UC Merced medical program adds exec

MERCED — In its latest step toward building an independent medical school, the University of California at Merced appointed a second executive to lead its San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education.

Donald Hilty will work with Frederick J. Meyers, who was named executive director of medical education and academic planning at UC Merced in fall 2008.

Hilty is a professor of clinical psychiatry and director of the Rural Program in Medical Education, known as Rural-PRIME, at UC Davis.

Rural-PRIME is part of the University of California's Programs in Medical Education, which is designed to produce physician leaders who are trained and committed to care for the state's underserved communities, a news release said.

"We remain committed to developing a research-based medical school as funding, both public and private, is secured," UC Merced Chancellor Steve Kang said. "By educating and retaining the next generation of the state's physicians, UC Merced will play an important role in enhancing the long-term health of the region."

Hilty is charged with expanding on his experience at UC Davis to develop a UC Merced San Joaquin Valley PRIME, where students will learn about health issues pertinent to the valley.

His expertise is in curriculum planning, underserved populations, mood disorders, and telemedicine used for clinical care and distance education in rural and underserved areas.

Like Meyers, Hilty will share his time between UC Merced and UC Davis.

Hilty completed his undergraduate education at Bowling Green State University, receiving a bachelor's degree in biological sciences. He earned his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati's College of Medicine, then completed an internship and a fellowship in psychiatry at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, where he also served as chief resident. He is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

UC Merced started planning for a medical school before the campus opened in 2005. Leaders throughout the San Joaquin Valley are working on the plans, with hopes of placing UC Merced students in hospitals from Modesto to Bakersfield.