Carle Illinois College of Medicine at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is welcoming 59 new physicians-in-training to its ranks. The Class of 2026 –- the largest to date for the world’s first engineering-based college of medicine –- has started the four-year journey to becoming physician-innovators who are trained at the intersection of medicine and engineering.
The Class of 2026 is the fifth cohort in the college’s young history, and the first since the inaugural class graduated in May of 2022.
Carle Illinois’ unique engineering-infused curriculum and competency requirements attract students from a wide range of academic backgrounds. As with preceding classes, most students in the Class of 2026 have degrees in engineering (58%), with bioengineering being the most common engineering discipline. Another 17% come from non-engineering, math-based disciplines. The remaining students arrive at Carle Illinois with degrees in more traditional pre-medicine disciplines, including biology, neuroscience, and biochemistry.
Carle Illinois Dean Mark Cohen said the members of the new class are committing themselves to a new kind of medical education and a new approach to solving medical problems. “This group of incredibly accomplished, diverse, and passionate students chose the Carle Illinois College of Medicine as the best path to build the future of medicine through team-based problem-solving that incorporates patient-focused engineering design principles. Through our unique curriculum and rich clinical immersion, they will grow into forward-thinking physician-innovators who are equipped to advance medicine, through innovation, research, technology, and a commitment to clinical expertise and compassionate care.”
Demographically, 46% of the new class members are female, and 11.9% identify themselves as coming from groups that are underrepresented in medicine. The new class members have already earned 21 advanced degrees (degrees beyond a bachelor’s degree), including five doctorate degrees and 16 master’s degrees.
This is also the first class to join Carle Illinois since Cohen became dean. He has committed to expanding the college’s innovation and research infrastructure. “These students will have new opportunities to work with outstanding and compassionate Carle Health clinicians to develop impactful point-of-care projects that will bring innovations to patients in our community and beyond,” Cohen said.
Dean Cohen officially welcomed the new class at the White Coat Ceremony on Sunday, June 26, 2022. This rite of passage marked the new students’ entry into the medical profession. Following medical school orientation, the new students will begin 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 renovated state-of-the-art Medical Sciences Building.
Carle Illinois College of Medicine was founded in 2015 as a unique partnership between the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Carle Health.