UC Merced breaks ground on Medical Education Building — Merced County Times (2024)

UC Merced Trustee Monya Lane, Assemblymember Esmeralda Soria, University of California President Michael V. Drake, UC Merced Chancellor Juan Sanchez Munoz and Board of Regents Chair Rich Leib join in the groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday for the new UC Merced Medical School.

University of California President Michael V. Drake called the groundbreaking an event ‘decades in the making.’

Local medical pioneers, Dr. Hanimireddy Lakireddy and Dr. Art Kamangar, greet each other during the UC Merced event.

An artist’s rendering of the new $300 million Medical Education Building.

Armed with golden shovels, UC Merced leaders broke ground Tuesday evening on a new campus building that is expected to help produce doctors and medical professionals to serve the local community and improve health access in the Central Valley.

The $300 million, four-story Medical Education Building, located on the eastern edge of campus, will provide the university’s so-called “B.S. to M.D.” pathway, as well as house the university’s departments of Psychology and Public Health, the Health Sciences Research Institute, and a range of general assignment learning environments.

“Medical education had long been part of the plan for UC Merced since before we opened our doors to undergraduates in 2005,” Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz said during the ceremony. “It was very much a dream, but one far too long deferred until now.”

The urgency for medical education was driven by the critical lack of health care professionals in the Central Valley, a problem that has only grown since. The Central Valley has only 47 primary care physicians for every 100,000 residents, according to the California Health Care Foundation.

“We know from the research literature that medical professionals are far more likely to establish practices in the places where they were educated and undertook their residencies,” Muñoz said. “That is why our new medical education program — known as SJV Prime Plus — in partnership with UCSF and USCF-Fresno, is so important to the people and communities of the Central Valley.”

Those who go through this “B.S. to M.D.” pathway will earn a four-year bachelor’s degree, complete 1.5 years of pre-medical clinical training and 2.5 years of clinical training that culminates with a doctor of medicine degree from the UCSF School of Medicine.

Last fall, UC Merced welcomed its first cohort of Prime Plus students — all recruited from the valley and committed to their families and their communities. The next cohort will be announced shortly.

One member of the first cohort, Sanmeet Deol, spoke at Tuesday’s groundbreaking.

“We are all from the valley, and for the valley, and committed to serving those in need of quality health care in our respective communities throughout the San Joaquin Valley for generations to come,” she said.

UC President Michael Drake, who attended the ceremony along with other top leaders in the UC system, said the program for students such as Doel has been “many, many decades in the making.”

Drake said the PRIME program began 20 years ago to train students with special expertise to provide medical care to people from challenging backgrounds. He said these programs have immediate and lasting effects on the campuses and surrounding areas.

“This kind of an impact will last for years.”

Other guests at the groundbreaking included local and state elected officials, donors, members of the medical community and UC representatives. The UC Board of Regents is in the middle of a three-day meeting at UC Merced, the first one held on the Merced campus. Attendees watched a video describing the program, examined a 3D rendering of the building, played health-related games and listened to speakers describe how momentous the event is.

“The new building willcreate an infrastructure torecruit, train and help retain health professionals fromthe Central Valley who are uniquely qualified to address the health needs of the region,” said Dr. David Rubin, executive vice president of University of California Health. “UC Health is thankful for the years of collaboration with local and state leaders that led to this point, and we look forward to seeing the future physicians that will come through these doors and go on to provide high-quality care in their communities.”

State Assemblywoman Esmerelda Soria, who represents this region in Sacramento , said she is just the latest in a long line of public officials (including former Assemblyman Adam Gray and Congressman Jim Costa) to support the effort to bring medical education to UC Merced.

“We know that this region is one of the fastest-growing, poorest and least healthy,” she said. “We know our area has a longstanding shortage of physicians and other health care professionals. We know that what we are doing today is ensuring to have a better and brighter and healthier future for our entire region.”

Slated for completion in 2026, the new Medical Education Building is the latest advance at a university campus that has grown remarkably in size and stature since its own groundbreaking in October 2002.

“We make history in Merced every day — with every student whose success we propel, with every research project that pushes the bounds of knowledge, with every community engagement project that improves life in the Central Valley and California,” Muñoz said. “Today, we are writing more history — a history of greater education, broader research and more lives improved in the Valley and beyond.”

UC Merced breaks ground on Medical Education Building — Merced County Times (2024)


Will UC Merced become a good school? ›

Since UC Merced's growth rate is better than any of the other public Universities in the US in recent years, this University could be even better than it's closest competitor UC Riverside or any other UCs in a few years.

How many students are accepted at UC Merced? ›

University of California, Merced has an acceptance rate of 89%. The application deadline at University of California, Merced is Nov.

What is unique about UC Merced? ›

The campus is the first public research university certified as carbon-neutral, and every campus building is LEED certified. The Sierra Club named UC Merced the no. 7 “Cool School” in the nation, and the AASHE Sustainable Campus Index in 2022 ranked the university no.

What percentage of students live on campus UC Merced? ›

University of California, Merced has a total undergraduate enrollment of 8,344 (fall 2022), with a gender distribution of 51% male students and 49% female students. At this school, 49% of the students live in college-owned, -operated or -affiliated housing and 51% of students live off campus.

Why is UC Merced ranked so high? ›

UC Merced's first-generation student enrollment, which is well-documented, was also key to the university's rise in the ranking. Among the new criteria factored into the rankings was first-generation graduation rates and how they compared to graduation rates of non-first generation students.

What are the top 5 majors at UC Merced? ›

The most popular majors at University of California, Merced include: Biology/Biological Sciences, General; Research and Experimental Psychology, Other; Computer Engineering, General; Mechanical Engineering; Business Administration and Management, General; Public Health, General; Sociology, General; Political Science ...

What is UC Merced ranked nationally? ›

University of California, Merced Rankings

University of California, Merced is ranked #60 out of 439 National Universities. Schools are ranked according to their performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence.

Why did UC choose Merced? ›

The forming of UC Merced was initiated to address the large population growth of the Central Valley and the San Joaquin Valley, and to make higher education more accessible for students in the region.

What is the easiest major to get into UC Merced? ›

4 Easiest Majors to Transfer into UC Merced
Undeclared2.92 - 3.4194%
Economics3.03 - 3.5464%
Political Science2.96 - 3.5962%
Psychology2.91 - 3.4856%
Jan 31, 2017

Why is UC Merced housing so expensive? ›

She says while off campus housing is calculated by the housing market, on campus rates are based on staff hiring and programs for students and new buildings. "There's costs involved when you have a building," she said. "So, we're paying the bonds on that. Some students say it's a hefty price tag to pay."

Is it cheaper to live on or off campus UC Merced? ›

UC Merced, the system's least popular school, has the biggest gap between on-campus and off-campus living costs: nearly $8,000. It costs nearly twice as much to live on campus as it does to rent an apartment nearby.

What is the average GPA in UC Merced? ›

The average GPA at UC Merced is 3.64. This makes UC Merced Strongly Competitive for GPAs. (Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA. With a GPA of 3.64, UC Merced requires you to be above average in your high school class.

Why would anyone go to UC Merced? ›


UC Merced is renowned for its innovative spirit and continuously leads the way in cutting-edge research, practice, and visionary projects on sustainability.

Is UC Merced a top tier school? ›

University of California, Merced is ranked #60 out of 439 National Universities. Schools are ranked according to their performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence.

Will UC Merced ever grow out of its guaranteed admission programs? ›

Chiavelli said the programs may never be eliminated. Instead, he said, it's possible the university could simply admit fewer students through them, particularly if demands for certain majors interfere with enrollment capacity.

Is UC Merced expanding? ›

The Merced 2020 Project, which added 13 facilities to UC Merced's campus and nearly doubled its square footage, has so far contributed $510.9 million to the regional economy through construction costs alone.

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