San Joaquin Valley California Medicine Scholars Program Accepting Applications

Community college students from the San Joaquin Valley who are interested in becoming doctors are invited to apply for the San Joaquin Valley California Medicine Scholars Program (SJV-CMSP). SJV-CMSP is a pre-medical diversity pathway from community college to medical school with the goal of increasing the number of primary care physicians practicing in the San Joaquin Valley. UCSF Fresno is the lead agency for the San Joaquin Valley Regional Hub of Healthcare Opportunity (SJV-RHHO), which launched July 1, 2022, to implement the SJV-CMSP. 

Applications will be accepted from students enrolled at partnering community colleges who meet the eligibility criteria. Applications will be accepted online beginning Sept. 6, 2022, through Oct. 10, 2022. Here is a link to the flyer.

San Joaquin Valley California Medicine Scholars Program partners include California State University, Fresno (Fresno State); California Health Sciences University; California Area Health Education Center Program; Central Valley Health Network; Valley Health Team Family Medicine Residency Program; State Center Community College District; College of the Sequoias; Merced Community College District; West Hills Community College District and Yosemite Community College District.

SJV-CMSP Eligibility criteria:

  • Intent to apply to Fresno State for the fall 2023 semester from a participating community college
  • Cumulative Transfer Grade Point Average minimum of 3.30
  • Completion of at least 22 units in the following coursework:
    • Biology for Science Majors (4 or 5 units)
    • Chemistry (10 units)
    • Pre-Calculus and/or Calculus (4 units)
    • Psychology or Sociology (3 units)

The selection process into SJV-CMSP will be completed by a local committee. Selected students will receive academic advising and priority registration at Fresno State for Fall 2023; pre-med advising and workshops; clinical opportunities and mentoring by local medical students and physicians; MCAT test preparation; and pre-health conference attendance and many other enrichment opportunities.

SJV-CMSP is part of the California Medicine Scholars Program (CMSP), a statewide strategy and investment by the Department of Health Care Access and Information to strengthen the California community college to medical school pathway. As its first established action, CMSP, housed at the Foundation for California Community Colleges, awarded funds to four recipients to establish Regional Hubs of Healthcare Opportunity (RHHOs), which will bridge gaps between community colleges, four-year universities, medical schools, and community-based health clinics and organizations to provide greater pre-medical opportunities for students and help diversify California’s primary care physician workforce. 

The four awards were made to UCSF Fresno, a regional campus of the UCSF School of Medicine,

UC Davis School of Medicine, UC Riverside School of Medicine, and UC San Diego School of Medicine.

All reside in regions underserved in health care and are currently experiencing a physician shortage. Each grantee will receive $1.6 million for the first three years ($540,000 annually) with additional funding ($250,000) available in the fourth year for sustainability. Funding will support the creation of RHHOs and provide a strategy to increase the number of underrepresented minority physicians and ultimately reduce disparities in health and health outcomes across the state.

Kenny Banh, MD, assistant dean for Undergraduate Medical Education at UCSF Fresno, and Emy Lopez Phillips, EdD, inaugural director of the newly established Office of Health Career Pathways at UCSF Fresno, lead the SJV-RHHO and SJV-CMSP.

“The vision of the SJV-CMSP is to increase the numbers of underrepresented minority physicians through a collaborative partnership effort. This program fulfills a need in the pathway to practicing physician at the community college level,” said Dr. Banh. “The mission specifically is to increase the number of regional community college students who transfer to and are accepted into medical schools from California State University, Fresno.” 

“I am honored to build upon the success of existing pathway programs at UCSF Fresno and launch new ones like the San Joaquin Valley California Medicine Scholars Program that will expand access to careers in medicine for community college students,” said Dr. Lopez Phillips, who attended community college herself. “The young people in our Valley are full of hope and resilience. Many have a strong desire to give back to their communities and break the cycle of poverty within their families. This is an exciting time as we at UCSF Fresno along with our partners have an opportunity to help lift and mentor the next generation.”

For more information about the San Joaquin Valley California Medicine Scholars Program, please email [email protected]

About UCSF Fresno: UCSF Fresno is a regional campus of the UCSF School of Medicine and UCSF, the leading institution dedicated exclusively to the health sciences. Established in 1975, UCSF Fresno is focused on improving health in California’s San Joaquin Valley through excellence in teaching and patient care, innovative clinical research and community partnerships. UCSF Fresno is the largest academic physician-training program between San Francisco and Sacramento to the north and Los Angeles to the south. UCSF Fresno trains about 300 physicians and 300 rotating medical students including students in the UCSF San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education each year. Nearly 700 UCSF core and volunteer faculty at UCSF Fresno care for thousands of patients annually and train the next generation of outstanding clinicians and patient advocates. Roughly 50 % of the physicians trained at UCSF Fresno stay in the Valley to provide UCSF care. In addition, UCSF Fresno helps prepare middle, high school and college students for careers in health and medicine through a variety of pathway programs. Please visit  

About UCSF: The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is exclusively focused on the health sciences and is dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. UCSF Health, which serves as UCSF’s primary academic medical center, includes top-ranked specialty hospitals and other clinical programs, and has affiliations throughout the Bay Area. The UCSF School of Medicine also has a regional campus in Fresno.   

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