Creating a new medical school requires keeping track of and manipulating a variety of moving parts. The Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine has written a strategic plan (pdf) to manage those projects and stay focused.
The plan has 5 components:
- Achieving accreditation
- Building infrastructure
- Integrating and expanding the college’s research enterprise
- Interprofessional clinical outreach
- Community engagement
As part of the accreditation process, the College has created leadership teams that are working on each of the 12 standards put forth by the accrediting agency (Liaison Committee on Medical Education, or LCME). Those teams create the policies and procedures that guide the college.
The accreditation planning also includes the development of the curriculum that students will be taught and the hiring of the people needed to run the college. The accreditation team made presentations to a site team that visited the Spokane campus in June 2016.
Part of the infrastructure created by the College is physical. The college has plans for a virtual laboratory that includes simulation technology – lifelike, high-tech manikins on which students can practice their skills. The infrastructure also includes space for the college on WSU’s regional campuses in Spokane, Vancouver, Tri-Cities and Everett, where third- and fourth-year students will be based while they do their clinical rotations.
The College has a strong research focus in the areas of neuroscience, sleep, and cancer, featuring many nationally known scientists. Several faculty members in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences are among the leaders in their research fields. The college is also working toward creating a Department of Population Health that will focus on research and community health. It will also incorporate the university’s Nutrition and Exercise Physiology program.
The College will focus on advancing research from the basic phases to clinical and translational stages. It anticipates creating links with private sector partners who can help move ideas from the laboratory to the marketplace.
The WSU Spokane Health Sciences campus is a partner in the Spokane Teaching Health Clinic, where WSU health sciences students work in interprofessional teams with clinical faculty and medical residents to care for patients. The clinic is located on campus. The University will work toward sponsorship of its own residency programs, providing WSU medical graduates a place to start their careers.
The College is also making plans to create a mobile clinic that would bring COM faculty and students to locations where health care access is limited.
The College has developed agreements with clinical partners around the state who will train WSU medical students. It is also pursuing relationships with community and educational partners to build pipelines that encourage students from rural and urban underserved communities to train for health sciences careers at WSU and then return home to serve.
“The response from health care providers around the state has been very positive,” said Vice Dean for Academic and Community Partnerships Ken Roberts. “They see the benefits of having medical students in their facilities and their communities and they want to become involved.”
A fit with the university’s priorities
- For example, the College’s research portfolio, especially in population health, meshes well with the “Sustaining Health” category of the Grand Challenges.
- The College’s work to develop teaching agreements with clinical partners is a perfect fit for the university’s Strategic Plan theme for outreach and engagement. Third- and fourth-year students will be assigned to the university’s campuses in Spokane, Tri-Cities, Vancouver and Everett. From there, they will have the opportunity to work in health care facilities near the campuses.
- The College has developed strategies to help students customize their individual study plans and to teach students leadership skills. Those fit nicely under the Strategic Plan theme of providing students with “transformative student experiences.”
As WSU administrators and faculty continue to develop the medical school, they stay in touch with the university’s government affairs office, which maintains regular contact with elected officials who can provide resources to help the College.
In addition, the University and College have begun a $100 million private fundraising campaign, designed to ensure the long-term financial viability of the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine.