UC Merced, the 10th campus in the University of California system and the first major research university to be established in the United States during the 21st century, offers a growing number of majors and minors. Many of these satisfy medical school preparatory requirements and, importantly, offer students degrees that will immediately prepare them for the workplace.
UC Merced continues to develop health sciences research programs and has a medical education program with UC Davis anticipated to lead to a School of Medicine. In 2010, UC Merced partnered with the UC Davis School of Medicine and UCSF Fresno to train medical students in the region as part of the UC Merced San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education (PRIME). The first class of students entered the program in the fall of 2011.
In addition, UC Merced offers a minor in public health that focuses on epidemiology, health disparities, biological mechanisms of disease, and statistical analysis.
These programs are focused on addressing global challenges and address health issues specific to the residents of California's diverse and growing San Joaquin Valley.
The San Joaquin Valley, which runs from Stockton to Bakersfield, is rich in cultural diversity and is the nation's leading agricultural region. However, the area is seriously medically underserved. Access to health care is 31 percent lower in the Valley than in the rest of California. A projected statewide shortage of physicians coupled with a rapidly growing population provides a daunting outlook for healthcare access in the Valley in the future.
Human health and the health of the environment are inextricably linked. UC Merced's research programs in biomedical sciences and environmental sciences along with medical education programs and a planned medical school at UC Merced provide a multitude of benefits to the San Joaquin Valley and state.
Medical education and health sciences research at UC Merced will provide numerous benefits, including addressing the critical shortage of physicians in the Valley, increasing access to health care for Valley residents, addressing specific health problems commonly found in the Valley, and improving the overall health status of Valley residents.
UC Merced already contributes to the economic growth of Central California. Medical education and a future UC Merced School of Medicine will further contribute to the economic growth of the region and the state, as well as expand educational opportunities for community members, and will further ramp up UC Merced's trajectory toward becoming a top-tier university, which is sure to boost student enrollment.