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UC Merced Takes Next Step Toward Medical Education Program

November 15, 2006

The University of California, Merced has hired Carlos Martini, a physician, distinguished medical educator and consultant involved in the planning of four new medical schools, to further develop the campus’ plans for a medical education program leading to a UC School of Medicine in the San Joaquin Valley.

“I am pleased to announce the hiring of Dr. Carlos Martini as Director of San Joaquin Valley Medical Education Planning,” said Acting Chancellor Roderic B. Park. “Dr. Martini’s expertise and experience will help guide UC Merced in this next and critically important stage of planning for medical education.”

Hired on a consultant basis, Martini’s scope of work involves developing a written proposal for the UC Merced medical education program, which will ultimately culminate in a UC Merced School of Medicine. The proposal will include identification of prospective partners in the Valley, partnerships with UC medical schools, plans for instructional facilities, and a timetable for development. The economic impact of medical education and a medical school in the Valley also will be evaluated.

“We are enthusiastic about the next phases of planning for medical education in the Valley,” said UC Merced Dean of Natural Sciences Maria Pallavicini, who is leading the effort to bring medical education to the San Joaquin Valley together with Joan Voris, associate dean at UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program. “Dr. Martini is an excellent addition to our team. His broad experience in developing medical school plans, particularly in under-served regions of the nation, will help us make rapid progress on the trajectory toward an inaugural class of medical students.”

“We plan to submit a business and economic feasibility plan to the UC Office of the President in June 2007,” Pallavicini added. “Considering Dr. Martini’s track record, I am confident in his ability to build upon the momentum we’ve started.”

Since 2001, Martini has served as medical school project director for Florida International University (FIU). Over the course of five years, he led planning and secured approval of a new public medical school for FIU in south Florida — just one of two new medical schools to be established in the United States in the past 28 years. The medical school was approved by the Florida Board of Governors in March 2006 and by the Legislature and Florida State Gov. Jeb Bush in June 2006.

“I look forward to bringing my experience and knowledge, particularly the insight I have gained over the past five years to UC Merced,” Martini said. “The prospect of developing a medical school in a region where there is a clear need for more physicians is professionally exciting and personally rewarding. I am delighted to be a part of this effort.”

Martini’s background in medical education includes 38 years of academic and research experience — 28 years in the United States and 10 in the United Kingdom. He has held faculty appointments at the University of Colorado Medical School in Denver; Mount Sinai Medical School and Northwestern University Medical School. He also was chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics at the University of Colorado Medical School in Denver. He served as vice president for medical education at the American Medical Association for 11 years and secretary to the Council on Medical Education of the AMA for eight years. He has 11 years of experience as an accreditor of health professions education in the United States and internationally. In addition, he has held senior staff positions with the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education and the Accreditation Council on Continuing Medical Education.

In addition to Florida International University, Martini participated in the development of Nottingham University in England and was the founder and developer of medical schools and academic health centers at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia and Universidad Abierta Interamericana-Argentina, Campus Universitario en Punta del Este in Uruguay.

Martini earned his doctor of medicine at the University of Buenos Aires; a master’s in public health from Yale University; a master’s of science from the University of London and completed a Fellow of the Faculty of Community Medicine from the Royal College of Physicians of the United Kingdom.

UC Merced first announced plans to develop health sciences and medical education programs in the Valley in March of this year. To inform and involve community members in the process, the campus held a series of community meetings throughout the Valley during March and April. With broad-based support from the Valley, in June, UC Merced submitted a preliminary plan to the UC Office of the President to establish a medical education program leading to a School of Medicine. UC Merced’s plan is to establish a medical education program to address the disproportionate physician shortage in the Valley, with a particular emphasis on training physicians who are competent in multi-cultural health care and who are committed to serving the needs of the San Joaquin Valley. The proposed medical education program is based on academic partnerships and utilizes existing resources in the Valley and sister UC campuses.

When submitted, UC Merced’s proposal must go through customary University — and state — review and approval processes for consideration of all new programs and schools.