University of California, Riverside

UCR Newsroom

Regents Give Medical School Plans a Thumbs Up

UC Regents Authorize UCR to Proceed with Plans for Medical School

Next phase of planning involves hiring a dean for the medical school and preparing a final proposal

(November 16, 2006)


"This is a giant leap forward," says UCR Chancellor France Córdova of the UC Regents' decision today. For additional photos of the chancellor, please see Related Links below.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — The regents of the University of California this morning authorized UC Riverside to proceed with the next phase of planning for a School of Medicine.

UCR will begin immediately a national search for a founding dean for the school. It will also hire initial faculty and staff, develop curriculum that focuses on improved health care in both primary and specialty care, and seek private support. It plans to submit a final proposal and refined business plan to UC officials by the end of 2007.

"We are delighted with the regents’ action today," UCR Chancellor France A. Córdova said. "For the last three years we have taken incremental steps toward a School of Medicine at UCR, but this is a giant leap forward."

In May 2006, UCR proposed to establish a School of Medicine that would serve the medically underserved in Inland Southern California by training a diverse workforce of physicians, with innovations in research, education, and health care delivery that resound throughout the state and nation. Projected to open in fall 2012, the school will be the first new public medical school west of the Mississippi since 1971.

The shortfall of doctors in the Inland Empire, the two-county region of Riverside and San Bernardino, has been projected to be as much as 1,140 physicians by 2015.

Three representatives of the Inland Empire Coalition for a UCR Medical School told the regents today of the region's need for more physicians, of the coalition’s broad community support, of the need for more minority medical professionals to serve a demographically diverse Inland Empire. Speaking were Jack Clarke, a Riverside attorney who is president of the UCR Alumni Association; Ramon Alvarez, a Riverside auto dealer; and Cindy Roth, president of the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce. Also in attendance was former Regent Sue Johnson, co-chair of the coalition.

The regents' unanimous action to adopt the recommendation of its educational policy committee came on a motion by Inland Empire Regent Bruce Varner.

UCR’s School of Medicine will be research-based and build upon the university’s existing strengths in the biological, agricultural, physical, socio-behavioral sciences and engineering. A particular focus will be on diseases and health issues specific to Inland Southern California, including obesity-related illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.

From 2007 until 2012, UCR will continue to strengthen the foundation upon which the full four-year medical school will be built, including the initiation of a Clinical Medical Education Program that will build partnerships with regional hospitals to develop third- and fourth-year rotations and UCR-affiliated residency programs.

For more than 30 years, UCR has provided the first two years of medical school to a class of 24 students per year through the UCR/UCLA Thomas Haider Program in Biomedical Sciences. In fall 2012, the entering medical school class will increase from 24 students to 40 students; those students will receive their M.D. degree from UC Riverside in spring 2016. In subsequent years, the campus will scale up to admit classes of 48, 72, and 96 students per year.

At maturity in 2022, the UCR School of Medicine is projected to have a total enrollment of 384 medical students, 160 graduate Ph.D. students, and more than 400 UCR-affiliated residents.

Total projected operating costs for the medical school during 2007-2022 is $860 million, with contributions from state, federal, private and other non-state sources. Total capital costs for the same 15-year period — including renovations to existing research and office space, leased clinical space, initial and additional infrastructure, space for teaching and research, a medical library and information resources — roughly are estimated to be $496 million. Only a portion of the capital costs will be sought from the state. All operating and capital costs will be re-examined and detailed in the final proposal.

Both the final proposal and business plan will go through review by the UC Academic Senate, the California Postsecondary Education Commission, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education and the regents.

For more information on UCR’s proposed School of Medicine, visit

The University of California, Riverside ( 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.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Media Relations
900 University Avenue
1156 Hinderaker Hall
Riverside, CA 92521

Tel: (951) 827-6397 (951) UCR-NEWS
Fax: (951) 827-5008

Related Links