Salas Joins Valley Fever Institute at Kern Medical for Ribbon Cutting
$3 million for the Valley Fever Institute included in 2018-19 state budget bill SB 840
BAKERSFIELD – Today, Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) attended and spoke at the unveiling of the Valley Fever Institute at Kern Medical in Bakersfield, a state-of-the-art research and treatment facility for valley fever located in Bakersfield. Salas and fellow Central Valley legislators Senator Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield) and Assemblymember Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) worked together to secure $3 million in the 2018-19 state budget for the Valley Fever Institute.
“The leadership, expertise and dedication of the team at the Valley Fever Institute will help improve the lives of the thousands of patients infected every year who have experienced the devastating impact of valley fever,” said Assemblymember Salas. “This is a great day for the Valley and our community. I am thrilled to deliver $3 million for one of the only institutes focusing on valley fever in the country.”
Led by internationally recognized infectious disease expert Dr. Royce Johnson, the Institute’s groundbreaking research and innovative public outreach efforts have placed it at the forefront of treating and caring for patients afflicted by valley fever and in the search for a vaccine.
“As Medical Director for the Valley Fever Institute at Kern Medical, I am proud to lead our clinical team as we continue our mission to increase education and awareness for the public, patients and health care providers; provide the best patient care available and promote research that includes epidemiology, clinical drug development, prevention, immunology and immunizations,” said Dr. Royce Johnson.
Salas also secured an additional $5 million for valley fever research and awareness – $3 million to fund research at the University of California and $2 million for the California Department of Public Health to conduct public outreach and awareness – for a total of $8 million that was ultimately included in budget bill SB 840 to combat valley fever.
The investment in the Valley Fever Institute will be used to:
- Expand and renovate the current clinical space to treat the inflow of patients from all over California that seek to receive care at the Institute;
- Increase awareness and educate the public about valley fever;
- Increase awareness and educate physicians and providers about how to properly diagnose and treat valley fever;
- Expand research efforts, including clinical, diagnostic and epidemiological studies;
- Build a repository for storing white blood cells, serum and tissue specimens from individuals with valley fever of all levels of severity, allowing new ideas to be tested in a rapid fashion. This will allow researchers throughout the state of California to access the laboratory.
Assemblymember Salas requesting funding for awareness and research of valley fever:
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Assemblymember Salas represents part of the City of Bakersfield, the cities of Arvin, Avenal, Corcoran, Delano, Hanford, Lemoore, McFarland, Shafter, Wasco, and the communities of Armona, Buttonwillow, Home Garden, Kettleman City, Lamont, Lost Hills, Stratford and Weedpatch.