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Kruse: Donors Drive SIU School of Medicine Forward


If you talk to Dr. Jerry Kruse for more than a few minutes, you’ll recognize that his life passion is reflected within the mission of SIU School of Medicine, which he has led since 2015. That mission is “to assist the people of central and southern Illinois in meeting their health care needs through education, patient care, research and service to the community.”

Kruse, who has been with the school since 1984, said it was founded to improve the health of central and southern Illinois residents.

Kruse is proud of the advances the School of Medicine has accomplished over the past few years, and he is hopeful for continued improvement with the help of loyal alumni and donors.

“We have been very successful raising scholarships for our students, and we are continuously easing their burden by increasing the number of scholarships we offer each year,” Kruse said. “Yet, our medical students still graduate with significant debt. The median debt is $210,000 so we still have a way to go to produce a balanced workforce.”

Kruse said there are several sectors of healthcare that are rapidly growing, and the SIU School of Medicine is committed to meeting the needs of those sectors.

“The care of women of childbearing age and children has come into focus for us, and we have put significant resources to improve that sector,” he said. “In fact, we are partnering with Community Foundation Springfield-Nurse Family Partnership where physicians and nurses work together to identify women with highest pregnancy risks. We are very pleased with partnerships such as this one and are always looking to partner with other quality like-minded agencies.”

The School of Medicine is also experiencing growing pains, and Kruse recognizes the opportunity for expansion.

“Our student base is growing, and our current educational building is reaching 50 years in age. We are to the point where a new facility is needed. Donors would have the opportunity to honor those close to them by naming lecture halls, reception areas and cafeterias,” he said.

He also said that the school has been successful in receiving named lectureships, endowed professorships, and endowed visiting professorships but that there is always room for more endowments.

“We really appreciate those who have partnered with us in the mission we have developed,” he said.

The school offers an M.D., a master’s degree, and doctoral degree in various biomedical sciences, including a master’s degree for physician assistant students, as well as advanced training in clinical specialties (17 residencies and 13 fellowships). There also is a small number of SIU students each year who pursue combined degree programs in law and medicine, or in medicine and public health.

To support the SIU School of Medicine, visit

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