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The Rush Copley Family Medicine Residency Story

Rush Copley Medical Center began as Aurora City Hospital in 1886 as a 12-bed institution staffed by five physicians. Over the first hundred years, the hospital opened a birthing center, established a nursing school, built a “modern” hospital and expanded its buildings’ capacity to 319 beds by the 1970s. Renamed Copley Memorial Hospital in 1947 and after years of training new nurses, the Copley School of Nursing moved to Aurora University in 1980. At the same time, Copley Memorial Hospital joined the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center's academic network (now known as Rush University Medical Center) and officially became affiliated with the Rush System for Health, a comprehensive, cooperative health care system, becoming Rush Copley Medical Center in 1987. Given the institution’s long dedication to training new medical professionals, planning for the development of a family medicine residency program began shortly after.

In November 1995, the hospital moved from its previous location in downtown Aurora to a brand new, state-of-the-art facility on Route 34 in Aurora. It now sits on the far southeastern end of Kane County where it meets neighboring DuPage, Kendall, and Will counties. The move to the new campus was prompted by rapid population growth in the area. At the time, Aurora was the fourth largest city in Illinois and had sustained continuous population growth over the past two decades. Additionally, the city of Naperville, located next to Aurora, was one of the fastest growing communities in the United States. Today, Aurora is the second largest city in Illinois and Naperville is the third largest city with a combined population just under 350,000, dwarfed only by the city of Chicago with over 2.6 million people.

To meet the needs of the growing community, Rush Copley identified a need to increase the number of primary care physicians in the area. The addition of a family medicine residency was seen as a key not only to train new physicians, but to prepare them to serve the community by providing quality health care services to the diverse population of Aurora and the surrounding communities. From its inception as a vision by Dr. Julius Newman, former Vice President of Medical Affairs at Rush Copley Medical Center, to its present realization, the family residency program has received significant support from the institution and its medical staff. This commitment began with the three family physicians who dedicated their time and effort to establish Rush Copley Family Medicine Residency, which welcomed its first residents on July 1, 1997.

Until July 2019, Rush Copley Family Medicine Residency was the only hospital-based teaching program of its kind in the far west suburban and Fox Valley area. As the only residency housed within Rush Copley Medical Center, residents are closely involved with the care of a variety of medical and surgical patients working one-on-one with attending physicians who have enthusiastically committed themselves to teaching. The hospital’s friendly environment offers a close knit, family-like atmosphere that is conducive to personal and professional growth. As the medical center continued to grow in response to local population growth, a new facility opened in Yorkville with both outpatient clinics, physician offices and an emergency department completed in February 2012.

Looking to the future, the residency program will continue to adapt and expand its services and training opportunities to meet the medical needs of our diverse community and the educational needs of our residents.