Interim regional dean to lead College of Medicine’s Peoria campus

Following a national search, Dr. Meenakshy Aiyer, interim regional dean and head of the health sciences education department at the College of Medicine Peoria, will become regional dean of the campus effective March 18, pending approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

Regional Dean Dr. Meenakshy Aiyer, College of Medicine Peoria

Part of the University of Illinois Chicago, the College of Medicine is one of the largest and most diverse medical schools in the U.S. Its Peoria campus educates about 265 medical students and more than 300 physician residents and fellows annually.

In a message to students, staff and faculty, College of Medicine Executive Dean Dr. Mark Rosenblatt lauded Aiyer’s work, calling her “a champion for medical education and curriculum development.”

Aiyer will be the eighth regional dean to lead the Peoria campus, which was founded in 1970. She also was a professor of clinical medicine and health sciences education.

Before taking over as interim regional dean in 2019, Aiyer was associate dean for academic affairs, where she was responsible for medical student education, and head of the department of health sciences education, a department she helped design and create.

Aiyer’s track record includes mentoring more than 50 junior faculty members; helping to expand the Peoria campus to a four-year medical school; advocating for curricular innovation and technology-enhanced medical education; adding two new fellowships to Peoria’s graduate medical education program during the COVID-19 pandemic; and expanding the research infrastructure in Peoria to include a research services division, which supports and elevates research and scholarship for faculty, staff and learners. Her efforts supporting philanthropy have led to the establishment of two endowed professorships and more than $1.5 million in new student scholarships and rural education endowments. Additionally, Aiyer leads a Peoria health care collaborative to identify and address health care disparities.

An internist and hospitalist, Aiyer received her medical degree from Madurai Kamaraj University in India, where she was born and raised. She completed an internal medicine residency at the University of Louisville and the College of Medicine Peoria, where she served as chief resident. Aiyer joined the faculty at the college in 1996, following her residency.

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