Southern Illinois University School of Medicine was established in 1970 to assist the people of central and southern Illinois in meeting their health care needs. SIU has focused on training caring physicians and is internationally recognized for its innovative teaching and testing techniques. Each of the four classes comprises 72 students. First-year students spend their year in Carbondale. Nearly 1,000 SIU graduates are now practicing in Illinois. 

SIU is a national leader in the percentage of graduates who enter primary care. SIU has approximately 325 resident physicians training in 17 medical specialty areas. It also awards masters and doctoral degrees in pharmacology, physiology, and biochemistry and molecular biology. Other degrees are a master’s of science in physician assistant studies, a combined MD-JD degree and a combined MD-MPH degree. The school also offers a physician assistant degree. 

SIU has more than 300 teaching physicians in family medicine, internal medicine, neurology, obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry and surgery. The School of Medicine, its outpatient clinics SIU Medicine, and its teaching hospitals, Memorial Medical Center and St. John’s Hospital, make Springfield an expanding academic medical center with considerable clinical, educational and research expertise. 


In 1968, the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) included a recommendation in a long-range planning document, Education in the Health Fields for State of Illinois, that Southern Illinois University create a medical school in downstate Illinois capable of graduating its first class of new physicians by 1978. 

The university responded and determined that it could make maximum use of existing facilities and expertise by basing the clinical education programs of the new school in Springfield, which had large sophisticated hospitals and a strong core of physicians in the various specialties, and the basic science programs in Carbondale, making use of the educational resources already available on the campus.

Richard H. Moy, MD, was hired in 1970 as the new school’s founding dean. He and newly recruited department chairs and clinical, basic science and medical education faculty began creating the school’s innovative, competency-based curriculum which was designed to train new doctors over a three-year period. The basic sciences were concentrated on the Carbondale campus and the remaining years of the medical school curriculum and most residency programs would be delivered on the Springfield campus. 

When Moy retired in 1994, Carl J. Getto, MD, was appointed second dean and provost. J. Kevin Dorsey, MD, PhD, became the third dean and provost in 2001. He stepped down as dean and provost, returning to teaching medical students in 2015. On January 1, 2016, Jerry Kruse, MD, MSPH, former executive associate dean and CEO of SIU Medicine, became the dean and provost and retained his title as CEO of SIU Medicine in 2016.