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Governor is Briefed on UCR Medical School


UCR Officials Brief Governor Schwarzenegger on Medical School Plan

Campus plans have progressed since preliminary approval by the UC Board of Regents in November, 2006

(June 2, 2008)

Acting Chancellor Robert D. Grey and Governor Schwarzenegger in the Ronald Reagan Cabinet Room in the Governor's office in Sacramento. Photo Credit: William Foster, Office of Governor Schwarzenegger.Enlarge

Acting Chancellor Robert D. Grey and Governor Schwarzenegger in the Ronald Reagan Cabinet Room in the Governor's office in Sacramento. Photo Credit: William Foster, Office of Governor Schwarzenegger.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) -— Citing the statewide need for more doctors, University of California, Riverside (UCR) officials briefed California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on the University’s plans to establish the state’s first new public medical school in four decades at the UCR campus.

The Governor took the opportunity to reaffirm his long-standing commitment to addressing California’s significant healthcare needs, especially in underserved regions.

According to a leading analysis of California’s physician workforce, inland Southern California — the region served by UCR — has the State’s lowest ratio of primary care doctors to population: 58 physicians per 100,000.

UCR Acting Chancellor Robert D. Grey and Phyllis Guze, M.D., executive director for medical school planning, briefed the Governor on the significant progress UCR has made since preliminary approval by the University of California (UC) system Board of Regents in November 2006.

“We greatly appreciate Governor Schwarzenegger’s support of the UCR medical school, which will complement his efforts to expand healthcare coverage in California. We are grateful for his recognition of the inland region’s dire need to expand and diversify the physician workforce to better serve the population,” said Grey. “We are committed to building a medical school in which the Governor, the Legislature and all Californians will take great pride.”

The inland Southern California counties of Riverside, San Bernardino and Imperial will add a projected 2.5 million people to its current 4 million by 2030. With a growth rate among the highest in the United States, and the loss of many health professionals to retirement, just maintaining the region’s current low level of service would require adding nearly 3,000 physicians to the workforce over the next 22 years.

“We are on the edge of a healthcare crisis with inland doctors stretched to the limit and people driving from San Bernardino to Los Angeles to receive even basic services,” said Dr. Guze. “A School of Medicine in the heart of inland Southern California will go a long way toward meeting our State’s urgent need, and provide for greater diversity in the physician workforce.”

Lack of diversity among the medical professional ranks is a significant problem nationally and also in California. For example, in inland Southern California approximately 50 percent of the region’s population is Hispanic, while a mere 7 percent of physicians are Hispanic. African Americans comprise nearly 9 percent of the population, but just 4.3 percent of the physician workforce.

The federal Bureau of Health Professions reports that a more diverse health professions workforce is likely to lead to improved public health, in part by increasing access to care for underserved populations and by improving patient-doctor communication. Research conducted in the proposed School of Medicine will focus on diseases and health care delivery issues of particular importance to the diverse population of inland Southern California.

Through the existing UCR/UCLA Thomas Haider Program in Biomedical Sciences, UCR has already received accreditation for its first two-years of a four-year biomedical program, and has built in the outreach programs necessary to recruit and retain future doctors from underrepresented minority communities. Students who finish their first two years at UCR go on to complete their M.D. degrees at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine.

UCR is already recognized as the UC campus serving the greatest number of students from minority communities. U.S. World News & Report ranks UCR third in the nation in achieving ethnic diversity in its undergraduate student body, and since 2005, approximately 25 percent of students in the UCR biomedical sciences program have been from underrepresented minority backgrounds.

With a strong foundation already in place, the UCR Academic Senate voted in March to support the medical school proposal, which has since been submitted to the University of California systemwide Academic Council and Office of the President. The UC Board of Regents is anticipated to consider final approval of the UCR School of Medicine during the July board meeting.


University of California, Riverside Acting Chancellor Robert Grey met with Governor Schwarzenegger to discuss the importance of expanding opportunities for medical education in California and increasing the number of medical professionals throughout the state. They are standing in the Ronald Reagan Cabinet Room in the Office of the Governor in Sacramento. Photo Credit: William Foster, Office of Governor Schwarzenegger.Enlarge

University of California, Riverside Acting Chancellor Robert Grey met with Governor Schwarzenegger to discuss the importance of expanding opportunities for medical education in California and increasing the number of medical professionals throughout the state. They are standing in the Ronald Reagan Cabinet Room in the Office of the Governor in Sacramento. Photo Credit: William Foster, Office of Governor Schwarzenegger.

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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.

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