California has one of the lowest primary care physician-to-patient ratios in the nation – 31 of 58 counties lack enough primary care providers to meet national standards. California also needs an additional 8,243 primary care physicians by 2030 – a 32% increase. Underserved communities already face a severe shortage, with 7 million Californians – mainly people of color – living in “health professional shortage areas.”
California’s shortages will only worsen as communities continue to grow, diversify and age – a challenge compounded as physicians retire faster than medical residents graduate. What’s more, every year, hundreds of California graduating medical students do not secure a local residency position and must leave the state. Physicians typically settle long-term where they train, so we can grow our physician workforce by expanding the number of California residency slots.
The promise of universal access to health care without an adequate number of trained physicians is empty and short-sighted. To that end, Physicians for a Healthy California (PHC) provides resources, events and programs that help California communities grow medical residency and graduate medical education (GME) in underserved areas and for the most needed specialties.
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