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Area High School Students Get Preview of Med School Training

November 5, 2019
The Association of American Medical Colleges expects a potential shortage of 40,000–100,000 physicians by the year 2030. A proactive preparatory program in Springfield aims to combat that trend by boosting interest in medicine for high school students.
Fourteen ninth-graders have been selected for the program, designed to encourage local high school
students interested in becoming physicians. The Physician Pipeline Preparatory Program, or P4, is a partnership among Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield Public Schools (SPS) and the Sangamon County Medical Society. 

A White Coat Ceremony welcomed the first-year students on Wednesday, October 30, in SIU School of Medicine’s South Auditorium. The fall training module begins Monday, November 4, and runs November 4-7 and 12-14, 2019. Winter P4 training sessions take place February 3-6 and 10-13, 2020.
“It’s exciting to begin the pipeline program with a new cohort of high school students,” said Wesley Robinson-McNeese, MD, director of diversity initiatives for the SIU System and P4 program director. “These young people are eager to learn about the life of medical students and how challenging and rewarding a physician’s career can be. Together with the current pipeline students, our learners represent a bright future for health care in central and southern Illinois.”
The freshman students submitted letters of recommendation, a personal statement and a summary of volunteer, school and community activities, all of which needed to reflect good academic performance, high levels of motivation and a sincere interest in pursuing medical careers. A committee with members from the partner organizations interviewed the candidates and selected students based on a holistic admissions approach.
“Springfield Public School District 186 is honored to partner with SIU School of Medicine and the Sangamon County Medical Society to offer the Physician Pipeline Preparatory Program to a diverse group of students,” said Jennifer Gill, superintendent of SPS. “This example of community collaboration exposes our students to real-life experiences of being a physician. The program motivates students to learn and provide great career connections that will prepare them for opportunities beyond their high school experience.”
Faculty and staff from both SPS and SIU developed the curriculum for the program. The P4 components for the after-school program include participation in medical school-style curriculum; introduction to problem-based learning; tours and shadowing; and interactions with SIU students and faculty.
The freshmen students are listed below, with their parents and high school affiliations.
Emma Boelman, Southeast High School, parents: Adam and Dena Boelman
Malachi Bradley, Springfield High School, parent: Ratasha Bradley
Gianna Byars, Southeast High School, parents: Gerald and Toscha Byars
Jalen Doolin, Lanphier High School, parents: Ronald Doolin and Janetta Townsend
Luke Eberhardt, Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, parents: Don and Monica Eberhardt
Amiyah Gordon, Springfield High School, parents: Darryl Gordon and Dominique Miller
Willie Hubbert, Lanphier High School, parents: Anthony and Towanda Fowler
Kate Killian, Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, Parents: Brian and Jennifer Killian
Kendall Logan, Lanphier High School, parents: Kendall and Tashia Logan
Carly Martin, Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, parents: Kevin and Jennifer Martin
Paris Patterson, Lanphier High School, parents: Floyd Patterson and Shirley Capers
Catalina Saravia, Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, parents: Pedro Saravia and Bernardita Mellado
Mykala Widner, Springfield High School, parents: Gary and Gaytha Widner
Quinton Wilson, Springfield High School, parent: Benthy and Lori Wilson

Photos from the event are available at