UCSF-Fresno Medical Program Gains Accreditation

September 15, 1998

In a landmark event for the UCSF-Fresno Medical Education Program, Associate Dean H. John Blossom, MD, announced that the program which trains doctors has received the highest accreditation in its history.

Blossom said the recently granted accreditation may also mark the first time a program has been accredited in California under new stringent requirements established by the national Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

"This is the culmination of a two-year process and we're very proud of our accomplishments," said Blossom. Blossom said it is doubly pleasing: "First, this marks the first time our program has been fully accredited since it was established in 1975; and second, the commission only recently increased dramatically the stringency of its requirements, making it difficult for even the strongest of programs to receive accreditation."

Blossom said in addition, the Fresno program's accreditation is for a full five years, the maximum that is granted.

He credited the success for the program to: Trevor Glenn, MD, acting assistant dean for academic affairs; Gene Kallsen, MD, assistant dean for graduate medical education; Malcolm Anderson, MD, chief of staff, Veterans Affairs Medical Center; and Janet Burrill, UCSF-Fresno office manager.

Asked how this country "guarantees" the quality of the education its doctors in training receive, ACGME Executive Director David C. Leach, MD, said, "Quality is determined by peer review judgments that a program is or is not in compliance with standards developed for that discipline. These judgments incorporate process and structure measures as well as educational outcome measures. We also require that programs demonstrate improvement driven by regular internal reviews of improvement opportunities."

The ACGME is sponsored by the American Board of Medical Specialties, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Council of Medical Specialty Societies. Nearly a quarter of a century after the Fresno program was established, its mission remains to improve the health of all residents of California's central San Joaquin Valley.

The valley, while it leads the nation in the richness of its agricultural products, has a large population that is underserved, a diverse population that ranges from Fresno's inner city residents to rural farm workers in its surrounding areas.

In addition to a large Hispanic population, the valley is home to the world's largest urban population of Hmong, mainly refugees from Thailand, Vietnam and Laos.

The central valley is also home to Latinos, the largest minority group in the valley with an estimated 35 percent of the population. While many are educated and prosperous, the majority are undereducated, poor and lacking in health insurance. The shortage of primary care physicians -- especially Latino family doctors who understand their culture and background -- has a profound impact on the health of this large population.

Statistics compiled by the UCSF-Fresno Latino Center for Medical Education and Research show there are more than 300,000 Latinos in Fresno County among a population of more than 775,000. However, of the nearly 1,500 physicians in the county, only about 120 are Latino. In another measurement, Latinos account for approximately 26 percent of the state's population, but only 4 percent of its physicians.

Unlike the Bay Area, Fresno has a more difficult time attracting physicians. That works a hardship because it is recognized that is the valley's rural areas that need doctors most, Blossom said. One goal of the Fresno program is to change that by introducing doctors to rural medicine during their training.

University of California - San Francisco

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