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Center for Medical Education & Research

The Center for Medical Education & Research provides support and guidance to medical students, Sacred Heart Medical Center physician faculty, PeaceHealth and community staff who work with our future doctors on a day-to-day basis.

By choosing to come to Eugene/Springfield during medical school, over 160 students per year will have a very singular educational experience. They will be working closely with their attending preceptors and many of his or her colleagues for the entire rotation. We do not have residency programs so their patient experience will be very hands-on, challenging and rewarding.

About our program

It is very clear that there will be a physician shortage in Oregon and nationally in the next 15 years. As with many professions, physicians are getting older, some are retiring earlier, and the population is aging and will be living longer with chronic conditions, therefore creating a need for more medical services. There is also a mal-distribution of physicians practicing in Oregon, with the majority of physicians practicing in urban communities. By expanding the medical school training sites away from the medical schools, it is hoped that this will encourage students to consider practicing in other parts of the state and encourage students from more rural areas to enter the medical field.

Learn about opportunities in Eugene & Springfield, including medical experiences, clerkships and elective courses.

Frequently asked questions

What is a medical student?

A medical student has completed an undergraduate bachelor’s degree and will spend four years in a medical school. The first two years are spent studying the basic sciences and getting their first exposure to the issues and skills needed to be a physician. The third and fourth years involve rotating through the various clinical experiences under the guidance of an attending faculty physician.

  • Third- and Fourth- year students have both required Core rotations (e.g., Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Family Medicine, Surgery, Neurology, Psychiatry, OB/Gyn) and Elective options they must complete prior to earning their MD or DO degree. CMER is able to offer students many of these Core and Elective opportunities.

After successfully completing these courses and passing national board exams, the student is given an MD degree. They then enter a residency training program in a specialty area for another three to five years of training.

How many medical students will be coming to Lane County from OHSU?

Since the program began in 2006, over 1600 students have come to our area for training. At any given time, 10 to 16 students are here, with an average of about 160 students coming here each academic year.

Where do medical students come from?

The Center for Medical Education & Research has affiliation agreements with both medical schools in the state, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and Western University College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP), as well as other universities that request rotations both regionally and from across the country.

What is the Center for Medical Education & Research at Sacred Heart Medical Center?

In August 2006, the PeaceHealth Oregon Region Board of Directors approved a business plan to form this new department. Its aim is to provide the infrastructure to support students and faculty participating in ORMED. At the present time there is an Administrative Director, Medical Director and Medical Student Coordinator to support this program. Additionally, an oversight group of Sacred Heart Medical Center physician leaders from Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Surgery, Emergency Dept, Pediatrics, and OB/Gyn meet bi-monthly as Course Directors for this program.



  • Medical Student: Has an undergraduate degree and has successfully completed entrance exams (MCATS) to an accredited School of Medicine. A medical student must complete four years of medical school before they receive their Medical Doctorate.
  • Resident Physician: Is an MD physician in the first three to five years post-medical school who is receiving additional training in a specialty area. A first-year resident is typically referred to as an Intern
  • Fellow: Is an MD physician who has completed medical school and a residency training program (board-certified or board-eligible), and is now completing a one to two year program in sub-specialization (e.g., Cardiology, GI, Geriatrics, surgery subspecialty, etc.).
  • Preceptor Physician: Is a Member of the SHMC or Cottage Grove Community Hospital medical staff who has agreed to serve as a clinician educator and provides an occasional teaching and mentoring role to the students.
  • Rotations: four to five week clinical experiences for third and fourth year rotations that each medical student must complete in a particular medical specialty.