Carle Illinois College of Medicine Students Learn Real-world Lessons from Clinician Ambassadors | Carle Illinois College of Medicine

The value of having a mentor early in medical school is not lost on Carle physician, Warren McCauley, MD. Attended the University of Chicago for anesthesiologist college where his mentor, William McDade, MD, PhD, provided instruction on reducing cultural disparities in medicine.

<em>Warren McCauley, Carle Illinois College of Medicine</em>” width=”300″/><figcaption><em>Warren McCauley, Carle Illinois College of Medicine</em></figcaption></figure>
<p>“I’m someone who cares deeply about the community and reducing morbidity and mortality,” Dr. McCauley said.  Her mentor currently serves as the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s (ACGME’s) first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer.</p>
<p>McCauley transferred from the University of Chicago to complete medical school and residency at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.  Now he is a mentor as well as a leader in the Carle Ambassador Program for students at the Carle Illinois College of Medicine (CI MED).  He called the opportunity to work with the students a “blessing.”</p>
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“I am giving them information from my own experience that I knew before. At the same time, their passion for medicine excites me and sometimes prompts me to learn more about medicine,” he said.

The Carle Ambassador Program began in 2021 as a way to enrich the experience of first-year medical students. They are matched with faculty ambassadors currently practicing medicine who mentor students while learning about Carle Health’s clinical, educational and research missions. In the first year, nine Carle Ambassadors were matched with teams of four to five students. Surveys were conducted to match interests and regular check-ins were conducted with quarterly ambassador meetings to ensure engagement. To measure success and continue growth, student surveys are completed.

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<em>Dr.  Warren McCauley and CI med student Annabel Shaffer</em>” width=”300″/><figcaption><em>Dr. Warren McCauley and CI med student Annabel Shaffer</em></figcaption></figure>
<p>Annabelle Shaffer of Bloomington is in her second year of medicine at CI MED.  He was in a group of five that met monthly, and he said the meetings provided connections with other students, including their mentor, Dr. McCauley.  “He taught a lot that we don’t normally get in the classroom,” he said.</p>
<p>“Students need to learn the value of teamwork at this point in their lives as well as how the decisions they make today will affect their future well-being and ultimately the lives of the patients they care for,” McCauley said.</p>
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Shaffer said the life experience McCauley brings to the group is valuable and includes things like improving financial literacy. He bought each student a book written for doctors on how to manage financial investments.

“It’s nice to see someone who took out a $200,000 loan and come through,” he said.

Dr. McCauley said the first year of medical school is often a time of significant adjustment. “It is easy for students to learn the vast amount of medical knowledge and become overwhelmed by the numerous resources available to help them achieve their career aspirations.”

Shaffer said she knows her choice in medicine won’t be easy for her. He plans to become a neurosurgeon in a field where he said studies have shown that more than 90% of practitioners in the United States are men. He plans to keep in touch with Dr. McCauley and believes many other students will approach his knowledge as they progress through medical school.

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