The Daily Illini

Provost pushes for UIUC College of Medicine

By Megan Jones

The University is trying to create a new type of student studying medicine: one who is grounded with compassion and care but also in tune with technology and engineering-based applications.

Professors listened to a roundtable discussion on Friday, Sept. 12, regarding the University’s proposed College of Medicine, which will fuse engineering, computing, health sciences and medicine into one. The last time a new college was formed at the University was in 1957.

“If there is one thing that technologies and innovations have not touched yet, have not been made available to people, it is taking care of their health in an affordable and accessible way,” Andreas Cangellaris, dean of the College of Engineering, said. “We are talking about bringing the clinic to the patient.”

The University’s sister school in Chicago already has a College of Medicine and proposed a counterpoint at a Sept. 3 Board of Trustees meeting. Chicago would use their original framework while working with Urbana’s College of Engineering to create a “Translational BioEngineering Institute,” which would promote biomedical research and economic development.

Provost Ilesanmi Adesida said the University has heard UIC’s proposal, but will not accept it. Adesida said the proposed college will require no additional state funding and will not take money from other programs, as Chancellor Phyllis Wise and Adesida will team together to approach donors and private investors.

They already have one investor on their side: Carle Health System, located in Urbana, who Adesida said is willing to invest $100 million. Neal Cohen, director for the interdisciplinary health sciences initiative, said that by partnering with Carle, the University will benefit from not having to run an “incredibly expensive” hospital, as he believes UIC does.

“There will be no reallocation of any of the money we already have,” Adesida said. “There is a lot of money to be raised. We will probably need a $500 million endowment for the University.”

Paul Donohue, vice president of development for Presence Covenant Medical Center, said Presence would also like to partner with the college.

According to Adesida, Urbana’s medical school would enroll 25 to 50 students per year.

“We are not going to be duplicating anything, but using what we have,” Adesida said. “We are working with UIC to negotiate what will happen on whether they will receive their MDs here or PhDs here.” Adesida said that the University lost four faculty members from the College of Engineering because they wanted to work at a university with a full college of medicine. George Gollin, physics professor, voiced concern during the meeting that UIC’s medical school is tied in last place for the top medical school. Adesida responded by saying that Chicago’s college has 300 incoming students each year. While most colleges are big, they have half of the revenue for research that UIUC has, Adesida said. He added that even Stanford’s program has lowered to 90 students per incoming class.

“People are changing the structure and reducing the amount of students as well,” Adesida said. “We are not interested in big, but the best.”

The Urbana-Champaign Faculty Senate will review the proposal at its Monday, Sept. 15 meeting and the Board of Trustees will review a business plan for the college in November.

The Urbana-Champaign Faculty Senate will review the proposal at its Monday, Sept. 15 meeting and the Board of Trustees will review a business plan for the college in November.

“Everyone says medicine should not be taught the same way that it is now,” Rashid Bashir, head of the department for bioengineering, said. “We have a very great opportunity being a University with a top-engineering college … If we can do this now, in the long run we really have a chance to change the way it is taught everywhere else.”

Megan can be reached at [email protected]

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