UCSF Fresno Programs Receive $2.15 Million to Expand and Train the Physician Workforce in Underserved Areas

Fresno – Four UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program residency programs received a combined $2.15 million over three years from the Office of Statewide Health and Planning to expand and train the physician workforce in underserved areas. The granting program is part of the Song-Brown Health Care Workforce Training Act (Song-Brown Program).

“We are extremely pleased to receive this funding,” said Lori Weichenthal, MD, assistant dean for Graduate Medical Education at UCSF Fresno. “UCSF Fresno was established to address the shortage of physicians in the San Joaquin Valley. About half of  UCSF Fresno graduates remain in the region to provide care. Still, more physicians are needed. These awards are recognition of our progress and they position UCSF Fresno to continue training and retaining physicians for our underserved region.”

The UCSF Fresno Family and Community Medicine Residency Program received $1.075 million. The UCSF Fresno Internal Medicine Residency Program received $825,000.  The UCSF Fresno Pediatrics and the Obstetrics/Gynecology residency programs each received $125,000. 

The funds will be used to support new residency positions in Family and Community Medicine and Internal Medicine and will provide infrastructure and educational support for all four programs.  Together, the four programs train more than 140 physicians per year. 

“The Song-Brown funding from the state is an important supplement to federal funding for graduate medical education,” said Michael W. Peterson, MD, associate dean at UCSF Fresno.  “The number of residency positions supported through the Medicare system has been frozen since 1997.  Without this state support, UCSF Fresno would not be able to expand the number of physicians being trained in the Valley for the Valley.”

According to the Healthforce Center at UCSF, the San Joaquin Valley has just 133 physicians per 100,000 population compared to the state rate of 222 per 100,000.

The Song-Brown Program aims to increase the number of students and residents receiving quality primary care training in areas of unmet need throughout California. Institutions administering residency and training programs for the following disciplines may apply for Song-Brown grant awards: Family Medicine, Family Nurse Practitioner, Internal Medicine, OB/GYN, Pediatrics, Physician Assistant and Registered Nurse.  The Song-Brown Program does not provide funding directly to students.