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Mayo Clinic expansion in Arizona, Florida approved

Mayo Clinic has announced an ambitious $120 million plan to open an Arizona medical school in collaboration with Arizona State University.

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Mayo Medical School's plans to expand in Arizona and Florida took a key step forward this week, putting the Arizona campus just two years away from accepting its first class of students.

The Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the national accrediting body for medical education, announced this week it was endorsing Mayo Clinic's plan to establish new branch campuses in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Jacksonville, Fla.

That idea was hailed by former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer as "literally a new beginning of a new era in medicine" when it was initially proposed in 2011, but the required paperwork to expand Mayo Medical School wasn't officially filed until Dec. 2014.

"We are thrilled with the positive response from LCME," said Dr. Sherine Gabriel, dean of Mayo Medical School and William J. and Charles H. Mayo Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. "This signifies an important step in our transformation to a national medical school and our ability to deliver extraordinary medical education and highly diverse clinical experiences to our students across all campuses."

The Post-Bulletin previously has reported the expansion plan will cost $120 million, but the Mayo Clinic was unable to confirm that number by today's print deadline, or comment on where the money will come from.

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Mayo Medical School was established in Rochester in 1972 and since has become one of the most competitive medical schools in the country. It receives nearly 5,000 applications per year, but just 50 are granted admittance. The addition of the Arizona campus in 2017 will double that admission number, according to Mayo Clinic's press release.

Students at the current Rochester campus and the new four-year campus in Arizona also will have new educational opportunities thanks to a special arrangement in Florida. According to the news release, Mayo Medical School students will have the opportunity to complete their third and fourth years at the Jacksonville campus — which may prove especially appealing to those averse to Minnesota's snow-filled winters.

Additionally, Mayo Medical School is developing state-of-the-art online learning modules in collaboration with Arizona State University to develop and incorporate the science of health-care delivery across the medical school's curriculum at each campus.

"Mayo Medical School students will be some of the first in the nation to receive a certificate in the science of health care delivery," said Dr. Michele Halyard, Suzanne Hanson Poole Vice Dean and incoming interim dean of the school. "Not only are we training our students to be excellent physicians and scientists, we are also equipping them with the tools to transform America's ailing health care system."

Gabriel will be leaving Mayo after this year to become the dean of Rutgers University's Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

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