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Dean of the UA College of Medicine - Phoenix moves on

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UA News and UA News | The Daily Wildcat Headshot of Dr. Stuart Flynn.

The dean of the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix is leaving his position for a similar post in Fort Worth, Texas.

Dr. Stuart Flynn was one of the founding deans of the Phoenix medical school in 2008. He will start his new position in April as founding dean of a new medical school that will be jointly operated by Texas Christian University and the University of North Texas Health Science Center.

“TCU, the University of North Texas Health Science Center and Fort Worth offer all the ingredients needed to develop a cutting-edge M.D. school with national aspirations,” Flynn said. “I am excited to build this school with valued colleagues, including a nationally recognized osteopathic medical school, a renowned and forward-looking nursing program, excellent pharmacy and public health schools and several other high-caliber colleges at both universities.”

The Phoenix college admitted its first class in 2007 and has grown from an initial class of 24 students to its current class of 80 students. In 2012, the Phoenix college obtained preliminary accreditation, giving the UA two separate medical schools. The accreditation hit a snag last summer when the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the group responsible for issuing the school’s official accreditation, issued them a warning that they had not met all the criteria to move on to the next phase of accreditation.

Following the warning, the college was given until last December to address the issues named by the LCME. Provisional accreditation — the next step in the accreditation process — was finally given to the college in February.

The deans of both the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix and the UA College of Medicine – Tucson report to Joe “Skip” Garcia, senior vice president of health sciences at UA. Garcia assured that the vacant dean position in Phoenix will not slow the growth of the school. He also praised Flynn for what he contributed to the college.

“Stuart Flynn has done a really outstanding job in leading the College of Medicine in Phoenix for the past several years,” Garcia said. “He did a magical job in being able to promote a high-quality curriculum and outstanding training of the medical students.”

As for filling the empty position, Garcia said the interim dean will be announced as soon as next week. The national search to find a candidate for the school’s next dean will begin from there.

“In most of the leadership positions that I recruit to, I look for a few key attributes,” Garcia said. “One key one is a track record of being an accomplished academic scientist or leader. The person has to be someone who understands and values each part of the academic tripartite mission of research, clinical care and education.”

Garcia added the ideal candidate would be someone with a track record of building, since the College of Medicine – Phoenix is still in a period of growth. He also said the candidate should be adept in recruiting.

Dr. Charles Cairns is the interim dean at the College of Medicine – Tucson and he worked closely with Flynn on everything from undergraduate education to training of residents and fellows and expansion of faculty across both campuses. He called working with Flynn “a pleasure” and said he enjoyed the opportunity.

Cairns has experienced what it’s like to be dean of a medical school, so he had some thoughts on what the post in Phoenix needs.

“I hope they pick someone who is nationally known who can help take both the College of Medicine – Phoenix, as well as Banner – [Health University Medical Center], as well as [the] UA forward,” Cairns said. “So having someone who is also collaborative and forward-thinking can take advantage of these new opportunities that we have, those unique opportunities we have here in Arizona.”

Cairns also said the new dean will have the opportunity to establish and maintain the independent accreditation that the Phoenix campus is on the path to receiving. He noted there is often confusion between the two schools, so the new leader would have the chance to assert the difference.

“I think the future is bright,” Cairns said. “But the next leader will be in a pivotal position to determine the future trajectory of the College of Medicine – Phoenix and, frankly, how Phoenix evolves as an academic medicine community.”


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