You are here

Points of Pride

A partial list of our notable accomplishments and innovations.


•    SIU School of Medicine was the first institution to incorporate problem-based learning and standardized patients into its medical school curriculum.

•    We were the first medical school in the U.S. to require a clinical competency examination before graduation. The exam is now a model for physician licensure throughout the country.

•    The Professional Development Laboratory allows evaluation of students in standardized and real patient encounters in a precise replica of an exam room. It was the first such facility in the nation, providing the prototype for clinical simulation training observation. 

•    SIU’s Surgical Skills Laboratory was also one of the firsts of its kind. Established in 2000, the lab enabled surgery residents to hone their skills using high-tech models, virtual reality simulators and direct hands-on instruction. A state-of-the-art upgrade opened in 2015 within the Memorial Center for Learning and Innovation.

•    Southern Illinois University School of Medicine was the first to establish a MEDPREP program (1972), designed to help educationally and economically disadvantaged undergraduate students prepare for health professions schools.

•    Students from underrepresented groups in medicine averaged 25 percent at SIU for the most recent five-year period. SIU School of Medicine ranks above the 95th percentile among U.S. medical schools for percentage of graduates who are African American or Black.

•    SIU Medicine, the health care arm of SIU School of Medicine, is the largest multi-specialty physicians group in the region, with nearly 300 full-time physicians and other medical professionals who provide patient care to more than 160,000 individuals each year.

•    SIU Medicine is one of the largest university-owned and administered Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) systems in the U.S., serving the region with 13 clinics in eight cities.

•    According to the AAMC, SIU School of Medicine has the highest percentage of graduates in the nation practicing in rural areas, serving citizens who have few medical resources.

•    SIU’s Institute for Plastic Surgery is rated as best in the U.S. for microsurgery, measured by successful reattachment of amputated limbs, hand surgery and therapy, reconstructive surgery, burn care, aesthetic surgery and problem wound care.

  • SIU Medicine’s Fertility and IVF Center has the top infertility treatment rates in the country. The South-Central Illinois Perinatal Center, led by SIU Medicine providers, is the largest group in downstate Illinois, and provides tertiary care services to 30 hospitals and 36 counties. SIU Medicine’s telemedicine network provides maternal-fetal medicine services to rural hospitals and clinics in central and southern Illinois. 

•    SIU School of Medicine is world-renowned for research of cancer, Alzheimer’s and neurological diseases, and women’s health. It is also an international leader in hearing research, including studies of deafness, vertigo and tinnitus.

•    Emerging areas of SIU research include the role of microbiomes in disease, regenerative medicine, population science and outcomes-based research.

[or 3 specifics for the above 2 bullets…]

  • Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU serves various types of cancer patients and performs biomedical research. In the past 10 years, the $800,000 SIU has invested in local research has yielded $2.6 million in federal grant research funding.
  • SIU School of Medicine researchers are collaborating with Simmons Cancer Institute to improve endometriosis treatment through the use of microbiomes (the unique bacteria that resides in all of us). Researchers are developing new screenings for ovarian and endometrial cancer and creating new treatments to prevent ovarian cancer using natural agents.
  • SIU School of Medicine researchers working through National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants are creating new treatments to slow and prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. The SIU Neuroscience Institute hosts designated Stroke and Epilepsy Centers with Memorial Medical Center.

•    SIU’s Center for Alzheimer Disease and Related Disorders serves a total of 93 of 102 Illinois counties by providing clinical and educational services to patients and their families, supporting research and coordinating a network of primary provider sites.

•    SIU is the only medical school in the world to receive two consecutive accreditations from the Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME) without any citations (2007, 2015).

  • The school was the 2018 institutional winner of the Josiah Macy Foundation Award for Excellence in Social Mission for Health Professions Education and the 2018 American Hospital Association NOVA Award for collaborations that improve community health. These are two of the highest national honors for a medical school.

•    In 2020 the Association for Medical Education in Europe awarded its inaugural Stellar Aspire Award to SIU School of Medicine (USA) and Leeds School of Medicine (UK) to celebrate the schools’ cumulative achievements in five medical education categories.



•    SIU was one of the first medical schools in the nation to establish a Department of Medical Humanities.

•    We were one of the first institutions to take a holistic approach to student admissions, encouraging greater diversity. More than 1,000 undergraduates apply for SIU’s 80-person class roster each year.

•    SIU is one of only a handful of medical schools in the United States that offers a six-year MD/JD program.

•    One-third of the physicians in Sangamon County have been trained by SIU School of Medicine in some capacity (undergraduate, graduate or fellowship education).

•    SIU is one of the few medical schools to have a medical history museum on campus. The Pearson Museum is used for teaching and is open to the public.

•    The medical library contains nearly 5,000 rare books related to the history of medicine.

•    SIU School of Medicine pioneered the use of nurse educators in its curriculum, providing critical interprofessional exposure to medical students from day one.

•    SIU was the first medical school in North America to grant a full professorship with tenure to a nurse, Norma Wylie.

•    First to designate an African American woman as chair of OB/GYN: Ponjola Coney, MD

•    First plastic surgeon in central Illinois: Elvin Zook, MD

•    8,700 referring physicians are located throughout the region.

•    We have one of only five lung volume reduction programs in the nation.