Progress seen in effort to start medical school in Valley
- Legislation clears one hurdle
- “Today marks a renewed effort to undertake the construction of major new medical infrastructure projects in the Valley”
A proposal to fund creation of a San Joaquin Valley medical school has passed its first committee vote in the state Legislature with unanimous bipartisan support, says the bill’s author, Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced.
Mr. Gray also points to a University of California report that highlights the health care shortages in the San Joaquin Valley and suggests a path towards the establishment of more robust medical infrastructure in the Valley, including the establishment of a fully independent medical school at the University of California, Merced. The report was funded by a budget item Mr. Gray secured in 2015.
“Today marks a renewed effort to undertake the construction of major new medical infrastructure projects in the Valley,” says Mr. Gray. “The UC’s report highlights the compelling access to care failures that families in the Valley know all too well. We simply are not providing adequate health care for one of the fastest growing, poorest, and least healthy regions of the state.”
His bill, AB 2202, appropriates a currently unspecified sum of money to the UC Regents for the construction of a branch campus of the UCSF School of Medicine in partnership with UC Merced and the UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program.
“The establishment of a branch campus is a near-term solution that is a proven pathway to opening a fully accredited medical school,” says Mr. Gray. “In this bill, we have taken the lessons learned from medical schools in other regions and applied what we have learned for the Valley.”
The University of California report details the numerous health challenges faced by the residents of the San Joaquin Valley and provides a number of recommendations to improve access to care. The report highlights the importance of leveraging existing infrastructure at the UCSF Fresno Medical Center to provide new access to care options like telehealth and residency expansion while recommending the establishment of a branch campus as the most proven track to a fully independent medical school.
“This report gives us a road map to follow,” says Mr. Gray. “We will highlight these recommendations at a health summit at UC Merced with Chancellor Leland and President Napolitano in early summer and continue the hard work necessary to ultimately establish a school of medicine at UC Merced.”