A major grant awarded this summer to UC Davis and Oregon Health & Science University promises to expand access to quality care between Sacramento and Portland through a network of teaching hospitals and clinics in mostly rural areas.

The five-year, $1.8 million American Medical Association (AMA) grant will allow medical schools at OHSU and UC Davis to establish a robust graduate medical education collaborative known as COMPADRE, short for California Oregon Medical Partnership to Address Disparities in Rural Education and Health.

Over the next several years, COMPADRE will place hundreds of medical students and residents to train under faculty and community physicians at 10 health systems, 16 hospitals and a network of Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) partners throughout Northern California and Oregon. Students and residents will provide services in seven medical specialties.

The grant is part of Reimagining Residency, the AMA’s response to better align the physician workforce to the needs of the U.S. health care system.

“Our mission is to train a diverse body of students who can transform the health of the communities they will serve, and COMPADRE will do just that,” said UC Davis Health CEO David Lubarsky. “This will be a powerful regional coalition to reduce health disparities, strengthen the rural workforce, and better align medical education with specific needs in communities where physicians are in short supply.”

Both schools also participated in the AMA’s highly competitive Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative, which allowed the UC Davis School of Medicine to team with Kaiser Permanente Northern California to launch one of the nation’s first three year medical school programs, the Accelerated Competency-based Education in Primary Care program or ACE-PC. The program targets California’s primary care physician shortage by helping a select group of eligible students to complete medical school more quickly.

A similar grant allowed the OHSU to reengineer its curriculum to adjust to the rapidly changing digital era.

COMPADRE will be administered by five physician leaders, including UC Davis co-principal investigators Mark Servis, M.D., vice dean for medical education; Mark Henderson, M.D., associate dean of admissions; and Tonya Fancher, M.D., M.P.H., associate dean for workforce innovation and community engagement.