School of Medicine Introduces New Psychiatry Resource in Palm Desert

Congressman Raul Ruiz made the announcement on Sept. 16 at UCR Palm Desert Center

U.S. Rep. Raul Ruiz today announced that the UCR School of Medicine has four psychiatry residents treating patients at the Palm Desert VA Clinic under supervision of attending faculty physicians. To the congressman’s left is Dr. John Luo of the UCR School of Medicine.Photo credit: Office of Congressman Raul Ruiz.

PALM DESERT, Calif. – The School of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside today announced that four psychiatry residents are treating patients at the Palm Desert VA Clinic under supervision of attending faculty physicians. The new service is aimed at addressing the shortage of psychiatric service for veterans and others in the Coachella Valley.

U.S. Rep. Raul Ruiz, who represents California’s 36th District and serves on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, made the announcement at UCR Palm Desert Center. Ruiz practiced as an emergency medicine physician in the Coachella Valley before being elected to Congress.

“Veterans face unique and difficult mental health challenges and they need access to efficient and quality mental health services,” Ruiz said. “I am thrilled to announce that the Palm Desert VA Clinic will now have four psychiatry residents from the UCR Psychiatry Residency Program to serve veterans. I was proud to advocate for this partnership and to work to get veterans the mental health care they need. It’s time to end the stigma of mental health issues and expand quality mental health services for our veterans and their families.”

Earlier this year, the School of Medicine began a partnership with Loma Linda VA Healthcare System to serve veterans in inland Southern California.

U.S. Rep. Raul Ruiz is seen here taking a question from a member of the audience.Photo credit: Office of Congressman Raul Ruiz.

U.S. Rep. Raul Ruiz is seen here taking a question from a member of the audience.Photo credit: Office of Congressman Raul Ruiz.

“UC Riverside is pleased to partner with both Congressman Ruiz and the Loma Linda VA to serve veterans in our region,” said John Luo, M.D., director of the UCR psychiatry residency program and a professor of psychiatry. “This is a population that is in desperate need of greater access to medical care.  Our four psychiatry residents will work closely with veterans to address their concerns related to mental health.”

The four psychiatry residents who will rotate through the Palm Desert Clinic are Janet Charoensook, M.D., Carlos Fernandez, M.D., Julia Hoang, M.D., and Shalin Patel, M.D.

Resident physicians are those who have graduated from medical school and typically spend three to seven years in graduate medical education (GME) training. When the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act passed Congress in 2014, it included 1500 new GME slots nationwide that were focused in areas of primary care and in geographic areas of need, such as the Coachella Valley.

Ruiz, who was instrumental in acquiring for UCR an affiliation with the Loma Linda VA Healthcare System, encouraged the UCR School of Medicine to seek some of the new GME slots and to have psychiatry residents in Palm Desert.

The new psychiatric service in Palm Desert which resulted from his and the School of Medicine’s effort coincides with this month being Suicide Prevention Month, bringing awareness to the crisis of veteran suicide in America. Some data suggest that 20 veterans die from suicide every day.

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-6050
E-mail: iqbal@ucr.edu
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Additional Contacts

Hernan Quintas, Office of Congressman Ruiz
Tel: (202) 302-1137
E-mail: hernan.quintas@mail.house.gov

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