Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, Washington State University, USA

The Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine is a recently created public medical school in the northwest United States, based in Spokane, Washington. Founded in 2015, it is affiliated with Washington State University (WSU) of Pullman, and is the second public medical school in the State of Washington. It welcomed its inaugural class in the fall of 2017, joining the University of Washington and Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences pnwu.edu as one of three medical schools in the state.

The Washington State University School of Medicine was established by the WSU board of regents in 2015, after the state legislatureamended a 1917 statute that gave the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle the exclusive right as a public institution to grant degrees in medicine in the state.

The creation of a medical school at Washington State University was opposed by the University of Washington; both WSU and UW issued contradictory reports in 2014 as to the viability of a second public medical school in the state. The increasingly acrimonious debate between the two institutions was described as a “feud” in media reports and state senator Andy Hill chastised the two schools for forcing the legislature to “become the parent in this dispute.

In July 2015, the board of regents announced their intention to name the medical school after the late WSU president Elson Floyd(1956–2015) at a future date; the name was officially changed to the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine that September. After a national search, Dr. John Tomkowiak was selected as the inaugural dean from a highly competitive field.

On August 18th 2017, the school held its white coat ceremony for the inaugural class of 60 students. The school uses a community-based model of medical education, training physicians for the first two years on the WSU Spokane campus, then distributing the class across four regional campuses located in: Everett, Spokane, Tri-Cities, and Vancouver.

In the first two years, students will study the foundational sciences for medicine, integrated with the fundamentals of clinical practice.

Students begin their education with a 2-week intensive training program; learning the basics of taking patient history, taking vital signs, conducting a physical exam, and other fundamentals clinical skills. After completing the training program, students travel to their assigned regional site to complete the first of 3, one week-long clinical “intersessions”. These clinical experiences are continued at the beginning of every quarter during years one and two, and are also where students will complete their third- and fourth-year clinical clerkships.

After returning to the Spokane campus in the fourth week, students begin their first curriculum block, anatomy and histology. Students will split their time between classroom instruction, cadaver lab, and self-directed learning through weekly small group case-based-learning sessions.

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