A landmark for California’s public university system has been achieved with the accreditation of UC Riverside’s new medical school.
After flunking the first time, UC Riverside is granted accreditation
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) has finally granted preliminary accreditation to University of California (UC) Riverside School of Medicine. The school will open its doors to incoming medical students in 2013 with the goal of enrolling 50 students in its premed program.
Said preliminary accreditation is notable because it is the first time in 30 years that a medical school was finally granted accreditation despite being disapproved once before.
In 2011, the LCME denied the application for accreditation because of its assessment that UC Riverside failed to provide proof of sufficient financial resources necessary to sustain its proposed premed program.
Other reasons cited for the disapproval included insufficient key personnel, inadequate strategic planning, and poor clinical education opportunities in areas like pediatrics and psychiatry.
UC Riverside declined to appeal the initial decision.
UC addresses problems and triumphs
In 2012, a new application was filed addressing the shortcomings in the previous application. UC Riverside officials led by Dean Richard G. Olds secured sufficient funding from the public and private sectors for its proposed medical school. Dean Richards even commented that the victory was sweeter because of the previous failure.
The opening of the UC Riverside School of Medicine is notable in two other ways. First, it is the sixth medical school in the UC system and the first one to open its doors since the 1960s.
Second, it is the only medical school in the system without its own teaching hospital. Instead, premed students will have their internships with affiliated hospitals and clinics in the area, thus, saving on the substantial costs required in the maintenance of its own hospital. The result: Better funding opportunities for its programs.
This is good news, of course, because the State of California in general and the Inland Empire in particular has been experiencing the so-called “brain drain” of doctors. The population of the Riverside County has increased by 42% in the 2000s but the growth in the number of trained physicians has fallen.
The primary reason was the trouble of attracting and retaining doctors in the area who prefer to work for higher salaries in the urban areas like Los Angeles and Orange County.
Premeds: What’s your next step?
Whenever you hear about a new medical school opening, you should find out if that school will be a good fit for you when you apply to medical school.
School selection is something that I regularly discuss with members of the MCAT Club, so I recommend that you join the club today so we can discuss whether UC Riverside is the right school for you.