July 3, 2013 — Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine is the first medical school in the nation to accept applications for admission from undocumented immigrants in response to President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. “We’re happy to be the first, but we hope we’re not the last,” said Linda Brubaker, MD, the medical school’s dean.
“As a medical school built on Catholic and Jesuit values we have a tradition of reaching out and encouraging the growth and development of future doctors from all walks of life,” said Brubaker. “If a Jesuit Catholic school doesn’t do something like this, who would?”
The DACA program enables qualified undocumented immigrants to receive a two-year, renewable authorization to remain and work in the United States. “They are just like everyone else. They can apply for a residency training in pediatrics or internal medicine, and they complete their training, and they can do that in Illinois or in other states,” Brubaker said.
Loyola’s decision to consider applications is a step to help fill a void in the medical community, as the country is facing a significant shortage of physicians. In addition, large portions of the population are underserved by current distribution and demographic profiles of physicians.
Mark Kuczewski, PhD, director of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine’s Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics and Public Health, also believes this is a beginning step in meeting a major public health disparity — access to care.
“We believe these students will help broaden the diversity of the physician workforce. This will benefit not only the many patients who one day these physicians will serve, but also our entire student body. This will help all our students better understand the variety of cultures and people they will be treating,” Kuczewski said. [Loyola University Chicago, Crain’s,Chicago Sun Times]