UC Riverside officials have secured some $10 million a year for a decade to finance a medical school and hope to enroll its first 50 students in the fall of 2013, it was reported today.
The long-cherished dream of a UC Riverside medical school when the state refused to pay for it and national accreditors wouldn't allow it to open.
But UC Riverside is making what national experts told the Los Angeles Times is a rare second attempt to gain approval for a medical school, and officials have obtained alternative financing from private donors, local government and the UC system
"We have so much riding on the school being successful, we just can't accept that it can't be done," G. Richard Olds, a tropical-disease expert who is the founding dean of the UC Riverside medical school, told The Times. The goal, he said, is to ease the shortage of doctors in the Inland Empire.
The medical school would be UC's sixth and its first to open since the late 1960s. The school would be the only one in the system without its own hospital, vastly cutting down on costs, according to The Times. UC's medical centers and its health education programs constitute about half of the system's $22 billion annual budget.
For three decades, UC Riverside has operated a joint medical school program with UCLA. Its entering classes of about 25 students spend their first two years in Riverside and finish in Westwood.
A four-year program at UC Riverside would offer clinical training at community medical centers. The emphasis would be on basic fields, including family medicine, pediatrics, gynecology, general surgery and psychiatry, not on more exotic and expensive specialties, The Times reported.