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San Manuel Band Gives $10M to Prepare Students for Health Care Careers

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians gave $10M to establish the San Manuel Gateway College to prepare students for health care careers.

A landmark $10 million gift from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians was announced recently during groundbreaking ceremonies for Loma Linda University Health – San Bernardino, the new health care and educational initiative in downtown San Bernardino, California. The ceremonies were held at 250 South G Street where the center will be built across the street from San Manuel Stadium.

According to Richard H. Hart, M.D., Dr.PH., president of Loma Linda University Health, the gift will enable the establishment of the new San Manuel Gateway College to prepare high school and adult students for careers in health care through a unique and innovative educational approach.

“This unprecedented and visionary gift will bring world-class education and health care opportunities to the Inland Empire while promoting significant financial, social, and employment opportunities for the people of our community,” Hart announced. “We are extremely grateful to the leaders and people of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians for their extraordinary generosity.”

Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians explains why this gift is so important.

“In the early days, San Manuel had limited access to healthcare on the reservation, but the people of San Bernardino and doctors and nurses from Loma Linda helped us during times of need,” Valbuena shared. “Today we are drawn together in common purpose to bring greater access to medical care and education to our region. We want to make sure the dream of a brighter tomorrow becomes a reality for the students of San Bernardino and the Inland Empire. San Manuel Gateway College will support the vitality of this community for decades to come.”

Loma Linda University Health

Ken Ramirez, treasurer with the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, presented Loma Linda University Health with a $10 million gift for construction of Loma Linda Health – San Bernardino Campus, which will house San Manuel Gateway College.

San Manuel Gateway College will share the 150,000-square-foot Loma Linda University Health – San Bernardino complex with an expanded and relocated multi-specialty medical office clinic operated by Social Action Community Health System (SACHS), and a vegetarian restaurant designed to showcase the longevity-enhancing benefits of a plant-based diet.

In addition to the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and Loma Linda University Health, the new center represents a unique partnership of local organizations including the City of San Bernardino, the County of San Bernardino, San Bernardino Community College District, San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD), SACHS, and several non-profit organizations.

Through this partnership, San Manuel Gateway College will offer a number of health career certificate programs in nursing, medical, and dental assisting, phlebotomy, and medical insurance coding. These six- to 12-month programs will provide job entry skills, a better income, and college credit for students who elect to further their education.

SBCUSD Superintendent Dale Marsden, Ed.D., noted that Loma Linda University Health and SBCUSD are collaborating to develop preparatory coursework for high school students interested in health careers.

“This represents the first partnership of its kind in the United States to integrate classroom training with clinical experience in a dynamic setting where certificate students can gain invaluable training and mentoring from Loma Linda University Health faculty and residents as well as graduate and undergraduate students,” Marsden said.

Loma Linda University Health

Rendering of campus slated to open in 2016. .

San Bernardino Mayor R. Carey Davis, M.B.A., said the new center will symbolize the city’s economic development to local residents as well as our surrounding communities and visitors who will view the “new architectural display” from the 215 Freeway.

“This represents a great opportunity to revitalize our downtown area,” Davis observed. “It will also begin to change the image of San Bernardino as a result of the building that is going on. It will show that economic activity is returning. We see the collaboration and partnership as one that is very important to the rebirth of our downtown.”

After thanking the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Hart commended the federal Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for awarding a $600,000 grant for tuition assistance and career coaching to Inland Empire students as part of the federal Health Career Opportunities Program. The grant will be implemented through San Manuel Gateway College.

He ended with an expression of gratitude for the support of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and other coalition partners.

“After many years of careful planning, we at Loma Linda University Health are overjoyed to see the San Bernardino campus getting underway with all its components,” Hart concluded. “We couldn’t have done this without your help. I know this facility will be a tremendous asset to those who seek treatment here, and to those who gain skills to prepare them for careers in the medical field. This new center will be a great blessing to our community.”