Stories about...Carle Illinois College of Medicine

Victoria FieldsHML 2021 Virtual Health Make-a-Thon Gives Citizen Scientists a Shot at Making Their Health-Related Innovations a Reality

April 19, 2021

Eyes on the prize, twenty teams of “citizen scientists” from across the state—students, healthcare workers, educators, entrepreneurs, community members, and professionals—participated in the Spring 2021 Virtual Health Make-a-Thon competition on Saturday, August 17th. The prize? A Maker Lab Innovation coin that would entitle the bearer to $10,000-worth of resources from the University of Illinois’s Health Maker Lab (HML) network. The citizen scientists' goal? To come up with a health innovation that would make a difference.


Chris GeorgeHML 2021 Health Make-a-Thon Orientation Prepares Finalists for Competition

March 30, 2021

Hopeful that “the next big idea in healthcare” could be theirs, on March 25th, the 20 finalists for the virtual Health Make-a-Thon competition to be held later in the spring (April 17, 2021) participated in an orientation session. Sponsored by the Carle Illinois College of Medicine (CI MED) and Illinois’ Health Maker Lab (HML), the Make-a-Thon Orientation familiarized the 20 teams of “citizen scientists” with key personnel, resources, competition logistics, and three special speakers provided contestants with relevant information that would come in handy during the Make-a-Thon, as well as their journey toward entrepreneurship.


Carle Illinois Student-Centered Health Make-A-Thon Addresses Racism as a Health Crisis

December 30, 2020

Racism as a Health Crisis—this was the theme of the fall 2020, student-centered Health Make-a-Thon sponsored by the Carle Illinois College of Medicine (CIMED). Coming up with innovative ideas and solutions to address this year’s theme were eight teams of CIMED students, engineering students, health care professionals, and community members. The Saturday, December 5th virtual event was held via Zoom this year due to COVID-19, with a “Dolphin” Tank comprised of CIMED, university, industry, and community experts serving as judges to determine which teams would receive the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards of $5000, $3000, and $2000, respectively.


Nobel Project Seeks to Pique Marginalized Students’ Interest in Computer Science

November 9, 2020

“Really, one of the goals of the Nobel Project is to provide young people with unprecedented access to the University of Illinois—the land grant mission...If our youth are to become computer scientists, to become the next Nobel Laureate, to become sociologists—whatever it is that their gifts and talents are urging them to be—we can support them in that effort.” — Ruby Mendenhall

According to statistics, very few faculty and industry professionals in Computer Science (CS) are from marginalized populations. For instance, only around 2% of employees in CS are Black; plus, percentages from marginalized groups are also low in medicine and other STEM fields. Seeking to address this issue is STEM Illinois’ Nobel Project, headed up by Dr. Ruby Mendenhall, Assistant Dean for Diversity and Democratization of Health Innovation at the Carle Illinois College of Medicine (CI MED), and an Associate Professor in African-American Studies in the Department of Sociology. The Project’s goals over the next two years are to hold workshops and other activities designed to get young people from marginalized groups interested in CS.


Ananya Cleetus 2020 Virtual Health Make-A-Thon Fosters Health Innovation

August 18, 2020

“Just the thought of maybe seeing my idea come to life and be used in the real world is surreal.” – Ariana Mizan, about her winning PillSafe Cap idea.

“Democratization of health innovation by creating a culture of innovation.” According to Irfan Ahmad, Health Maker Lab Executive Director and Carle Illinois College of Medicine (CI MED) Assistant Dean for Research, this was the goal of the 2020 Virtual Health Make-A-Thon. Held via Zoom on Saturday, August 8th, the competition narrowed the 20 finalists down to ten winners. These would shortly receive their prize—a Maker Lab coin that would entitle the bearer to $10,000-worth of services from the University of Illinois’s Health Maker Lab (HML).


Amaury Saulsberry, a member of the winning team who dreamed up Nouvou, the Smart Pacifier, shows off their prize, a Health Make-a-Thon Encourages Local Citizens to Dream Up Ideas for Improving Health

April 22, 2019

Dream it; make it! This pithy slogan epitomized the Carle Illinois College of Medicine’s (CI MED) recent Health Make-a-Thon, whose lofty goal was to democratize health innovation. The aim of the competition was to foster innovative ideas for improving human health by offering a huge incentive: a chance for contestants to win $10,000 in Health Maker Lab resources to create a real prototype of their idea.

Regarding the term “democratize,” Libby Kacich, the CI MED Communications and Marketing Director, explains it like this: “So, to bring literally anyone in Champaign County into a role of being empowered to bring ideas for improving health care to life.” Chemistry Professor Marty Burke, the College’s Associate Dean for Research, alludes to the “everything-I-need-to-know-I-learned-in-kindergarten” mentality, defining democratization as: “to invite everyone into the sandbox.”


Undergrad Brione Griffin Gets One Step Closer to Her Dream of Becoming a Doctor Via REACH RCEU

July 25, 2018

Brione Griffin’s career goals have always been “to be a doctor—be a doctor and help people out.” So when she learned about REACH (Research and Education for the Advancement of Compassionate Health Care) RCEU (a Research Experience for Undergraduates with an added clinical component), sponsored and funded by the new Carle Illinois College of Medicine, she was intrigued. "I think it's something I've loved all my life,” Griffin says regarding her passion for science, biology, and medicine. She shares an anecdote about how she got interested in those.


Underrepresented Minority Undergraduate Students Gain Research, Clinical Experience Via the Carle Illinois College of Medicine’s New REACH RCEU

July 19, 2018

There’s a new RCEU in town, REACH (Research and Education for the Advancement of Compassionate Health Care), sponsored and funded by the new Carle Illinois College of Medicine. What’s an RCEU? It’s an REU (a Research Experience for Undergraduates) with a clinical component in addition to the research. The REACH participants not only gained research and clinical exposure, but a better understanding of the breadth and interdisciplinary nature of the health care system, and research that impacts it.


The (Future) Doctor is in the House: Meet an Illinoisan in the Inaugural Carle Illinois medical program

May 30, 2018

What do being a librarian and a doctor have in common? Elizabeth Woodburn has considered both as potential careers. But it is the latter that she will be pursuing as a member of the first ever Carle Illinois College of Medicine class. She is one of two of her 32 peers to hail from the state of Illinois. Coming from Winnetka, IL, Woodburn graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Bioengineering this May. Although her parents encouraged her to look outside the state, she followed in their footsteps and became an Illini. At first, joining a large institution like Illinois seemed daunting, but Woodburn found what she calls “wonderful, small pockets of people within the big school”.