Health + Behavior

Molina Healthcare and Its Affiliates Donate $100,000 to the UCLA International Medical Graduates Program

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Molina Healthcare, Inc., a multi-state managed careorganization, has donated $50,000 to the UCLA International Medical Graduatesprogram, and Dr. J. Mario Molina, the organization's chief executive officer,has contributed $50,000 to the program through his donor-advised fund atPeninsula Community Foundation.

International medical graduates, or IMGs, are physicians whohave graduated from medical schools outside of the United States, Puerto Rico or Canada. UCLA's IMG pilot programhelps IMG physicians compete forprimary care residency training positions in U.S. teaching hospitals and assiststhem in obtaining their medical licenses with the goal of allowing them to workin underserved Hispanic and other minority communities upon completion of theirresidency training. 

According to recent datafrom the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development,20 percent of Californians, ornearly 6.9 million people, livein medically underserved areas without access to primary health care. Among Hispanics in California,the lack of access to care is even more acute, with some 3.8 million living inthese underserved areas. Several studies have documented that black andHispanic physicians are more likely to practice in such underserved communities. At present, Hispanics make up 31 percent of the state's population but representonly 4 percent of the state's physicians. The new IMG pilot program at UCLA willhelp close this gap.

"With the growing changes indemographics throughout California and the United States,it is important for patients to feel comfortable with their doctors," Molinasaid. "At Molina, we understand that cultural competency and linguistics are animportant aspect of health care. We are happy to contribute to the InternationalMedical Graduates program because we know this program will produce bilingualdoctors who will help meet health care needs in underserved communities."

  

The IMG program, conceivedand housed within the departmentof family medicine in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, wasestablished nearly a year ago to help IMGs prepare for the residency training programs that are required forlicensure in the United States. Currently, six IMG physicians areenrolled. The IMG pre-residencypreparation program provides training, educational materials and a stipend in the hope that enrollees willobtain residency positions and go on to become board-certified primary carephysicians and practice in underserved areas within the state. Thepilot program is endorsed by the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and funded solely through donationsfrom contributors like Molina Healthcare.

 "Molina Healthcare has beena longtime supporter of our communitymedicine programs, including our pipeline programs to interest more minoritystudents, starting in high school, in careers in health care," said Dr. Patrick T. Dowling, professor and chair ofthe UCLA Department of Family Medicine. "The David Geffen School ofMedicine is extremely thankful for their generous donation.  This programis unusual because it provides amonthly stipend for IMG physicians to help offset the cost of tuition, livingexpenses and other costs associated with attaining their license to practice inthe United States. Ifthey make it, the students will graduate in 2007. Since there is no state moneyallocated for this program, the only reason it is up and running is because ofthe generous private donations of supporters like Molina Healthcare."

  

Molina Healthcare,Inc. is a multi-state managed care organization that arranges for thedelivery of health care services to persons eligible for Medicaid and othergovernment-sponsored programs for low-income families and individuals. MolinaHealthcare, Inc. currently operates health plans in California,Indiana, Michigan,New Mexico, Ohio,Utah and Washington.  Additional informationabout Molina Healthcare, Inc. can be viewed at www.molinahealthcare.com.

The David GeffenSchool of Medicine at UCLA ranks among the nation's elite medical schools,producing doctors and researchers whose contributions have led to majorbreakthroughs in health care. With more than 2,000 full-time faculty members,nearly 1,300 residents, more than 750 medical students and almost 400 Ph.D.candidates, the medical school is ranked seventh in the country in researchfunding from the National Institutes of Health and third in the United Statesin research dollars from all sources.

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