Gov. Gavin Newsom visits UC Merced's future medical school site

The governor said the school would train more healthcare professionals who would go on to serve the people of Central California.
MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom is throwing his support behind UC Merced's effort to build a $210 million on-campus medical education facility.

Newsom arrived Monday morning to speak with administrators and witness the university's future medical school site.

RELATED: State legislature approves funding for UC medical school in the Valley

The new medical school will be home to the Medical Education Program, Health Sciences Research Institute and Psychological Sciences and Public Health departments.

It will be the first of its kind in the Central Valley.

Officials hope the project will help close the gap in the disparity of access to quality health care by helping to train more medical personnel who would go on to serve local residents.

"Students from Dinuba, Chowchilla, Clovis, Fresno, Livingston will all benefit in so many ways from the new facility which will educate not only these future medical students but students in equally critical fields that include public health and psychological services.," says UC Merced Chancellor Dr. Juan Munoz.

According to officials, the program will work in partnership with UCSF's regional hospital in Fresno.

About $210 million from the state's general fund has been set aside for construction. Another $15 million a year from the legislature will cover operation costs and staff.

RELATED: Plans for UC medical school in the Valley get a boost

"The commitment last year on the $15 million occurred not when we had an $80 billion surplus like we had this year, but when we had a $54 billion deficit," Newsom said. "I make that point to make this point: that expresses a priority and commitment."

An additional $15 million in federal funding could also be on the way thanks to a recent bill filed by Congressman Jim Costa.

"We need to have more physicians and nurses," he said. "When we're bringing physicians from other parts of the country to Fresno and nurses at an extravagant cost, it's because we don't have enough doctors and nurses here. It's real simple. How do you change that? You make the investment."

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