RANCHO MIRAGE — Eisenhower Health, the Coachella Valley’s first accredited teaching hospital is expanding its effort to train future physicians.

Eisenhower Health and the School of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) have formally established an affiliation for the joint training of future physicians to address the Coachella Valley’s medical workforce shortage.

For the past two consecutive years, Eisenhower Medical Center was named a Top Teaching Hospital by The Leapfrog Group.

Eisenhower CEO Aubrey Serfling and UCR medical school Dean Deborah Deas signed the affiliation agreement in an informal ceremony that leadership, faculty and staff of both institutions attended in the Annenberg Health Sciences Building on the Eisenhower Health campus.

“With this affiliation, the future of health care in the Coachella Valley is moving forward,” G. Aubrey Serfling, president and Chief Executive Officer for Eisenhower Health, said in a prepared statement. “Establishing an affiliation with such a respected institution like UCR underscores our commitment to provide the very best care to our patients now and for years to come.”

Also attending the event was UCR Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox, who described the new partnership as an investment in the long-term healthcare needs of the region. “It’s about shared values, an improved quality of life in the Coachella Valley, and a world-class medical education — but it is also about a deeper vision,” Wilcox said in a prepared statement. “The commitment is really a focus on the future, designed to serve upcoming generations, not only treat the patients of today. It is about helping to create a different Coachella Valley in 10, 20, 30 years from now, as these physicians become part of the environment here in the region.”

Opened in 2013, the UCR School of Medicine mission is to expand and diversify the physician workforce of Inland Southern California and improve the health of people living in the region. It currently enrolls approximately 250 medical students, 32 biomedical sciences Ph.D. students, and more than 100 resident physicians and fellows.

Initially, the two institutions will partner to expand residency and fellowship training opportunities in the Coachella Valley. Eisenhower Health currently offers residency training programs in family medicine and internal medicine, a fellowship in sports medicine and, beginning next July, a residency training program in emergency medicine. The UCR School of Medicine sponsors a variety of residency training and fellowship programs, including psychiatry, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, and cardio vascular medicine. They will become the physicians of tomorrow.

Together, the two institutions will start additional Graduate Medical Education programs. The strategy of expanding residency training in the Coachella Valley capitalizes on the primary driver of where physicians practice – where they complete their medical training.

This partnership “will allow us to be an example for other communities of similar demographics, communities that have so few physicians, of how we can come together to make something great,” said Deas, the Mark and Pam Rubin Dean of the UCR medical school and CEO of clinical affairs. “We all share the common vision of providing the best quality care for the people of our communities. I really feel we will epitomize the African proverb, ‘if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’ I’m sure we will go far together.”

“From the very start, our discussions were predicated upon the notion that this has to be a win-win situation for both institutions, and I believe we’ve achieved that,” said John Stansell, MD, Designated Institutional Officer, Eisenhower Health — who will work directly with Gerald A. Maguire, UCR’s associate dean for Graduate Medical Education.


Photo caption above:  (Left to right) John Stansell, MD, Designated Institutional Officer, Eisenhower Health; G. Aubrey Serfling, President and Chief Executive Officer, Eisenhower Health; Deborah Deas, MD, MPH, Dean, UCR Medical School; Kim Wilcox, PhD, Chancellor, UCR, and Gerald A. Maguire, MD, Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education, UCR.