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State Tobacco Tax-Funded Program Awards $38.14 Million Statewide to 101 Awardees to Expand California’s Health Care Workforce

Anaheim, Calif – 1/19/2021. Prime West Consortium/West Anaheim Medical Center Program – Internal Medicine today announced $150,000.00 in CalMedForce awards to support local medical training and residency programs at West Anaheim Medical Center that will help increase access to care and grow the physician workforce.

CalMedForce funding is generated by voter-approved Proposition 56 tobacco tax revenues (2016), and the latest award cycle will support 202 residency positions in 101 graduate medical education (GME) programs at hospitals and clinics throughout California, with an emphasis on those serving medically underserved communities. This round of funding also represented the largest applicant pool: 541 residents and 122 applications requesting over $96 million in funding.

“We offer our deep gratitude to CalMedForce for its visionary leadership and commitment to growing and strengthening our physician pipeline, investing in vulnerable communities, and ultimately enhancing the well-being of Californians, especially during this once-in-a-generation pandemic,” said Sunny Bhatia, MD, Region CEO and Corporate Chief Medical Officer of Prime Healthcare.

“We are grateful to be among the list of residency programs that were given the chance to create opportunities, not only for future physicians but our community. This donation will have a lasting impact on our growing program. Not only will we be able to strengthen the talent we can provide our growing population with, but it will help ensure patients continue to receive the best quality care,” said Fariborz Shams, DO. Residency Program Director for West Anaheim Medical Center.

The California Future Health Workforce Commission estimated that California will need 4,700 additional primary care clinicians by 2025 and approximately 4,100 more by 2030 to meet demand. Physicians for a Healthy California (PHC), in partnership with the University of California (UC), established the CalMedForce grant program to help address California’s looming physician shortage because medical school graduates must continue training in an accredited, specialty-specific GME residency program to obtain a medical license and care for patients independently.

CalMedForce continues to demonstrate the high demand and need for GME opportunities said Lupe Alonzo-Diaz, MPA, PHC president and CEO. The lack of sufficient residency spots contributes to California’s physician shortage and limits the number of new doctors entering the workforce. With COVID 19 impacting life for the foreseeable future, programs like CalMedForce are even more essential to protect access to care for all Californian’s

To date, CalMedForce has released over $114 million for 261 awards to 121 GME programs across California to retain and expand GME programs in primary care (family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology) and emergency medicine. However, even with the additional funding, the shortage of California residency programs poses an ongoing challenge for expanding the physician workforce.

“We understand the vital statewide need for this program and the funding it provides to support California’s future physicians,” said Cathryn Nation, M.D., Vice President for Health Sciences at UC Office of the President. “The annual demand for funding reflects the importance of this program and its focus on the needs of medically underserved groups and communities.”

View the full list of awardees.

For more information, visit (@PHCdocs / #CalMedForce)

Founded in 1964, West Anaheim Medical Center, a member of Prime Healthcare, is a 219-bed acute-care hospital dedicated to providing the community with high-quality, compassionate healthcare. Key services include general medical/surgical inpatient care and treatment, emergency services, surgical services, behavioral health, comprehensive heart center, and diagnostic imaging. For more information visit