Meenakshy Aiyer, MD, MACP, has been appointed Regional Dean for the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria (UICOMP) campus. The announcement was made today by University of Illinois College of Medicine Executive Dean Mark Rosenblatt.
Dr. Aiyer becomes the eighth regional dean to lead the Peoria campus since its founding in 1970. The announcement follows her appointment as interim regional dean in April 2019, succeeding Dr. Sara Rusch. Prior to taking over as interim dean, Dr. Aiyer served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Peoria campus, where she was responsible for medical student education. Dr. Aiyer also holds the titles of Professor of Clinical Medicine and Head of the Department of Health Sciences Education, a department she helped design and create in 2016.
Born and raised in India, Dr. Aiyer received her medical degree from the Madurai Kamaraj University. She came to the United States to complete her internal medicine residency at the University of Louisville and UICOMP, where she served as chief resident. Dr. Aiyer remained in Peoria and joined the faculty of the College of Medicine in 1996, following her residency.
Dr. Aiyer is a champion for medical education and curriculum development. An internist by background and a hospitalist, she was actively engaged in resident education and training. The former director of the UICOMP Caterpillar Faculty Scholars Fellowship, she has mentored over 50 junior faculty. She was instrumental in the expansion of the Peoria campus to a four-year medical school campus and is a proponent of curricular innovation and technology-enhanced medical education. She completed the selective Executive Leadership for Academic Medicine (ELAM) program, the nation’s only in-depth leadership program for women in academic medicine as well as the University of Illinois System’s President Executive Leadership Program (PELP).
As Interim Regional Dean, Dr. Aiyer has been an integral leader for not only the Peoria campus but also the College as a whole during the COVID-19 pandemic. The UICOMP Graduate Medical Education program expanded, adding two new fellowship programs during the pandemic, and the regional campus’s research efforts have additional infrastructure and support with the creation of a Research Services Division to support and elevate the research and scholarship for faculty, staff and learners. Her efforts supporting philanthropy led to the establishment of two endowed professorships and more than $1.5 million in new student scholarship and rural education endowment.
Additionally, Dr. Aiyer leads a Peoria Healthcare Collaborative Initiative to identify and address healthcare disparities. She also continues the vision for the campus by embarking on a Strategic Planning initiative, building on the University of Illinois College of Medicine College-wide effort.
An excellent clinician and a nationally recognized medical educator, Dr. Aiyer chaired a task force to help develop a national curriculum for sub-internships at medical schools nationwide, which earned her national recognition and the Louis Pangaro Education Program Development Award. She also received the Raymond B. Allen Golden Apple Award for outstanding contributions to teaching and the Illinois Laureate Award of the American College of Physicians in Illinois. She also was awarded Mastership by the American College of Physicians (ACP), the national organization of internists.
Subject to approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, she will become Regional Dean of the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria effective March 18, 2022.
The University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria (UICOMP) educates about 265 medical students and more than 300 physician residents and fellows annually. The College of Medicine is home to the Cancer Research Center, the Center for Outcomes Research, and a collaborator in Jump Simulation.