UCLA training program helps immigrant doctors fill gap

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UCLA training program helps immigrant doctors fill gap. Monica Malpass reports during Action News at 5 p.m. on June 21, 2017. (WPVI)

A west coast hospital has a program to help fill America's growing doctor gap.

UCLA selects the best and brightest of immigrant doctors and puts them through rigorous training.

In return, doctors who qualify agree to practice 2 or 3 years in places where physicians are needed most.

Program leaders say many stay beyond that.

"Of the individuals that have graduated and could go work wherever they wanted to, 75 percent remained in the underserved communities," said Dr. Michelle Bholat, UCLA Health.

"To have a provider that speaks their language and understands their culture, it makes a huge difference," said Dr. Jose Javier Hernandez.

Even in California, where 39 percent of the population is Hispanic, only 5 percent of the doctors are.

The donation-funded program, now in its 10th year, trains doctors from Mexico, Cuba, and other Latin American countries.

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