UC Riverside submitted a proposal today to University of California officials to establish a research-based School of Medicine. If approved, the school will be the first new public medical school west of the Mississippi in the 21st century, opening in fall 2012 with an entering class of 40 students.
Within the next three years UCR will start addressing the health needs of the medically underserved population in Inland Southern California when, as an intermediary step, the university's Center for Clinical Medical Education provides rotations for third- and fourth-year medical students as well as residencies with area hospitals and clinics.
The medical school the university has proposed will train a diverse workforce of physicians to address the needs of the underserved and rural populations of Inland Southern California, focusing on diseases and health issues particular to the region and its residents. Health care public policy will be a strong component.
"UCR hopes to take a leadership role in addressing the critical need for more physicians in our state and especially in Inland Southern California," Chancellor France A. CÃ³rdova said. "The campus is well positioned to build a medical school that will serve as a new model for health care delivery, based on a distributed clinical system, preventive medicine, and population health."
The UCR proposal notes that rather than construct its own hospital, the university will partner with regional hospitals and clinics.
The proposal calls for a two-phased approach to developing the medical school, spanning a total of 15 years from approval to maturity.
Phase I, from 2007-2012, focuses on initial efforts to establish the medical school. It involves obtaining approval from University of California officials for the school; hiring the founding dean and initial faculty and staff; planning a curriculum that affords students the opportunity to focus on improved health care in both primary and specialty care; refining a financial and business plan; obtaining financial support from non-state sources; renovating existing facilities and building new ones; strengthening the UCR/UCLA Thomas Haider Program in Biomedical Sciences and developing the Health Sciences Research Institute and the Center for Clinical Medical Education.
Phase II, from 2012-2022, focuses on expanding the school. It involves hiring more faculty and staff, gaining full accreditation for the school, admitting the first official class, and expanding enrollments to meet the needs of the region and state.
Operating costs for the five years of Phase I are projected to be $15 million; of this, the campus will request $7.5 million from the state to support eight clinical faculty and the school's dean and staff. The capital portion of Phase I is an additional $142 million for infrastructure improvements and new facilities.
To grow the school during the ten years of Phase II, UCR has identified an additional $350 million in facilities and infrastructure - such as space for medical education, research and a vivarium - to accommodate program needs. Annual operating costs will ramp up from $9 million to $124 million during the ten-year period. By the academic year 2021-2022, the estimated operating budget for the medical school is projected to be $124 million per year, with the state contributing $32.3 million annually - an amount comparable to the state support for other University of California medical schools.
Besides relying on the state, the university will use school fees and clinical revenues; and solicit funding from non-state sources, including individuals, foundations, corporations, and federal agencies, to meet costs for building the medical school.
The School of Medicine will be located in the West Campus of UCR. By 2022, the school is expected to have a total of 157 faculty members and a total enrollment of 384 medical students, 160 graduate Ph.D. students and 600 residents.
The UCR proposal for the medical school may be refined based on recommendations from the University of California Office of the President and the Riverside Division of the Academic Senate.
A decision by the UC Regents on the medical school is expected to be made by the end of the calendar year. If approved, the UCR School of Medicine will be the first research-based school in California in nearly half a century.