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How Medical School Could Increase Rural Healthcare Workforce


Family Medicine Scholar to Discuss How a UCR Medical School Could Solve Health Crisis in Inland Southern California

In free lecture at UCR, Kiki Nocella also will address campus’s opportunity to increase rural healthcare workforce

(April 24, 2006)

Kiki Nocella, M.H.A., Ph.D., clinical assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and the former vice chair of finance and administration at USC, is the sixth speaker in

Kiki Nocella, M.H.A., Ph.D., clinical assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and the former vice chair of finance and administration at USC, is the sixth speaker in "The Design of New Medical Schools in the 21st Century" seminar series. She will speak at UCR on May 1.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Kiki Nocella, a clinical assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, will give a lecture at UC Riverside that addresses how a UCR medical school can facilitate the building of an educational pipeline that produces physicians who will practice in rural California, and, specifically, in Inland Southern California.

Nocella, M.H.A., Ph.D., who is a former vice chair of finance and administration at USC, also will discuss the specific steps involved in creating family medicine residency programs that emphasize rural training.

Her lecture, entitled “A pipeline of medical resources to rural communities ... from pipedream to reality: How not to be pipeless in Perris, Phelan, and Pinyon Pines,” is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., Monday, May 1, in room E, UC Riverside Extension, 1200 University Avenue, Riverside, Calif. The presentation is free and open to the public, with seating available on a first-come basis.

“Based on my research and practical experience, I contend that medical schools and residency programs must focus on building organizations of individuals that value rural health in order to address rural workforce shortages,” Dr. Nocella said. “Such values, which then translate into organizational culture and structure, will be key to the building of a medical school that attracts, educates, nurtures, and places physicians passionate about rural practice. Such an initiative requires a renewed focus on the social contract between medical schools and their communities through a process of community engagement, empowerment, and decision making.”

Only a quarter of California’s physicians are trained in the state. By 2015, the statewide supply of physicians is expected to be 10 percent less than the projected demand, with the Inland Empire projected to experience a shortfall of 1,140 physicians. Exacerbating the problem is the growing population in the region.

“Since the strongest predictor of a physician choosing to practice in rural is whether the physician is a family physician, my talk at UCR will focus on how to work with communities to build an educational pipeline that attracts individuals from rural areas who want to be family physicians into medical school and residency so that they go back to the rural communities as well prepared physicians passionate about rural health,” Dr. Nocella said. “Key to this is engaging the communities in the region as partners in developing this model.”

A UCR School of Medicine, if approved, would help serve a medically underserved region in California and increase the number of physicians in the state. It will be the first research-based medical school in California in 40 years and the first new medical school in the western United States this century

Already, the campus has faculty conducting research in health-related fields, with additional faculty positions in health/biomedical research committed by 2010; furthermore, the UCR/UCLA Thomas Haider Program in Biomedical Sciences provides the first two years of medical school.

Physicians attending Dr. Nocella’s lecture may report one hour of Category 1 credit toward the California Medical Association's Certificate in Continuing Medical Education and the American Medical Association's Physician's Recognition Award. Through the UCR/UCLA Thomas Haider Program in Biomedical Sciences and UC Riverside Extension, UCR provides CMA-accredited continuing medical education to physicians through seminars, conferences and courses.

Nurses attending the lecture may receive California Board of Registered Nursing continuing education credit. The presentation is approved for BRN continuing education credit for one contact hour.

Dr. Nocella’s lecture is presented by UCR’s Health Sciences Initiative under the banner “The Design of New Medical Schools in the 21st Century.” For additional information on the lecture, please call Eppi Azzaretto at 951-827-4334 or email eppi.azzaretto@ucr.edu. For information on other speakers in the seminar series, visit www.ucr.edu.

More on Kiki Nocella:
A certified member of the American College of Medical Practice Executives, Dr. Kiki Nocella serves on a variety of boards and advisory groups, including Secretary of the Board of the California State Rural Health Association and the Board of the California Academy of Family Physicians Foundation. Dr. Nocella is the Principal Investigator first for a planning grant and now for a three-year grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to implement health information technology in rural southeast Kern County. She has spoken nationally and internationally on issues of rural health delivery, quality, and workforce.

The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

A broadcast studio with fiber cable to the AT&T Hollywood hub is available for live or taped interviews. UCR also has ISDN for radio interviews. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.

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