The Legislature hereby finds and declares, as follows:
(a) There is an inadequate supply of physicians, family nurse practitioners, and physician assistants who provide primary care to individuals and families in low-income urban and rural areas of California.
(b) Current training for health professionals, which occurs almost exclusively in clinics and hospitals, rarely provides students with opportunities to provide community-based medical care to families in low-income neighborhoods. As a result, relatively few health professionals choose to practice in low-income neighborhoods after completion of their training.
(c) Most medical graduates are unprepared to deal with the complex interwoven social, cultural, economic, environmental, and educational aspects of disease prevention and health promotion. As a result, health professionals frequently have limited impact on the prevention or treatment of entrenched community health problems, including teen pregnancy, substance abuse, and domestic violence.
(d) Community-based education for health professionals has proven successful in other states, including Washington and Kentucky, in doing all of the following:
(1) Increasing the number of primary care health professionals practicing in low-income areas.
(2) Promoting the use of multi-disciplinary teams composed of health and human services professionals to jointly address community health problems.
(e) It is in the state’s best interest that California medical schools be encouraged to develop coursework and practice for community-based education as a part of professional training for physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. It is further in the state’s best interest that community-based education programs be evaluated to determine their effects on increasing the number of health care professionals practicing in low-income, medically underserved communities.