By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Fifty students in the Inland Empire will receive medical school scholarships this academic year thanks to the Healthcare Scholarship Fund (HSF) from Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP).
In an effort to address the physician shortage in the Inland Empire, IEHP has awarded $8 million in funding to three local universities and programs, including Loma Linda University School of Medicine, University of California Riverside, and the California University for Science & Medicine (CUSM).
This funding will allow each institution to independently manage scholarship applications and distribute funds directly to students. While the application process varies between institutions, IEHP requires a commitment from scholarship recipients to practice and serve in the Inland Empire for 5 years after graduation.
“We hope these scholarships will not only encourage and incentivize local students to reach their dreams of becoming doctors, but to stay and practice medicine in the Inland Empire as well,” said Jarrod McNaughton, IEHP Chief Executive Officer. “We’d like to be the bridge between dreams and action for students who dedicate their hearts to the field of medicine and do all we can as a health plan to provide students with a supportive network of healthcare professionals.”
According to the California Health Care Foundation, the Inland Empire has one of the lowest ratios of Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) and specialty physicians per 100,000 people in California. “Removing the barrier of debt for these students allows for increased dedication to the field and a way for us to work together to address the physician shortage in our two counties,” said McNaughton.
“I am grateful to IEHP for engaging with us to continue to expand access to care and healthcare provider options for our region,” said Dr. Tamara Thomas, Loma Linda University School of Medicine Dean. “By removing financial barriers, the Inland Empire Community Service Awards will make it possible for more of our students to follow their dream to serve the medical needs of our underserved communities.”
IEHP, Inland Empire Health Plan, is one of the top 10 largest Medicaid health plans and the largest not-for-profit Medicare-Medicaid plan in the country. With a network of more than 6,400 Providers and more than 2,000 employees, IEHP serves more than 1.2 million residents in Riverside and San Bernardino counties who are enrolled in Medicaid or Cal MediConnect Plan (Medicare-Medicaid Plan). Through a dynamic partnership with Providers and Community, award-winning service and innovative products, IEHP is fully committed to advocating for our Members and providing them with quality, accessible and wellness-based health care services. For more information, visit iehp.org.