Dean’s Message – Summer 2015

Photo shows G. Richard Olds.

G. Richard Olds is the founding dean of the UC Riverside School of Medicine. Photo credit: UCR Strategic Communications.

Milestones abound for the medical school in these past few months. The Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME) has granted provisional accreditation to the medical school, which is the final step before a new school can seek full accreditation from the LCME. After a successful site visit in February and a collaborative review period that proceeded through April and May, the LCME voted to grant provisional accreditation to our medical school at its June meeting. With this significant milestone completed, the SOM can anticipate consideration for full accreditation status in 2017.

The third year of training has begun for the inaugural class of medical students, which is a notable milestone for this school in particular. After many years of training medical students for their first two years before sending them to UCLA for the remainder of their M.D. training, the UCR School of Medicine has now rolled out its own third-year curriculum as a full four-year medical school. Faculty and staff have devoted significant effort to developing this important portion of the educational program wherein students will train almost exclusively in the clinical setting, applying knowledge they acquired in years one and two. Full of hands-on exposure and experiences, many medical students identify the third year as their favorite year of medical school and several students will identify their chosen specialty during this phase of training. SOM faculty, staff and leadership have designed an innovative and rigorous third-year curriculum and it will be particularly rewarding to watch our students excel in this pivotal year.

The Class of 2019, the third class of medical students at the SOM, arrived last week for orientation. Extensive efforts to recruit and train the physicians necessary to improve the health of this community yielded another impressive cohort, as two-thirds of the students in this class come from Inland Southern California, 48 percent are from disadvantaged backgrounds and 42 percent are from underrepresented communities. Innovative thinking on the part of faculty and others within the SOM as well as critical support from some very special visionaries in the community were significant factors in achieving this important success. I hope SOM faculty and staff can take an opportunity to meet and welcome the Class of 2019 this week as they begin their journey through medical school.

In closing, I would like to acknowledge another significant occasion that is bittersweet for me personally. Dr. Phyllis Guze has retired from her position as executive vice dean, and I must convey my gratitude and admiration for her leadership in the formative years of this medical school. Her vision, wisdom, determination and innovative strategizing were instrumental to our success. She will forever have our thanks, and a distinguished place in the history of this medical school.

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