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Eller College Home > News, Events, and Multimedia > Press Releases > Looming healthcare crises

Press Release

Eller Press Contact

Liz Warren-Pederson
Eller College of Management

The University of Arizona and Arizona Nurses Association target looming healthcare crisis

Joining forces, the UA’s College of Nursing and Eller College of Management have partnered with the Arizona Nurses Association to boost healthcare recruitment and retention through education.

TUCSON, Ariz. – May 24, 2005 – Arizona is headed for trouble, facing a potentially massive shortage in available healthcare within 20 years. To head off the crisis, The University of Arizona’s College of Nursing and Eller College of Management and the Arizona Nurses Association have joined forces to develop the Arizona Healthcare Leadership Academy (AZHCLA, Nearly 200 healthcare workers have attended, and the Academy plans to train hundreds more every year.

Within 20 years, the U.S. Census Bureau expects Arizona’s population to hit 6.4 million. While healthcare shortages are a national issue, the crisis could be particularly acute in Arizona due to its above-average proportion of residents age 65 and over. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that this segment of the state’s population will swell to over 21 percent by 2025, giving it the 13th-highest proportion of seniors in the United States—all this in a state already below average in the number of registered nurses and other healthcare professionals per capita.

To address the problem, the Arizona legislature and the state’s universities and colleges are currently executing initiatives to increase the number of new nurses entering the workforce. Retaining skilled professionals in Arizona’s hospitals and healthcare settings represents another critical part of the solution to the nursing shortage. The Academy serves both objectives, providing leadership and management education to experienced healthcare professionals throughout the state. In doing so, it targets one of the strategic actions identified in the Arizona Governor’s Task Force on the Nursing Shortage: improving the work environment of Arizona’s registered nurses.

“We expect this program to have a significant impact on Arizona’s nursing environment in a number of ways,” explained Dr. Gerri Lamb of the College of Nursing, who was instrumental in launching AZHCLA. “By providing management education, we’re increasing access to advancement and positions of leadership, which in turn boosts both recruitment and retention. Hospitals and other organizations are using this program as a way of recognizing employee excellence in the same way corporate America has traditionally leveraged professional development programs.”

AZHCLA also improves the nursing environment by providing skills and knowledge to nurses already in management positions but lacking critical leadership training, said Dr. Keith Provan of the Eller College of Management, another of the program’s founders. “Many healthcare professionals in management have great experiential training but little or no formal education in team leadership, finance, conflict resolution, organizational dynamics, communication and other fundamental management skills. The Academy’s training creates more effective operations and a more positive work environment. Not only does that make for happier employees—again, targeting, attracting and retaining healthcare workers—more importantly, it leads to better patient care.”

Because AZHCLA was developed in conjunction with hospitals and healthcare organizations in Arizona, the curriculum is designed to meet the state’s specific needs and circumstances. Courses are taught by faculty from the UA’s College of Nursing and Eller College of Management. Each class is comprised of 30 to 40 professionals from a range of healthcare organizations, including hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, home health providers and others. Since its inception in 2004, AZHCLA has graduated six classes: three in Tucson, two in Phoenix and one in Sierra Vista. This fall, programs will be held in Prescott and Tucson. The Academy projects graduating at least three classes in Phoenix and two in Tucson each year for the next several years.

AZHCLA was initially funded through the Campaign for Caring, a statewide initiative implemented by the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association in response to the state’s growing need to attract and retain healthcare workers. By implementing and funding programs throughout the state, the campaign seeks to increase interest in healthcare professions, support an increased capacity in the state’s nursing education programs and address problems related to healthcare workplaces. AZHCLA meets a distinct need in Arizona’s healthcare industry, which offers little post-college, management-focused professional development. And unlike national programs, AZHCLA offers curriculum tailored to Arizona’s populations, regulations and healthcare environment. The program also offers greater participant and faculty interaction as a result of its small class sizes.

AZHCLA is now accepting applicants for fall programs in Prescott and Tucson. Both programs encourage applicants from surrounding communities and other areas throughout the state. Registration deadlines for the two programs are Aug. 5 and Aug. 24, respectively, but professionals are encouraged to apply as early as possible as class sizes are limited. Applicants can find registration and reservation information online ( or by calling Kathleen Schumpert at the Eller College, 520.621.2165.

The University of Arizona College of Nursing in Tucson, Arizona, is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and ranks among the top four percent of graduate nursing programs in the United States. As one of the four colleges comprising the Arizona Health Sciences Center, the College of Nursing offers a wealth of educational resources and is a leader in innovative distance education and research on injury mechanisms, vulnerable populations and healthcare delivery systems.

The Arizona Nurses Association is a membership organization committed to advance, promote and protect the value, contributions and development of Arizona's nurses. AzNA, Arizona's leading professional nursing organization, is headquartered in Tempe, Ariz. and has 11 chapters across the state. More information is available by calling (480) 831-0404 or visiting the website at

The Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona is internationally recognized for pioneering research, innovative curriculum, distinguished faculty, excellence in management information systems, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller undergraduate program No. 11 among public business schools and two of its programs are among the top 20 — Entrepreneurship and MIS. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller MBA Full-Time program No. 48 in the U.S. In addition to a Full-Time MBA program, the Eller College offers the No. 25-ranked Evening MBA program, the Eller Executive MBA and the Online MBA. The Eller College of Management supports more than 5,800 undergraduate and 800 graduate students on the UA campus in beautiful Tucson, Arizona, and on its satellite campus in downtown Phoenix.

Press Contact:
Liz Warren-Pederson, Eller College of Management

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