History of the University

Background and Mission

Healthcare in the United States faces significant challenges, including growing burdens of disease, lack of access to healthcare and a shortage of healthcare professionals. These issues disproportionally affect underserved areas such as the Inland Empire, the name given to the combined populations of San Bernardino and Riverside counties in Southern California. The Inland Empire exhibits significant health disparities when compared to California averages and national benchmarks, including a higher incidence of death as a result of diabetes, coronary heart disease and chronic liver disease, as well as serious psychological distress. This higher rate of disease incidence, however, has not correlated to a higher number of physicians in the area, as the Inland Empire ranks in the lower half of counties in California in number of physicians per capita.

To help overcome these challenges, Prem Reddy, M.D. and others decided to establish CUSM, emphasizing its community-oriented mission and vision. After decades of providing support to educational and healthcare initiatives locally, nationally and globally, Dr. Reddy founded CUSM to inspire, motivate and empower students to become excellent and caring physicians and leaders. Dr. Reddy, founder of Prime Healthcare Services, Inc. (“PHSI”) and Prime Healthcare Foundation, Inc. (“PHF”), believed that the establishment of a medical school could provide a great positive impact on healthcare, presently and for future generations, by addressing growing health disparities, disease burden, and the regional physician shortage. PHSI is a Delaware corporation and PHF is a Delaware nonprofit, nonstock corporation. Both PHSI and PHF own and operate hospitals across the country with the mission to provide high quality care with compassion, dignity, and respect for every patient. PHF is the sole member of CUSM. PHF has committed $40 million towards the establishment of CUSM. The Dr. Prem Reddy Family Foundation also has committed $20 million towards the establishment of CUSM.

CUSM was formed in August 2012 under the name “Eastern California College of Medicine,” which was then amended to “California University of Science and Medicine” in May 2013. Dr. Reddy and other leaders defined as the mission and vision of CUSM to develop and operate a graduate school of medicine to educate future physicians and medical support personnel and conduct medical research in furtherance of the science and art of medicine. CUSM began operations in the spring of 2015 when Robert Suskind, M.D. joined as the School of Medicine’s Founding Dean. Dr. Suskind, who has since retired and currently serves as Dean Emeritus, directed the recruitment of the initial group of faculty and support staff of CUSM. Under the leadership of Dr. Alfred Tenore, the School of Medicine’s Senior Associate Dean of Medical Education from April 2015 to May 2019, the faculty developed an innovative curriculum for the School of Medicine’s M.D. degree program and developed standards and policies for admitting students, hiring faculty, and evaluating the M.D. program. CUSM was accredited in 2018 as a private-public partnership, led by Prime Healthcare Foundation, San Bernardino County, City of Colton, and Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (the teaching hospital for CUSM. Following Dr. Tenore’s retirement in May of 2019, Paul Lyons, MD was named Dean and President of CUSM.

Some medical schools in the U.S. have post-baccalaureate programs that supplement their M.D. programs. In 2017, CUSM developed its first post-baccalaureate program, the Master’s in Biomedical Sciences program (MBS). The primary goal of the program is to better prepare students for a career in medicine or other healthcare professions, by enhancing students’ academic qualifications to gain acceptance into more advanced healthcare educational programs. In April 2017, CUSM expanded its WASC Senior College and University Commission (“WSCUC”) eligibility to include the MBS program.

CUSM welcomed 36 MBS program students in the summer of 2018. In 2019, the first MBS class graduated at the Claremont Graduate University’s Bridges Auditorium as the new CUSM University campus will be finished during the summer of 2020. Approximately 40% of our MBS graduates were accepted into medical school and plan to stay at CUSM to pursue a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree and become part of the second class of medical school students that CUSM will graduate in 2023.

The first cohorts of 64 Medical Doctor (M.D.) program students started in July 2018. This inaugural class will be graduating at the new CUSM campus, in Colton, CA, which is adjacent to its teaching hospital, the 456-bed Arrowhead Regional Medical Center.

In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic affected CUSM to switch gears and begin a virtual approach to learning. CUSM focused exclusively to ensure the safety of our students, staff, and faculty while fulfilling clinical education, and research mission. Leaders quickly developed a comprehensive plan for all core functions including education, student affairs, research, clinical care, and administrative functions. Due to the smooth transition, CUSM graduated the 2nd MBS class on May 22, 2020, through a successful virtual graduation, assuring that each student is safe and sound. Several of the MBS students advanced into the CUSM M.D. Class of 2024.

The third-year students from started training in the clinical setting to learn in the frontline setting. Equipment, training, and testing have been invested to help ensure that students are safe and protected as they advance in their education. First and second-year students have resumed limited in-person instruction for critical hands-on training in safe, secure small group settings during the fall of 2020. This also includes appropriate social distancing and personal protective equipment.

Dr. Prem Reddy

Prem Reddy, MD
Chairman of the Board

Dr. Robert Suskind

Robert Suskind, MD
Dean Emeritus