GARY | J.J. Cox can give you a laundry list of reasons why someone interested in becoming a doctor should consider Indiana University Northwest.
As a freshman pre-med student at IUN, Cox, a 2007 Portage High School graduate, participated in research and landed a research internship after his freshman year.
Because it's a small school, Cox, now a second-year medical student, said he's able to participate in more hands-on patient experience. He'll be able to complete his medical school experience at Indiana University School of Medicine Northwest and will most likely practice medicine in the region after his residency, he said.
Cox's story is music to the ears of administrators at the school. They want more and more prospective physicians to discover the local four-year medical school. Students and administrators unveiled recent renovations Friday night at the medical school and celebrated its 40th anniversary.
The school opened in 1972 with four students and a staff of five, said Pat Bankston, associate dean and director of the medical school. This year there are 26 first-year; 26 second-year; nine third-year and four fourth-year medical students at the school. During the last 40 years, 645 people have studied to be doctors at the school.
Bankston said the idea of expanding the medical school over the years is an effort to attract more local youngsters to become doctors and then to practice what they've learned in the region. Administrators also believe it will help fill the gaps in an expected shortage of physicians in the area.
The latest expansion reconfigured library and classroom space into two state-of-the art classrooms capable of serving 50 students each and adding small group learning rooms and study rooms.
Bankston said the next phase of the expansion will involve the school's gross anatomy lab.