nursing programs, expand clinical training opportunities, and offer support to new nurses in hospitals.
Another potential healthcare advancement may be decided on next week in Flagstaff.
That’s when it is anticipated that the Flagstaff City Council will vote on the first phase of Northern Arizona Healthcare’s proposal to build a new hospital as part of a larger “health and wellness village” on land just north of Fort Tuthill County Park. The proposal would have a profound impact not only on the city but for the larger area NAH serves as the only Level 1 Trauma facility north of Phoenix.
“As Northern Arizona Healthcare, we do serve the entire region of northern Arizona; 66% of our patients currently come from outside of Flagstaff proper,” said Steve Eiss, Vice President of Construction and Real Estate Development at NAH. “We want to provide a location that’s adequate for the entire community we serve.”
If the proposal is approved next week, the new hospital could be open as soon as late 2027 with the entire health and wellness village completed by 2040. It is estimated that upon full build-out, the economic impact of the project would be $387 million annually, making it another bioscience sector powerhouse in northern Arizona.