The School of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside, and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, or AHF, have signed an affiliation agreement to facilitate the foundation’s expansion of its services to the Inland Empire.
With the opening of an AHF clinic in Riverside in the next few months, the new partnership is expected to benefit the communities UCR and AHF serve.
Earlier this year, Deborah Deas, the Mark and Pam Rubin Dean and chief executive officer for clinical affairs at the UCR School of Medicine, met with Michael Weinstein, president of AHF, and Cynthia Davis, chair of the AHF board, to explore opportunities for collaboration.
Subsequently, the two institutions signed an affiliation agreement to provide a platform for UCR medical students to train at an AHF clinic. During their third or fourth year in medical school, the students would conduct rotations at the AHF clinic.
“This is an excellent time for the UCR School of Medicine to partner with AHF,” Deas said. “Some of our students pursuing internal medicine or family medicine, with an expressed interest in the care of HIV patients, will now rotate through the clinic to deepen their experience and get better prepared in the holistic care of patients with HIV. We thank AHF for its partnership.”
As of Dec. 31, 2016, there were 51.4 percent more people living with HIV/AIDS in Riverside County than was previously reported using standard prevalence calculations. The number of people currently living with HIV or AIDS in the county, regardless of year of diagnosis, was 236 cases per 100,000 people using the standard calculations, and 357 per 100,000 using the most-recent-address analysis. These data do not include individuals who are unaware of their HIV infection status.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that an additional 15 percent of persons nationwide living with HIV/AIDS do not know their status; for Riverside County, that amounts to about 1,260 additional people.
Weinstein said he was thrilled to be able to partner with the UCR School of Medicine in order to expand care in the Inland Empire. Davis shared his enthusiasm.
“The shortage of qualified physicians who have the skills, expertise, and competence to clinically manage persons living with HIV and AIDS is critical,” she said. “The new partnership with UCR is timely in that it will lead to more racial and ethnic minority physicians remaining in the Inland Empire to practice after they graduate from medical school and complete their residencies."
A racially and ethnically diverse region, the Inland Empire remains one of the fastest growing and most medically underserved and underresourced areas of California.
AHF recently donated $50,000 toward scholarships for UCR medical students who have demonstrated a commitment to serve Inland Empire communities. Many of the students come from socioeconomically and/or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. The donation supports the school’s mission of expanding and diversifying the region’s physician workforce by helping increase the number of primary care doctors and closing the physician shortage gap, currently at 39 doctors per 100,000 people.