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Scripps Receives $2.85 Million For Maternal-Child Health Along Border

An emergency entrance sign is displayed in front of Scripps Mercy Hospital in Chula Vista on June 1, 2021.
Alexander Nguyen
An emergency entrance sign is displayed in front of Scripps Mercy Hospital in Chula Vista on June 1, 2021.

The Scripps Mercy Family Medicine Residency Program has been selected to receive $2.85 million in grant funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration, it was announced Wednesday.

The residency program intends to use the funds over the next five years to develop initiatives to enhance physician training in family medicine obstetrics and maternal and child health along the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego and Imperial counties.

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The Scripps training program is one of 31 medical residency programs in the United States recently selected in HRSA's grant funding opportunity, which was open to primary care residency programs nationwide.

"This new funding will play a vital role in expanding our efforts to make an even greater impact on the health and well-being of our underserved communities," said Dr. Ghazala Sharieff, Scripps Health chief medical officer for acute care, clinical excellence and experience.

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With the funding, Scripps aims to increase the number of primary care physicians trained in public health, enhanced obstetrical care and general preventive medicine with maternal health care expertise. A number of expanded training opportunities are planned, including new educational tracks and clinical rotations.

"We need to improve maternal health outcomes and close the health disparity gaps in our community," said Dr. Shaila Serpas, director of the Scripps program. "With a focus on advanced training and quality improvement, we will create a future workforce of dedicated family physicians with the passion and skills to implement changes and advocate for their patients."

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The residency program also intends to use these funds to help give underserved patients greater access to health education and care, including expanded access to prenatal clinics and labor-and-delivery care.

The program is based at Scripps Mercy Hospital Chula Vista. For more than 20 years, it has trained physician residents with a focus on underserved populations of the south San Diego border region.

Residents in the three-year graduate medical education program complete inpatient rotations at Scripps Mercy Hospital Chula Vista and outpatient rotations at San Ysidro Health Center, along with providing care at other community clinics.