Dean of med school: Tomkowiak embraces community approach

From staff reports

John Tomkowiak, inaugural dean of the WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, began his duties last week with a statewide tour of self-study meetings that were had between health care provider partners in Spokane, Tri-Cities, Vancouver and Everett.

Interim President Dan Bernardo stated in a press release published yesterday afternoon that Tomkowiak accompanied Ken Roberts, acting dean of the College of Medicine, in the self-study tour. The conversations were enthusiastic and fruitful, Bernardo said.

“Unlike traditional schools of medicine, the WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine will not include construction and management of a large teaching hospital as the training ground for medical students,” Bernardo said.

Instead, the university will emphasize a strong partnership with existing health providers around Washington with the goal of training students in communities that need it most.

 “After completing the first two years of their medical education at WSU Health Sciences Spokane, students will be parsed out to one of the four locations mentioned above,” Bernardo said.

After their first two years, students will complete their education at local health care facilities partnered with WSU.

Announced changes to education methods is part of the university’s community based approach – an approach Bernardo states Tomkowiak knows well.

“He has been instrumental in the success of four community-based medical schools,” Bernardo said. Two of the institutions include the Chicago Medical School and Rosalind Franklin University Health System, both of which had regional campuses.

Tomkowiak also assisted the team that created the new medical school at Florida State University.

While accreditation preparations are his top priority in the beginning stages, Tomkowiak publically stated his commitment to developing relationships with valuable partners is key to the medical school’s long-term success.