UCSF Fresno Programs Receive $2.15 Million to Expand and Train the Physician Workforce in Underserved Areas

February 15, 2018

UC San Francisco
Jennifer O’Brien, Asst. Vice Chancellor/Public Affairs
Source: Brandy Ramos Nikaido, Director of Media Relations and Public Affairs, UCSF Fresno
Cell: (559) 313-6539 Email: bnikaido@fresno.ucsf.edu

UCSF Fresno
Medical Education Program
115 N. Fresno Street
Fresno, CA 93701
(559) 499-6400

UCSF Fresno Programs Receive $2.15 Million to Expand and Train the Physician Workforce in Underserved Areas

Fresno – Four UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program residency programs received a combined $2.15 million over three years from the Office of Statewide Health and Planning to expand and train the physician workforce in underserved areas. The granting program is part of the Song-Brown Health Care Workforce Training Act (Song-Brown Program).

“We are extremely pleased to receive this funding,” said Lori Weichenthal, MD, assistant dean for Graduate Medical Education at UCSF Fresno. “UCSF Fresno was established to address the shortage of physicians in the San Joaquin Valley. About half of  UCSF Fresno graduates remain in the region to provide care. Still, more physicians are needed. These awards are recognition of our progress and they position UCSF Fresno to continue training and retaining physicians for our underserved region.”

The UCSF Fresno Family and Community Medicine Residency Program received $1.075 million. The UCSF Fresno Internal Medicine Residency Program received $825,000.  The UCSF Fresno Pediatrics and the Obstetrics/Gynecology residency programs each received $125,000. 

The funds will be used to support new residency positions in Family and Community Medicine and Internal Medicine and will provide infrastructure and educational support for all four programs.  Together, the four programs train more than 140 physicians per year. 

“The Song-Brown funding from the state is an important supplement to federal funding for graduate medical education,” said Michael W. Peterson, MD, associate dean at UCSF Fresno.  “The number of residency positions supported through the Medicare system has been frozen since 1997.  Without this state support, UCSF Fresno would not be able to expand the number of physicians being trained in the Valley for the Valley.”

According to the Healthforce Center at UCSF, the San Joaquin Valley has just 133 physicians per 100,000 population compared to the state rate of 222 per 100,000.

The Song-Brown Program aims to increase the number of students and residents receiving quality primary care training in areas of unmet need throughout California. Institutions administering residency and training programs for the following disciplines may apply for Song-Brown grant awards: Family Medicine, Family Nurse Practitioner, Internal Medicine, OB/GYN, Pediatrics, Physician Assistant and Registered Nurse.  The Song-Brown Program does not provide funding directly to students.


About UCSF Fresno: UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program, established in 1975, plays a substantial role in providing health care to residents of California’s San Joaquin Valley and training medical professionals in the region. UCSF Fresno is the San Joaquin Valley’s largest physician training program. Annually, UCSF Fresno currently trains approximately 250 medical residents (medical school graduates who are training under senior faculty physicians prior to practicing on their own) in eight specialties, 10 oral and maxillofacial surgery dental residents, 50 medical fellows (physicians who are completing training beyond residency) in 17 subspecialties, approximately 300 medical students (students in the process of earning medical degrees) on a rotating basis and two physician assistants in an emergency medicine residency program. Recent statistics show that nearly 50 percent of the physicians trained by UCSF Fresno stay in the region to provide UCSF care in the Central Valley. Thanks to the expertise of faculty physicians at UCSF Fresno, in many cases, travel outside of the region is no longer necessary for patients seeking subspecialty medical care. UCSF Fresno faculty and medical residents engage in a broad spectrum of research addressing health issues pertinent to the Valley. UCSF Fresno faculty and residents also care for the overwhelming majority of the region’s underserved populations. In addition, UCSF Fresno helps prepare middle, high school and college students for careers in health and medicine through a variety of pipeline programs. Please visit www.fresno.ucsf.edu

About UCSF: UCSF is a leading university dedicated to transforming health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate‐level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. Founded in 1864 as a medical college, UCSF now includes top‐ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy; a graduate division with world‐renowned programs in the biological sciences, a preeminent biomedical research enterprise and top‐tier hospitals, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals. Please visit www.ucsf.edu/news

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