By Ken Carlson and Jamie Oppenheim
September 15, 2010, posted 9/16/10
UC Merced has entered a partnership with the University of California at Davis School of Medicine, which brings the university closer to establishing a medical school at the Merced campus.
In fall of 2011, the school will enroll six medical students in the partnership program.
For the first two years of the program, students will take classes in science and medicine at the University of California at Davis medical school campus. Their second two years will be spent getting clinical training in health care facilities in the San Joaquin Valley.
That means that by 2013, students should be working in area clinics.
Fred Meyers, executive associate dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine and executive director of medical education and academic planning for UC Merced, unveiled the plans Wednesday at the UC regents' meeting in San Francisco.
The program will draw on UC Davis' medical education and research programs, and one program in particular, the Rural Program in Medical Education, according to a news release from UC Merced.
Given today's economic climate, it is a cost-effective approach to starting a medical school that leverages resources and relies on the affluence of the UC system, Meyers said.
Students accepted into the program must qualify to be accepted into the UC Davis School of Medicine and express an interest in serving the San Joaquin Valley. The program wants students to have experience working with diverse populations in underserved communities.
"We are committed to students who want to improve community health in the area," Meyers said.
Applications to the program will be accepted until Oct. 1. The program already has 100 applicants, Meyers said.
Planning for the UC Merced medical school began before the school opened in 2005. It is viewed as important to expanding physician training in the Northern San Joaquin Valley, a region with a shortage of physicians and increasing demand for health care providers...
The partnership program drew some criticism at the UC regents' meeting.
UC Regent George Marcus warned UC Merced not to divert its attention too far away from its infrastructure.
But other UC regents lauded Meyers and UC Merced Chancellor Steve Kang for their efforts.
"I'm amazed you've come this far given the scarcity of resources," said UC Regent Eddie Island. "I urge you to redouble your efforts."