Desert Healthcare District Approves $5 Million Grant to UCR Medical School

Funding support will expand access to primary care and help school build its training platform in the Coachella Valley

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. (www.ucr.edu)—The School of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside will receive a grant of $5 million over five years from the Desert Healthcare District, which promotes a variety of healthy community initiatives through its grant-making program.

The grant was approved Sept. 27 by the district’s Board of Directors. “This exceptional support from the Desert Healthcare District demonstrates the board members’ extraordinary vision for the long-term health of their constituents,” said G. Richard Olds, dean of the UCR medical school. “This grant is vital not only for launching medical school programs in the region, but also for leveraging additional funding support of the medical school. We are tremendously gratified by the board’s action.”

The grant will enable the UCR medical school to:

  • Appoint primary care physicians who will treat patients at medical practices established throughout the healthcare district and who will teach medical students and medical residents at these practices as well as Desert Regional Medical Center.
  • Establish residency training programs and clerkship rotations for medical students in healthcare facilities in the district. During their third and fourth years of medical school, students complete “rotations,” during which they develop advanced clinical skills in a variety of specialties, including internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics and obstetrics/gynecology. Following M.D. training, physicians are required to complete residency training in their chosen discipline.
  • Equip the physician practice and the Federally Qualified Health Centers in the district with advanced “telemedicine” technology which will link the region’s clinical and educational locations to the UCR campus and broader California Telehealth Network for educational programs and patient consultations with specialists outside the region.
  • Partner with existing Coachella Valley initiatives to support students aspiring to careers in the healthcare industry with student outreach and enrichment programs that inspire students to pursue healthcare careers and enhance their competitiveness for professional health training programs, including medical school.

“Developing our residency training programs, expanding our pre-medical student programs and building our clinical practice are all vital for building the medical school at UCR. We can start all of these programs while we continue to seek the funding necessary to open the medical school,” Olds said. UCR officials are continuing to work on securing preliminary accreditation for a full, four-year medical school, with the target of opening it in summer 2013.

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