March 29, 2022
The Honorable Pete Aguilar
109 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Congressman Aguilar,
Inland Action offers its strong support for California State University, San Bernardino’s (CSUSB) community project funding request to help launch a Master’s of Science in Physician Assistant (MSPA) program. This proposed program will be the only MSPA offered by a public university in Inland Southern California, which suffers from a critical shortage of primary care physicians and healthcare workers. According to the Healthforce Center at UC San Francisco, the Inland Empire has the lowest physician to resident ratio in the state. The two county region has fewer than 30 primary care physicians for every 100,000 residents, far below the recommended 70 per 100,000 people.
CSUSB’s proposed MSPA program is a smart approach to managing the growing demand for primary care physicians in the Inland Empire as it allows the region to move quickly to expand the size and scope of primary care teams. Training highly skilled physician assistants takes less time – and is less expensive – than graduating medical doctors, which can take eight or more years. CSUSB’s MSPA program will welcome its first cohort of students in the fall of 2024. These students will complete their training and be ready to fill skilled, high-wage PA positions within three years.
The California Health Care Foundation reports that the greatest indicator of where physicians and healthcare workers practice is where these individuals complete their training. Additionally, studies show that people who grow up in underserved areas are more likely to practice there if they studied in that region to become physicians and other healthcare professionals. With this in mind, CSUSB will grant preferred admission to Inland Empire residents who apply to and meet the MSPA qualifications, with the aim of retaining these skilled health professionals in the region.
In addition to helping to expand the skilled healthcare workforce our underserved region needs, CSUSB also seeks to address the startling lack of diversity among healthcare professionals. By educating individuals who come from our diverse local communities, CSUSB will help to ensure many more future healthcare professionals will have the cultural insights needed to provide the quality care that the Inland Empire’s diverse residents deserve.
The members of Inland Action respectfully ask for your support of CSUSB’s MSPA program to help address one of our region’s most pressing and rapidly growing challenges.
Carole Beswick, CEO