Senator Barbara Boxer visited the campus of UC Riverside this afternoon to discuss the university’s future medical school and the money needed to open it within the next two years. Right now it’s still under construction, but when it’s completed, the UCR School of Medicine will be California's first new public medical school in about 40 years.
Senator Boxer stood among the hard hats and front end loaders to say she’s seeking $1 million in federal funding to furnish the school with some state of the art medical gear.
“A new medical simulation lab where medical students can train for the real world tasks they will face when they become doctors, that will allow students to practice taking a pulse, inserting an I-V and even administering pharmaceuticals.”
But before any students start taking even a simulated pulse or doling out the prescription drugs, the university needs to raise more than $450 million to meet an ambitious deadline of opening by 2012.
“Every $1,000,000 counts,” says Boxer, who is up for reelection in November. She says the money she hopes to secure for the new simulation lab will help UCR meet the 2012 deadline.
“And if my colleagues get behind this it becomes something we will see through to the end. It is certainly the way we begin to leverage funds and get the federal government to have a stake in this. We have a stake in health care, a stake in having enough general practitioners which is what we’re really aiming at here.”
The university may seek additional funding through the creation of a special district to divert a percentage of existing property taxes to the school. Additional funding could also come through President Obama’s effort to invest more federal dollars in public medical schools in underserved regions of the country.