SB 1139 Pre-Health Dreamers Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
GOVERNOR BROWN SIGNS HISTORIC BILL, OPENING A NEW DOOR OF EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES TO PROSPECTIVE HEALTH PROFESSIONALS IN CALIFORNIA
Contact: Regem Corpuz, Policy Advocate, firstname.lastname@example.org, and
Angela Chen, Director, email@example.com
Los Angeles, California (28th September, 2016) – Among a slew of legislation signed in California, Governor Brown has signed a historic bill in California that will make all students eligible for health services professional programs, regardless of immigration status, granting access to existing state funds to invest in their education.
SB 1139, authored by Senator Lara, will allow existing funds and programs for health services professionals in California to accept such an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), if applicants cannot provide a Social Security Number (SSN). Moreover, none of the programs below can discriminate an applicant on the basis of their immigration/citizenship status:
Programs under the Health Professions Education Fund
Registered Nurse Education Fund
Mental Health Practitioner Education Fund
Vocational Nurse Education Fund
The Medically Underserved Account for Physicians
Loan forgiveness and Scholarship programs
Song-Brown Healthcare Workforce Training Programs
In addition to opening these existing programs to students regardless of immigration status, all medical degree and healing arts residency training programs cannot deny an applicant admission on the basis of their immigration or citizenship status.
This law serves as a huge victory and relief for many undocumented students seeking to pursue a career in a health service profession. “Health professional schools require tremendous financial resources from anyone who decides to pursue these paths”, says Marcela Zhou- currently a 2nd year medical student at the UCLA PRIME program. “As undocumented health professional students, we are shunned from many traditional funding sources and constantly worry about how we will secure the funding for our education. SB1139, now signed into law, lessens some of those worries, allowing undocumented students to focus on becoming the best health professionals they can be for their communities”. Erick Leyva, Institutional Advocate for Pre-Health Dreamers agrees, “We are glad to see Governor Brown sign this important legislation, as it removes hurdles for immigrant students pursuing their desired health career”.
As SB 1139 is soon to be implemented, California has taken a step forward in removing the barrier immigration status plays into admission or funding opportunities for health professional education programs. By opening this opportunity for immigrant students in California, the state will encourage prospective health professionals who come from communities facing large health disparities. This opens new possibilities for immigrant students to provide the adequate and appropriate services these communities need. SB 1139 is historic, not only for immigrant students, but for the health of all Californians.