Dr. Uretz Oliphant has been named the Interim Dean of the Carle Illinois College of Medicine following approval by the Board of Trustees.

Dr. Oliphant brings nearly four decades of experience as a medical practitioner, researcher and educator. He serves as a clinical professor in the Carle Illinois College of Medicine and is a general surgeon at Carle specializing in bariatrics, general surgery, and previous specialization in trauma surgery and critical care. He is also familiar to many on this campus from his prior service as regional dean of the Urbana division of the University of Illinois College of Medicine. Thanks to his seasoned experience in various leadership roles and a strong record of dedicated service to the college, Dr. Oliphant will provide Carle Illinois College of Medicine with welcome stability during this transition period. His broad name recognition across our campus leaves no doubt that he will continue to advance Carle Illinois College of Medicine in its academic, research and service missions.

Learn more about Dr. Oliphant:

Dr. Oliphant, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and areas of focus and expertise in the medical field?  
I am a Surgeon here at Carle. Educated at Boston University for undergraduate and University of Minnesota for medical school, I did my residency in surgery at the University of Illinois affiliated program. I did a trauma /critical fellowship in Chicago. I came to Carle in 1992. I do bariatrics, general surgery now. I did trauma and critical care up until about 5 years ago. I have three children and four grandchildren.

You have had a connection to and involvement with both the University of Illinois College of Medicine and Carle Illinois College of Medicine. What has it been like watching the evolution of medical education at the University of Illinois? And why is educating medical students in a new way so critical to health care?  

It has been amazing to watch how medicine has changed over the years. For example, when I first started doing surgery it was all “open” surgery. We now do minimally invasive surgery through tiny holes and do surgery robotically. Medical education has changed over that time as well with the introduction of simulation and of course computer or online education. The disease we see now as compared to earlier are different and some cases more challenging to treat and need “inventive” and “innovative” solutions. This is very much illustrated by the COVID 19 virus, which took a novel treatment approach buoyed by new technology.

You served as the Chair of the Admissions Committee selecting Carle Illinois’ inaugural class. Looking back, can you describe what that was like? — And what it is like to watch the Class of 2022 near graduation?

It is has been quite an honor to have been involved in the choosing of that first class. These are essentially the “founders” of our program, the pioneers if you will- what we created. It started as an idea that is now real. These will be the innovators of the future.

What is a “Physician Innovator” to you?

Someone who is able to not only treat a disease or medical problem but can come up with/develop novel treatments that treat that medical problem. In some cases, diseases that may not currently have any way of being treated will change through their innovation and make treatment possible or better.

What are the biggest problems in healthcare right now, and what role do you think Carle Illinois’ Physician Innovators will have in finding solutions to those problems?

It’s very hard to narrow that down to any one or two things. The best way to look at this is how you make the treatment as safe and efficacious as possible. “Physician first do no harm.” Technology can be the answer.

As a busy surgeon, what are your favorite things to do outside of work? Do you have any hobbies? 
Take care of my grandkids.


January 10, 2022