In January 2007, the UC system completed a multiyear health sciences planning effort that is the most comprehensive undertaken in decades. The plan calls for the development of new programs that will increase enrollment in unprecedented ways. The first phase of this growth is now under way at UC medical schools through a series of recently developed Programs in Medical Education (PRIME).
UC PRIME is an innovative training program focused on meeting the needs of California’s underserved populations in both rural communities and urban areas by combining specialized coursework, structured clinical experiences, advanced independent study and mentoring. These activities are organized and structured to prepare highly motivated, socially conscious students as future clinicians, leaders and policymakers. Each new program has an area of focus that is selected based upon faculty expertise, the populations served by each school and its medical center, and other local considerations. Each continues to develop and improve its guidelines for admission and recruitment of students and its new curriculum designed to educate and train future physician leaders, researchers and advocates for the communities they will serve.
Focusing on the growing needs of California’s Latino communities, UC Irvine launched the first UC PRIME program in 2004 and graduated its first class in 2009.
Three other UC schools (Davis, San Diego and San Francisco) admitted their first classes in fall 2007. These programs focus on rural health and telemedicine (Davis), health equity (San Diego), and the urban underserved (San Francisco and the UC Berkeley Joint Medical Program).
In 2008, UCLA launched its PRIME program, in coordination with its longstanding partners UC Riverside and the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. Building on these longstanding partnerships, the UCLA PRIME program trains physicians to proactively address the needs of diverse disadvantaged communities by delivering culturally competent clinical care, providing leadership for health delivery systems and conducting research on health disparities.
In 2011, a sixth PRIME program opened at UC Merced in partnership with UC Davis and UC San Francisco that focuses on the health needs of the San Joaquin Valley. (See: UC program aims to increase number of health care professionals in Central Valley.)
There are 330 PRIME students enrolled at UC medical schools. When full enrollment of the program is achieved, M.D. enrollments at UC medical schools will have increased by approximately 10 percent.