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James Record to serve as interim dean of the College of Medicine

James RecordDr. James M. Record, MD, JD, has been named interim dean of Washington State University’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, effective July 5. He has served as the college’s vice dean for GME, CME and Partnerships since 2021 and is a clinical professor in the Department of Medical Education and Clinical Sciences.

During his time at WSU, Dr. Record has provided executive oversight of the offices of Graduate Medical Education, Continuing Medical Education, Land-Grant Mission and Leadership, Advancement, and Compliance for the college, which is based on the university’s Spokane campus. His role has … » More …

Founding Dean John Tomkowiak has stepped down

John TomkowiakVice President and Chancellor Daryll DeWald announced yesterday that Founding Dean Dr. John Tomkowiak has stepped down from his role. We are deeply grateful for his leadership over the course of nearly 7 years as we built a medical school from the ground up.

Dr. Tomkowiak built the team responsible for educating physician health care professionals to serve those Washington communities in most need and guided the college to full accreditation as a community-based medical education program in 2021. He departs with the college achieving a full cohort of 320 students and successfully graduating its … » More …

Native Americans face disproportionate travel burden for cancer treatment

cancer therapy advanced linear acceleratorSPOKANE, Wash.—Experiencing higher rates of certain cancers than non-Hispanic whites, many Native Americans have to travel especially large distances to access radiation therapy, according to a study led by Washington State University researchers.

Published in the journal Value in Health, the study found that individuals living in U.S. neighborhoods with majority American Indian and Alaska Native populations have to travel around 40 miles farther to the nearest radiation therapy facility than those living in neighborhoods dominated by other racial groups.

“Up to 60% of cancers require access to radiation therapy, which can … » More …

WSU researchers to close gaps in Alzheimer’s disease research

Alzheimer researchResearchers at Washington State University Health Sciences Spokane will spend the next three years conducting research aimed at improving brain health in older adults, thanks to nearly $500,000 in grants funded by the Alzheimer’s Association.

The three grants awarded to WSU will support three research projects that will close gaps in Alzheimer’s disease research while addressing inequities in Alzheimer’s disease risk and treatment in U.S. Native populations.

Estimates say that as many as one in three Native American elders will develop Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, and the number of American Indian/Alaska Native people … » More …

Washington state minorities die at younger ages from opioids than whites

Washington State map ambulance opioidsSPOKANE, Wash. – While opioid-use cuts across socio-economic boundaries, racial and ethnic minorities in Washington state are more likely to suffer fatal overdoses earlier in their lives than non-Hispanic white residents, according to a recent study.

Using data from the state’s Department of Health, Washington State University researchers analyzed more than 5,200 records of opioid-associated deaths from 2011 to 2018. They found that racial and ethnic minorities died from opioid overdose on average from ages 33 to 44. For non-Hispanic whites, the average age of death was 45.

“We found that racial … » More …

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy helps treat opioid addiction

Patient receiving hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Photo by Drazen Zigic on iStockSPOKANE, Wash.—Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may help people being treated for opioid addiction reduce their methadone dose and better manage pain and withdrawal symptoms, according to a pair of studies led by Washington State University scientists.

The research team recruited participants enrolled in a local opioid treatment program to test the effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a treatment that involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized environment.

Published in the Journal of Addictions Nursing, the first paper describes a pilot study of 31 participants that showed that those … » More …

Coug Docs in love

Petr and TaylorPetr and Taylor, Class of 2025

Inspired by Valentine’s Day, we want to celebrate love—Coug Doc style! MS1s Petr and Taylor met in 2016 where all great love stories start—Washington State University. After attending our Admissions Symposium, the two knew the College of Medicine was for them. They applied and got their acceptance calls into the Class of 2025 last year.

“He found out before I knew,” said Taylor. “I was so nervous I wasn’t going to get in with him… it felt like the longest two weeks.” The two laugh about it now. … » More …

Outreach program aims to recruit future physicians

Stevens County Mentorship ProgramA mentorship program intended to inspire students to enter health sciences careers will enroll 155 new junior and high school students from Stevens County this year.

The Stevens County Mentorship Program is one of several efforts organized by the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine to give back to underserved Washington communities and help children develop the interest and skills needed for a career in the health sciences.

The college’s outreach initiatives began in 2016, prior to WSU’s first class of medical students beginning their studies. Jessica Gerdes, principal assistant within the Department … » More …

New podcast pushes for healthcare professionals’ mental health

Medical students and faculty at the WSU Elson S. Floyd College of MedicineA new podcast created by faculty at the WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine explores how physicians and other healthcare professionals can maintain their physical and mental health.

“Finding Joy: The Health Care Professional’s Journey to Wellness and Resiliency” features doctors, nurses, medical students from the WSU College of Medicine, and other health care professionals as they dive into the challenges they face and how they manage practicing wellness in their careers.

Facing a health care landscape that was overwhelmed by provider shortages and access … » More …

Increased take‑home methadone during pandemic did not worsen outcomes

Image by Zerbor on iStockSPOKANE, Wash. — Relaxing limits on take-home doses of methadone—a medication used to treat opioid addiction—does not appear to lead to worse treatment outcomes, according to a new study led by Washington State University researchers.

Published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, the study looked at the impact of a temporary policy change allowing providers to send patients home with additional methadone doses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, federal regulations allowed take-home privileges only for established patients who have proven themselves stable, a measure intended to reduce risk of patients … » More …