From left, Rep. Jim Costa, Loren Alving with UCSF Fresno, Assemblymember Adam Grey, Rep. TJ Cox and Fresno Mayor Lee Brand at an announcement Wednesday of a bill that would add a medical school to UCSF Fresno. Photo by Donald A. Promnitz

published on January 22, 2020 - 2:14 PM
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In an effort to alleviate the doctor shortage in the Valley, several local and regional lawmakers have stepped forward with a new bill to create a full-fledged medical school with public funding.

At UCSF Fresno, Reps. Jim Costa and TJ Cox (D-Fresno), along with California Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) and Fresno Mayor Lee Brand, announced the creation of H.R. 5654, or the “Expanding Medical Education Act of 2020” at a press conference on Wednesday. Rep. Josh Harder (D-Turlock), who was not at the conference, was also involved in introducing the bill in Congress.

The bill, according to Costa, would work to create medical schools in underserved areas like the Valley, with grants of upwards of $10 million in a fiscal year.

According to Costa, this would also mean UCSF Fresno would expand its capacity as a training institute to a complete medical school.

Currently, the San Joaquin Valley has a ratio of 31 physicians for every 100,000 residents. This is 22% lower than the state average of 50 to 100,000.

Costa also supported the funding for the UCSF building, where the conference was held.

“At that time, I had hoped it would be ground zero for a full-fledged medical school in our Valley,” Costa said. “And that’s what we’re talking about today.”

Funding from the bill, if passed, would also go towards pipeline programs to increase opportunities for minority students.

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