80 to graduate today from SIU Medical School

Springfields Southern Illinois University School of Medicine has no Nobel Prize winners on its faculty, and its research budget is small compared with larger and older medical schools.

Those conventional measures of prestige, however, overlook a quality that puts SIU close to the top nationwide in fulfilling the social mission of medical education, according to Dr. Fitzhugh Mullan, who will speak today at the schools commencement exercises at Sangamon Auditorium.

Theyve done a fabulous job in delivering on that to the population, to the citizenry, in terms of training excellent physicians for their geographic area, said Mullan, a pediatrician from Washington, D.C.

Mullans 2010 study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, ranked SIU 15th out of 140 medical schools, and ahead of all others in Illinois, when it comes to social mission.

The study measured performance on what Mullan defined as the basic purpose of medical schools: to educate physicians to care for the national population.

The rankings were based on the percentage of graduates who enter primary care specialties, those working in rural or other areas with shortages of health professionals, and those who are African-American, Hispanic or American Indian.

Mullan, 69, received his medical degree from the University of Chicago and worked early in his career at a New Mexico community clinic as part of the National Health Service Corps.

He currently is professor of medicine and health policy at George Washington University School of Medicine.

Mullan said medical schools such as SIU, as well as Morehouse College, Meharry Medical College and Howard University the top three finishers, respectively, in the study often dont receive the attention they deserve from publications such as U.S. News and World Report.

He is working on a follow-up study that will explain in detail why six of the top-performing schools, including SIU, did so well.

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80 to graduate today from SIU Medical School

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