TAG: "Medical education"

New law helps grads of accelerated medical programs become licensed doctors


A new law sponsored by the University of California will allow graduates of accelerated and fully accredited medical education programs to become licensed physicians in California by as early as January 2015.

AB 1838, co-sponsored by UC and the Medical Board of California and introduced by Assembly Member Susan Bonilla, will allow more physicians to practice in California and help doctors incur less student debt. Governor Brown signed the bill into law last week.

The law previously required California physicians to complete a medical curriculum over at least four academic years with a minimum of 4,000 hours of coursework. Those provisions created a barrier for well-qualified graduates of accelerated programs who were interested in practicing in the state.

There is already a shortage of medical doctors in California and it is estimated that the state will need an additional 8,000 primary care physicians by 2030. Debt is another problem facing students pursuing medical degrees; the median debt for graduate students is $175,000. AB 1838 addressed both problems by allowing students to finish their training sooner. It also allows California medical facilities to recruit physicians who have attended accelerated programs in other states.

The UC Davis School of Medicine is the first UC campus to offer an accelerated program. The Accelerated Competency-based Education in Primary Care (ACE-PC) program provides approximately three years of medical school training after which students move directly into a primary care residency program operated by UC Davis or Kaiser Permanente of Northern California.

“We want to thank Assembly member Susan A. Bonilla and the Medical Board of California for their leadership on this important and timely legislation,” said Dr. Cathryn Nation, UC associate vice president for health sciences. “UC is proud that its School of Medicine at Davis, in partnership with Kaiser Permanente, developed the first accelerated medical education program in California, enrolling its first class of six students in June 2014. Now future graduates from this primary-care focused program and other accelerated programs will have a clear path to medical practice in California.”

The accelerated programs enable students to complete a more concentrated, modified year-round education schedule that often eliminates summer breaks and involves reduced time for electives.

The University of California operates six of California’s nine MD-granting medical schools and provides specialty training for nearly half of the state’s medical residents.

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A speedier pathway to becoming primary care physicians


First group of six UC Davis students starts accelerated competency-based education program.

(From left) Mark Henderson (associate dean of admissions), Kristina Rodriguez, Alyssa Dixon-Word, Nolan Giehl, Tonya Fancher (principal investigator), Jennifer Nguyen, Ngabo Nzigira and Ian Kim

Medical school started early and quickly for six brand new first-year students.  The UC Davis School of Medicine, in partnership with Kaiser Permanente Northern California, recently welcomed its first group of students into the Accelerated Competency-based Education in Primary Care (ACE-PC) program.

ACE-PC is UC Davis’ rigorous three-year pathway for medical students who are committed to becoming primary care physicians. Rather than the classic seven-year plan to a primary care practice (four years of medical school followed by three years of residency training), ACE-PC students continue their training and education during summers and can enter primary care practice a year earlier than traditional students.

Stethoscopes and white coats in hand, the students hit the ground running last week after an orientation with UC Davis’ Associate Dean of Admissions Mark Henderson and Roderick Vitangcol, Kaiser’s assistant physician-in-chief for North Sacramento Hospital Operations.

Following the welcome and introductions, the students had their first written exam. Within days, they began visiting Kaiser facilities and getting immersed in a curriculum and learning environment designed to seamlessly integrate medical education and clinical practice.

“ACE-PC is definitely an intensive approach to medical education and physician training,” said program director Tonya Fancher, a UC Davis associate professor of internal medicine and principal investigator for the American Medical Association grant that helped launch the new program. “But the need for more primary care physicians is so crucial that being able to provide a speedier pathway for highly motivated students makes a lot of sense.”

ACE-PC incorporates a curriculum that includes population management, chronic disease management, quality improvement, patient safety, team-based care and preventive health skills, all with a special emphasis on diverse and underserved populations. The inaugural cohort of students comes from variety of backgrounds. One was a medical assistant, while another worked as a grassroots activist and health policy advocate.  The group also includes a community health educator with the Peace Corps, and a student who worked with medically underserved Asian and Pacific Islander communities.

To be considered for admissions into the ACE-PC program, students must first be accepted into the School of Medicine’s four-year M.D. program. Following their accelerated three years of medical school, students will transition to medical residencies at UC Davis or Kaiser Permanente Northern California.

“With health care reform and more people having coverage, the need for additional physicians is greater than ever before,” added Fancher.  “Medical schools simply have to produce more generalists, and our ACE-PC program is a great way to increase that vital part of the health care workforce.”

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Bill proposes new pathway for more physicians

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UC Irvine names interim medical school dean


Eye surgeon Roger Steinert will begin his term July 1.

Roger Steinert, UC Irvine

Renowned eye surgeon Dr. Roger Steinert has been named interim dean of the UC Irvine School of Medicine. The current Irving H. Leopold Chair in Ophthalmology and founding director of the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, he will oversee the academic and research missions of the medical school.

Steinert came to UC Irvine in 2004 as professor of clinical ophthalmology and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. He’s a pioneer in laser surgery, most notably in LASIK and excimer laser refractive surgery and in corneal transplantation, developing techniques that have improved the vision of millions.

Steinert has repeatedly been recognized for advancing eye care, including being named one of America’s top ophthalmologists by Becker’s ASC Review and receiving the 2008 Barraquer Award, refractive surgery’s highest honor. The UCI Academic Senate honored him with the Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching in 2008-09.

Steinert also serves as chief of ophthalmology at UC Irvine Medical Center, where he’s the current president of the medical staff and has been a member of the Governing Body Advisory Council since 2009. He helped lead the effort to establish UCI’s Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, Orange County’s only academic vision care institute, and oversaw the opening of the state-of-the-art, 70,000-square-foot research and clinical facility on campus last September.

Steinert follows Dr. Ralph V. Clayman, the medical school’s dean for the past five years. One of the nation’s premiere urologists and founding chair of the Department of Urology, Clayman will return to the faculty and his clinical practice at UCI. During his tenure as dean, he welcomed 12 new department chairs and a new cancer center director; student applications increased by 25 percent; and he oversaw the creation of the iMedEd Initiative, the first medical education program in the country to incorporate tablet computing, Google Glass and portable ultrasound into academic and clinical training.

Steinert will begin his term as interim dean July 1.

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UC Riverside senior accepted at nine medical schools


Former foster child is headed to UCLA with all-expenses-paid fellowship.

Festus Ohan, a graduating UC Riverside senior who grew up in foster care, has been accepted at nine medical schools. He will attend UCLA on a fellowship that will cover all of his expenses.

The acceptance letters kept coming. UC Riverside School of Medicine. UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. UC Davis. UC San Francisco. Cornell. Columbia. USC. Northwestern. University of Pittsburgh.

Festus Ohan was elated. Nine letters in all.

Not bad for a young man who spent his teen years in foster care with providers who labeled his dream of becoming a physician “unrealistic.” Not bad by any measure, said Dr. Neal Schiller, senior associate dean of student affairs at the UCR School of Medicine.

“It is quite impressive to have received nine acceptances. Only exceptional students would receive this many offers,” he said. “Festus Ohan is a unique, gifted student who has overcome incredible obstacles to achieve his dream. We are very proud of him.”

Ohan, 22, will enroll at UCLA in August, the recipient of a David Geffen Medical Scholarship that will provide full financial support including a living stipend, tuition, room and board, books and supplies. It was the only medical school to offer that level of financial support, a factor that influenced his decision to enroll there.

“I’m looking forward to medical school and learning how to heal patients,” said the 22-year-old who will graduate from UC Riverside in June with a degree in neuroscience. “I will miss UCR. People here were excited about my dreams and believed I could do it. I had mentors who supported me and inspired me to believe in myself. ”

Only 2 percent of children who age out of foster care graduate from a four-year college, said Tuppett Yates, a UCR associate professor of psychology and director of the Guardian Scholars Program, which provides support for students who have aged out of foster care. Only a small percentage of those who earn a bachelor’s degree make it to graduate school in any discipline.

“Festus has everything it takes to be an outstanding physician,” Yates said. “He is smart, hardworking and an expansive thinker, but most importantly he is also kind, generous and unassuming. He embodies the highest standards of both scholarship and citizenship in our community.”

Ohan was removed from the care of his mother at age 5 and was 13 when his father abandoned him and one of his two sisters, resulting in their placement in foster care. The second sister lived in Nigeria with their father’s family for several years before returning to the United States, and foster care.

Like most children raised in the foster-care system, Ohan lived in multiple homes, attended multiple high schools, and felt unwanted and inadequate. But he was determined to attend college and earned the grades necessary for admission to the University of California.

At UCR, Ohan was introduced to the Guardian Scholars Program. Friendships developed with other students and mentors. After a difficult first year, he found success as a scholar, switched to a neuroscience major, and earned a 4.0 grade point average in several quarters.

“I knew college was going to be really hard and I was hesitant about pursuing my aspirations,” Ohan recalled. “I came in as a political science major because I was too afraid of majoring in the sciences. Guardian Scholars felt like a family. There was comfort in knowing that if something came up or I fell down, there were people who would help me.”

Ohan enrolled in UCR’s FastStart program, a five-week summer program for incoming freshmen — primarily disadvantaged students — who aspire to medical and other science-based careers. The goal is to get them off to a strong start in critical science curriculum and to provide the academic and social support needed to be successful.

“Before FastStart I hadn’t realized I could do this,” he said of his desire for a career in medicine. “Even though I said I wanted to be a doctor, I didn’t think I could. People here believed that I could.”

He attended the Harvard Summer PreMedical Institute, volunteered at Loma Linda University Medical Center and helped found the UCR Unnatural Causes student organization, which raises awareness about disparities in health care. He served as the group’s president this year.

One of his role models for the kind of physician he wants to be is the surgeon who treated his sister for scoliosis while the two teens were in foster care.

“He was so compassionate and I saw how he improved the quality of her life,” he recalled. “I want to do the same. I will treat everyone with respect and dignity, despite their economic standing.”

Despite the hardships of his childhood, he said he knows that others in foster care experienced worse and lost their way.

“A lot of my foster brothers and sisters had goals of going to college and finding their dream job, but somewhere along the way they gave up,” he said. “I am grateful that I met people who were able to turn their own lives around and inspired me.”

His advice to others in similar circumstances? “Have confidence in your abilities. Try to meet several mentors along the way who are positive influences. Don’t give up.”

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Pre-med student makes an impact


Axana Rodriguez-Torres of UC Davis honored for her student leadership.

Axana Rodriguez-Torres, who volunteers through the UC Davis Health System, plans to pursue degrees in public health and medicine.

Axana Rodriguez-Torres felt frustration and pain when her medical studies in Colombia were not recognized in the United States, where she and her family had been granted political asylum.

But now, as the UC Davis senior is recognized with the University of California President’s Outstanding Student Leadership Award, she shares a new understanding:

“As I’m pursuing my dreams, I’m helping others to pursue theirs,” said the 31-year-old. “This is why I needed to be here and discover another purpose in my life.”

UC President Janet Napolitano presented awards to Rodriguez-Torres of Elk Grove and a UCLA student wellness campaign at a meeting of the UC Board of Regents in Sacramento May 14.

Her impact across UC

“The work of these bright students has a tremendous impact not only on their home campuses but across the UC system and out in their communities,” said Napolitano. “I’m pleased to have a chance to recognize their efforts and dedication to tackling tough issues that affect us all.”

Rodriguez-Torres, a double major in neurobiology, physiology and behavior as well as psychology, is being recognized for helping coordinate the annual UC Davis Pre-Medical and Pre-Health Professions National Conference, the largest such conference in the nation.

More than 7,500 attend the conference, and more than 80 percent of participants are high school, community college and UC students who are underrepresented in the field of medicine.

For the October 2013 conference, Rodriguez-Torres was responsible for the medical programming that brought to the conference about 50 of 700 speakers, including leaders of national organizations.

Helping with students’ struggles

Earlier, she met one of her own mentors through the conference and is committed to providing such opportunities for other students. “I’ve seen the struggles students go through. I can see I can do something about it,” said Rodriguez-Torres, who continues to serve on the conference’s organizing board as director of medical programming.

In nominating Rodriguez-Torres for the award, Adela de la Torre, vice chancellor of student affairs at UC Davis, wrote that her saga exemplifies a “tenacity of spirit that propels her social justice action.”

Rodriguez-Torres completed three years of medical school in Colombia before obtaining political asylum in the United States, where she cleaned houses, served fast food, and provided child care to help support her family and save for her education. As her English proficiency grew, she worked as an immigration consultant and a tax preparer for people with limited English.

Three associate degrees

Because her medical school credits from Colombia were not transferable, she studied at American River College — where she earned three associate degrees — before transferring to UC Davis.

Drawn to the university by the opportunity to work at the student-run Clinica Tepati in Sacramento, she has helped provide free care for the underserved, mostly Latino patients.

As a winner of a $10,000 Donald A. Strauss Public Service Scholarship, she established a prevention-focused diabetes education class that extended the clinic’s work. Her project provides monthly classes in nutrition and diabetes prevention as well as Zumba fitness classes at All Hallows Parish in Sacramento.

After graduating in June, Rodriguez-Torres plans to pursue a master’s degree in public health at UC Davis and then a medical degree on her way to becoming an internist focusing on diabetes prevention.

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UC Irvine to integrate Google Glass in med school curriculum


Wearable computing technology will transform training of future doctors.

Dr. Warren Wiechmann, assistant clinical professor of emergency medicine and associate dean of instructional technologies, will oversee implementation of the Google Glass four-year program at UC Irvine.

As physicians and surgeons explore how to use Google Glass, the UC Irvine School of Medicine is taking steps to become the first in the nation to integrate the wearable computer into its four-year curriculum – from first- and second-year anatomy courses and clinical skills training to third- and fourth-year hospital rotations.

Leaders of the medical school have confidence that faculty and students will benefit from Glass’s unique ability to display information in a smartphone-like, hands-free format; being able to communicate with the Internet via voice commands; and being able to securely broadcast and record patient care and student training activities using proprietary software compliant with the 1996 federal Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act.

“I believe digital technology will let us bring a more impactful and relevant clinical learning experience to our students,” said Dr. Ralph V. Clayman, dean of medicine. “Our use of Google Glass is in keeping with our pioneering efforts to enhance student education with digital technologies – such as our iPad-based iMedEd Initiative, point-of-care ultrasound training and medical simulation. Enabling our students to become adept at a variety of digital technologies fits perfectly into the ongoing evolution of health care into a more personalized, participatory, home-based and digitally driven endeavor.”

While other medical schools have been experimenting with Glass in medical practice and education, UC Irvine’s comprehensive employment of the device will elevate the student experience unlike anything ever before, added Dr. Warren Wiechmann, assistant clinical professor of emergency medicine and associate dean of instructional technologies, who will oversee implementation of the Google Glass four-year program.

The effort will start this month – as the academic year begins for third- and fourth-year students – with 10 pairs of Glass. Preliminary plans are to utilize them in the operating room and emergency department. Integrating the devices into medical education complements the ongoing clinical use of Glass at UC Irvine Medical Center, where the technology has already been piloted in operating rooms, intensive care units and the emergency department in order to assess its impact on physician efficiency and patient safety.

An additional 20 to 30 pairs of Google Glass will be acquired and deployed in August, when first- and second-year students begin course work. They will be incorporated into anatomy labs, the medical simulation center, the ultrasound institute, the Clinical Skills Center and even the basic science lecture hall. Here, Glass will be used to transmit real-time patient-physician encounters in specific disease areas to augment the basic science lecture; the transmission will occur over the 16 miles between the medical center’s Orange campus and a lecture hall in Irvine.

“Medical education has always been very visual and very demonstrative, and Glass has enormous potential to positively impact the way we can educate physicians in real time,” Wiechmann said. “Indeed, all of medicine is based on ‘seeing,’ not ‘reading,’ the patient.”

When faculty wear Google Glass for instruction, he added, it gives students an unprecedented first-person perspective. Conversely, when students are wearing Glass, they can take advantage of pertinent information delivered directly into their line of sight by faculty members, who can see exactly what a student sees and thus better guide a dissection or simulation exercise.

“The most promising part is having patients wear Glass so that our students can view themselves through the patients’ eyes, experience patient care from the patients’ perspective, and learn from that information to become more empathic and engaging physicians,” Wiechmann said.

Google Glass joins other technologies at the core of the iMedEd Initiative in the School of Medicine. Launched in August 2010, the initiative involves an iPad-based education platform – every medical student is equipped with an iPad filled with electronic medical texts, podcasts, reference materials and notes for all course work and clinical experiences – along with training on point-of-care ultrasound devices and state-of-the-art medical simulation. UC Irvine’s medical school was the first to employ tablet computing in the curriculum and the second to include point-of-care ultrasound training.

Clayman said that the iMedEd Initiative appears to have enhanced student learning. He pointed to scores on Step 1 of the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination – taken at the end of the second year of medical school – as an example. The first two classes participating in the iMedEd Initiative scored an average of 23 percent higher than previous classes, despite having similar incoming GPAs and scores on the Medical College Admission Test.

The iMedEd Initiative is fully supported by philanthropic contributions.

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UC students receive president’s leadership awards


Coordinator of pre-med conference among those honored.

Axana Rodriguez-Torres, UC Davis

A UC Davis undergraduate student and a UCLA student program were recognized today (May 14) with the University of California President’s Award for Outstanding Student Leadership at the Board of Regents meeting in Sacramento.

Honored were Axana Rodriguez-Torres, a Davis student and Colombian immigrant majoring in psychology, and neurobiology, physiology and behavior; and the Student Wellness Commission’s “7,000 in Solidarity” campaign, led by UCLA student Savannah Badalich, who serves as UCLA’s undergraduate student wellness commissioner.

“The work of these bright students has a tremendous impact not only on their home campuses but across the UC system and out in their communities,” said President Janet Napolitano. “I’m pleased to have a chance to recognize their efforts and dedication to tackling tough issues that affect us all.”

Rodriguez-Torres is being recognized for coordinating the UC Davis Pre-Medical and Pre-Health Professional National Conference, the largest such conference in the nation. Her outreach efforts resulted in an annual conference attendance of 7,500 people, and more than 80 percent of participants were high school, community college and UC students who are underrepresented in the field of medicine.

Rodriguez-Torres also developed a prevention-focused Spanish-language diabetes education program now being offered at free clinics, churches and community centers across Sacramento, and secured a $10,000 foundation grant to make the program available online.

Rodriguez-Torres completed three years of medical school in Colombia before obtaining political asylum in the United States, where she cleaned houses, served fast food and provided childcare while she learned English. As her English proficiency grew, she worked as an immigration consultant and a tax preparer for those with limited English. Because her medical school credits from Colombia were not transferable, she enrolled at American River Community College before transferring to UC Davis. Her next goal is an M.D.-Ph.D. program.

Savannah Badalich, UCLA

The “7,000 in Solidarity Campaign,” a UCLA student effort launched last year by undergraduate Savannah Badalich, is being recognized for creating a campus culture where sexual assault is not tolerated. The campaign educates students and administrators about consensual sex, effective bystander intervention, institutional accountability and access to support for survivors of sexual assault.

The group has partnered with other students and organizations, and used art exhibits, training sessions and signed pledge cards to gather support from students and the community. In a testament to the power of their efforts, other colleges and universities across the country have adopted the campaign.

The University of California President’s Award for Outstanding Student Leadership was established in 2010 and recognizes undergraduate, graduate and professional students, as well as campus-based student organizations, for outstanding efforts in promoting and supporting multicampus initiatives. The award honors collaborative efforts that further the University of California’s mission of teaching, research and public service.

Nominations for this year’s awards were solicited from the chancellors at all 10 UC campuses and from the UC Student Association. A selection committee of staff from the UC Office of the President reviewed and scored each of the nominations, and President Napolitano selected the winners. Individual award recipients receive a $2,000 grant while the reward for an organization is $2,500.

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Medical students celebrate their matches


Graduating students learn where their careers as doctors will start.

UC Davis medical student Alexis Gaskin matched to Howard University.

Jumps for joy. Hugs for happiness.

March 21 was a day to celebrate for more than 650 University of California medical students: Match Day 2014, when future doctors found out which hospital accepted them for residency to get advanced training in their chosen specialty.

“This day is like all my dreams come true,” said Alexis Gaskin, a fourth-year UC Davis medical student from Vacaville, who matched in orthopedics at Howard University in Washington, D.C.  “Being able to visualize it [the match letter], to see it in my hand is really a dream come true.”

UC Irvine medical student Givenchy Manzano is embraced by his mother, Mary Jane Manzano, as his brother Wilfred looks on.

At UC Davis, 96 graduating medical students matched. At UC Irvine, 100 students matched. At UCLA, 183 students matched. UC San Diego had 116 students match. UC San Francisco had 157 students match.

This year, more than 16,000 U.S. allopathic medical school seniors matched to first-year residency positions – a match rate of 94.4 percent. A computer algorithm from the National Resident Matching Program matches the preferences of applicants with the preferences of residency programs at teaching hospitals throughout the country. The students from allopathic schools such as UC apply for the available residency positions along with thousands of independent applicants, including osteopathic students and graduates of foreign medical schools. Overall, more than 40,000 individuals applied for nearly 30,000 residency slots across the country.

UCLA's Sarah Neyssani will do her residency at Harbor-UCLA Med Center.

While UC students matched with residency programs across the country, around two-thirds will stay in California for their training, including at UC medical centers, helping to address local needs for physicians. More than 69 percent of the physicians who do residency training in California remain in the state to practice – the nation’s highest retention rate.

“I could not be happier with where I matched, and am so excited to go on this adventure with these amazing people,” said UC San Francisco graduating medical student Gabe Sudario, who will continue at UC San Francisco for his residency.

UC San Diego medical students pinpoint their matches

“We are all nervous about Match Day,” said Inga Wilder, a senior at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “It’s the uncertainty. You can’t plan anything. But I am graduating. I am going to be a doctor in a couple months. I can’t complain.”

Wilder, 30, has reason to be proud. She grew up in Compton, and she and her brother, who joined her at Match Day, were the first in their family to graduate from college. Wilder, a high school valedictorian, went to UC Berkeley and originally planned to get a Ph.D. in microbiology before experience in a lab convinced her she was “more of a people person.”

To break up the tension of the day, many of UCSF's medical students dressed up in costumes, including Gabe Sudario (center in green) who landed a residency at UCSF.

Standing beside her brother, she opened her envelope and smiled: “I got my first choice,” she beamed, a residency in full-spectrum family medicine at the Ventura County Medical Center, helping underserved communities.

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Bill proposes new pathway for more physicians


UC co-sponsors bill introduced by Bonilla.

Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla’s office issued the following press release today (March 11):

Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla, in partnership with the University of California and the Medical Board of California, has introduced legislation to allow graduates of accelerated and fully accredited medical education programs to become licensed physicians in California. By creating this pathway, students will have the opportunity to incur less student debt while becoming dedicated, well-trained physicians.

“We have a growing shortage of trained medical residents and physicians to meet the demands of our communities,” said Assemblywoman Bonilla. “In addition, the accumulation of student debt is overwhelming to many students seeking to become physicians. By creating this new pathway, we can begin to reduce the growing shortage and provide the opportunity for students to graduate with less student debt.”

Medical schools in New York and Texas have developed accelerated programs that produce graduates in three years by focusing more on the medical students’ skills and academic achievement, rather than on the time spent in medical school itself. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, there is no evidence that four years of medical school enhances clinical skills or the quality of patient care. In addition, for many students, the fourth year of medical school is focused almost entirely on electives and applying for residency. Furthermore, the Washington Post cites that students that have graduated from shortened medical programs perform just as highly on board examinations and placements in residency programs.

“The Medical Board of California is pleased to co-sponsor AB 1838 with the University of California Office of the President. The Medical Board’s mission includes the promotion of access to quality medical care through the Medical Board’s licensing and regulatory functions,” said Medical Board of California’s executive director, Kimberly Kirchmeyer. “We believe that this legislation will meet the needs of the applicants who are enrolling in these programs and will still fulfill the Medical Board’s mission of consumer protection and access to care.”

The University of California operates six of California’s nine M.D.-granting medical schools and provides specialty training for nearly half of the state’s medical residents. “As a major provider of medical education in the state, the University of California believes this change in law is straightforward and will benefit the state by reducing unnecessary and out-dated barriers to practice in the state,” said Dr. Cathryn Nation, UC associate vice president for health sciences. “AB 1838 will benefit not only the future graduates of UC Davis’ new, accelerated M.D. degree program (which plans to enroll its first class of four students in summer 2014), but, also all graduates of any accelerated program offered by an LCME-accredited medical school.”

Assemblywoman Bonilla’s legislation, AB 1838, will allow graduates of accelerated medical education programs accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education or the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools to have a path to licensure in California. The bill is co-sponsored by the Medical Board of California and the University of California.

Media contact:
Ryan Morimune
Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla
(916) 319-2014

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A night at the UCSF Homeless Clinic


First-year medical student describes volunteer experience.

At the UCSF Homeless Clinic, students work with preceptors to provide medical care for some of the men and women who need it most in San Francisco.

By Jeffrey Chen

The first time I go to the St. Vincent de Paul Society of San Francisco, I leave my white coat at home.

The Society provides shelter for over 400 transient men and women each night. It’s also the location of the UCSF Homeless Clinic, which is where I’m headed tonight, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt. Many of the men and women who come to the clinic have had negative experiences with healthcare providers in the past. A white coat may be the last thing they want to see.

People come to this shelter in the South of Market neighborhood to find reprieve from the vicious cycles of homelessness, violence and substance abuse that they encounter on the streets. Here, they are able to get help, whether it’s to find permanent housing, employment, education, or simply a warm bed to stay for the night and food to sustain them through the day.

And since 1992, on every Tuesday and Thursday night, these men and women have been able to get free medical care right at the shelter.

Jeffrey Chen, a first-year medical student at UC San Francisco

Since its founding 22 years ago, the UCSF Homeless Clinic has drawn medical students and local community physicians to volunteer their time caring for the patients most in need in San Francisco. Since then, the clinic has expanded to include nursing, pharmacy, premedical and even law students.

The clinic draws student volunteers from UCSF schools of medicine, nursing and pharmacy, as well as premedical students from the University of San Francisco and law students from the UC Hastings College of the Law.

Each group has their role: pharmacy students, for example, will help patients go over their medication lists and help them figure out how to stick to their regimens, while premedical students will help coordinate referrals to San Francisco General Hospital, the Tom Waddell Clinic or other local health centers that focus on care for indigent populations.

Because some patients have needs that are hard for the biweekly general clinic to address, students now also hold a dermatology clinic one Tuesday a month and a women’s clinic 1-2 Sundays a month.

As we walk in the doors of the shelter, our stethoscopes set off the metal detectors, loudly declaring our arrival. Before we cross the room to set up shop, a few residents approach us, asking if they can be seen. One man needs help with his diarrhea, which has been keeping him up at night; another with his swollen, painful toe.

Matt Bald, a second-year student and veteran volunteer assures them that we’ll be back to check on them as soon as we’re set up. I will be shadowing Matt throughout this night.

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NEH awards $100K for health humanities program


UC Riverside medical school, humanities faculty collaborate to improve doctor-patient communication.

"Untitled" by Kaza Faust, UC Riverside Ph.D. student in archaeology

Every patient has a story to tell about their illness, their fears and why a prescription for treatment may be difficult to follow. How doctors and patients understand and communicate those stories can be life-altering in making accurate diagnoses, adhering to treatment or accepting an unwelcome prognosis.

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded UC Riverside $100,000 to develop a health humanities program focused on the role of stories in medicine and healing. The two-year, interdisciplinary grant will fund a collaboration of humanities scholars and School of Medicine faculty in an effort to identify how narrative can best be integrated into training medical students.

“Narrative medicine plays a role in creating empathy in doctor-patient encounters,” said Juliet McMullin, associate professor of anthropology and principal investigator of the research project. “If we’re trying to create physicians who are knowledgeable about the community, they need to have conversations with patients that get to the core of their needs.”

The grant is part of the NEH’s Humanities Initiatives at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). HSIs are nonprofit, degree-granting institutions where at least 25 percent of full-time undergraduate students are Hispanic. The U.S. Department of Education named UCR an HSI in 2008, the first in the UC system to receive the honor.

“Latinos are a steadily evolving population in the U.S., and it is therefore crucial to foster a sense of cultural fluency among medical professionals and researchers,” said Tiffany Ana López, holder of the Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair, professor of theater and a co-principal investigator on the project. “The humanities play a crucial role in developing creative and agile approaches to communication that extends to health care, program development and problem solving generally.”

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UC Riverside’s family medicine residency program receives accreditation


Program in Palm Springs will receive its first eight residents in July 2015.

Gemma Kim

The UC Riverside School of Medicine residency training program in family medicine, in partnership with Desert Regional Medical Center, has received accreditation and will accept its first residents for the three-year training program in July 2015.

The program – designed and located in Palm Springs to help address the shortage of primary care physicians in the Coachella Valley – was granted accreditation in late January by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the national body responsible for post-M.D. training programs in the U.S.

Family medicine is a primary care medical specialty in which physicians provide comprehensive medical care to patients of all ages and, increasingly, coordinate patients’ care by subspecialists. It is estimated that the area of the Coachella Valley served by Desert Regional Medical Center has a 50 percent shortage of family medicine physicians.

“Family medicine will remain pivotal in addressing the health care needs of both our region and our nation,” said Dr. Gemma Kim, program director of the medical school’s family medicine residency training program in Palm Springs. “We hope to expand access and strengthen primary care in the Coachella Valley while providing personalized care of the highest quality that is patient-, family- and community-centered.”

Residents will train primarily at Desert Regional Medical Center and the UCR Health Family Medicine Center adjacent to the medical center. The three-year program will enroll eight residents each year, meaning there will be a total of 24 residents when the family medicine program is fully developed. Eight family physicians will graduate from the residency program each year starting in 2018.

“The approval of the UCR residency program at Desert Regional Medical Center is such an exciting event for our hospital, as we continue to grow as an academic medical center,” said Carolyn Caldwell, president and chief executive officer of Desert Regional Medical Center. “The physician faculty of UCR Health have already provided a wonderful resource to patients through the primary care offices they have opened on our campus. They are already making a difference in helping to solve the primary care physician shortage in our valley.”

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