P4 Physician Pipeline Preparatory Program

According to information released by SIU School of Medicine on October 30, 2017, the Association of American Medical Colleges expects a potential shortage of 40,000 – 100,000 physicians by the year 2030. A proactive preparatory program in Springfield aims to combat that trend by boosting interest in medicine during the high school years.

Eighteen ninth-grade students in Springfield have been selected for the program to encourage local high school students interested in becoming physicians. The Physician Pipeline Preparatory Program, or P4, is a partnership among Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield Public Schools (SPS) and the Sangamon County Medical Society. 


“I want to be a part of the medical field, so we when we were given the opportunity to be a part of it. I thought that this could be a good experience,” said LHS’ Carmesha Johnson (9).


A student/parent information meeting was held at 5 p.m. on Thursday, November 2, in the school of Medicine’s South Auditorium. A White Coat Ceremony will take place in the same location at 4 p.m. on Monday, November 6, to kick off the fall training module. The training modules are November 6-9 and 13-16, 2017. In the spring, P4 training takes place February 26-March 1 and March 5-8, 2018.


“I’m actually ready for the white coat ceremony, it’s Monday. We get a certificate and a white coat,” said Carmesha Johnson.


“I’m excited to begin the ninth year of the pipeline program with a new cohort of high school students eager to learn about the life of medical students and physician careers,” said Wesley Robinson-McNeese, MD, P4 program director. “Together with the 44 current pipeline students, these young people represent a bright future for health care in central and southern Illinois.”


The freshman students submitted letters of recommendation, a personal statement and a summary of volunteer, school and community activities, all of which needed to reflect superior academic performance, high levels of motivation and a sincere interest in pursuing medical careers. A committee with members from the partners interviewed the candidates and selected the top students. Fourteen of the freshmen are minority students.


Six of these freshmen were from Lanphier, and many of these students found out about this experience through Freshmen Forward and Ms. Kelli Pochynok.


“It came about at freshmen forward, they were talking about it,” said Carmesha Johnson.


“Springfield Public School District 186 is honored to partner with SIU School of Medicine and the Sangamon County Medical Society to offer the Physician Pipeline Preparatory Program to a diverse group of students,” said Jennifer Gill, superintendent of SPS. “This example of community collaboration exposes our students to real-life experiences of being a physician. The program motivates students to learn and provide great career connections that will prepare them for opportunities beyond their high school experience.”


“I want to be a part of the  medical field, a physician, but I don’t know what kind.  So [I applied and hope to figure it out],” said Hanna Hudspeth (9).


Faculty and staff from both Springfield Schools and the SIU medical school developed the curriculum for the program. The P4 components for the after-school program include participation in medical school style curriculum; introduction to problem-based learning; tours and shadowing; and interactions with SIU students and faculty.


The district 186 students are listed below:


Joi Espy, daughter of Aisha Price, Springfield H.S.


Mackenzie Farley, daughter of Donald Farley III and Carrie McClanahan, Springfield Southeast H.S.


Jocelyn Fowler, daughter of Jason and Jeris Fowler, Lanphier H.S.


Lauren Freeman, daughter of David and Tina Freeman, Springfield H.S.


Ruth Gujjarlapudi, daughter of Ravi Gujjarlapudi and Rebecca Tallapalli, Springfield H.S.


Beriah Hemingway, daughter of Larry and Shonnie Hemingway, Lanphier H.S.


Gavin Hinson, son of Kristin Hinson, Springfield H.S.


Hanna Hudspeth, daughter of Jesse Hudspeth and Laura Neal, Lanphier H.S.


David Jiang, son of Wengion Xu and Xin Jiang, Springfield H.S.


Carmesha Johnson, daughter of Jimese Kirkham, Lanphier H.S.


Luticia Nailing-Coleman, daughter of Anthony Coleman and Eleanor Nailing, Springfield Southeast H.S.


Omarion Perez, son of Deidre Perez, Lanphier H.S.


Brianna Reed, daughter of Bruce Reed and Wendy Reed Berry, Springfield Southeast H.S.


Calviana Shepherd, daughter of Calvin and Tosha Shepherd, Springfield Southeast H.S.


Kaasmere Snow, daughter of Connie Briggity, Lanphier H.S.
In addition to the freshmen, Springfield High School junior Welkin Huelsman will be participating in P4. Welkin is the son of Larry Huelsman and Li Ye.

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