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On Valley Edition: Physician Shortage in Rural CA; Charter Schools; Philip Levine

Aug 16, 2011

This week on Valley Edition we talk about the shortage of physicians in the rural communities of the Central Valley. We also look at how charter schools are working to provide innovation in education in the valley. We also have an in-depth interview with the newly named Poet Laureate of the United States, Fresno's Philip Levine.

Segment 1: Physician Shortage
California’s Central Valley faces a shortage of primary care doctors and specialists. Many physicians prefer to work in urban areas where the pay is better, rather than rural clinics for the poor. But a program through UC Davis and UC Merced is trying to change that, encouraging Valley medical students to practice here at home. Valley Public Radio's Shellie Branco brings us a special report, and host Juanita Stevenson talks with guests Steve Barrow of the California State Rural Health Association and Dr. Dominic Divon, a primary care physician and UCSF Fresno Director of Ambulatory Medicine discuss this issue. And Assembly Member Henry T. Perea (D - Fresno) also joins the discussion to talk about his new legislation, AB 589 that would provide scholarship funds for medical school students to establish their practice in underserved areas like the Valley.

Segment 2: Charter Schools
Some people look at charter schools as an innovative solution to the challenges facing K-12 public education. Others worry that charters have a negative impact on traditional schools, or lack enough regulation. On this segment, guests Dave Childers, Executive Director and Principal of ACEL Fresno Charter High School and Dr. Michele Cantwell-Copher of the Fresno County Office of Education, join host Juanita Stevenson to talk about charter schools in the Valley.

Segment 3: Philip Levine
Last week the Library of Congress named Fresno poet Philip Levine the nation’s 18th Poet Laureate. A native of Detroit, Levine moved to Fresno in the 1950’s to teach English at Fresno State, where he founded the university’s creative writing program, and helped foster the San Joaquin Valley’s rich poetry community. In 1991 his collection "What Work Is" won the National Book Award, and in 1995, his book "The Simple Truth" was the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize. In this interview, host Juanita Stevenson talks with Levine about this most recent honor, his thoughts on the Central Valley, and the subject of work and unemployment.