Investing in the future of local medicine

For the last three and a half years, Gabriel Koch, has worked as an Emergency Department Technician at OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria while also volunteering with the Tremont Rescue 702 ambulance service. In these roles, he takes vitals, collects specimens, helps in critical cases, provides CPR and transfers patients.

“Pre-hospital care and emergency medicine are what I know and love,” said Koch. “It’s my goal to take my training further by going to medical school and eventually becoming an emergency physician.”

This summer Koch hoped to enhance his application by participating in the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria Pre-Med Immersion program at the Jump Trading Simulation & Education Center.

“As a married father of two on a tight budget, the program didn’t seem like a possibility for me,” said Koch. “But then I found out there was a scholarship I could apply for.”

Koch submitted his request and was this year’s winner of a 2019 summer scholarship that took care of all costs related to the Pre-Med Immersion event. He was one of 12 students to take part in the two-week program.

“I felt like I was already in medical school”

The UICOMP Pre-Med Immersion Program at Jump provides an experience like no other. Participants receive an overview of clinical and surgical skills as well as professionalism and patient safety information from real clinicians and medical school faculty.

The students learn how to suture and intubate, gain advanced airway skills, watch team-based simulations in action, shadow clinicians in the medical environment and take part in simulations with both manikins and real-life standardized participants.

“I know this is supposed to be a Pre-Med program, but I felt like I was already in medical school,” said Koch. “I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.”

Participants learned what it was like to perform a surgery on a cadaver. They also were able to interact with human anatomy inside a virtual reality program and learn how VR is changing medical education and patient care.

“I understand the benefit of learning an anatomy lesson in VR as opposed to a traditional lecture setting,” said Koch. “If you need to look at the heart, you can go into VR, blow it up as big as yourself, walk through it and understand all of the parts of it. It’s something I hope to work with if I’m admitted into medical school this year.”


Koch says he feels the Pre-Med Immersion program will enable him to improve his next medical school application and get him closer to achieving his goals.

“I can’t say enough about all of the physicians who gave lectures, allowed us to shadow them or gave us hands-on experiences,” said Koch. “They went above and beyond to invest in young people who could be the next generation of physicians in Peoria. I plan to pay it forward when I am an emergency physician one day.”

If you or someone you know is interested in the UICOMP Pre-med Immersion experience at Jump, visit where upcoming events will be posted.
Categories: Cadaveric Specimen, Clinical Simulation, Education, Education, Innovation, Medical Students, Pre-Med Immersion, Simulation, Standardized Participant (SP), University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria (UICOMP)