After years of consideration, UC Riverside unveiled plans earlier this week for what could become the sixth UC medical school in California — and the first since 1967 (UC Irvine).
The proposal, which now goes before the UC Regents later this year for approval, is envisioned as a major step in closing the gap in both the lack of adequate medical educational facilities statewide as well as the shortage of physicians in one of the nation’s fastest-growing regions:
“UCR hopes to take a leadership role in addressing the critical need for more physicians in our state and especially in Inland Southern California,” UCR Chancellor France Cordova said in a statement.
Currently, UCR teams up with UCLA’s medical school in offering degrees via a cooperative agreement between the two campuses. The new UCR medical school is designed to build upon — and eventually wean from — that joint partnership, with the first class of graduates planned for 2016.
The road to approval will by no means be easy, and even faces competition from a similar proposal expected this year from fledgling UC Merced. And although the demand and need for a UC medical school within Inland Southern California is clearly apparent, UCR officials will need strong commitment — politically and financially — from the region’s communities to ensure the proposal’s approval and ultimate success.
Moreover, the establishment of a medical school would go a long way in strengthening the area’s fast-rising economy, not too mention would be a nice feather in the cap for a region often overlooked in such state matters. But let there be no mistake, a medical school at UCR would be as beneficial to California as a whole as it would for the Inland region. And thus, the UC Regents and politicians in Sacramento would be wise to approve the establishment of such in the state’s second most-populous metropolitan region.
- UCR Web site
- Riverside Press-Enterprise – Medical school plan in UC hands
- Los Angeles Times – UC Riverside Seeks OK for a Medical School
Sources: UCR, The Press-Enterprise