Scripps Mercy San Diego Gets $360,000 Grant for Residency Spots

State program dedicates portion of tobacco taxes to expanding health care workforce

The exterior of Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego, which just received a large grant through tobacco taxes.

State program dedicates portion of tobacco taxes to expanding health care workforce

Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego has received a $360,000 CalMedForce grant from Physicians for a Healthy California to help fund two internal medicine residency positions in 2020. Money for the grant program comes from a $2-per-pack tobacco tax that was approved by California voters in 2016.

The CalMedForce grant creates more opportunity to expand the number of physicians who train and stay in the local community, said Paul Han, MD, associate director of Scripps Mercy’s residency program.

Noting the hospital’s important role providing care for the region’s underserved population, Dr. Han said Scripps Mercy residents quickly become adept at providing care to patients who often have psychiatric and social challenges that complicate their already complex array of diseases that are often preventable.

“They really are the unsung heroes at Scripps, and many of them continue to work in the underserved patient community upon completion of their training,” he said.

California will have a 4,100-physician shortfall by 2025, according to an estimate by the California Future Health Workforce Commission. Medical school graduates must complete training in an accredited, specialty-specific graduate medical education residency program before they are able to care for patients independently. Increased funding for such programs is one of the strategies being used to address the expected physician shortage in the coming years.

In this latest CalMedForce funding round, $38 million in residency awards were granted to 89 hospitals and clinics in the state, with an emphasis on graduate medical education programs focused on medically underserved patients and communities.

“CalMedForce helps grow and strengthen our physician workforce to meet the demands of California’s growing and changing patient population,” said Lupe Alonzo-Diaz, president and CEO of Physicians for a Healthy California. “Research also shows that physicians are more likely to practice where they complete residency programs, demonstrating an opportunity to address access to care challenges in underserved communities.”

During a previous funding round earlier this year, Scripps Mercy Hospital Chula Vista received a $225,000 grant to help fund a family medicine residency position at that location.

Scripps Health offers a wide range of graduate medical residency and fellowship programs at Scripps Mercy, Scripps Green Hospital and Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla. Program specialties include family practice, internal medicine, pharmacy, podiatry, cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, hematology, immunology and rheumatology.

Learn more about Scripps Health, a nonprofit integrated health system in San Diego, Calif.

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Keith Darce

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