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UC Merced Establishes Planning Office to Finalize Medical School Proposal

September 9, 2008

Maria PallaviciniMERCED -
University of California,
Merced,
Chancellor Steve Kang today announced the appointment of


Maria Pallavicini
as vice provost for health sciences.
Pallavicini, who is dean of the
School of Natural
Sciences
and has led the campus’
medical school planning
process
, will now function in a dual capacity for UC Merced.
She will divide her time serving as vice provost to continue plans
to establish a new
School of Medicineand, as
dean, she will continue to oversee the School of Natural Sciences.

“When we received approval in May from the UC Board of Regents
to continue planning for a medical school, our next step was to put
in place leadership that will move our medical school proposal
forward to completion,” said Kang. “Maria Pallavicini has
spearheaded this project from the beginning. She possesses the
expertise, the vision and the background needed to finalize the
proposal by continuing to work in close consultation with the
faculty, our academic and community partners, UC Davis and UCSF,
and the UC Office of the President to obtain consensus.”

“I thank Chancellor Kang for his confidence in me and I am
pleased to be able to take this project into the next phase,” said
Pallavicini. “A new School of Medicine is desperately needed to
train culturally competent physicians who are committed to serving
the state and the medically underserved San Joaquin Valley.
Furthermore, a medical school is needed to conduct research aimed
at treating and preventing the chronic health problems that persist
in the Valley. And importantly, the medical school will serve as an
economic spark for the Valley and state.”

According to Kang and Pallavicini, there is much work to be
accomplished in the coming months, particularly if the campus is to
submit its full proposal to the Regents in July 2009 as planned.

To assist Pallavicini with medical school planning, UC Merced
hired consultants from the Washington Advisory Group. The firm
specializes in providing strategic advising services and management
consulting to organizations, including research universities,
companies, governments and nonprofit organizations. Recently, the
Medical College of Georgia retained its services to help with a
major expansion to meet rising physician needs in Georgia.

The first task of the consultants will be to assist UC Merced in
identifying a network of organizations that may wish to partner
with the campus and in defining the specific roles that each might
play. Important to the full medical school proposal will be a
comprehensive description of how partner organizations in the
Valley will play essential roles in the new school’s education,
research and clinical programs through various affiliation and
partnership arrangements.

The activities are supported by a gift provided by United Health
Foundation. United Health gave $5 million each to UC Merced and UC
Riverside in July 2006 to be provided over three years to assist in
the development of medical education and health sciences-related
programs in underserved areas of the state.

“Establishing a School of Medicine at UC Merced has numerous
benefits for the campus, Valley and state,” said Kang. “Its
development, however, must not come at the expense of other
programs. We are committed to planning the new school, securing its
approval and ensuring its development while maintaining the quality
of existing programs.”

Pallavicini will serve as vice provost until the Regents approve
the medical school proposal. Their approval will be sought next
year. Afterward, she will return full-time to the position of dean
of the School of Natural Sciences.

To help provide leadership to the School of Natural Sciences,
Kang and Pallavicini announced the appointment of

Professor Anne Myers Kelley
as associate dean of the school.

“Professor Kelley will be of tremendous assistance to me as the
School of Natural Sciences continues to increase its faculty,
students and academic programs,” said Pallavicini. “With more than
35 percent of UC Merced’s students pursuing majors in natural
sciences, our school is growing quickly and will benefit from the
wisdom and leadership Anne brings with her.”

In May 2008, UC Merced received approval from the UC Board of
Regents to continue planning for a medical school. Campus
leadership plans to submit a full proposal to UC President Mark G.
Yudof by March 2009. Pending all university and state approvals,
including authorization from the UC Board of Regents and with
commitment of new funding from the California Legislature, the UC
Merced School of Medicine is planned to open in 2013-2015.