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KGI School of Medicine receives $5 million grant from L.A. Care

L.A. Care Health Plan, the nation’s largest publicly operated health plan, announced this month that it is committing $5 million to the Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) to support the launch of the KGI School of Medicine in Claremont. The investment is part of L.A. Care's Elevating the Safety Net, an initiative to address a looming physician shortage in Los Angeles County.

The funding will help facilitate the establishment, accreditation, and opening of the KGI School of Medicine.

“The KGI School of Medicine will serve as a pipeline for physicians into the L.A. County safety net,” said John Baackes, L.A. Care CEO. “This commitment is an exciting addition to our Elevating the Safety Net initiative, and we are honored to support the launch of a new medical school in Los Angeles County.”

L.A. Care’s Elevating the Safety Net initiative focuses on recruiting high-quality physicians into the Los Angeles County safety net—those practices and clinics that offer care regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 60 primary care doctors for every 100,000 people, with 80 being preferable to ensure high-quality care. Right now, Los Angeles County has only 56 primary care physicians per 100,000 population.

The KGI School of Medicine will work to address the growing physician shortage by tailoring its admissions process to recruit local students who are passionate about improving the health of the region’s residents and who reflect the community’s demographics.

Recruitment will consist of students from non-traditional pre-medical programs, and the curriculum will include training in compassion, empathy, and resilience. It will prepare doctors to be aware of how culture, language barriers, care access, geography, and food, housing, and income security affect healthcare outcomes.

 “Research has shown that who we recruit, where we recruit them from, and how and where we train them is critical in getting doctors to practice care in the communities that need them the most,” Dr. David Lawrence, dean of the KGI School of Medicine said.

“We will prepare outstanding, rigorously trained community medicine specialist physicians with the backgrounds, maturity, intelligence, skills, ethics, and compassion to confront the challenges that lie ahead,” said Dr. Lawrence. “We will do this in partnership with health professionals, community representatives, and the families and individuals our graduates will serve.” 

As part of the growing partnership, L.A. Care’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Richard Seidman, has joined the KGI School of Medicine Board of Governors.

“This is truly a momentous day in the 23-year history of Keck Graduate Institute,” said KGI President Sheldon Schuster. “This extraordinary gift will shape the development of the KGI School of Medicine as we aim to provide pathways for student physicians to impact our Southern California region. We are deeply grateful for L.A. Care’s generous support in aligning their Elevating the Safety Net initiative with our new medical school.”

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