The University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford (UIC) is spending $100 million to expand its facilities and programs that focus on rural healthcare.
UIC plans to upgrade its buildings to accommodate more students who want to work in dentistry, public health, social work, and applied health. The proposed expansion could reportedly double the number of enrollees in these programs.
According to UIC Dean Alex Stagnaro-Green, there is a shortage of healthcare professionals serving rural communities, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He said there is a “real disparity between the healthcare that’s given in rural and urban areas, and I think we have a responsibility as a state to try to address it.”
Upon completion of the expansion project, the university will utilize its upgraded facilities to provide intensive training to students. It vowed to spend the first two years teaching enrollees about rural health, ethics, and fiscal constraints.
In addition to hands-on training, UIC said its students will visit various hospitals around the state, especially in the south, to speak with employees about rural healthcare services.
‘Growing Health Sciences Campus’
Emphasizing that UIC was just an ordinary medical school five decades ago, Stagnaro-Green expresses that the school has grown to become a health sciences campus known for preparing healthcare professionals to serve in underserved communities.
He also stated that UIC students continue developing a particular appreciation and understanding of what it takes to be a rural physician.
Stagnaro-Green said he is hoping that the project will finally break ground in 2023.