Medical School Planned at CHSU For Central Valley

 

NEWS From California Health Sciences University

November 23, 2016

Medical School Planned For Central Valley

CLOVIS, Calif. – A private university in Clovis today announced its intention to open a medical school — the first of its kind in the San Joaquin Valley — as soon as fall 2019.

California Health Sciences University (CHSU) plans to offer a College of Osteopathic Medicine, in addition to the university’s existing College of Pharmacy.

“Ever since we founded CHSU in 2012, we’ve been actively planning to open a medical school,” said Florence Dunn, CHSU president. “With the rapid growth in our population and increasing disparity in health care access – and coupled with the success of our pharmacy program – we’ve decided to make the medical school an immediate priority.  The Central Valley suffers from some of the most severe physician shortages in California and we are dedicated to improving the health and lives of the people of our community.”

The university has been granted applicant status from the American Osteopathic Association Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA), the only accrediting agency for predoctoral osteopathic medical education recognized by the United States Department of Education.

Currently, there are 48 colleges of Osteopathic Medicine in the United States, with two located in California.

“An osteopathic medical school is the most efficient way to address the critical health care shortages of the Central Valley. It is the most rapidly growing field of medical practice and is responding to the health care challenges of the new millennium,” stated Dunn.

Osteopathic physicians disproportionately work in underserved areas and tend to enter primary care practices, such as Family and Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Obstetrics, where the greatest physician shortages exist.  Today, about 12 percent of doctors are osteopathic physicians and nearly 1 in 3 medical students are attending an osteopathic medical school.

Administrative offices for the medical school will temporarily be located at 65 N. Clovis Avenue, in their new 9,000 s.f. building currently under construction on the University’s temporary campus.

CHSU’s permanent campus site is located on four parcels of land totaling 60 acres near Temperance Avenue and Highway 168, just north of Clovis Community Medical Center, providing plenty of space for decades of expansion.

chsu-master-plan

The design and architecture for up to 10 colleges in CHSU’s master campus plan, starting with the Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine and Pharmacy, have been in the works for the past 3 years.

The campus will include student housing, labs, classrooms, a student center, a library, and an auditorium, along with support buildings.

chsu-master-plan-1

University officials are formalizing plans now to assemble the osteopathic medical school’s leadership team, including a board of trustees and a founding dean.

CHSU has received overwhelming community support from local leaders in education, hospital administration, the medical profession, public officials and the business community during the medical school exploratory process, said Dunn.

Prominent business and civic leader, Fred Ruiz said the people in the Valley deserve access to higher education, jobs, and quality health care, “Having a medical school here in the Valley is the absolute best opportunity for students in small towns and rural areas to become physicians and serve our people. This is a game changer for Hispanic/Latino students and the entire Valley!” Ruiz is chairman emeritus and co-founder of Dinuba-based Ruiz Foods and previously served on the University of California Board of Regents.

“Adventist Health recognizes the need for more physicians as we seek to care for the medical needs of the many people living in the valley. We are supportive of CHSU’s plans to expand access to physicians who have a desire to serve in rural communities through the establishment of a medical school. We look forward to opportunities to work with CHSU toward our common goal of providing excellent health care to those we serve,” stated Wayne Ferch, President/CEO, Corporate Senior Vice President, Central Valley Region, Adventist Health.

“The City of Clovis works hard to maintain a community where its residents can thrive and have an exceptional quality of life. Post-graduate education is a critical part of this effort and California Health Sciences University’s planned medical school will be an incredible asset for the community to build on,“ said Nathan Magsig, Mayor of Clovis and Supervisor-Elect for County of Fresno Board of Supervisors. “The school will provide critical high-value jobs and medical services for our region reinforcing Clovis as a great place for families to live and work.”

Tim Joslin, CEO at Community Medical Centers, said the new medical school will be distinguished by its local recruitment mission: “The existing UCSF-Fresno residency program supplies many excellent physicians to the Valley. But still, our region is medically underserved, especially in primary care. CHSU will play a special, much-needed role by specifically recruiting local students and giving them a close-to-home avenue to enter the medical profession.”

We expect our osteopathic medical school to complement the existing medical fellowship and residency programs provided by UCSF-Fresno and Community Medical Centers by attracting a higher number of local students into the field of medicine, said Dunn. 

California Health Sciences University launched its College of Pharmacy in August 2014 when it matriculated over 70 students into the four year Doctor of Pharmacy program, which has a focus on training pharmacists to provide primary care to patients.

Wendy Duncan, PhD, was appointed Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at CHSU in spring 2015 to lead the University’s continued growth and expansion into other programs and colleges, said Dunn.

About California Health Sciences University:

Founded in 2012, California Health Sciences University is the first university of its kind in the Central Valley. Envisioned by the Assemi and Dunn families, CHSU offers a local option for post-graduate medical education programs and to help remedy the shortage of health care services offered in the Valley. Students enjoy the high quality of life, affordable cost of living and plentiful career opportunities the Valley provides.

The Doctor of Pharmacy degree program was the first offered due to the demand for pharmacists in the region. CHSU College of Pharmacy is now accepting applications for the fall 2017 Doctor of Pharmacy program.

For more information about CHSU, visit www.chsu.org, call 559-325-3600 or find them on facebook, twitter and Linkedin.

 Contact: Richele Kleiser, Phone: (559) 312-3892, Email: rkleiser@chsu.org

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