About External Relations

About Us

The School of Medicine was founded with a mandate to improve the health of the people of central and southern Illinois. It has fostered an environment that emphasizes empathy, advocacy and community service. As a community-based medical school, we value collaboration and partnerships. The Office of External relations works to fulfill the mission of social accountability for the School of Medicine by cultivating the productive external relationships needed to improve the health of the region.

We understand that our mission and goals can be realized only if we have effective sustainable partnerships, including those with teaching hospitals, community healthcare professionals, health systems, public health agencies and community organizations. We must also creatively consider ways to engage audiences in governmental and non-governmental agencies, private industry, individuals, foundations, and organizations that address the social determinants of health.

Our Leaders

Lori Williams, Associate Provost of External Relations

Karen Fraase, Director of Program Development

Dawn DeFraties, Executive Director of Correctional Medicine

Jeff Franklin, Executive Director of Center for Rural Health and Social Services

Laura Hepp Kessel, Director of Telehealth

Rikeesha Phelon, Executive Director of Marketing, Communications and Engagement

Cassie Mattson, Director of Alumni Affairs

Matt Yarnell, Director of Office of Community Care