October 3, 2017
In a region of 4.4 million people, it can be easy to overlook some of the most remarkable investments and resources our region offers. Organizations like Midwestern University (MWU) have existed in our community for more than 20 years. Throughout those years, MWU has significantly expanded and has invested approximately $425 million in assets for the Glendale campus. We are extremely fortunate our region has MWU, which is an asset for the neighboring community and for the region as a whole.
Dr. Goeppinger, President and CEO of MWU, described the University in 1996 as a 65,000 sq. ft. building with 95 students and 35 employees. Today, MWU has more than 3,500 students, 17 programs, 52 buildings and 800 employees. Remarkably, MWU gives back by involving students in community events, food drives and health fairs. MWU financially educates its students and ensures that all students graduate with the lowest percentage of debt. From assisting animal shelters to providing medical and dental services to homeless and veteran populations, MWU supports our community.
The EDC also heard from former Senator Amanda Aguirre, who spoke about the demand for medical tourism in our region. The committee was urged to develop a medical tourism initiative. Medical tourism in Yuma County provides insurance for the uninsured population by giving patients access to a highly reputable network of physicians in Yuma County and extended to San Luis, Mexico. Since Yuma has seen positive results, Tucson has implemented a similar concept. This has allowed a culture of cash paying customers to enter the medical market in Southern Arizona. If the Border Crossing Card is fully vetted, it will be easier for our region to implement similar initiatives.
From corridor expansions to new businesses, our diverse region is swiftly growing. We look forward to bringing new or expanding projects before our committee members to increase awareness and continue our regional growth.
Midwestern University (MWU) is a premier medical school that offers masters and doctorate degrees and is committed to meeting the healthcare needs of our society. President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Kathleen Goeppinger provided an overview of Midwestern University. MWU has a campus in Glendale, AZ, with more than 3,800 students. It also has another campus in Downers Grove, IL, with more than 2,900 students. MWU offers state-of-the-art healthcare education in six college programs including optometry, osteopathic, dental, health sciences, pharmacy and veterinary medicine. MWU has a clinical campus that provides a wide range of community connections and clinical partnerships that furthers professional education. Some community education initiatives include a mobile vet spay/neuter clinic, home outreach for those experiencing homelessness, tobacco education, and healthcare awareness events in high schools. The Corporation for National and Community Service recognized Midwestern University with the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to service and civic engagement.
The Arizona-Sonora megaregion has been collaborating to build relationships and partnerships at the local and state levels to improve our quality of life. The Arizona Mexico Commission and the Sonora-Arizona Commission have signed a declaration of cooperation to integrate health service providers in Arizona and Sonora, creating the Health Services Providers Subcommittee. Regional Center for Border Health President and CEO Amanda Aguirre provided an overview of several of these efforts. The subcommittee has the objective of collaborating to develop strategies that promote binational patient care between Arizona and Sonora. A current program is the Community Access Program of Arizona-Mexico (CAPAZ-MEX), which creates a medical safety net for the uninsured population by providing access to quality medical services at discounted rates. Services are offered by a highly reputable network of physicians and specialists located throughout Yuma County, San Luis, Mexico, and Los Algodones, Mexico. Another effort is the Tucson Health Association, which is a medical tourism initiative based on the integration of major hospitals in the Tucson metropolitan area. This organization focuses on serving international patients and visitors, mainly from Mexico and Latin America, who seek high-quality, innovative and efficient medical care in the well-known hospitals of Tucson and Pima County. Future efforts in the Arizona-Sonora megaregion include developing a similar hospital network in the Phoenix metro area.
The Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) has been part of the motorsports scene since 1964 and is the only track in the western United States to feature two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekends a year. A study by Arizona State University estimated that Phoenix Raceway brings in nearly $473 million annually to the state of Arizona. Phoenix Raceway President Bryan Sperber discussed a new redevelopment project and how his leadership team has focused on community engagement and transformation of the facility into a tremendous resource for Arizona. PIR is currently undergoing major changes and renovations, with an investment of $178 million. The grand opening will be in November 2018 and PIR hopes the facility will have an expanded role in the community and the region. The improvements include a new field experience, a new pedestrian tunnel, new and updated club and suites, a new PA system, enhanced seating, new escalators and elevators, and more. This improvement project will make PIR a full entertainment venue and a major event destination in the region.
In 2013, EDC representatives and university presidents signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the EDC to be supportive of grant requests submitted by Arizona educational institutions to enhance their competitiveness and to improve Arizona's economy. Arizona State University College Professor Elisa Bienenstock presented on the grant proposal titled Biology Enhanced Models of Humans in Response to Environmental Change to be submitted to the Army Research Office. At the October meeting, members of the EDC voted to support this grant application by submitting a letter of support on behalf of MAG. The Arizona State University (ASU) and the University of Texas at Austin (UT) will develop a new approach to data specified computational modeling to meet the government's need to understand and predict human responses to large-scale environmental change and other social and political shocks. The goal of this project is to equip the Department of Defense with valid and reliable models of community response during a crisis, such as an earthquake.
Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) staff commented that October is Manufacturing Month and a luncheon is taking place to celebrate companies working in the space. In addition, ACA is adding a new staff member who will be based in Los Angeles (LA) and who will focus on foreign direct investment and connecting with the consulates in the LA region.
Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) staff commented that on September 28, 2017, GPEC had a symposium with information on key economic development indicators. GPEC continues to focus on the Connected Place campaign, highlighting the great opportunity that the sensor technology industry represents for our region.
Avondale Councilmember Lorenzo Sierra invited everyone to participate at the end of October in the Avondale Billy Moore Days related events. Glendale Councilmember Ray Malnar commented that IKEA is opening a second facility in Glendale, which will have a great economic impact in the West Valley. Carefree Councilmember Michael Farrar invited everyone to attend Carefree's Enchanted Pumpkin Garden festival on October 20-29th.
The next meeting of the EDC will be on Tuesday, November 7, 2017, at 11:30 a.m. at the MAG Office, 302 N. First Avenue, Phoenix, second floor, Saguaro Room.
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