“Physicians for a Healthy California is dedicated to improving community health, growing a diverse physician workforce and promoting health equity.”
Physicians for a Healthy California (PHC), formerly known as the CMA Foundation, started in 1963 as a charitable arm of the California Medical Association (CMA), disbursing over $1 million dollars in grants and loans to medical students to support future physicians.
In 1995, Board Chair Rolland C. Lowe, M.D. recommended that PHC expand its role to encompass community health. New projects launched in 1996 and 1997, including ComPACT (tobacco education) and the Physician Leadership Recognition Dinner. These programs established our position in the community as leaders of public health initiatives. The Pharmacy Partnership Project, begun in 1996, facilitated public education campaigns, advertisements, and media coverage on increasing consumer awareness about pharmacies selling tobacco. The Project removed tobacco products from pharmacies with a nearly 80 percent success rate.
Starting in 2000, PHC launched the AWARE Project (Alliance Working for Antibiotic Resistance Education), a nationally recognized campaign. Through education efforts geared to healthcare providers and consumers, AWARE increases and supports the appropriate use of antibiotics and decreases the spread of antibiotic resistance.
PHC continues to support future physicians through its Medical Student Community Leadership Grant Program (MSCLGP). Established in 2001, the MSCLGP has awarded over 200 grants to support medical student projects that enhance the wellbeing of California’s communities.
In 2002, the Network of Ethnic Physician Organizations (NEPO) was established by visionary physicians Rolland C. Lowe M.D. and Frank E. Staggers, Sr., M.D. Drs. Lowe and Staggers, both Past Presidents of the CMA and Past Chairs of the PHC Board of Directors, established NEPO to identify strategies for building the capacity of ethnic physician organizations to reduce health disparities and improve access to health care for their communities through increased collaboration with community organizations and policy advocacy in both the public sector and within organized medicine, and address diversity in the healthcare workforce and cultural competency. PHC hosts an annual NEPO Summit and has convened ethnic physicians to work together to develop a joint agenda to impact healthcare in California.
In 2014, PHC received a $1.5 million-dollar grant from Covered California to outreach and educate physicians and their health care teams about changes in the health care delivery system throughout California. PHC reached over 1.6 million health care professionals by holding educational events throughout the state.
Access to universal health care is an empty promise if patients can’t access timely, affordable and quality care. To that end, PHC’s CalHealthCares and CalMedForce programs continue to grow and diversify the physician workforce, invest in the state’s underserved communities and improve California’s public health – all while addressing the social determinants of health. CalHealthCares commits voter-approved, state tobacco tax revenues from Proposition 56 (2016) to support and incentivize physicians and dentists to increase participation in the Medi-Cal program, and CalMedForce dedicates tobacco tax revenues to train physicians and help California address its growing physician shortage.
PHC has grown into one of California’s leading advocates for improved community health. Our programs continue to improve public health, provide clinical practice support and improvement, and address the social determinants of health and access to care.