2003 - UC Riverside (RXSQ)

UC Riverside unveils med school proposal

After years of consideration, UC Riverside (UCR) unveiled plans earlier this week for what could become the sixth UC medical school in California — and the first since 1967 (UC Irvine).

The proposal, which now goes before the UC Regents later this year for approval, is envisioned as a major step in closing the gap in both the lack of adequate medical educational facilities statewide as well as the shortage of physicians in one of the nation’s fastest-growing regions:

“UCR hopes to take a leadership role in addressing the critical need for more physicians in our state and especially in Inland Southern California,” UCR Chancellor France Cordova said in a statement.

… By 2022, UCR’s goal would be to have 384 medical students, 160 graduate Ph.D.s in medical sciences and a school comparable in size to other UC medical schools, Córdova said.

Riverside Press_Enterprise – May 16, 2006

Currently, UCR teams up with UCLA’s medical school in offering degrees via a cooperative agreement between the two campuses. The new UCR medical school is designed to build upon — and eventually wean from — that joint partnership, with the first class of graduates planned for 2016.

The road to approval will by no means be easy, and even faces competition from a similar proposal expected this year from fledgling UC Merced. And although the demand and need for a UC medical school within Inland Southern California is clearly apparent, UCR officials will need strong commitment — politically and financially — from the region’s communities to ensure the proposal’s approval and ultimate success.

Moreover, the establishment of a medical school would go a long way in strengthening the area’s fast-rising economy, not too mention would be a nice feather in the cap for a region often overlooked in such state matters. But let there be no mistake, a medical school at UCR would be as beneficial to California as a whole as it would for the Inland region. And thus, the UC Regents and politicians in Sacramento would be wise to approve the establishment of such in the state’s second most-populous metropolitan region.

(2024 Update: As of June 2024, the UCR School of Medicine (UCR SOM) continues growing as a fully-accredited medical school. Below are some highlights following its July 2008 founding by the UC Board of Regents through its first 10 classes of medical students (2013-2023):

  • March 2011: Medicine Research Building (I) opens as the first, newly-built and fully-dedicated building for UCR SOM
  • Spring 2012: Medical Education Building (I) opens (in the renovated former Stat/Comp building)
  • October 2012: After an initial funding/accreditation hiccup in 2011, UCR SOM receives preliminary LCME accreditation
  • June 2013: Initial state funding of $15 million annually approved by state legislature
  • August 2013: First full class of medical students arrive (to graduate in 2017)
  • June 2014: UCR SOM receives provisional LCME accreditation
  • Spring 2017: UCR SOM makes its first-ever appearance in the U.S. News & World Report rankings of graduate schools, appearing at No. 93
  • June 2017: UCR SOM granted full LCME accreditation as its first class of medical students from 2013 graduate
  • May 2020: State legislation increases annual funding to $25 million
  • September 2023: Newly-constructed Medicine Education Building (II) opens, allowing annual enrollment to eventually increase from 50 to 125 (with expectations that concurrent enrollment of classes will reach 500 within a few years.)
    (Source: UCR SOM)


Sources: UCR, Riverside Press-Enterprise (PE-20060516), Los Angeles Times (LAT-20060516)

2024 PAGE UPDATE: Added 2024 UCR SOM update; added additional newspaper citation/insert; added link to Related content for UCR School of Medicine; updated link to UC Board of Regents; removed outdated links to newspaper article and UCR SOM 2006 proposal.

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