California Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a $222.2 billion budget proposal today that allocates additional ongoing funding of $25 million to expand enrollment and increase operational support for the UC Riverside School of Medicine.
The additional funding would enable the medical school to double—from 250 to 500—its medical doctors in training. Many would serve residencies, and perhaps later pursue careers, in inland Southern California.
The region faces a critical shortage in both primary-care and specialist physicians. The Inland Empire has only 35 primary care physicians per 100,000 people—far short of the 60 to 80 per 100,000 recommended.
“The state’s support for our medical school will help improve access to high-quality health care for all Californians,” said UC Riverside Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox. “The additional funding for the school in the governor’s budget proposal will help us train and retain more doctors in underserved areas. The greatest indicator of where physicians will practice is where they completed their medical training.”
Deborah Deas, the vice chancellor for health sciences and Mark and Pam Rubin Dean of the School of Medicine, said the additional funding would have a far-reaching impact on improving access to health care in inland Southern California.
“More than two-thirds of our students have ties to inland Southern California, so this is a very significant step toward expanding access to medical education to the students in our region, many of whom will stay on to practice here as trained physicians,” she said. “I am grateful for the support and advocacy of our community and especially to Senator Richard Roth and Assemblymembers Jose Medina and Sabrina Cervantes for their unwavering leadership on this issue.”
This past legislative session, funding for the medical school was a top priority for the region’s delegation, which stressed the goal of training and graduating more healthcare workers for the Inland Empire and California. In December 2018, state Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside, introduced Senate Bill 56, with Assemblymembers Medina and Cervantes as principal co-authors. Medina introduced Assembly Bill 1740 in the last legislative session.
In a statement, Roth said he is pleased at the governor’s commitment to provide ongoing, sustainable funding to the School of Medicine.
“Investment in our healthcare workforce is vital to the future of our region,” Roth said. “This step comes on the heels of our success last year in obtaining funding for a new $100 million UCR School of Medicine facility. I am excited for the upward trajectory of our region.”
Medina also expressed his support for the governor's proposed 2020-21 state budget.
"I am thrilled that the governor included significant investment to improve access to health care in the Inland Empire and Central Valley. These regions have historically lacked access to quality care," he said.
From here, legislators will consider and deliberate the proposal in committee. A revised budget will be released in May 2020. If passed by the legislature and signed by the governor, the budget will be enacted in June 2020.
The UCR School of Medicine, which welcomed its first class of students in the fall of 2013, has a mission of improving the health of the people of California and, especially, serving inland Southern California by training a diverse workforce of physicians and developing innovative research and health care delivery programs. To date, the medical school has graduated three classes totaling 128 students, of which 106 have remained in California.