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Report to outline potential of NMSU Arrowhead Park health technology cluster

A report due in late May will outline the steps New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center and regional stakeholders can take to develop an industry cluster that will improve the region’s health care initiatives and boost economic development.

The report will be written by consultants from Tripp Umbach, a nationally recognized consulting firm with experience in economic development within the life sciences field. Paul Umbach, the firm’s founder and president, facilitated a recent roundtable discussion at the Arrowhead Park Medical Academy with nearly 40 attendees from Las Cruces and El Paso.

Wayne Savage, executive director of Arrowhead Park, said the roundtable was the second such discussion regarding the planned health care technology cluster at Arrowhead Park. Last year, Arrowhead Center received $488,000 in funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Regional Innovation Strategies Program Science and Research Park Development Grant, which helps regions plan the creation or expansion of innovation centers. The funding was awarded, in part, to create a master development plan for Arrowhead Park that includes a health care technology cluster that will attract and better support startup companies focused on improving health care in the region and diversify the state’s economy.

“This grant is critical to the development of Arrowhead Park and our ability to attract companies in support of our mission of economic development through innovation and entrepreneurship. Arrowhead Park is a collaborative hub and a critical asset of Arrowhead Center,” said Kathy Hansen, director of Arrowhead Center.

Arrowhead Park is a public-private land development partnership that offers space, facilities and services for technology-based businesses and connects entrepreneurs to researchers.

Savage said the second roundtable attracted a broader cross section of people who could give input on how the health tech cluster develops.

“We asked these groups to identify strengths that we could build on, ideas and strategies,” Savage said. “The consultant will then boil down this information and look at it in light of their past experience, then give us a report on the steps we can take to help realize this vision of improved health care and economic development.”

Savage said the goal is to leverage Arrowhead Park, NMSU, the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine and other assets across the region to create a more effective and efficient health care delivery model, and improve overall health in the region’s underserved populations.

Among the possibilities for the health tech cluster include increased research partnerships between NMSU and BCOM, the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juarez (the Autonomous University of Ciudad Juarez), Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso and other public and private agencies.

“It might include collaborations in research on a health concern, developing a drug or a device that could help a group of people, or it could include a company moving here to set up a clinical trial,” Savage said. “It could also involve high school students looking to continue their education at BCOM or TTUHSC. It’s a multipronged effort to focus on healthcare and industry and economic development.”

The Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine is being constructed on the NMSU campus and will open its doors this fall. While the Burrell College is a private and free-standing college that is not a part of NMSU, it is closely affiliated with NMSU. Its students will be able to take advantage of the student life and campus community benefits that NMSU offers.

Savage said the Tripp Umbach report will be made available to anyone interested.

An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, the EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.