Vallejo's Touro University gets state grant to promote its physician assistant programs

Vallejo Times-Herald staff report
Posted: 02/08/2012 01:04:34 AM PST

Touro University in Vallejo has received a $125,060 grant from a state agency which aims to increase the number of primary care providers, physician assistants and family nurse practitioners.

The grants stem from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD), which awarded $1.47 million through its Song-Brown Program.

Grace Landel, director of Touro's Physician Assistant Program, said the school applies for the grant annually and this year's is more than twice the amount the school got last year.

Locally, funds will go to recruit students who fulfill Touro's mission of finding ways to provide medical services to under-served communities. Students who come from such communities are more likely to return to them after they are medically trained, Landel said.

The program has one student from Vallejo, she said. Another program goal is to reduce health disparities in Northern California.

Grant funds will also go to cover travel expenses for Touro students who do six-week training sessions in Hoopa, a small town in Northern California, Landel said.

The awards are funded by the California Health Data Planning Fund established to receive and spend money in support of various health care programs.

Funds for the grants are generated through annual fees collected from health facilities. Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park alsoreceived a $169,959 grant through the program.

In awarding the grants, OSHPH Acting Director Stephanie Clendenin said that family nurse practitioners and physician assistants are "uniquely positioned to improve access to vulnerable populations."

Another aim of Touro University is to increase access to medical care for underserved populations locally and elsewhere. Toward that aim, Touro University has opened a medical clinic in South Vallejo and teamed up with Solano County to staff the county's health clinics in Vallejo.

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