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L.A. Care Commits $5 Million to Help Fund Launch of KGI School of Medicine

Monday, October 5, 2020

Health Plan Grant Supports New Physician Pipeline to Serve Low-Income Communities

LOS ANGELES — L.A. Care Health Plan, the nation's largest publicly operated health plan, announced today that it is committing $5 million to Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) to support the launch of the KGI School of Medicine in Claremont, California. 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. KGI, founded in 1997 and a member of The Claremont Colleges, is a leader in graduate education for biotechnology and healthcare.

”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. Ultimately, our members will greatly benefit from this pipeline of physicians and other providers who are passionate about caring for these communities.”

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 people.

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 who are aware of how culture, language barriers, care access, food, housing, and income security, and geography affect healthcare outcomes.

Dr. David Lawrence, Dean of the KGI School of Medicine, said: “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.”

Lawrence, who is leading the development and opening of the school, served as the CEO and Chairman of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals from 1991 to 2002.

Drawing on KGI's strengths of faculty expertise and advanced educational technologies, the KGI School of Medicine will prepare a different type of physician.

With new scientific advances, powerful technology-driven tools, and advanced analytics, healthcare professionals now have an unprecedented ability to provide "Precision Health.” This solution can help people stay healthy, prevent illness and injury, and detect those conditions before symptoms occur.

"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 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 between L.A. Care and KGI, Dr. Richard Seidman has joined the KGI School of Medicine Board of Governors. Seidman is Chief Medical Officer at L.A. Care.

“It’s exciting to be part of such an innovative program, strategically designed to recruit and train a diverse groups of students from communities underrepresented in medicine to increase the diversity of the healthcare workforce,” said Seidman. "I’m proud to work for a health plan that understands that the more physicians have in common with their patients, such as race and ethnicity, language, culture and religion, the better the outcomes.

Seidman is responsible for developing and implementing strategies and initiatives to ensure quality healthcare delivery to the more than two million L.A. Care members—some of the most marginalized and under-resourced communities in the county.

“This is truly a momentous day in the 23-year history of Keck Graduate Institute,” said Sheldon Schuster,  KGI President. “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. With Dr. Richard Seidman joining the KGI School of Medicine Board of Governors, L.A. Care’s influence and guidance will continue to benefit our future medical students.”

With the L.A. Care gift paving the way, Lawrence and KGI have an opportunity to transform medical education and prepare physician leaders for satisfying careers in community medicine in the underserved and underrepresented communities where they work.



About Keck Graduate Institute (KGI)

KGI, a member of The Claremont Colleges, is a recognized leader in biotechnology and healthcare education. KGI offers innovative postgraduate degrees and certificates that integrate life and health sciences, business, pharmacy, engineering, and genetics, with a focus on industry projects, hands-on industry experiences, and team collaboration.

A member of The Claremont Colleges, KGI employs an entrepreneurial approach and industry connections that provide pathways for students to become leaders within healthcare and the applied life sciences. KGI consists of four schools: Henry E. Riggs School of Applied Life Sciences, School of Medicine, School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and the Minerva Schools at KGI. For more information, follow KGI on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.




About L.A. Care Health Plan

L.A. Care Health Plan serves more than 2.2 million members in Los Angeles County, making it the largest publicly operated health plan in the country. L.A. Care offers four health coverage plans including Medi-Cal, L.A. Care Covered™, L.A. Care Cal MediConnect Plan and the PASC-SEIU Homecare Workers Health Care Plan, all dedicated to being accountable and responsive to members. As a public entity, L.A. Care’s mission is to provide access to quality health care for L.A. County's low-income communities, and to support the safety net required to achieve that purpose. L.A. Care prioritizes quality, access and inclusion, elevating health care for all of L.A. County. For more information, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.


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