October 3, 2012
Following preliminary accreditation approval on Tuesday, the University of California plans to move forward with the opening of a new medical school at the UC Riverside campus, potentially launching its charter class in August 2013.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the UC system has not opened a new four-year medical school since the late 1960s. This addition will bring the total to six in the system, allowing students to complete all four years of coursework at UC Riverside. Currently, the school's medical students transfer to UCLA to complete their M.D. degree after spending their first two years at UCR.
"This is a momentous decision for Inland Southern California and for UC Riverside," said UCR Chancellor Timothy White in UCR Today. "This medical school is critically needed to address our region's physician shortage and stimulate the local economy."
According to the The Daily Californian, this was the school's second attempt in the past four years to gain accreditation. Administrators encountered a hurdle in 2011, when the accrediting committee denied approval due to concerns about continued state funding. After obtaining non-state funding commitments, UC Riverside officials reapplied for accreditation in April 2012 and received approval this week.
The local community has rallied around the project, including Riverside County which donated $20 million to the effort, noted CBS Los Angeles.
"Our community has been superb in its support of this project…" White said in UCR Today. "We simply could not have reached this point without that support."
The state, however, still needs to provide significant financial assistance to help the school achieve full accreditation during the next six years, according to the Los Angeles Times. Approximately $15 million annually would need to come out of the state's general revenue fund to achieve the objective.
As part of a $58 million investment of state, federal, UC and other funds, UC Riverside is currently renovating a building to house practice clinics and classrooms, and a medical research lab was recently constructed on campus. However, the school will be the only one in the UC system without its own hospital. Area clinic and hospital partnerships will serve as substitutes, which will drastically reduce costs, noted the Los Angeles Times.
According to CBS Los Angeles, prospective UCR medical students can start submitting applications to the new four-year program once the school has been added to the American Medical College Application Service, which will be later this month.
Compiled by Maggie O'Neill
"Commission Approve Opening Of UC Riverside's Medical School," losangeles.cbslocal.com, October 2, 2012
"UC Riverside medical school clears hurdle," latimes.com, October 3, 2012, Larry Gordon
"UC Riverside receives go-ahead to enroll students in new medical school," dailycal.org, October 2, 2012, Amruta Trivedi
"UC Riverside School of Medicine Receives Go-Ahead to Move Forward," ucrtoday.ucr.edu, October 2, 2012, Kathy Barton