Inland Empire Health Plan Establishes Annual $1.2 Million Scholarship for
CUSM Students Who Commit to Serve Local Communities
The Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP), part of an expanding network of private-public
collaborations in support of the mission of the
California University of Science and Medicine (CUSM), has committed a $1.2 million annual donation to help eliminate
medical school debt for medical students who pledge to serve needy communities
in the region upon graduation.
Leaders of IEHP and CUSM, which was founded by
Dr. Prem Reddy and the
Prime Healthcare Foundation, said the donation is an example of the type of philanthropy that can
make an impact on the long-term health of communities while furthering
the mission of the medical school: to inspire, motivate and empower students
to become excellent and caring physicians, scientists, and leaders. Thirty-five
percent of current CUSM medical students are from the Inland Empire, and
50 percent come from low socioeconomic backgrounds. This transformational
gift helps eliminate the financial pressure for deserving students who
feel it the most.
Seven annual scholarships, part of IEHP’s Healthcare Scholarship
Fund, will be given to students who commit to providing primary healthcare
to residents in Riverside and San Bernardino counties for five years after
graduation. Both counties have been identified as among the areas of the
state having the most acute shortage of primary care doctors.
“IEHP’s Healthcare Scholarship Fund is focused on supporting
medical students who are committed to serve in the Inland Empire,”
said Jarrod McNaughton, CEO of IEHP. “That’s what makes our
recipients so unique. They have a heart for the Inland Empire now and
we know they will have the heart to care for and serve our members after
graduation, too. We commend CUSM for its trailblazing work and commitment
to changing lives right here in the Inland Empire.”
The extraordinary gift will assist qualified students in support of the
vision of CUSM -- addressing the acute shortage of physicians in the Inland
Empire through innovative medical education programs, research, and training.
The physician shortage is particularly acute in places like San Bernardino
County, where there are only 34.5 primary care physicians per 100,000
residents, far below the benchmark of 60 to 80 doctors per 100,000. CUSM
is fulfilling its commitment to increase the quality of healthcare available
to this region by bringing talented students to this area and inspiring
them to give back here or to other underserved areas across the world.
The majority of the CUSM class of 2023 (70 percent) is from California.
The physician shortage has had very real consequences on the health of
residents in underserved communities, forcing many to delay and postpone
essential medical care.
“Thank you to IEHP for its visionary leadership in support of CUSM
and for recognizing the importance and value of the university’s
mission as it transforms healthcare in our communities,” said
Dr. Kavitha Reddy Bhatia, Founding Vice Chair of the CUSM Board of Trustees. “This generous
and inspirational gift will allow students the opportunity to achieve
their dreams, find their purpose and make the world better for others.
I am hopeful that others will see IEHP’s generosity, realize the
power of scholarships to change lives, and be inspired to do more.”
Dr. Bhatia noted that the collaboration with IEHP is another example of
the unique public-private partnership that is at the heart of CUSM and
includes the invaluable support of the San Bernardino County Board of
Supervisors, the City of Colton and CUSM’s teaching hospital, Arrowhead
Regional Medical Center.
CUSM, which welcomed its first class of medical students in 2018, currently
enrolls 292 Doctor of Medicine (MD) candidates and 60 Master of Biomedical
Science candidates. Establishing CUSM in San Bernardino County will ultimately
strengthen community healthcare, and philanthropy has the ability to transform
CUSM and contribute toward building a shared future with improved healthcare for all.
“CUSM has been extraordinarily successful at finding students who
will fulfill the mission of practicing right here in the Inland Empire
to improve health outcomes for our neighbors, our friends, our communities,” said
Dr. Paul Lyons, Dean and President of CUSM. “Half of our class comes from economically
disadvantaged backgrounds. Those are the people who can least afford a
quarter of a million dollars in educational debt, and you have just changed
the entire economic calculus for them.”
The presentation of the first annual scholarship endowment was made by
members of IEHP during a ceremony on August 31 at the newly constructed
CUSM campus in Colton, adjacent to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center.
“To these seven medical students who are receiving this scholarship,
we believe in you and your future, we believe in what you’re going
to do for your community, we believe that your gifts are going to be given
out for years to come, serving people here in the Inland Empire,”
said Karen Hansberger, MD, Chief Medical Officer of IEHP. “This
program is not just about providing more physicians to our region, but
providing physicians who are passionate about serving those in the communities
they grew up in, where they have gone to school and where their families
are, because that’s where you tend to be the happiest.”
About California University of Science and Medicine
California University of Science and Medicine (CUSM) is dedicated to advancing
the art and science of medicine through medical education, research, and
compassionate healthcare delivery in an inclusive environment that inspires,
motivates and empowers students to become excellent and caring physicians,
scientists, and leaders. CUSM is a not-for-profit health sciences university
established in 2015, led by a dynamic group of MD/PhD faculty members.
CUSM offers a Master in Biomedical Sciences degree program and a Doctor
of Medicine (MD) program to prepare its diverse student body for careers
in healthcare, public service, teaching and research. Learn more at