2023By Physicians for a Healthy California CalMedForce
Earlier this month, Physicians for a Healthy California (PHC) and members of the media visited Valley Children’s Pediatric Residency Program in Madera, which receives critical funding through CalMedForce, PHC’s graduate medical education (GME) grant program.
“PHC is grateful to Valley Children’s for allowing a behind-the-scenes look at training new pediatricians,” said PHC President and CEO Lupe Alonzo-Diaz. “PHC’s mission is to improve community health, grow a diverse physician workforce and promote health equity and it is wonderful to partner with Valley Children’s as they work to achieve these goals in Madera.”
CalMedForce dedicates voter-approved, state tobacco tax revenues from Proposition 56 to fund residency slots to train physicians and help California address its growing physician shortage. The San Joaquin Valley suffers from a particularly severe physician shortage — with 22% fewer primary care doctors than the state average.
Valley Children’s Pediatric Residency Program applied for and received funds from CalMedForce’s five application cycles, receiving a total of over $6.2 million from 2018-2023. Funds were used in a number of ways to train the next generation of California pediatricians, including improved curriculum, expanded services in underserved communities and increased community engagement. Valley Children’s was also able to purchase critical simulation equipment that allows residents to learn about comprehensive patient assessments.
PHC President and CEO Lupe Alonzo-Diaz and PHC staff were welcomed by Valley Children's Vice President of Academic Affairs and Designated Institutional Officer Jolie Limon, M.D.; Residency Program Director Vini Vijayan, M.D.; Valley Children's Community and Government Relations Director Tim Curley; and GME Manager Athena Gonzalez. After the hospital tour, they watched a demonstration of Valley Children’s Simulation Program – which uses medical manikins to simulate common medical procedures, complex medical conditions and life-threatening emergencies – by Simulation Program Manager Kim Bilskey.
"We are very grateful for the funding that CMF has awarded to Valley Children's Pediatric Residency Program, which has assisted us with not only hiring residents, but also enhancing their learning experience," says Dr. Limon. "We have used the funds for faculty development and retreats, resident wellness, and expansion of simulation training. We started this program with the goal of 50% retention of our graduates in the Central Valley and we are meeting that metric. CMF has allowed us to 'grow our own' and to help provide this underserved region with new generations of pediatricians."
So far, hundreds of programs in hospitals, medical centers and community clinics have received over $189 million to retain and expand graduate medical education programs in primary care (family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics/gynecology) and emergency medicine.
The next application cycle of CalMedForce opens August 1, 2023. Programs interested in applying for funds should visit phcdocs.org/calmedforce for more information.