What’s new with KGI’s medical school?

Clouds streak the blue sky above a KGI building
Keck Graduate Institute partnered with California State University to recruit for its’ new medical school. (Anna Choi • The Student Life)

In 2018, Keck Graduate Institute announced its plan to found a medical school. Three years later, in August, the school welcomed an inaugural cohort of 22 students to the School of Medicine’s first degree-granting program: a two-year online Master of Science in Community Medicine.

In this time, KGI has also focused on philanthropic outreach, raising millions from private investors and healthcare organizations. 

In 2019, KGI appointed Dr. J. Mario Molina as the founding dean, although he resigned just six months later to “pursue other opportunities,” according to a press release. In March 2020, Dr. David Lawrence, the former CEO of Kaiser Permanente, was named the new medical school dean. 

Last March, the university announced a partnership with the California State University system to recruit qualified local CSU students in an attempt to promote diversity and address the nation’s healthcare worker shortage.

“Who we recruit, where we recruit them from, and how and where we train them is critical in encouraging doctors to practice in the communities that need them the most,” Lawrence said in a press release. 

The new community health master’s program gave admissions preference to first-generation students and students dedicated to working in “underserved or underrepresented communities” from the CSU system, according to the university’s website. 

The program was funded by a $5 million grant from L.A. Care Health Plan, the largest publicly operated health plan in the country. The first cohort received full tuition waivers. 

”KGI’s School of Medicine has recruited a diverse group of scholars who will serve as a pipeline for physicians into the L.A. County safety net. Ultimately, they will help to advance health equity in communities that are currently underserved,” John Baackes, L.A. Care CEO, said in the release. 

Dr. Monique Williams, hired in March 2021, serves as the master’s program’s founding director and a professor. 

KGI’s ultimate goal is establishing an integrated five-year program that includes the new two-year online master’s degree. Qualified graduates could opt to follow it with a three-year Doctor of Medicine program, which is still in development.

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