Building A Medical School; UC-Riverside School of Medicine Dean G. Richard Olds

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The University of California Riverside’s Founding Dean, G. Richard Olds, told Successful Physicians Monthly the fledgling program is uniquely designed around what the Inland Empire needs. Dean Olds explained the medical school’s unprecedented mission to improve the health of the community it serves.

Patients want to make sure their doctors got an ‘A’ in organic chemistry, but, they also want them to be somebody that cares about them.

Successful Physicians Monthly talked with the University of California Riverside School of Medicine Founding Dean, G. Richard Olds, about the unprecedented mission of his fledgling program.

Dean Olds told Successful Physicians Monthly Columnist/Consultant, Jamar Brown, that unlike other medical schools, UC Riverside’s program aims to improve the health of the Inland Empire rather than just individual patients. “We’re the first community based medical school,” Olds said.

All other medical schools, Olds said, have large university hospitals which compete with area hospitals and doctors. UC Riverside’s School of Medicine instead partners with I-E hospitals, clinics and doctors to improve the access and quality of local health care for everyone. What’s more, he added, the local medical community backed the mission with its wallet by raising $100 million to offset a lack of funding from the budget-strapped state, and assured the school’s accreditation.

Olds also discussed the challenge of attracting and retaining Southern California students with the “right stuff.” The school wants to attract students who will stay after they finish their graduate studies and help ease the region’s critical shortage of primary care doctors. He said the UC Riverside School of Medicine puts a high value on community oriented students who not only test well, but who understand the social and economic environment in which I-E patients live. “Patients want to make sure their doctors got an ‘A’ in organic chemistry, but, they also want them to be somebody that cares about them.”

Olds, an infectious disease specialist, said he was attracted to UC Riverside because he saw an opportunity to do what he thinks is right, and maybe more importantly, build a medical school based on where the future of health care is going. “We are a bit radical and a bit outside the box,” he said, “but we will also have the kinds of doctors that you and I would go to professionally. “

Olds said he could not have asked for more support in which to launch the only medical school of its kind in the U.S. “This entire medical school is designed around what we need in this community, uniquely. This is good for the economy here; this is good for the physicians shortage. This is good for the fact that health care in inland Southern California is in the bottom quartile of most measurable outcomes. And this is this community’s medical school.”

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Dwight Cromie

Bill Friedl
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