Program Description

3 UCSF Fresno residents

Program Fact Sheet
Affiliate Program Fact Sheet

UCSF Fresno is a major branch of the UC San Francisco School of Medicine. Our focus is on improving health through medical education, patient care, research and community partnerships. Every day in the large urban center and small communities of California’s agriculturally rich Central San Joaquin Valley, you can see faculty, residents and students from a world-class university at work. They are providing superior care to sick children and adults, teaching the next generation of doctors, uncovering new insights into the course and causes of disease, and contributing their skills to community service projects.

UCSF Fresno represents a unique medical education and physician training program that is a model for community and university partnership. Training for residents and in some programs, fellows, is available in: emergency medicine, family and community medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, orthopaedic surgery, pediatrics, psychiatry, and surgery. UCSF Fresno also trains dental residents in oral and maxillofacial surgery. We also train physician assistants in three residency programs.

UCSF Fresno gives Valley community members access to the highest quality health care services while enabling doctors in training – working alongside the finest physicians – to experience the dynamic interplay of scholarship, research, patient care and health.

Preserving the health and wellness of the population – rather than merely treating isolated sickness – is an underlying theme. With an environment that is warm, supportive and hands-on, a physician can make a genuine difference in people’s lives. Residents follow their patients throughout their terms of service, and trainees get to know entire families because health care decisions often rest within the entire family unit.

At any given time, there are about 300 medical residents and 50 fellows training at UCSF Fresno. Fellowships involve another one to two years of training beyond residency.

Research participation is strongly encouraged at UCSF Fresno. The cultural richness of the Valley makes the region a living laboratory for significant population-based research.

UCSF Fresno also trains medical students. Third-year students from many University of California campuses participate in core clerkships at UCSF Fresno in family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry, neurology and surgery. The Longitudinal Integrated Fresno Experience (LIFE) Program also is available to third-year UCSF and UC Davis students for an intensive six-month period of hands-on clinical training in internal medicine, family medicine and psychiatry/neurology. Non-UCSF third-year students may apply for core rotations in pediatrics and family medicine only if space permits and so long as eligibility criteria are met.

In addition to core clerkships, UCSF Fresno offers over 40 elective clerkship opportunities for fourth-year medical students in all of the core areas as well as in dermatology, emergency medicine, orthopaedic surgery and neurology.

As a branch campus of the UCSF School of Medicine, UCSF Fresno plays a vital role in the training of medical students in the San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education (SJV PRIME). SJV PRIME is one of the University of California’s Programs in Medical Education. It is the sixth and only program with a regional focus. SJV PRIME trains medical students who are interested in providing high-quality, culturally sensitive and accessible medical care in the Valley. 

UCSF faculty at UCSF Fresno use telecommunication technologies to supplement and facilitate didactic and clinical instruction. Telemedicine training opportunities, in partnership with principal health care affiliates, will augment access to specialists for case consultations for residents and medical students who are rotating at distant practice sites.



Establishment of a local medical school program had been a long-standing interest in the San Joaquin Valley, where a shortage of physicians, special needs in rural health services and limited access to continuing professional education were chronic problems. After several earlier attempts to attract a medical school to the Valley, interest and effort revived when a 1970 report by the Carnegie Commission of Higher Education and the Nation’s Health identified Fresno as a desirable site for a “Health Science Center.”

Under the leadership of Milo E. Rowell, a prominent Fresno attorney, the community gathered support for greater involvement of the University of California in local medical education. Rowell was influential in founding the San Joaquin Valley Health Consortium, an organization dedicated to the betterment of health care in the Valley with particular focus on health professional education.

The feasibility of a permanent medical education program in the Central Valley was explored in a report prepared under the auspices of the Consortium with the help of grant funds from the City and County of Fresno. The report was persuasive and resulted in the University’s decision to plan a permanent clinical branch in the Valley with responsibility assigned to the UCSF campus.

In 1975, the California State Legislature gave assurance of continued support of the program and the Veterans Administration provided a seven-year grant of more than $10 million to support the program. The VA also provided $3.1 million to meet medical building construction costs. With that, UCSF Fresno Medical Education program was inaugurated. Since then, the program has grown in size and scope, and plays an essential role in answering the health care needs of California’s Central Valley.



This photograph by Ansel Adams is a gift from the Ansel Adams Family to the UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program.

“As the son of this remarkable photographer and a graduate of the Fresno Program, I am proud of the accomplishments of both.

To this day and forever, the Oak Tree stands as a symbol of strength and endurance and remains a silent tribute to the natural beauty that abounds in the San Joaquin Valley for all to enjoy.”