University receives $10 million from Prime Healthcare Foundation to further
address physician shortages, healthcare disparities in underserved communities
California University of Science and Medicine (CUSM), School of Medicine, celebrated its first graduation on May 21,
2022, as the inaugural class of 62 students received their medical degrees.
The ceremony featured a $10 million donation to the school from the Prime
Healthcare Foundation, a commencement address from Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Chief
Medical Correspondent for CNN, and a video address from California Governor
Gavin Newsom and First Lady Jennifer Siebel Newsom sharing their support
of the mission and students.
CUSM is one of the newest medical schools in the nation. CUSM was founded
in 2015 by Dr. Prem Reddy through an initial $60 million contribution
from the Prime Healthcare Foundation and through a unique public-private
partnership with the County of San Bernardino and Arrowhead Regional Medical
Center, the University’s teaching hospital. During the
commencement welcome to more than 700 graduates, faculty, family, and friends, Executive
Vice Dean Pete Eveland, EdD said, “None of this would have ever
been possible without the remarkable generosity, humanitarian spirit,
and desire to give back to this community by our founder and Chair of
the Board, Dr. Prem Reddy.”
“CUSM was created to be a place that would inspire, motivate and
empower the healthcare leaders of tomorrow, and dedicated to addressing
our nation’s physician shortage, healthcare disparities, and advancing
medicine in underserved communities,” said Dr. Reddy, who is also
the Founder, Chairman, President and CEO of Prime Healthcare. Dr. Reddy
added, “For me, this has been a life-long dream to give others the
opportunity I was given. Medicine has the ability to change lives and
therefore, change the world. We are honored to support your dreams, your
future in medicine, and most importantly, your commitment to giving.”
During the commencement, Prime Healthcare Foundation President and Chair
Dr. Kavitha Bhatia presented an additional $10 million donation to the University. The funds
will be used to expand academic programs, support research, address healthcare
disparities and support CUSM’s mission to improve healthcare in
“There has never been a time when healthcare has been more important,
truly saving lives and shaping the future,” said Dr. Bhatia, who
also serves as Founding Vice Chair of the Board of CUSM. “We have
been unified in our commitment to selflessly and tirelessly serve others.
It has reminded us that as physicians, we have a single calling, a calling
that is much greater than ourselves. Today is a dream come true for so
many. We imagined CUSM and the impact it can make to improve health, serve
communities, and address healthcare disparities here and around the world.
We are inspired by these physicians that will be changing the lives of
Dr. Sanjay Gupta was honored as the inaugural commencement speaker. “I
want to congratulate all of you, the first CUSM class of 2022. I am tremendously
honored to be here,” said Dr. Gupta.
Dr. Gupta shared a story of his work as a reporter in the Iraq war when
a soldier was shot in the head, shattering his skull, and ultimately pronounced
dead. After discovering a pulse, Dr. Gupta was asked to “take off
his reporter’s hat and put on his surgeon’s hat, performing
emergent neurosurgery in the middle of a war zone.” He addressed
the graduates, “It was an incredible moment, a medical team coming
together in the middle of a war doing something others had described as
impossible. Changing a life. Saving a life. And graduates, you get to
do that.” Dr. Gupta then recognized and honored the soldier and
his family who were seated in the audience. The soldier received a standing
ovation and proceeded to applaud every future physician as they were hooded.
Among CUSM’s future physicians are captains of the US Army, Army
National Guard and Air Force who will go on to make a difference in the
lives of others.
Dr. Gupta continued, “Be humble. You are about to become the most
important person in countless people’s lives, strangers to you now,
but soon, people with whom you will share some of the most profound relationships
of your life. It really is an enormous privilege to care for another human
being at their most vulnerable time to restore them to health when their
bodies have betrayed them.”
The U.S. faces a projected shortage of physicians. MD supply will not keep
pace with demand in many specialties. CUSM now has 422 students, who are
among the most talented and diverse medical students in the nation. Each
year approximately 130 students are chosen from over 6,000 applications,
with 27 percent the first in their family to attend University, 63 percent
from California, and 39 percent socioeconomically challenged. CUSM students
are not only among the most diverse in the nation but also among the most
talented, scoring in the top 10 percent on the Medical College Admission
Test (MCATs). One hundred percent of the CUSM MD class of 2022 were matched
into residency programs with prestigious specialties and organizations.
“Being the first is a gift; it is a priceless and invaluable experience
that can never be taken away or repeated,” said honors graduate
Xi Chen, student commencement speaker. “We showed grace, finesse,
and maturity through the unprecedented challenges. It is amazing to witness
this class crush expectations and make history.”
“You were here first, blazing a trail that no one had ever traveled
before, the inaugural MD class of CUSM,” said President & Dean
Dr. Paul Lyons. “I knew you were a remarkable group from the moment
I met you, which I can say with certainty has been an experience shared
by everyone who has
ever met you over the last four years. You were focused and mission oriented.
You were committed to helping fulfill the vision of our founder, Dr. Prem
Reddy, whose transformative gifts made CUSM possible.”
During the commencement, the University, Prime Healthcare Foundation, and
the graduates were presented with congressional and legislative recognitions
for outstanding achievements, visionary leadership, and service to the
community. Majority Leader of the California State Assembly, Eloise Gomez
Reyes, recognized Dr. Reddy, “You are a hero to us. You could have
picked any community, and you picked my hometown, Colton, California.
I thank you for all you have done for this community and these students.
This accomplishment is a true testament of your dedicated commitment to
excellence in education.” Other recognitions were received from
Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh; Congresswoman Norma J. Torres; Congresswoman
Judy Chu; Bill Ruh, Montclair Mayor Pro Tem and Prime Healthcare Foundation
board member; and the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.
The Prime Healthcare Foundation, headquartered in Ontario, California,
is a public charity that owns 14 not-for-profit community-based hospitals.
The mission of the Prime Healthcare Foundation is to provide quality,
compassionate healthcare for all, and serve communities through charitable
and educational initiatives.
Dr. Prem Reddy and his family also founded the
Dr. Prem Reddy Family Foundation with the goal of providing and supporting healthcare education that will
improve the quality of life in Southern California and High Desert communities.
About the California University of Science and Medicine
The 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. The California University of Science
and Medicine is a not-for-profit health sciences university established
in 2015, led by MD/PhD faculty members. CUSM offers a Doctor of Medicine
(MD) program and a Master in Biomedical Sciences degree program to prepare
its diverse student body for careers in healthcare, public service, teaching
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Media Contact: Elizabeth Nikels / email@example.com / 909-235-4305