University of California Official Announces Support for Medical School at Riverside Campus
University of California Vice President for Health Affairs Michael Drake on Wednesday endorsed a plan to open a medical school at UC-Riverside after meeting with UC-Riverside Chancellor France Cordova, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports. Drake oversees the five medical schools affiliated with the UC system and is the main adviser to UC President Robert Dynes and the Board of Regents on medical schools.
He said, "I am on board with the plan," adding, "I certainly understand that this is an underserved area."
Drake's endorsement is "a major deal," according to Thomas Haider, a leading supporter of bringing a medical school to Riverside. Referring to the Board of Regents and Dynes, Haider added, "They value his opinion."
Murray Haberman -- executive director of the California Postsecondary Education Commission, which also must endorse the proposal -- said UC-Riverside must demonstrate that a sixth medical school is needed and that graduates of such an institution would likely remain in the medically underserved area, the Press-Enterprise reports. "The question is, what is going to be the return to the state," Haberman said.
If the proposal gains support from Dynes, the Board of Regents and the California Postsecondary Education Commission, the commission's recommendation would go to state lawmakers and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R).
However, the state budget deficit could "be an obstacle," the Press-Enterprise reports. Haberman estimated that building a medical school would cost hundreds of millions of dollars (Agha, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 12/9).