University of California Health has estimated that the monetary value of all of its services in 2011 amounts to nearly $3.3 billion. Through its numerous medical centers across California, UC Health provides vital services such as care for the uninsured, training future health employees and advancing medical research. “As a public university and cornerstone of the safety net, UC Health is committed to serve California’s health needs,” stated Dr. John Stobo, the UC senior vice president for health sciences and services, in an article by the UC Newsroom. “Our combined community benefit demonstrates the powerful impact UC Health has as a system.”
With the inclusion of UC Riverside’s medical school, UC Health leads the nation with 18 professional schools and programs on seven campuses, amounting to the largest educational system in health sciences. Its benefit to the state spans from telemedicine services, clinical trials and classroom collaborations to affiliations such as UCLA’s partnership with the Venice Family Clinic, the nation’s largest free clinic.
In a breakdown of UC Health’s community contributions, the health sciences campuses that have medical centers (UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UCSD and UCSF) have contributed $560.7 million in charity care for uninsured patients and various health programs, $174.7 million in education and funding, $1.8 million in donations and scholarships and $2.6 billion in research. “It‘s great news to see our UC Health’s five medical centers contribute $3.3 billion in community benefits,” remarked UC Riverside’s Director of Campus Health Center Cindy Wong, in an interview with the Highlander. Wong remarks that the contributions of UC Health collaborates with the mission of the Campus Health Center, which aims to provide high quality, accessible and comprehensive medical care to students with a focus on multidisciplinary services, health education and prevention.
UC Health extends services through student-run clinics for nearby communities in an effort to provide care for those with an exceptional need. Three nurse-run clinics, located in the Los Angeles, Orange County and San Francisco areas, also deliver quality treatment to residents. In addition, UC offers Programs in Medical Education (PRIME), designed to prepare doctors in impacted areas. PRIME boasts programs focusing on rural health and telemedicine (UC Davis), the Latino community (UC Irvine), the diverse disadvantaged (UCLA, UC Riverside), the San Joaquin Valley (UC Merced, UC Davis, UCSF), health equity (UC San Diego) and the urban under-served (UCSF, UC Berkeley).
In an interview with the Highlander, Communications Coordinator at the UC Office of the President Alec Rosenberg stated that UC Health extends beyond what is done in the hospital and commits to the development of communities, aimed at addressing social and health needs where people live and work. In communities with diverse and medically under-served populations, such as Riverside and the Coachella Valley, Stobo believes that the upcoming medical school at UC Riverside can serve as a focus for the development of such community activities in the region.
“Often unappreciated is the service that UC Health provides to the State of California,” said G. Richard Olds, dean of the UCR School of Medicine. “With five medical centers, six medical schools—including UCR’s developing medical school—and a variety of other health profession programs, UC Health is this country’s largest health sciences education system with the university’s clinical faculty providing more than 10 percent of California’s health care delivery.”
Olds has previously remarked that UCR’s medical school will be the first UC medical school in more than 40 years. The school will specifically focus on developing doctors for the Inland Empire, which is an under-served area with a lack of physicians. With the unique mission to statistically improve the health of the collective population, Olds believes that the UCR medical school will have a tremendous impact on the long-term health of the region and California in general.