Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, a historically black graduate institution in Willowbrook, has received $50 million from the state toward construction of a building to house a new medical degree program. The funding was approved by the Legislature in June and was announced by the nonprofit institution on July 13. The allocation is the first financial commitment toward construction of the $112 million facility, which will consist of a 100,000-square-foot building containing classrooms, virtual and standard anatomy labs, staff and faculty offices, and common spaces for students. With the building, CDU aims to create an independent medical degree program separate from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, which it has partnered with since 1979. “We are deeply appreciative of this support from Governor Newsom and the State Legislature. With this funding, CDU aims to increase the number of Black medical graduates practicing in the State of California by almost 30% and the number of Latinx graduates by nearly 20%,” CDU President and Chief Executive David Carlisle said in the announcement. Charles Drew University was founded in 1966 in the aftermath of the 1965 Watts riots. According to the school, more than 80% of students and more than 71% of faculty are from communities of color. In addition to its MD program, CDU offers more than a dozen bachelor’s and master’s degrees and certificates, including in nursing, public health, radiologic science and biomedical science. In partnership with UCLA, CDU has admitted 28 students yearly to its medical degree program. That partnership will continue as Charles Drew University embarks on launching its own medical degree program; it aims to enroll 60 students a year in its new MD program starting in 2023. In 2019, CDU received $2 million in grants to develop its new degree program. Construction on the new building is slated to start as early as spring 2022.
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