The COVID-19 pandemic is underscoring the shortage of physicians—especially primary care physicians and psychiatrists—to care for the large, diverse, and growing population of California. To ensure the future stability and capacity of the health care system, the California Future Health Workforce Commission recommended an expansion of graduate medical education (GME) to produce more California physicians, especially in needed specialties and underserved regions of the state.
Acting on the Commission’s recommendation, Mathematica Senior Fellow Diane Rittenhouse will lead a two-year transitional GME program office for California, funded by the California Health Care Foundation. This work builds on previous work conducted by the foundation and its partners to accelerate GME expansion efforts in California. The transitional program office will provide interim leadership, coordinate with GME experts and leaders at the state and national level, design and vet a permanent GME governance council, and produce resources meant for immediate use, such as a toolkit and additional supporting resources for hospitals interested in establishing new residency programs.
“There is an urgent need to expand graduate medical education in California to meet the needs of the growing and diverse population. We look forward to partnering with hospitals and health centers to launch or expand GME programs and with professional organizations and stakeholders to influence GME expansion,” said Rittenhouse. “We are also ready to work with policymakers at all levels to address the physician shortages highlighted by the COVID-19 crisis.”