Program Awarded Grant to Promote a Diverse Healthcare Workforce

Joint Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies/Master of Public Health Program Awarded a $91,000 Song-Brown Healthcare Workforce Training Grant

April 18, 2024

Touro University California (TUC) is thrilled to announce a monumental achievement in its mission to shape the future of healthcare. The Joint Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies/Master of Public Health (MSPAS/MPH) Program has been awarded with a prestigious Song-Brown Healthcare Workforce Training Programs Grant through the esteemed Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD).

In a resounding endorsement of TUC's commitment to excellence, this year's grant of $91,000 will power the first-year Physician Assistant student curriculum and fortify the groundbreaking 2-week BRIDGE Program. TUC's success shines brightly among the selected recipients, as its application emerged triumphant among eighteen other deserving contenders.

 “Starting in 2012, we’ve provided a 2-week BRIDGE Program for up to 10 incoming students. The BRIDGE Program helps incoming students that may need extra support whether because they are anxious about the transition to PA school or if they have been out of school for a long time.” said Joint MSPAS/MPH Program Director Joy Moverley. “We are also using funds to support an eight-week faculty fellowship. Our new graduates will be available after they graduate to help with tutoring and learn more about the specialty of academic medicine. All our previous fellows have gone on to continue to support the program either as part-time adjunct faculty or clinical preceptors.” 

The Song-Brown Healthcare Workforce Training Programs Grant provides funding to education programs to provide clinical training and education in underserved areas, to incentivize programs to increase the number of underrepresented minority primary care practitioners, and increase access to healthcare to the state’s underserved population. Funded programs are evaluated based on the percentage of graduates from underserved areas, the percentage of disadvantaged students, and the percentage of graduates serving underserved areas in the state. 

Since 2002, TUC’s Joint MSPAS/MPH Program has prepared students to become PAs with a public health perspective. By integrating coursework, students earn two degrees simultaneously over a 33-month period. This overlapping structure and the fact that all of the PA students also earn an MPH distinguishes TUC’s joint program from other PA programs where the two courses of study are pursued independently. As part of the program, students choose a specialized public health track – the Community Health track for those who will work with state, community, and nonprofit public health organizations; the Global Health track that prepares students to be effective leaders and advocates for global health; or the newly created Health Equity and Criminal Justice track that prepares students to advocate for and address the health needs of populations involved in the justice system.

“As a recipient of the Song-Brown Healthcare Workforce Training Programs Grant, our Joint MSPAS/MPH Program at Touro University California takes great pride in its commitment to addressing healthcare disparities and serving underserved populations,” says Tami Hendriksz, Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, and TUC Interim Chief Academic Officer. “Our unique approach, integrating clinical training with a public health perspective, not only prepares students to become skilled PAs but also equips them with the knowledge and tools to make a meaningful impact in their communities. This grant reinforces our dedication to producing healthcare professionals who are equipped to meet the diverse needs of California's underserved areas.”