News briefs: University begins work on expanding medical school through rural program

By Steve Contorno

A new expansion of a University of Illinois program was announced yesterday that would increase medical student enrollment and create a 200-student College of Pharmacy in Rockford, Ill.

The board of trustees approved a financial plan and the hiring of an architect-engineer for the National Center for Rural Health Professions in Rockford, where the University currently educates doctors, nurses, dentists and other health care professionals in rural health.

The University’s funding will help build $31 million addition to the rural health center, which serves 14 counties in Illinois. The project would include a 58,000 sq.ft. addition with a 100-seat auditorium, administrative and student affairs offices, a library, a research space, computer lab and an area for teaching clinical skills.

The program is also funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Besides training health care professionals, the National Center for Rural Health conducts research on rural medical and health care issues, develops health care policy and advocates for better rural health.

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Compiled by Jenette Sturges