Northern Arizona University plans to build a new medical school as part of a greater effort to address an ongoing shortage of health care workers in the state, the Arizona Board of Regents announced Friday.
The medical school would be the first in the region and will focus on training aspiring doctors for primary care in rural, underserved and indigenous communities in Arizona.
The university is also proposing pathways for in-state residents who graduate to go on to practice with minimal debt.
The announcement comes three months after Arizona State University released similar plans for its own medical school. The school will be constructed in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix.
ASU officials say the medical school will be funded by private investors, philanthropy, public investment and ASUs own revenue.
Both schools along with the University of Arizona, are all part of the AZ Healthy Tomorrow initiative. The initiatives goals include getting Arizona to reach the national average of doctors and nurses per capita and improving health care access for all residents.
University of Arizona officials say the school intends to double the number of doctors graduating from its medical schools and expand its partnership with Banner Health.
The Board of Regents also voted Friday to request $153 million in the fiscal year 2025 state budget toward the initiative.
Gov. Katie Hobbs announced at the same meeting a commitment from the state to invest $11 million in the initiative. There is a critical need for qualified health care professionals as more businesses lure people to move to Arizona, she said.