Beverly Grove-based Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has received a $30 million donation from the family foundation of film and television director Chuck Lorre to establish a new school to provide medical training for individuals and health care professionals in understaffed hospital specialties.
The Chuck Lorre School of Allied Health will essentially be a cross between a full-on medical school and existing programs run by Cedars to train medical residents and other health care professionals. It is the latest of several initiatives at Cedars funded by the Chuck Lorre Family Foundation.
According to the March 20 announcement, the training for emerging health care professionals will certify them in one of six areas of work that are chronically understaffed: respiratory therapy, pharmacy technician training, clinical laboratory science, MRI technology, radiologic technology, and echo/cardio technology.
The school is scheduled to begin in three years with an initial class of about 50 students. The programs will range from six months to two years in duration and be conducted both in-person and online. Students employed by Cedars will receive pay and will have the ability to schedule the training programs around their hospital duties. Those not employed by Cedars will receive tuition assistance.
The school will also seek to address pay disparities that often impact job seekers in the medical field from underrepresented communities by providing an avenue to increase income through skills development.
For the Chuck Lorre Family Foundation, this school is the next step in its philanthropic activities with Cedars. In 2014, the foundation’s donation led to the establishment of the Cedars-Sinai Youth Employment and Development program at nearby Fairfax High School in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Currently, more than 100 Fairfax High School students who have gone through the program are employed at Cedars.
Lorre, whose many TV hits include Two and a Half Men, The Kominsky Method, and The Big Bang Theory, said he has long sought to help those in underserved communities gain access to education.
“Choosing to collaborate with Cedars-Sinai, one of health care’s most respected institutions, was not a tough call for me,” Lorre said in the announcement. “When the opportunity presented itself to provide training and certificates for underserved individuals in our community, which in some instances would double their salaries, I was all in.”
For Cedars-Sinai, the gift from the Lorre Family Foundation provides a major boost to its training programs.
“We are honored that Chuck Lorre and his foundation have chosen to continually invest in Cedars-Sinai’s flourishing programs and initiatives,” Arthur Ochoa, chief advancement officer for Cedars-Sinai, said in the announcement.