University Moves Rorward with Plans for New Medical School at Champaign-Urbana Campus

The facility for specialized medical education would be physically separate, and separate in its mission statement, from the existing “U of I” school on the Medical Campus of the West Side of Chicago. University President Robert Easter announced on Wednesday, March 11 (read more here) that he would recommend that the Board of Trustees approve the Champaign-Urbana medical school project.

Under the proposal, the University of Illinois’ Downstate hub campus will become the center of a cooperative center of medical education and bioengineering research and development. The proposed medical school will leverage the University’s established Champaign-Urbana presence in engineering sciences. The medical school is expected to work in financial and clinical affiliation with the Urbana-based Carle Foundation Hospital System. The Carle alliance could create a platform to test new medical devices and therapies in a clinical setting. This potential Champaign-Urbana operating model contrasts with the traditional teaching-hospital role of the Chicago-based University of Illinois-Chicago medical school and hospital.

President Easter’s staff and consultants will present a spreadsheet binder to the trustees that will indicate that the injection of additional Illinois taxpayer funding to operate the new medical school will not be required. The new (2014) Western Michigan University medical school in Kalamazoo offers a financial model for a bioengineering-driven, self-supporting medical school complex. The trustees will be asked on Thursday, March 12, to approve the University of Illinois proposal.

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