The Carle Illinois College of Medicine REACH program is an intensive clinical and research immersion summer experience for undergraduate students interested in pursuing a career as a physician. In addition to helping students prepare for medical school, REACH was developed to grow the presence of students underrepresented in the field of medicine.

In summer of 2021, we are excited to offer the REACH Online Learning Experience—a way to receive REACH-inspired training, but safely at home. The intensive clinical and research immersion experience will be virtual, and may include data analysis, literature reviews, in-home testing, and other experiences. The virtual program will run June 1 to July 30, 2021. Participants will not come on campus. Registration is open now until Feb. 15, 2021. Sign up to receive program updates.

Through a series of free webinars, we also are offering webinars with experts from across the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. You can review the recorded webinars below.

2021 REACH Online Experience Schedule (TBD)

Designing Resiliency and Well-being

With Ruby Mendenhall, Ph.D., Assistant Dean for Diversity and Democratization of Health Innovation, Carle Illinois College of Medicine

In this session, Ruby Mendenhall will share how STEM Illinois is expanding our ecosystem of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to inspire youth from diverse backgrounds and learning styles to explore STEM education and career opportunities. From a Communiversity Think and Do Tank, a Communiversity Wellness Center, and a new lab to decrease health disparities and promote health equity by addressing the social determinants of health in the Carle Illinois Health Maker Lab, you can learn about the many STEM and health-related initiatives we’re pursuing in the Champaign area.

Finding Opportunities Along Your Path

With Jennifer Crum, MS, Senior Assistant Director, Health Professions Advising, The Career Center at Illinois

In this webinar, we will discuss strategies to identify and solidify meaningful opportunities for your growth and experience as you explore careers in health. From building your resume to better understanding your interests, this webinar will equip you with strategies to pursue the right opportunities for your goals.

Molecular Advances that could Democratize and Empower Nextgen Innovation

With Martin Burke M.D., Ph.D., Associate Dean for Research, Carle Illinois College of Medicine

We all care about being healthy. Yet only a small fraction of the 7.7 billion people throughout the world currently have the opportunity to transform new ideas for improving healthcare into testable prototypes. At Carle Illinois, we aim to harness this tremendous untapped human potential by democratizing health innovation and thereby empowering individuals and communities around the globe to help address some of the most important challenges facing society today. In this webinar, we’ll focus on how Dr. Burke’s lab is developing a platform that has been leveraged to develop molecular prosthetics–small molecules that autonomously perform protein-like functions and thus have the potential to treat a wide range of currently incurable diseases, including cystic fibrosis and anemias. Continued advances in these directions have the potential to democratize and thereby broadly empower nextgen molecular innovation.

Following passion and perseverance on one’s journey

With Kevin Teal, M.D., Neurosurgeon at Carle Hospital, and Clinical Instructor at Carle Illinois College of Medicine

In this webinar, Dr. Kevin Teal will share about his career in neurosurgery, and share how passion and perseverance result in grit—a crucial key to success along one’s journey. 

Content inspired by the book Grit by Angela Duckworth.

Setting a Game Plan for Applying to Medical School

With Colin Van Orman, M.S., Student Affairs Coordinator at Carle Illinois College of Medicine, and Heather Wright, M.S., Director of Student Success at Carle Illinois College of Medicine

In this session, we’ll provide an overview of the medical school admissions process. Topics include:

  • Defining holistic review and understanding what it means in practice
  • Action steps to prepare a robust AMCAS application
  • Secondary applications and how to approach them

How Access to Energy is a Healthcare Issue

With Joe Bradley, Ph.D., Clinical Assistant Professor in the Bioengineering Department at The Grainger College of Engineering and Carle Illinois College of Medicine

Did you know that access to energy is also a healthcare issue? Joe Bradley will share about his work with the company, Sun Buckets, that provides energy solutions to the energy-impoverished. This company not only provides energy, but also improves health conditions for many around the world.


Q: What is the format of the REACH Online Learning Experience?
A: Each online learning session will be offered weekly via a one-hour Zoom webinar. After hearing from a content expert from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, you will have the ability to submit questions to the presenter.

Q: Do I need to be admitted into the REACH Program to participate?
A: During a typical year, participating in the REACH Program does require an application and admittance process. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are making this online learning opportunity for summer 2020 available online to anyone who would like to participate, without an application and admittance process.

Q: Do I need to be a student underrepresented in medicine to participate?
A: The REACH Program was designed to provide a pathway experience for students underrepresented in medicine. While many of the online learning experiences will still be designed for these students in mind, this online opportunity is available to anyone who would like to participate.

Summer 2021 REACH Program

Be sure to sign up for updates to learn more about the program. And, stay tuned for information on the Summer 2021 REACH Program. Applications will open December 2020.


Lisa Goodpaster