Bill to build UC medical school in Kern County receives committee approval

Kern County could host a new medical school through the University of California if the Legislature backs a proposal from Asm. Jasmeet Bains.

A proposal to build a medical school in Kern County is moving through the California Legislature. 

The proposal, authored by Asm. Jasmeet Bains (D–Delano), passed through the Assembly Higher Education committee on Tuesday with bipartisan support. 


The big picture: Bains is proposing to build a University of California medical school campus in Kern County. 

  • Assembly Bill 2357 would create an endowment in the California State Treasury to allow funding sources to contribute to the school’s initial and ongoing funding. 
  • Once the funding requirements are met, the bill would require the University of California to build the campus. 

By the numbers: The Central Valley ranks among the most medically underserved areas in California. 

  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends a ratio of 60 to 80 primary care physicians per 100,000 residents. California averages 60 primary care physicians per 100,000 residents. But the Central Valley had 47 primary care physicians per 100,000 residents in 2021, according to a report from the California Health Care Foundation. 

What we’re watching: AB 2357 will now head to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for consideration before heading to a vote on the Assembly floor. 

What they’re saying: “A medical school is exactly the prescription we need to not only provide jobs but also improve healthcare access and create an opportunity for aspiring physicians and nurses to practice where they have roots in the community,” Bains said. 

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