UI med school gets big bump for recruiting first class

UI med school gets big bump for recruiting first class

URBANA — The first class of students accepted to the Carle Illinois College of Medicine will get a big perk — about $200,000 worth of free tuition.

The cutting-edge, engineering-based medical school won approval last week from a national organization that accredits medical schools, which means it can start recruiting its first class of 32 students for fall 2018.

They will each get full four-year scholarships, funded by donors. The medical school has already raised enough to cover 15 of the 32 scholarships, according to its dean, Dr. King Li.

The scholarships are intended as a recruiting tool, given that Illinois will be starting much later in the admissions cycle than medical schools who have been taking applications since June, Li said.

The goal is "to increase our chances to get the best of the best," although the unique curriculum and technology focus should be highly attractive, he said.

"We believe we will get thousands of applications," Li said.

The preliminary accreditation from the Liaison Committee for Medical Education, after nearly a year-long review, is a major milestone in the college's development, Li said.

"This is probably the most important hurdle," he said. "It is a very rigorous process. Being given preliminary accreditation essentially is the stamp of approval that our infrastructure and our curriculum measures up to the most rigorous standards of medical education."

The school won't get provisional accreditation until its first crop of students reaches the second year of medical school, and full accreditation comes when that inaugural class is in its final year. Because preliminary accreditation comes before students are admitted, the review team has to come back to look at the student experience and ultimately whether the school met the objectives it initially laid out, Li said.

He knew of no case where accreditation has been removed, so the preliminary accreditation is a "huge step," he said.

Li and others are thrilled to finally be at this stage, after years of planning.

"It's just so exciting," Li said. "Now, we are finally at the phase where we get to see student applications. It feels like it's happening, rather than waiting for things to happen."

Dr. Matthew Gibb, Carle's chief medical officer, said doctors there are "thrilled."

"There are smiles everywhere. Our physicians have been doing an incredible amount of work on the curriculum and putting the teaching structure together," he said.

(UPDATED Tuesday) Though the UI initially said applications would be available on the college’s website immediately, officials now say that won’t happen until early November. The medical school is awaiting confirmation of its membership in the Association of American Medical Colleges on Oct. 29; it can then be part of the centralized American Medical College Application Service, said campus spokeswoman Robin Kaler.

Before the medical school can accept students, the UI must get approval to add the new college from the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accrediting body that evaluates the university as a whole, officials said. That visit is coming soon, and the LCME approval is a big plus, Gibb said. Officials hope the site-visit team can submit its report before the commission's December meeting so it can be considered then, he said.

In the meantime, the medical school is launching a marketing push to recruit students and scheduled open houses showcasing simulation labs and other technology for Oct. 21 and Nov. 18.

More than 600 students have already signed up to follow news from the website, Li said.

Tuition will be in the low $50,000 range for out-of-state students, and in the low to mid-$40,000 range for Illinois residents, he said.

The medical school will give a discount on tuition for the first year. So under a "32 for 32" fundraising campaign, if a donor gives $32,000 for a year's tuition, the school will waive the remainder, he said. A foundation is also providing 7 percent matching funds, "so for every 14 scholarships we raise we have another one," he said.

The school probably won't offer all students full scholarships in subsequent years, but it will continue a robust financial aid program, designating 30 percent of its tuition income for full or partial scholarships, he said.

Gibb, who attended medical school on a Navy scholarship, said free tuition should be a huge incentive this year.

"I probably wouldn't have been able to do it without that scholarship," he said.

The school wants to recruit candidates who have an analytic or quantitative background, and "those folks are likely to be considering other very good medical schools. Having the scholarship may give them something to wait for rather than committing to somewhere else and locking them out of our application pool."

The scholarships could also attract a more diverse class, as finances are a "big deal" for most applicants, Gibb said.

The curriculum, designed around case studies and problem-solving, will integrate engineering principles with medical education and clinical experience from day one. More traditional medical school models teach students in the classroom for two years, then provide clinical training.

Graduates will be "physician innovators" who will use engineering and technology in their medical practices to improve the quality of health care, make it more accessible and lower costs, Li said. He emphasized that the school will draw on disciplines from across campus, not just engineering, and "use technology to make medicine more human," instilling in students "compassion, competence, curiosity and creativity."

Every student will be required to develop innovative ideas in each of their clinical rotations. They will work with doctors and engineers to expand one of those ideas as a capstone project, which could be a starting point for a future business.

Students will have access to entrepreneurial resources on campus to take their ideas to market. A medical "maker lab" will allow students to bring their innovations to life and test prototypes from the molecular level on up, overcoming a "maker bottleneck" faced by many researchers, officials said.

Carle's access to patient data through its hospital, clinics and insurance business will also provide a unique opportunity to use the UI's engineering and big data capabilities for research to improve patient health, Gibb said. For example, a patient's medical record at a clinic doesn't always include outside therapy or treatments from other doctors, whereas insurance claims do; but large insurance companies are often reluctant to share that data, Gibb said. Getting the whole picture is important to understanding patient outcomes, he said.

"As we connect the dots with pieces of information, we can get a bigger and more robust picture of care," he said.

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aantulov wrote on October 16, 2017 at 10:10 am

"Since local taxpayers paying Carle's tax bill and state and federal taxpayers will be funding this vehicle for Carle enterprises to make a profit at some point, should the nature of all these solicited tuition wavers come with some input from the public?  Will they all be citizens? Will they be required to do probono work, if so for how many years and what percentage? I assume many will be the family of donors to the institute itself. Are they or does that disqualify? Is it need and merit based? Most of all it should be made clear, who owns Carle for profit entities and its Health Alliance counter part? Can we buy stock to affect policy? Will doctors be given stock options?  Will the have to sign confindentiality agreements on commenting on policy? 

Carle you to make it optional to sign a lengthy piece of paper before service, now it is mandatory i have been told on several occasions.  It has something to do with students.  

"As we connect the dots with pieces of information, we can get a bigger and more robust picture of care," he said.  

What exactly does this mean with regards to information?  Are patients signing away rights with this mandatory form or will they be?  Will we be notified if it changes and what those changes are?  Would the legal community care to comment?" Carle currently charges the same for a nurse of some training as they do a doctor, will students also be charges equally as their instructors? Who on the state level of government would we direct questions of governing how this operates? Is the committee that approves this holding hearings?

Information is power. Could a potential employer gain access and disregard you on the basis of any flaw or preference?   For example if its between two potential employees could a deciding vote be based on perscriptions for allegies, use of viagra, or flat feet? If the info is not private, it could.  True Carle does take out full page ads in the news gazette but that does not mean they have sold their integrity....does it?