Coles County Students Preview Health Careers


March 8, 2017

Coles County Students Preview Health Careers

Research indicates a potential physician shortage could occur in the U.S. within the next decade. A new program in Coles County aims to combat that trend by boosting interest in medical careers during high school.

Students from Charleston, Mattoon and Oakland High Schools, as well as many homeschooled students, have met monthly since September to learn from health care professionals in the region. SIU School of Medicine's Eastern regional office is now expanding the Health CareeRx Club program to include three more schools from neighboring Edgar and Cumberland Counties:  Kansas, Cumberland and Neoga High Schools.

Charleston High School student Kressa Sweeney uses an otoscope to examine homeschooled student Anagrace Karrick at the October 2016 Health CareeRx Club event at the Sarah Bush Lincoln Neoga Clinic.

Presentions from pharmacists, chiropractors, family physicians, rural clinicians and pediatric nurse practitioners have showcased a range of career opportunities within the health care industry. The March program will feature a fly-in visit from the Effingham-based Air Evac Lifeteam. The group will arrive by helicopter between 6:30 and 7 p.m. on Monday, March 27, at Sarah Bush Lincoln Hospital in Mattoon.  

The academic year will conclude in April with a health careers fair at Lake Land College. Many of the state’s public universities and some private institutions will highlight their health education programs.

“It’s very exciting to see and hear firsthand what these dedicated men and women do for a living,” said Brent Todd, assistant director of the Office of Regional Programs’ Eastern Region at SIU. “The students are getting a variety of options to consider as they think about their futures.”

The program is a joint effort between staff at Area Health Education Centers, Carle of Mattoon, Eastern Illinois Education for Employment System, Eastern Illinois University, Lake Land College, Sarah Bush Lincoln Health System and SIU School of Medicine.

Students can register for the Health CareeRx Club by attending any event. For more information, please contact Brent Todd at 217-238-3738.





Media Contacts

Brent Todd

SIU Eastern Region,


Karen Carlson,
SIU, 217-545-3854



Phone 217-545-8000
P.O. Box 19620
Springfield, IL 62794-9620
The mission of the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine is to assist the people of central and southern Illinois in meeting their health care needs through education, patient care, research, and service to the community.


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