Resource Library >> Social Mission Case Example

Southern Illinois University

The Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Medicine provides medical training to Illinois residents, especially those from rural areas, in an effort to improve care in rural communities. Students take required courses in medical humanities and complete a practicum with a community health agency. About a third of graduates go into primary care. The university also offers MEDPREP, a program that aims to help disadvantaged students pursue careers as physicians, dentists and physician assistants, and the Physician Pipeline Preparatory Program, which connects local high school students with medical students and professionals. It also supports community college students interested in medicine. SIU has specific guidelines for recruiting diverse faculty and staff, as well as Hispanic students. Underrepresented faculty are offered mentorship upon hiring. The Office of Community Care oversees a variety of outreach and education programs for the local community. Students may also pursue a Health Equity Scholar designation, involving training in social responsibility, community service, and “challenging assumptions.”

In 2018, SIU earned the Macy Award for Institutional Excellence. Of the award, dean and provost Jerry Kruse said, “Our medical school serves the people and communities of a 66 county service region in rural central and southern Illinois, and the award has strengthened our dedication and commitment to social mission, health equity, and educating socially responsible leaders in medicine and health sciences. Many more people have become engaged because of the award. For example, I describe the award and what it means at every new employee orientation; I frequently describe the award at meetings of the board, faculty, staff and learners; and, the award plaque itself is prominently displayed in the lobby where community gatherings occur. Each of these situations sparks discussion and a deeper, wider commitment to the elements of the social mission, both among those in the institution and among our community partners.”

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