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IU Northwest offers aspiring doctors a ‘freshman to physician’ educational experience

Students may pursue pre-med and medical doctorate programs at local IU campus

Tuesday Aug 28, 2012

Indiana University Northwest offers the premier pre-med college program in Northwest Indiana. The IU School of Medicine – Northwest (IUSM-NW), located on the same campus, is the region’s only medical school.

Together, these institutions have created an exciting opportunity for aspiring physicians to earn their undergraduate degrees and medical doctorates on the same local campus, in a learning environment rich with research and experiential learning opportunities that help transform students into compassionate and highly skilled physicians. 

Pre-med student Emily Watson explains why she chose IU Northwest:

The combination of high academics and access to the medical school also inspired recent Valparaiso High School graduate Brandon Karcher to pursue pre-med biology at the Northwest campus. 

“That was something that I really liked about IU Northwest,” Karcher said. “Here, you have the medical school. It’s not like I have to go down to Indianapolis to see that. I can see it right here, and I am going to be studying at the same place as someone who is studying to be a doctor.”

Karcher is the 2012 recipient of the IU Herbert Presidential Scholarship, a full, four-year, academic-based award. Other special academic scholarships are available to highly qualified students, and many IU Northwest pre-med students take advantage of those opportunities.

J.J. Cox, of Portage, who graduated from IU Northwest in 2011, was one of those. Cox enjoyed his undergrad pre-med experience so much that he applied and was accepted to IUSM-NW, where he recently began his second year of medical school.

“I wouldn’t want to be on any other campus,” Cox said. 

The IU Northwest College of Arts and Sciences offers pre-professional tracks in medicine, dentistry, optometry, physical and occupational therapy, chiropractic, podiatry, and pharmacology. Students may pursue these studies in connection with four-year degree programs in biology, chemistry or psychology, which are the most popular pre-professional study tracks at IU Northwest.

IU Northwest and IUSM-NW are also partners in the IU Northwest College of Health and Human Services (CHHS). Pre-med and other pre-professional students at IU Northwest have access to experiential learning programs and research projects with undergraduate and med school faculty, which lend an extra dimension to students’ academic preparation for medical school.

Also, the team-based learning approach at CHHS allows student doctors to participate in joint learning experiences with student nurses, student social workers, and other health professions students. This cross-disciplinary educational model prepares the students to work as caring and highly skilled members of a professional healthcare team, thus meeting the expectations of Northwest Indiana’s patients, hospitals and healthcare providers. 

“The goal is to have the members of the medical team work together and pool their training early in their careers, so that all of them can improve their understanding of what each member of the team brings to patient care,” said CHHS Dean Patrick Bankston, Ph.D., who is also associate dean and director for IUSM-NW. “We believe, because of that interaction, that they will learn each other’s strengths and have respect for one another, and that this will produce a higher quality of care for the patient.”

For Northwest Indiana students who aspire to careers in medicine or healthcare, IU Northwest is the first choice for a well-rounded, high-quality learning experience. And, the IU School of Medicine – Northwest can provide those same students with one of the finest medical educations in the world, on the same local campus.

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