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KGI and L.A. Care Health Plan Invest in Future Physicians and Healthcare Providers in KGI’s Community Medicine Program

Keck Graduate Institute (KGI), a leader in healthcare and biotech graduate education, along with L.A. Care Health Plan, the largest publicly operated health plan in the country, have combined forces to offer students from diverse communities an education that is transforming the future of healthcare through the groundbreaking Master of Science in Community Medicine (MSCM) program.

The two-year, fully online graduate degree within KGI’s School of Community Medicine is revolutionizing how to educate future physicians, healthcare providers, and health professionals in the sciences and technologies that matter today—and are already changing how healthcare will be provided tomorrow.

Now in its second year, students in the MSCM program are becoming qualified leaders in community medicine who will go on to careers in healthcare and clinical settings. Graduates will gain the skills to engage their communities, foster strong positive relationships, and understand health priorities.

“We have the opportunity to transform medical education and prepare physicians and healthcare providers for satisfying careers in community medicine in the underserved and underrepresented communities where they work,” said KGI President Dr. Sheldon Schuster.

Representing diversity in age, race, and gender, the inaugural cohort of MSCM students are L.A. Care Scholars, thanks to a generous $5 million grant from L.A. Care Health Plan’s Elevating the Safety Net, an initiative to address a looming physician shortage in Los Angeles County.

“L.A. Care is proud to support the Master of Science in Community Medicine program, which will prepare students from diverse backgrounds to become physicians who could one day serve our members,” said John Baackes, L.A. Care CEO. “When we launched Elevating the Safety Net in 2018, we hoped other organizations would join us in expanding the pipeline for new physicians who could work in L.A. County, and this program does just that.”

The MSCM program helps to address shortages in physicians and healthcare workers in underserved and underrepresented populations in the United States. The program prepares aspiring health professionals from underserved and underrepresented populations to collaborate with their communities to improve overall health.

“Being an L.A. Care Scholar provides me the opportunity to pursue a graduate education,” said Valentin Felix, MSCM ’23.

“My bachelor’s in Molecular Biology prepares me for a career in the lab, though my goal has always been to serve my community through improving their health, and L.A. Care makes my dream possible.”

KGI launched its first MSCM class in 2021 with an online, fully asynchronous learning model. KGI is focused on making the MSCM degree accessible nationwide to full-time working healthcare professionals who want to pursue a career in community medicine or upskill within their current roles.

KGI also has a pipeline with the California State University System, the largest and most diverse university in the nation, for qualified students to enter the MSCM program and pursue careers in medicine and help alleviate one of the nation’s biggest challenges.

“The financial support and recognition from L.A. Care means that I can move forward in my education without the stress of financial limitations,” said Karina Quiroz, MSCM ’23. “I am a first-generation college graduate, meaning I am the first in my family to pursue a master’s degree.”

With the start of the 2022-2023 academic year, KGI and L.A. Care Health Plan are proud to welcome the second cohort of MSCM students who will become highly qualified physicians and healthcare providers in their communities.

“I hope the MSCM program can provide me with the base knowledge that I need to one day obtain an MD degree and serve low-income/medically underserved areas in Los Angeles and Southern California,” said incoming student Sadat Zaman, MSCM ‘24.

Added incoming student Valeria Restrepo, MSCM ’24, “I hope this program will prepare me to become the best physician I can be and a voice for fellow Latinos in the healthcare field.”

Jayde Hubbard, MSCM ’24, added: “After the MSCM program, my goal is to become a physician in the minority communities.”

About Keck Graduate Institute (KGI)
KGI, a member of The Claremont Colleges, is a recognized leader in biotechnology and healthcare education. KGI offers innovative postgraduate degrees and certificates that integrate life and health sciences, business, pharmacy, engineering, and genetics, focusing on industry projects, hands-on industry experiences, and team collaboration. A member of The Claremont Colleges, KGI employs an entrepreneurial approach and industry connections that provide pathways for students to become leaders within healthcare and the applied life sciences. KGI consists of three schools: Henry E. Riggs School of Applied Life Sciences, School of Community Medicine, and School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. For more information, follow KGI on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Instagram.

About L.A. Care Health Plan
L.A. Care Health Plan serves more than 2.7 million members in Los Angeles County, making it the country’s largest publicly operated health plan. L.A. Care offers four health coverage plans, including Medi-Cal, L.A. Care Covered™, L.A. Care Cal MediConnect Plan, and the PASC-SEIU Homecare Workers Health Care Plan, all dedicated to being accountable and responsive to members. As a public entity, L.A. Care’s mission is to provide access to quality healthcare for L.A. County’s low-income communities and to support the safety net required to achieve that purpose. L.A. Care prioritizes quality, access, and inclusion, elevating healthcare for all of L.A. County. For more information, follow L.A. Care on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.