As the inaugural dean of a new medical school being founded by the Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) in Southern California, J. Mario Molina has a clear vision forward.
Molina (fellow; HS, internal medicine, 1984–87) aims to change health care education by focusing on the intersection of multicultural competency, population health research and commercial innovation. Among the missions of the new medical school will be to address the shortage of primary care physicians in Southern California.
Molina’s first order of business will be undertaking the steps necessary to obtain accreditation from the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Liaison Committee on Medical Education, which may take several years.
Fortunately, he is well-equipped for the ambitious task before him. “At Hopkins, I learned how to think,” he told the Osler Service’s publication, Aequanimitas, in 2012.
“Knowing how to approach a problem and think about it is useful whether you’re at a patient’s bedside or dealing with a large business,” said Molina, who for two decades ran Molina Healthcare, a multibillion-dollar company founded in 1980 by his physician father, C. David Molina, to provide insurance and health care to low-income recipients of Medicaid and Medicare. “As physicians, we think very clearly about how we arrive at conclusions. How do you know what you know, and what’s the quality of that evidence? It’s the same in business.”
A 1984 graduate of the University of Southern California’s medical school, Molina remained in academic medicine following his time at Johns Hopkins but was persuaded by his father to join the family business in 1991. He joined KGI last August. Founded in 1997 and a member of the Claremont Colleges, KGI offers postgraduate degrees and certificates that integrate life and health sciences, pharmacy, and genetics, with a focus on industry partnerships.
Currently a member of the board of trustees of Johns Hopkins Medicine, Molina was recognized in 2005 as one of the most influential Hispanics in the United States by Time magazine.