Bains proposes UC medical school for Kern County

The proposed medical school would aim to address the severe shortage of doctors in the San Joaquin Valley.

Asm. Jasmeet Bains (D–Bakersfield), who is also a doctor, would like to see Kern County have its own medical school. 

Bains introduced Assembly Bill 2357 this week to require the University of California to build a medical school in Kern County. 


The big picture: AB 2357, known as the Grow Our Own bill, would create the University of California San Joaquin Valley Regional Campus Medical Education Endowment Fund. 

  • Endowment funds would support a University of California School of Medicine in Kern County. 

Why it matters: The San Joaquin Valley suffers from a severe shortage in doctors, compared to the rest of California. 

  • The California Health Care Foundation reported in 2021 that the San Joaquin Valley had 47 primary care physicians per 100,000 residents, short of the state average of 60. 
  • Only the Inland Empire region had a worse shortage at 41 primary care physicians per 100,000 people. 

What they’re saying: “A medical school can do a lot of good for our community,” Bains said. “We can address health care shortages, we can train more doctors and nurses, we can create more good paying jobs and diversify our economy. This is the way that we start to tackle our health care issues in the valley.” 

  • Emily Duran, CEO of Kern Health Systems, said the Grow Our Own bill would give more Kern County residents an opportunity to pursue a medical profession to meet the great local need. 
  • “Having more home-grown doctors and nurses in our county would create more access to healthcare in both rural and urban areas, therefore, securing better health outcomes for all,” Duran said. 
  • Kern County Supervisor David Couch added, “The Valley is the best in the world at growing produce, and we are proud of that heritage. With a new medical school, we can grow our doctors, too. I am excited to work with Dr. Bains to bring a world class medical school to Kern County.”
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