Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) released the following statement in response to the passage of the 2020 State Budget, with the comments coming late afternoon Monday, June 15.
“Earlier this year, I said that a UC medical school in the Valley should be the legacy of this pandemic, not one of its victims. Today, that legacy became a reality. The 2020 State Budget provides $15 million per year every year to support a medical school at UCSF-Fresno and UC Merced. This represents the culmination of decades of tireless work and advocacy that will radically change the health care landscape in the San Joaquin Valley.”
Gray said the action will help students across the region.
“Just as UC Merced has redefined who can go to college by enrolling more first-generation college students than any other campus in the UC system, this medical school will redefine who can be a doctor. It makes medical school a more realistic option for the thousands of Valley students who are qualified to become doctors but who cannot afford to move to places like San Francisco, Los Angeles, or Orange County,” Gray noted.
He added that “the best way to address the Valley’s shortage of medical providers is to recruit local students, train them close to home, and match them with local residencies.”
If those three boxes can all be checked off successfully, the assemblyman said, the students “are nearly guaranteed to stay and practice medicine” in the Valley.
“That dream scenario is no longer just a good idea. It is now something that will actually happen,” Gray said. “When I requested that $1 million be included in the 2015 State Budget to study how to establish a UC medical school in the Valley, I could not have predicted we would be as far along as we are today. By leveraging the incredible resources already available at UCSF-Fresno and UC Merced, we found a path to a medical school in years instead of decades and for millions instead of billions.”
He also indicated that “the incredibly talented faculty working at UCSF-Fresno are already graduating hundreds of medical residents every year. Very soon, they and their UC Merced counterparts will begin training our first wave of medical students who will make the promise of health care for all a reality.”
Gray represents the 21st Assembly District which includes all of Merced County and portions of Stanislaus County.