U of I College of Medicine to expand Rural Medical Education (RMED) Program

Staff Report

The National Center for Rural Health Professions (NCRHP), University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford, has announced an expansion of the Rural Medical Education (RMED) Program.

Based on discussions with numerous stakeholders and a review of the health care workforce needs of rural Illinois communities, the University of Illinois has granted approval for the RMED Program to expand from 15 to 25 students per class.

While primary care will remain the focus, RMED will also begin accepting students interested in specialties outside of primary care who plan to return to rural Illinois to practice.

The expansion will also help with NCRHP’s developing programs in Hispanic and Native American medical education.

Dr. Michael Glasser, associate dean of NCRHP and Dr. George & Mrs. Mildred Mitchell Professor of Rural and Family Medicine, said: “This is a timely and exciting change for RMED and rural health professions education as the University of Illinois and the College of Medicine in Rockford seek to impact access to and quality of care in rural Illinois.”

University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford’s dean, Dr. Alex Stagnaro-Green, said: “It is vital that this campus serve the community. Providing training to medical students who are committed to practicing in rural areas is a critical component of that service, not only to our region, but to the entire state.”

The RMED Program was established in 1990 through the Illinois Rural Downstate Health Act. This legislation sought to improve access to health care services in rural, downstate and shortage areas of Illinois.

The RMED Program is evidence-based and employs a “grow our own” model by recruiting students from rural Illinois communities who express a desire to return to a rural Illinois community to practice medicine. The program expansion will continue to build on the success of the RMED Program and to increase the supply of physicians to rural Illinois.

Based on more than 20 years of program data, 75 percent of RMED graduates are practicing in rural Illinois. Dr. Craig Davenport, director of RMED, said, “We are very pleased with these new additions to our program and can’t wait to welcome the new classes of future rural Illinois physicians!”

Posted Sept. 17, 2014

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