Chancellor's Friday Letters

Progress Despite State Budget Cuts

Progress Despite State Budget Cuts

March 30, 2012

Dear Friends,

Holiday, Spring Break, and Medicine…it’s been quite a week.

As we end our spring break week, the university is closed today to commemorate Cesar Chavez Day.  Some students are with their families recharging their batteries; others are off on trips or working in the community making a difference for others.  Many graduate students remain buried in laboratories and libraries, working on their research, and student-athletes in season have contests and training that continue unabated.

I, on the other hand, spent most of the week at the UC Regents meeting in San Francisco. There is some encouraging news developing about the possibilities of restoring some state funding to the University not only next year, but in the years that follow.

Recognizing that much must still happen in the political process for these encouraging ideas to come to fruition, I do wish to say thanks to all who have made their voices heard in Sacramento supporting public higher education, and implore you to continue in the weeks and months ahead.

Your efforts are making a difference.

I also am pleased that we are making great progress in developing a funding plan to support the School of Medicine. We have developed what we hope will be a successful strategy to again seek preliminary accreditation and, if successful, open in August 2013.

Many people on campus, in the UC Office of the President, and in the community have come together on this transformative effort.

But it is the DNA of Riverside that has unified the community once again…just as it did in the early 1900s to bring the Citrus Experiment Station to Riverside, in the 50s to establish the campus, the 70s to preserve the campus, and now – more than 100 years after these first efforts began – to establish the first public medical school in California in well over 40 years.

The role of our community has been superb.  They’ve kept the School of Medicine in front of the folks in Sacramento and Oakland. Our community once again has come together, and I am grateful.

Dean Olds and the school’s leadership team have done excellent work to move this dream forward.  The next step is to determine if the accrediting body – the Liaison Committee on Medical Education – concludes that our plan is satisfactory. This process will take several months.

Not only is accreditation mandatory before the school can recruit students, it enables the campus to compete for federal funds intended to increase the number of physicians practicing in our medically underserved area.

But we will still need the state’s ongoing support if we are going to expand each class beyond 50 students per year (the limit under the proposed funding model).  State funding will also enable us to engage fully in the community-based research and health interventions that will boost population health in Inland Southern California.  So we continue to work with our elected officials in Sacramento to this end.

Our funding plan has several partners.  I am grateful that President Yudof has agreed to a commitment of $2 million annually for 10 years in non-state discretionary funds.  This matches a similar commitment that I made of $2 million annually in campus support, also using non-state discretionary funds. Additionally, we have secured a $30 million, 10-year line of credit from the UC Office of the President, which we will draw down as needed and repay from UC Riverside School of Medicine funds.

Local support secured to date includes the County of Riverside, Riverside Medical Clinic, the Desert Healthcare District and annual funding from the school’s initial medical partners.

We are very grateful that many private donors have also participated, and many have indicated that accreditation will make the effort even more attractive to them.

The medical school will be an economic stimulus to the region, as well as improving access to healthcare. There is a well-documented need for more physicians and better health care access in Inland Southern California, which lags near the bottom in nearly every measure of health when compared to other counties in the state.

The School of Medicine has been in the planning stages since 2003, and we have already made a significant investment in facilities – with approximately $60 million in new laboratories and classrooms available for the School’s use. That funding was primarily non-state monies secured by the campus, plus some federal research funding support.

There is more work to be done, but we are well on our way.



Tim White, Chancellor

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