Assemblymember Mike Gipson, a native of Watts was on hand at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) campus to commemorate the recent $50 million allocation from the State of California to the University. The event was highlighted by a check presentation from Watts native Assemblymember Mike Gipson, representative of California’s 64th Assembly District which includes the CDU campus. Dr. David Carlisle, president and CEO of CDU, along with other representatives and students from the university were on hand for the presentation.
“It gives me great pleasure to demonstrate our commitment to this great institution of higher learning with this check of $50 million,” said Assemblymember Gipson. “Let’s celebrate the future of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, an institution that matters to the people.”
The funding, which was approved by the California State Legislature will be used to support the university’s latest initiative offering a new four-year medical degree program which includes the construction of a new building to accommodate it. The overall impact of the proposed new medical education program that is pending review and approval by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education will benefit the state by increasing the number of Black and Latino medical graduates joining the healthcare workforce, with the first class slated to begin in Fall 2023.
“CDU believes in the ability of education advocacy and empowerment to change lives and create opportunities,” said Dr. Carlisle. “I stand a little bit prouder as we gather to acknowledge and celebrate one of this university’s most significant funding awards to date, a one-time $50 million allocation from the state of California to support our new four-year medical degree program.”
CDU was originally founded in 1966 to better serve underprivileged residents in the area and the funding signifies a new chapter for the university, which 55 years ago graduated nurses who went on to serve the Watts community. Today, as a Historically Black Graduate Institution (HBGI), the university’s graduates go on to serve communities across the nation. The new program is expected to educate 60 students annually.
The funding signifies the next phase for CDU’s growth as an independent, four-year medical institution. Currently, CDU shares a longstanding relationship with the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA through the Charles R. Drew/UCLA Medical Education Program, which has successfully trained 28 medical students annually since 1979. The incoming program at CDU pending review and approval by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education will be the next phase in evolving that partnership.
CDU has contributed significantly to the diversity of the nation’s healthcare workforce over the last five decades. More than 70% of the university’s graduates since 2000 are people of color and the California Wellness Foundation report estimated that one-third of all minority physicians practicing in Los Angeles County are graduates of the CDU medical school and/or residency training programs.