CNS – The Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, which had been associated with now-closed Martin Luther King Jr.-Drew Medical Center, announced plans for a $43 million research and nursing school building in South Los Angeles, it was reported. The project will be the first comprehensive training facility for nurses to be built in California in several years and the first ever in South Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reported. The building is being funded by a $43 million in bonds issued by the California Educational Facilities Authority, which assists private, nonprofit institutions of higher learning.
The school, founded in the wake of the 1965 Watts riot, has had its share of troubles. Going back to the 1980s, it had periodic credentialing crises for various residency programs. In 2006, the county-run hospital in Willowbrook severed ties with the two-year medical school and eliminated funding for about 250 medical residents.
Since then, the university has overcome accreditation problems and, in partnership with UCLA—students go to UCLA the first two years and Drew the next two—has continued training medical students to become physicians practicing in underserved communities. The new 63,000-square-foot building that will house the research center and nursing school is scheduled to be completed in fall 2009. The Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing—named after the longtime politician who as a state senator wrote the legislation 40 years ago that created Drew—will begin accepting 40 students for the first class next year. Dymally, now a Democratic state assemblyman from Compton, participated in the groundbreaking ceremony and received a standing ovation when his name was announced.
Negotiations with a private hospital for reopening MLK-Drew Medical Center collapsed earlier this month.