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Area High School Students to Receive Cardiac Training

July 11, 2018

A select group of area high school students will learn about matters of the heart during a summer session of the Physician Pipeline Preparatory Program (or P4) on July 16-19 at SIU School of Medicine. Surgeons and health care professionals at the Prairie Heart Institute of Illinois will lead the training instruction.

Eight Springfield students are participating in the summer class, part of the four-year program for local high school youth interested in becoming physicians. P4 is a partnership among Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield Public Schools – District 186 and the Sangamon County Medical Society.

During the four days of hands-on experience, students will be trained and certified in CPR, spend time in clinical simulation labs, receive didactic lectures from cardiologists and shadow them in clinical areas. Prairie Heart Institute of Illinois, the Prairie Heart Foundation, Prairie Cardiovascular and HSHS St. John’s Hospital are sponsoring the summer session.

“We believe that pipeline programs are an investment in the future,” said Greg Mishkel, MD, co-chair of the Physician Planning Committee at Prairie Heart Institute. “The week will give the students a better understanding of cardiovascular systems and increase their awareness of opportunities available in the area of cardiovascular medicine.”

The tenth class of P4 learners will begin this fall at SIU. Students enter the after-school program as high school freshmen and continue through their senior year. The experience familiarizes them with medical school coursework, admissions processes, test-taking skills, critical thinking and specialty training. Components include participation in medical school-style curriculum; introduction to problem-based learning; tours and shadowing; and interactions with SIU students and faculty. Faculty and staff from the School of Medicine and District 186 developed the curriculum.

The Pipeline is open to all high school students from the Springfield area, both public and private. Participating students are chosen through a competitive process. Applications must reflect superior academic performance and attendance, a high level of motivation and sincere interest in becoming a physician. The committee also gives consideration to students with a disadvantaged socioeconomic background or the potential to become a first-generation college graduate.

“These are bright and ambitious young people who love learning, and the P4 sessions provides them a preview of the rigorous training medical students will experience,” said Wesley Robinson-McNeese, MD, P4 program director.

The application deadline for the 2018-19 P4 class is September 25. The first module of study is November 5–8 and 13–15, 2018. The second module is in February 4-7 and 11-14, 2019. To learn more about the program or download an application, visit