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SIU Medicine Honored for Social Mission in Education

Published Date:
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine has received the 2018 Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation Award for Institutional Excellence in Social Mission in Health Professions Education. The Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University and the Beyond Flexner Alliance granted the annual award, which recognizes “outstanding leadership in advancing social mission in health professions education.” Flexner
SIU Medicine won in the category of Institutional Excellence “for its dedication to a social mission, pursuit of health equity, unwavering commitment to the residents of central and southern Illinois, and continued success in educating caring, compassionate, socially responsible leaders in medicine and health sciences.”
"If every part of our country had a health science university focused on the health of its regional population the way Southern Illinois University does, we would be a healthier people,” said Fitzhugh Mullan, MD, board chair of the Beyond Flexner Alliance. “Bravo, SIU!"
The Beyond Flexner Alliance focuses on health equity and the education of health professionals as providers of more equitable and fairer health care. The Alliance defines social mission as “activities or initiatives that teach, model, or improve community engagement, diversity, disparities reduction, value based care, or engagement with the social determinants of health. Social mission enhancement means making programs not only better, but fairer.”  
SIU School of Medicine was noted for its longtime efforts in meeting the social mission of the 66-county region of central and southern Illinois. For example, numerous partnerships and an Office of Regional Programs with four hub sites have worked to improve health outcomes through community coalitions, social innovations and the creation of health care infrastructure. SIU Medicine also has expanded the reach of its federally qualified health centers to provide health and social services to its patients. A neighborhood “hotspotting” program has decreased the number of “super users” of hospital emergency rooms.
The School has been noted in national research studies for its excellence in social mission in medical school and residency training. When compared to other medical schools in the U.S., SIU consistently ranks above 90th percentile for the percentage of graduates who are from under-represented groups in medicine, who practice primary care medicine, and who serve medically vulnerable populations. 
To better serve its social mission, SIU School of Medicine created the Office of Population Science and Policy (OPSP) in 2016. An academic research and policy organization, OPSP is dedicated to understanding and advancing the health, development and wellness of residents through population science, social innovation and policy formation. The office has already impacted many communities in its service region through programs to address toxic stress in schools, enhance child development and combat the growing opioid crisis.
 “SIU Medicine is dedicated to improving the health of the region we serve through advancing the social mission in health education in a variety of ways,” said Jerry Kruse, MD, MSPH, dean and provost of SIU School of Medicine. “We thank all our faculty, learners and staff, as well as our partners for their tireless dedication to this mission.”
SIU School of Medicine has been frequently acclaimed for its innovative medical education, including efforts in addressing the social mission. In 2013, it received three lifetime achievement Aspire to Excellence Awards from the Association for Medical Education in Europe, in the categories of student engagement, student assessment and social accountability.
Established in 1970, the mission of SIU School of Medicine is to assist the people of central and southern Illinois in meeting their health needs through education, patient care, research and service to the community. An international leader in medical education, the school is based in Carbondale and Springfield and is specifically oriented to educating new physicians prepared to practice in Illinois. Since opening, more than 2,800 physicians have graduated from its medical school program, 2600 physicians from its residency and fellowship programs, 460 physician assistants from its physician assistant program, 280 students from its graduate programs, and 1,400 students from its MEDPREP program. For more information, visit

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