The families that own River Park Shopping Center have donated $1 million to UCSF Fresno, which will enable the university to further develop its physician training and research programs.

The donation came from the Kolligian, Arakelian, and Kashian families of River Park Properties.

Portrait of Ed Kashian

“Our focus is on giving back to the local community to improve the quality of life.” — Ed Kashian

“Enhancing access to high-quality health care by training physicians and keeping them here where they are needed most to care for Valley residents is, from my perspective, one of the most important and much-needed investments we can make in the region,” said Ed Kashian, the general partner of River Park Properties and CEO of Lance-Kashian & Company.

Dr. Michael Peterson, an associate dean at UCSF Fresno, said he and his staff are grateful for the generosity of Kashian and the partners of River Park.

“This contribution is an investment in the health of Fresno and the San Joaquin Valley,” Peterson said.

Spano Donates $75,000

Peterson also thanked Stanley Spano of Spano Enterprises for a contribution of $75,000.

Stanley and his wife Darlene are Fresno natives and philanthropists. They have two adult children, including Susanne Spano, MD, who is an associate professor of clinical emergency medicine at UCSF Fresno. Susanne Spano directs UCSF Fresno’s Wilderness Medicine Fellowship Program.

“This contribution is an investment in the health of Fresno and the San Joaquin Valley.” — Dr. Michael Peterson, associate dean at UCSF Fresno

Funding Research For Valley Health Issues

The contributions, Peterson said, will help support medical students in the UCSF San Joaquin Valley Program. The donations will also fund ongoing research addressing Valley health issues.

Additionally, the donations will help the university in its goal of training more than 300 medical residents and fellows each year and another 300 medical students on a rotating basis. Up to 50 percent of the physicians who complete training at UCSF Fresno stay in the Valley.

California Faces Shortfall of Physicians

California expects a shortfall of 4,100 primary care clinicians in 10 years, according to the California Future Health Workforce Commission.

The projected shortfall will have a disproportionate impact on the San Joaquin Valley, which already has a well-documented shortage of physicians.

The commission, co-chaired by UC President Janet Napolitano, recently released a report underscoring the need to support primary care residency positions and medical student education.

The UCSF School of Medicine received approval last July to establish UCSF Fresno as a branch medical campus. The training program is designed to prepare medical students to address the unique health needs of the region’s diverse and underserved populations.

As many as six students will start in fall 2019. A goal of 12 San Joaquin Valley PRIME students is set for 2020. Students in the program will spend 18 months at UCSF in San Francisco before moving to Fresno for the remainder of their medical school training.

Learn More About UCSF Fresno

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