The University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria is passing a major milestone this weekend.
This year’s graduation marks 2,000 students to graduate with medical degrees right here in Peoria.
The university has a special place here in Peoria being that we are host to two major health care providers.
OSF Health Care Saint Francis Medical Center and Unity Point Health.
“It’s a tremendous asset to have a medical school in the community and to have a healthcare enterprise as active as we have in Peoria,” says Sara Rusch, Regional Dean at UICOMP.
For Sara Rusch, it’s become her life’s work to use her previous medical experience, to teach and help grow medical professionals who feed right back into our community.
“They live here,” says Rusch. “They stay here. They raise their families here. They practice here. They attract people out of the region here.”
One of those students is Paulo Michelini.
“From the time I started, that first year that I spent here as a second year student, I got to know the city a little bit more and get more comfortable with it,” says Paulo Michelini. “[I] really started to like it.”
5 other students like Paulo, have decided to continue their residency programs right here in Peoria.
This brings Rusch’s hopes to fruition as she also, came here.. studied hard.. and planted roots of her own.
“I myself am an example you know, of the impact of recruiting physicians here for education who then stay in the community,” says Rusch.
So with reaching such a distinguished accomplishment, efforts from medical professionals are helping to educate, grow and maintain new age doctors, nurses and staff who call central Illinois home.
Nationwide, students will graduate medical school with an average of more than $170,000 of debt and that’s not including any undergraduate college debt.
On average, students spend 12 years in education after their high school graduation before they can practice medicine.
Those who specialize in certain areas of medicine may spend up to an additional 6 years in educational training.