Monday, October 23, 2017
Charles R. Drew University is the Good that Came After the Ugly
By Jennifer Bihm,
Published February 20, 2014

Students appreciate the learning environment at Charles Drew University. Photo courtesy of

After the smoke cleared in Watts in 1965, the major question was what could be done so nothing like [the Watts Riots] would happen again. Charles R. Drew University was one of the answers to that question. Founded in 1966, the private non-profit historically black college, was built to address the inadequacy of medical care in the Watts neighborhood by training minority doctors to serve the poor.

“Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) is a premier mission-driven university dedicated to transforming the lives of underserved communities through health professions education, biomedical research and compassionate patient care,” according to its mission statement.

“Since incorporating in 1966 out of the ashes of the Watts Riots, we’ve been serving South Los Angeles and beyond by working to eliminate health disparities and providing unique, quality education and training opportunities. CDU has produced thousands of diverse health care leaders ready to provide care in today’s workforce with excellence and compassion…”

CDU’s most notable academic offerings include its Master of Science in Nursing Master of Public Health programs. Others include Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Pre-Medicine, Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences, Associate of Science in Health Information Technology, and Associate of Science in Radiographic Technology. In the summer of 2010, CDU officially opened its Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing, which received its full accreditation by both the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education in 2011.

“Our University has evolved and grown, shaped by the needs of the community it serves,”  said CDU officials.

“The institution benefits from its location and the corresponding diversity. Following nearly a decade of community-based advocacy for improved medical services…”

CDU is named for Charles R. Drew, an African American physician and medical researcher, widely known for his pioneering work in blood transfusion and blood storage techniques, both credited for saving thousands of lives during World War II. Drew also fought against segregation and discrimination applied to blood donations. In 1941, Drew was recognized as the first African American surgeon selected to serve as an examiner on the American Board of Surgery.

“[Drew’s] dedication to learning and sharing knowledge to benefit mankind is [our] inspiration,” CDU officials said.

CDU, which had been a long time associate of the Martin Luther King Hospital ran into trouble in 2006 when some of their residency programs had to be terminated due to lost accreditation for not meeting the necessary amount of oversight. When the embattled hospital was forced to close later that year, the two institutions were forced to part ways. In October  of that year, a threat came  in the form of revoked accreditation for the entire school.  But CDU, the only HBCU in Southern California, fought back.

 In 2007, officials from the university announced that they would sue Los Angeles County for $125 million for breach of contract, a lawsuit that was settled in 2009, with an agreement under which the county would rent space to the university on favorable terms and the county and university would work together toward the reopening of MLK Hospital. Today, CDU remains fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. And, said officials, “[our] quality is further validated by prestigious national and regional programmatic accreditations.”  For example, according to their website:

The MD degree for the Drew/UCLA Medical Education program is granted by the University of California, through UCLA, and is accredited by the Liaison Committee of Medical Education (LCME) of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and American Medical Association (AMA). The Drew/UCLA program currently enjoys an eight  year accreditation awarded from LCME. This is the maximum length granted for any LCME accreditation. In addition the program is approved by the State of California Council of Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education to  grant a Doctor of Medicine degree in cooperation with the Board of Regents of the University of California.

Charles Drew University’s Health Information Technology program is accredited by the Committee on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).

 The Radiography program is accredited by The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology and… “ The MPH Program in Urban Public Health, College of Science and Health, at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science is proud to announce that the program has been accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) for a five-year term extending to July 1, 2017.”






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