About the college

An innovative approach

The Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine uses a community-based model of education. Instead of building its own academic health center or establishing its own clinics, WSU is establishing collaborative partnerships with existing clinical networks throughout the state. WSU will save taxpayers millions of dollars by foregoing the expenditures associated with building, maintaining and operating its own hospital and clinics.

The medical school’s community-based approach fits with the mission of WSU Vancouver, which has built strong ties to the community. The medical school provides another way for the campus and community to work together.

President Floyd’s vision was of a bold, audacious, visionary and innovative medical school. Learn more about his dream.


Training doctors to meet new challenges

Only the second public medical school in the state of Washington, the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine was established to meet a shortage of physicians across the state and expand access to medically underserved areas. Independent research indicates that medical students who learn in community settings are more likely to practice across a diverse geography and population than those taught in a traditional health center.

Washington’s physician workforce needs to grow significantly to meet increasing demand. The state is growing. Twelve of Washington’s 39 counties are predicted to grow at double-digit rates through 2020. As the population ages and the Baby Boom generation retires, demand for medical services will increase.

Moreover, Washington ranks high for having physicians near retirement age. Twenty-eight percent of providers are age 60 or older. Washington also experiences a misdistribution of physicians. King County is home to 29 percent of the state’s population and 50 percent of its physicians.


WSU College of Medicine Timeline

2014 — WSU sees a need for more doctors in the state of Washington and sets out to do something about it.

Spring 2014 — WSU commissions a feasibility study that unequivocally establishes that the university has history, expertise and assets to establish a separately accredited, community-based medical school at WSU Spokane.

September 2014 — The WSU Board of Regents directs WSU to pursue the creation of the state’s second public medical school.

March 2015 — State lawmakers repeal a nearly 100-year-old statue that prohibits anyone but the University of Washington from teaching medicine in the state.

June 2015 — The Washington State Legislature approves a two-year operating budget that funds WSU’s one-time, $2.5 million request to seek accreditation and begin the search for a dean and other initial personnel to support the new medical school.

October 2016 — Preliminary accreditation is received by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.

August 2017 — The first class of 60 medical students begin their studies at WSU Spokane.

May 2024 — The first class of WSU medical students will complete their residencies and begin practicing medicine.