ETSU Quillen College of Medicine to increase its class size by 10%

Published 5:31 pm Thursday, April 22, 2021

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JOHNSON CITY – For the first time in 10 years, Quillen College of Medicine will increase its class size, providing additional students with the opportunity to pursue their dream of a medical education at East Tennessee State University.
Beginning this summer with the matriculation of the Class of 2025, Quillen will admit 79 first-year medical students, a 10% increase over the previous class size of 72 students.
With the number of applicants to Quillen steadily increasing over recent years and sufficient resources to accommodate additional students, college leaders say the time is right to add to the class size.
“When we looked at medical schools across the country and at our peer institutions, we are one of the smallest in class size, yet we are committed to preparing more providers to serve Tennessee, our region and other rural, underserved communities,” said Dr. Bill Block, ETSU vice president for clinical affairs and dean of Quillen College of Medicine. “Opening the door to more students allows us to better serve Tennessee and the Appalachian Highlands to accomplish this mission.”
This year, Quillen had a record 3,099 applicants – up more than 650 from last year’s record of 2,433.
Although COVID-19 changed many aspects of Quillen’s admissions process, such as the elimination of in-person tours during the height of the pandemic and the transition to virtual interviews, it did not deter students’ interest. This year, the admissions committee conducted a record 412 interviews. 
“Normally, we interview between 200 and 250 prospective students,” said Doug Taylor, associate dean for student affairs, admissions and records at Quillen. “But we have a growing number of people who are interested in our school and the particular approach to medicine that we offer here.”
Taylor, who has led Quillen’s admissions office since its inaugural class of 24 students matriculated in 1978, has watched the interest in and the influence of Quillen expand throughout the past four decades. The last time Quillen increased its class size was in 2011-2012, when it underwent two increases from 60 to 72 students.
“We’ve grown incrementally throughout the years as our resources permitted,” Taylor said. “It’s been rewarding to watch our reach expand so that we can continue our mission and make a greater impact in our region.”
Although the numbers are not yet final, Taylor estimates that more than 10% of the incoming Class of 2025 will be from the surrounding Appalachian Highlands and approximately 10% will be veterans or military-affiliated. The new class of 79 students will arrive for orientation on July 12 and begin classes on July 13.  
While there will be more students, Block said the increase is small enough so that students still will experience the close-knit community that Quillen is known for and has offered since its founding.
“We are at a point where we can grow, but still remain at a size where we can maintain the family feel that so many people appreciate about Quillen,” Block said.
To learn more about Quillen College of Medicine, visit

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