PEORIA, Ill. -- Area medical experts are hoping a fellowship program will pump new blood into Central Illinois' heart care system.
Officials of OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, the School of Medicine, and HeartCare Midwest have formed the Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship Training Program.
Officials hope the fellowship will fill the growing shortage of cardiologists.
According to the American College of Cardiology, in 2009 there was an estimated shortage of 3,000 cardiologists nation wide, that number is expected to rise to 16,000 by 2050.
The program will begin next summer with three cardiology fellows.
"And the purpose of that is to take physicians who are already trained in general term medicine, and give them three years of extra training in order to become specialists in cardiovascular disease management," said Dr. James Graumlich, Professor of Medicine Chair.
By 2015, the program will have up to nine fellows training annually at the OSF Saint Francis Medical Center.