UAPD has expressed its support for SB 40, introduced by Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-14). This bill would create the California Medicine Scholars Program, a 5-year pilot program facilitated by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.
In the words of Coyness L. Ennix, Jr., MD:
The California Medicine Scholars Program (CMSP) is a statewide, structured partnership pathway to produce underrepresented minority physicians via the California Community Colleges to reduce inequities and disparities in the health and health outcomes of California’s diverse communities.
If passed, SB 40 will establish the California Medicine Scholars Program (CMSP) as a three-year pilot program in four regions across the state. The CMS program is a pre-medical pathway pipeline program, in partnership with California Community Colleges (CCCs) and California’s medical schools operated through a statewide office and regional collaborations of higher education institutions and health centers, referred to as Regional Hubs of Excellence (RHE).
Dr Ennix goes on to explain the impetus for the pilot program:
It is critical that efforts to increase access to care are driven by efforts to increase the number of diverse physicians entering the practice, and to ensure access to prospective doctors who are from the communities they will serve. African American, Native American, Pacific Islander and Latinx physicians are extremely underrepresented across California.
For example, researchers from the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative (LPPI) reported in 2018 that the scarcity of Latino physicians in California has led to a deficit of 54,655 Latino physicians required to achieve parity with non-Latino White physicians. If existing trends in recruitment and training of physicians in the state efforts continue, LPPI researchers calculated it will take California five centuries to reach parity.
CA Medicine would help produce physicians who, once trained, would care for such communities, and come from a background that would help them have an understanding of the way of life that would be integral to enabling them to help stop or limit the next pandemic.