URBANA, Ill – Forty-seven new medical students have embarked on a journey to become physician innovators at Carle Illinois College of Medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the nation’s first engineering-based medical school.

The Class of 2025 was welcomed to the UIUC campus this month marking the first time in the medical school’s history that Carle Illinois has held four full classes of students. Established in 2015, the college welcomed its inaugural class of 32 students on July 2, 2018.

Carle Illinois’ unique competency requirements attract students from non-traditional backgrounds. Students from the Class of 2025 come from a range of academic disciplines, including advanced mathematics, computer science, and other quantitative disciplines, while more than 80 percent of students have a background in engineering. Fourteen students hold a master’s degree. The new class also includes five UIUC alumni, the most of any Carle Illinois class.

“These students have made a conscious decision to be at the forefront of a pioneering medical education. For hundreds of years, physicians have been trained under the same model, but not at Carle Illinois. Medicine is changing, technology is changing. These students will be a new type of physician– physician innovators,” said Dr. King Li, dean of the college.”

The students began their academic courses and clinical training in the college’s engineering-focused, case-driven, problem-based, active learning curriculum in the college’s JUMP Simulation Center and newly renovated state-of-the-art Medical Sciences Building. The college is training physician innovators to revolutionize the way health care is delivered, leveraging technology and data science to improve patient care and outcomes.

“I’ve always been really excited about the intersection of health care and engineering, and I thought this was the perfect place for me to merge my interests and develop novel technologies that can benefit not just the patients that I treat but patients worldwide,” said first-year medical student Dhruv Patel. “My goals are geared toward synergizing engineering with medicine in this rapidly advancing world,” first-year medical student Beverly Tomita echoed.

Carle Illinois is home to nearly 160 students and more than 600 affiliated clinical and academic faculty. The inaugural class of students will graduate in 2022. Carle Illinois is a partnership between Urbana-based Carle Health and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, one of the country’s top public research universities.