State tobacco tax-funded program awards $38M to expand California’s health care workforce

November 17, 2022

Awardees will help address physician shortage, increase access to care; Demand for CalMedForce GME funding at all time high with over $108.8M requested

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Physicians for a Healthy California (PHC) today announced more than $38 million in CalMedForce awards across the state to support medical training and residency programs and help grow the physician workforce.

The fifth round of CalMedForce funding, generated by the voter-approved Proposition 56 tobacco tax of 2016 and administered by PHC, supports 210 residency positions in 129 graduate medical education (GME) programs at hospitals and clinics, with an emphasis on those serving medically underserved groups and communities. This cycle marks the largest applicant pool to date, with 138 applications requesting over $108.8 million in funding to support 609 resident positions.

The California Future Health Workforce Commission estimated that California will need 4,700 additional primary care clinicians by 2025 and approximately 4,100 more by 2030 to meet demand. PHC, in partnership with the University of California (UC), established the CalMedForce grant program to help address California’s physician shortage by supporting the residency programs where medical school graduates must continue training to obtain a medical license and care for patients independently.

"Our largest application pool yet reflects the critical need for graduate medical education funding in California to close our physician shortage gap," said PHC President and CEO Lupe Alonzo-Diaz, MPA. "CalMedForce funds help keep residency programs alive, growing and strengthening their commitment to learning and equity."

UC is the designated recipient of Proposition 56 funding and has contracted with PHC to administer CalMedForce. All accredited residency programs in the state that meet guidelines are eligible to apply for funding. Of this year’s CalMedForce awardees, approximately 18 of the GME programs are sponsored by UC.

To date, CalMedForce has allocated over $189 million for 500 awards to 143 GME programs across California to retain and expand GME programs in primary care (family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology) and emergency medicine.

“The increasing demand for funding reflects the importance of this program in supporting the health workforce of California and improving the access to high quality care, particularly to our medically underserved groups and communities.” said Deena McRae, MD, Interim Associate Vice President for Academic Health Sciences in the University of California, Office of the President. “Funding of these residency programs helps the state make critical steps towards achieving health equity.”

“This year’s funding is another crucial step towards combating the ongoing shortage of California residency programs that poses an ongoing challenge for expanding the physician workforce, and improving and ensuring access to care in California,” said Alonzo-Diaz.

For more information, visit CalMedForce.org. (@PHCdocs / #CalMedForce)

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