Thursday, December 9, 2021
Charles R. Drew University Launches Plans for Independent Four-Year Medical Education Program and Community Health Worker Academy With $1.3 Million in Grants From Cedars-Sinai
By Sentinel News Service
Published July 18, 2019

Two grants will help train and educate diverse workforce to address physician and healthcare professional shortages in underserved communities.


Courtesy Photo

Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science has received two grants from Cedars-Sinai to help the South Los Angeles medical and health professions university address physician and other health professional shortages, as well as health disparities in chronically underserved communities.

The first is a three-year planning grant of $1,128,330 to support the development of a four-year independent medical education program, with a first class of 60 students to start in September 2023.

The second is a two-year grant of $243,245 to support CDU’s development of a curriculum for a new Community Health Worker Academy, which would train a variety of health professionals to fill a range of clinical and community needs in medically underserved communities.


“We are thrilled and exceedingly grateful to Cedars-Sinai for its support of our efforts to create the much-needed healthcare workforce of the future: more physicians and primary care providers, many from underresourced  communities of color who then return to practice in those same communities,” said Dr. David M. Carlisle, CDU President/CEO.  “In just ten years, California will face a health worker shortfall of 4,100 primary care clinicians, a trend that is more acute in medically underserved, low-income communities of color. Without more focused planning and action, those gaps will widen. With these grants from Cedars-Sinai, CDU will be able to take definitive steps toward addressing those gaps.”

Thomas M. Priselac, President/CEO of Cedars-Sinai, said the institution is committed to training the next generation of medical providers who can focus on the needs of underserved communities. “It’s critical that all residents of Los Angeles have access to quality healthcare,” Priselac said. “Charles R. Drew University has developed expertise in culturally competent care focused on reducing health disparities.  It is exactly the type of organization Cedars-Sinai seeks as a partner for this essential work.”

CDU’s newly planned four-year independent medical education program will not replace its existing Charles R. Drew/ UCLA Medical Education Program, which has been the result of a five-decade partnership with the University of California and UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.  Rather, it will be an additional program offering by CDU’s School of Medicine.

CDU is noted for the diversity of its students, over 80 percent of whom are from communities of color. This is particularly important as the state’s population becomes more diverse, and surveys show patients seek out and prefer culturally appropriate physicians and other health care providers.

The University’s enrollment continues to grow, and the campus is currently undergoing a renovation and expansion, with a new grand entrance and new student center scheduled for completion later this year.

For more information, visit, and follow CDU on FacebookTwitter (@cdrewu), and Instagram (@charlesrdrewu).

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