On a recent visit to the future site of UC Merced’s Medical Education Building, Governor Gavin Newsom was joined by Congressmember Jim Costa, Senator Anna Caballero, Assemblymember Adam Gray and university leaders. Governor Newsom discussed the significance of the future school for the region and its potential benefit to health outcomes in the long-underserved area of the state.
“The Central Valley community has been living with unfair health outcomes for too long,” said Newsom. “Zip codes shouldn’t be a pre-existing condition. UC Merced’s Medical School will be the first of its kind for the community, providing local students with opportunities to both learn closer to home and serve the communities they grew up in, while also working to confront the most persistent health challenges facing the Central Valley head-on.”
“Establishing a medical school at UC Merced has been a dream for more than 20 years. Today that dream becomes a reality as we establish a branch campus of the best medical school in the country right here in the San Joaquin Valley,” said Assemblymember Gray. “The medical school will truly transform the health care landscape in one of the most underserved regions of California. This is by far my proudest accomplishment. I am extremely grateful to Governor Newsom for making Valley health care a priority.”
The Central Valley experiences some of the worst health outcomes in the state, while having fewer doctors in the community than other regions. There are 157 medical doctors for every 100,000 residents in the Central Valley, compared with 411 per 100,000 in the Bay Area. Statewide there’s 157 primary care physicians per 100,000 residents, while in the Central Valley there’s less than 45 per 100,000.
The Medical Education Program is a joint effort between UC Merced, UC San Francisco and UC San Francisco-Fresno. UC Merced’s proposed Health, Behavioral Sciences and Medical Education Building will be home to the Medical Education Program, Health Sciences Research Institute, and the Departments of Psychological Sciences and Public Health, serving approximately 2,220 undergraduates by 2030.
The Program will also have capacity to train 200 medical school students, with the first cohort of 50 on track for enrollment in 2023. Newsom’s 2020 State Budget included $15 million in ongoing funding to support the operation of the joint medical education program and the 2019 State Budget reflected a commitment to fiscally support the University of California’s issuance of bonds to pursue UC Merced’s medical school project.