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Dr. Sara Rusch


The Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Women has selected Sara Rusch, MD, MACP as the 2011 Woman of the Year. Dr. Rusch was nominated by Dr. Meenakshy Aiyer, the Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, with supporting nominations from Dr. Graumlich, Dr. de Alarcon, and Dr. Halvorsen.

Dr. Rusch is the Regional Dean at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria and a Professor of Clinical Medicine there. In addition, she is on staff at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, IL.

Dr. Rusch has dedicated her entire academic career to working at the U of I College of Medicine at Peoria. She has held multiple clinical and administrative roles, including Residency Program Director for Internal Medicine, Chair of the Department of Medicine at the College of Medicine’s Regional Campus in Peoria and is the first woman to hold a Regional Dean position in the history of the College of Medicine.

Dr. Rusch is also recognized regionally and nationally for her contributions to her professional society, the American College of Physicians (ACP). She has served as Governor of the Downstate Illinois Chapter of the ACP, and in 2010 was elected to the prestigious ACP Mastership. Masters are a select group of highly distinguished physicians who have achieved excellence in medicine and have contributed significantly to medical science and the art of medicine. Throughout her work with the ACP she has been an advocate for the role of women and has served on the ACP Ad-hoc Committee on Women in Medicine. She also played an important role in the ACP Resolution 23 Committee that addressed the relationship between the state chapters and the national ACP organization.

Within UIC,  she served as a member of the Faculty Academic Advancement Committee, a committee that seeks to make the College of Medicine a destination for talented and diverse faculty. The Association of American Medical Colleges awarded this committee the “Women in Medicine Leadership Development” Award   in 2006.

She was one of the leading committee members responsible for the development and implementation of the Integrated Medicine Psychiatric Clinic (IMPC). She was instrumental in achieving the committee’s goal of providing comprehensive continuous patient centered care to persons with serious mental illness. Her contributions to the development of mental health and drug abuse services in Peoria earned her the prestigious Arthur G. Greenberg Award. Recognizing her commitment to excellence in medical care, education and service to the community she was also awarded the ACP Illinois Laureate Award.

Dr. Rusch has also served as an active member of the Society for Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine, a nonprofit organization committed to advancing and promoting women to executive positions in academic medicine and dentistry.

Dr. Rusch has been a mentor and strong advocate for women on campus. As Chair of Internal Medicine, she created “Ladies Night Out”, an informal gathering of women in the UICOMP Medicine Department that gathered together to discuss issues affecting their careers. Dr. Rusch mentored many of these women and has successfully encouraged and enabled their professional and academic development, many of whom now serve in key faculty and administrative roles at the Peoria campus of the College of Medicine.

Dr. Rusch’s activities also include service on the following: UIC College of Medicine Executive Committee (1993-present), UIC AAMC Women’s Liaison Officer (1996-present), Faculty Academic Advancement Committee at UIC (2003-present).

Leading by example, she has also been able to serve as a role model to people who wish to balance a successful professional career with the demands of life as a dedicated spouse and involved parent as she is the mother of seven children and six grandchildren.



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