Why one Illinois medical school aims to graduate 'physician-inventors'

The Urbana, Ill.-based Carle Illinois College of Medicine, which will welcome its inaugural class of students in July, will be one of the first medical schools in the nation to offer a medical doctorate degree program that integrates engineering with medicine from the beginning of a student's first year, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Here are five things to know about the medical school.

1. The four-year medical school is the result of a partnership between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Urbana-based Carle Health System, which operates a 413-bed hospital near the university campus. Carle pledged to donate $100 million over 10 years to the institution, the Chicago Tribune reports.

2. King Li, MD, dean of the Carle Illinois College of Medicine, said the goal of the medical school is to graduate "physician-inventors" who are able to challenge the status quo and incorporate technological solutions to reduce costs while improving access to and quality of care. Students will use video games and virtual reality technology, among other technologies, throughout their education to deepen their understanding of clinical practice.

3. The school has received roughly 1,000 applications to fill its 32-member inaugural class, according to the report. All 32 students will receive free tuition for all four years of their education.

4. The medical school has received preliminary accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, and officials expect to receive approval from The Higher Learning Commission soon, according to the report.

5. "This group [of students] will be the bridge between the people who understand the technology and the people who deliver the healthcare," Dr. Li said. "There are very few people who can cross between these two groups."

To access the full Chicago Tribune report, click here.

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