Case Studies

University of California Riverside School of Medicine

The Situation

Acquiring regional support for the new UCR School of Medicine

Just a few years after its effort to create a School of Law was rejected, the University of California,Riverside’s (UCR) attempt to open a School of Medicine was floundering amid the severe state budget crisis of 2007. Community support for the project was waning and elected officials who once championed the project had fallen silent. At the same time, other programs at the university were facing criticism from local community groups that looked to potentially discredit UCR’s plan for the first new public medical school in California in over 40 years. UCR leadership contacted OPR Communications (OPR) to quickly rescue the project and reinvigorate regional support for the new medical school proposal. The campaign targeted a pivotal vote by the UC Board of Regents on whether to approve the UCR School of Medicine.

how we helped
The Strategy

Developing a comprehensive strategy and plan to help guide all outreach efforts within a compressed timeline

In addition to message development, planning and strategy, OPR helped design UCR’s presentation to the Board of Regents, and organized speakers to attend the hearing and speak to the merits of the medical school. OPR developed a communications platform built around two primary messages that underscored the need and benefits that the UCR School of Medicine would provide:

  1. Riverside County was the only county in the state with more than 1 million residents but fewer than 100 MDs per 100,000 people. The County’s patient-to-physician ratio was nearly half the recommended ratio.
  2. Approval would directly create hundreds of jobs, stimulate new business growth and foster educational collaboration with other healthcare professionals
strategies we used


Strategic planning fuels a successful outreach effort

Strategic Planning

Government Briefings

Community Briefings

Speaker Coordination

Media Briefings

Talking Points

Collateral Material Development

the payoff
The Results

Gaining funding and approval for UCR School of Medicine

After a very well-received outreach effort, the community, elected officials and opinion leaders from across the region rallied to the project, providing private funding and voicing public support for its critical need in the region. Ultimately, following a comprehensive presentation by UCR officials and impassioned community leaders, the University of California, Board of Regents unanimously approved UCR’s School of Medicine application.