New Fellowship Program Keeps Doctors in the Inland Empire

The new Fellowship Program focuses on retaining and training the best primary care residents in the IE by offering an unprecedented educational opportunity facilitated by physician leaders in the IEHP network. Photo Credit: Envato Elements

Aiming to keep the best doctors in the Inland Empire (IE) while developing a new generation of physician leaders, Riverside County Medical Association (RCMA) and Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) have partnered to create a Population Health Fellowship Program for physicians who have just completed their primary care residency programs.

This first-of-its-kind program focuses on retaining and training the best primary care residents in the IE by offering an unprecedented educational opportunity facilitated by physician leaders in the IEHP network. The program also offers loan forgiveness incentives to help reduce the pressures of student debt and eliminate the strain of low-paying fellowship programs.

“Being a physician is not an easy career path,” said Dolores Green, RCMA Executive Director. “However, by connecting physicians to the resources and support they need early on, we hope they will find more fulfilling and productive careers in the IE. We want them to reach their full potential as leaders and agents of change in the health care system.” To kick off the program in July-August 2021, two inaugural Fellows will work with two IE physicians from IEHP’s network. Dr. Ashley Molina will join the Arrowhead Family Medical Group with Dr. David Lanum, and Dr. Kacie Paik will join Dr. Tarek Mahdi at Riverside Family Physicians.

Barry Bittman, MD, Inland Empire Foundation for Medical Care’s Chief Population Health and Quality Officer and the fellowship’s faculty chair, says the unique program provides a strategic path for physician-led transformation that is critical to advance our healthcare system into the future. “Our conceptual framework has been built upon the premise that acquiring and putting into practice key population health perspectives and insights early on in one’s medical career is the best way to prepare physicians to become effective change agents,” says Dr. Bittman. “What’s truly unique about this fellowship is that our primary goal ultimately extends beyond physician practices — our aim is to positively transform the health of our communities.”

The need for quality physicians has never been greater in the region, which continues to face an immense provider shortage. According to the California Health Care Foundation, the Inland Empire has one of the lowest ratios of Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) and specialty physicians per 100,000 people in California.

To help address the provider shortage, the health plan has also started a Healthcare Scholarship Fund for 50 medical students in the IE who, upon graduation, will commit to serving in the region for at least five years.

“This is an exciting opportunity for physicians in our region and the community we so passionately serve,” said Jarrod McNaughton, IEHP’s chief executive officer. “Building a support system around our physicians early on and working with them to fill in the personal and professional gaps they face, will ensure better care and health for Inland Empire residents. Our physicians deserve to be taken care of the way they are expected to care for our Members, and we’re grateful to partner with such incredible organizations to do just that.”

About IEHP

IEHP, Inland Empire Health Plan, is one of the top 10 largest Medicaid health plans and the largest not-for-profit Medicare-Medicaid plan in the country. With a network of more than 6,400 Providers and more than 2,000 employees, IEHP serves more than 1.3 million residents in Riverside and San Bernardino counties who are enrolled in Medicaid or Cal MediConnect Plan (Medicare-Medicaid Plan). Through a dynamic partnership with Providers and Community, award-winning service and innovative products, IEHP is fully committed to advocating for our Members and providing them with quality, accessible and wellness-based health care services. For more information, visit

SOURCE Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP)

Inland Empire Health Plan • Contributed

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