Mamata Elangovan / The Highlander

According to the University of California Riverside’s (UCR) School of Medicine (SOM) site, The original School of Medicine Education Building was built in 2012, enrolling its first class of just 50 students in 2013 and having 40 graduate and receive their degrees in 2017. Before the program existed, UCR and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) had a collaborative program in which students would begin their medical education at UCR and then transfer to UCLA to finish their clinical training and earn their M.D.

From its admittal of the first class, the SOM has received full accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, made appearances in the U.S. News and World Report rankings of graduate schools, conducted various studies across a broad spectrum of topics and served the people of the Inland Empire.

Now, UCR’s SOM serves to “educate and retain a diverse physician and research workforce needed to address the underserved patient care needs of the region,” as well as to develop “a platform for expanded biomedical, translational, clinical and population-based research programs to advance knowledge in the medical sciences,” and “improve the health of the people of Inland Southern California.” They operate on the core values of inclusion, integrity, innovation, excellence, accountability and respect.

UCR’s SOM now ranks number 5 in the nation overall for diversity, with 37% of its students coming from underrepresented communities. The Thomas Haider Program is a unique opportunity that allows only 24 UCR undergraduate students to secure a place in the SOM, built upon the original program collaboration between UCR and UCLA, allowing them entry into the SOM so long as they fulfill the requirements of attending UCR for six consecutive quarters and graduate from UCR with a bachelor’s degree. 

In the spring of 2019, state legislators approved $108 million to construct the School of Medicine Education Building II (SOM II) out of the California state budget. With the construction of the new building, UCR SOM will be able to double its enrollment to 500. Construction for the SOM II began on October 21, 2021, and was finished and celebrated on September 26, 2023, the same time the school celebrated its 10th anniversary.

The SOM II was allocated about 95 thousand square feet, with 55 thousand square feet used for the structure itself. It includes three lecture halls that can seat 140 each, a large courtyard, smaller instructional spaces, the creation of the Active Learning Center, student lounges and much more. The building was built to meet industry energy efficiency and sustainability standards, boasting a 200-kilowatt solar array on its roof.

Now that the ribbon-cutting ceremony has passed and the doors are open for SOM students, staff will begin to populate the rooms by October 6th, and classes will begin for the students later in October after the finals.