PEORIA: There is a projected nation-wide shortage of primary care physicians by 2020.
But today's White Coat Ceremony at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria inducted a new round of future doctors. A class of 59 second-year medical school students are preparing to start seeing patients.
This class is slightly larger than the average class size. UICOMP recently ranked 11th nationally for the preparation of primary care physicians. That could mean good news for the future of health care here in central Illinois.
Sara Rusch, Regional Dean UICOMP, says, "If you look at all the primary care providers in the Peoria area, about 60% of them trained in our residency. And this is a real asset to the community. In addition to that, many of our graduates from medical school or residency go away for extra training to become a specialist, will come back to this community, because of the experiences they had when they were here in medical school or residency."
Emily Schapka, a 2nd year medical student, says "I do hope to stay in Illinois, yeah. A lot of it does depend on where I match for residency. But I do hope to stay in Illinois."
Schapka says she believes the White Coat Ceremony symbolizes the honor and responsibility of stepping into the hospital and seeing patients.