It may be two years before Washington State University Tri-Cities has medical students, but Farion Williams, the new associate dean of medicine for that campus, is ramping up for students who will spend their final two years in the region.
“The Tri-Cities is in a very unique position in Washington state, with its variety of health care providers and professionals, its opportunities with organizations like the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and its potential for providing rural healthcare in eastern Washington and underrepresented communities,” Williams said in a release. “I’m excited to be a part of getting the new Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine up and running, and I’m excited to join the team at WSU Tri-Cities.”
Williams began his new role June 26. He plans to identify and train faculty and help to establish the curriculum. He also plans to meet with local physicians and representatives from medical providers to gain an understanding of the region’s health care climate.
A graduate of the University of Texas Medical School at San Antonio, Williams completed his residency training at the University of Kansas Medical Center where he served as the program’s chief resident in his final year. He began his first practice through the University of Texas Medical Branch in Dickinson, Texas. Following his time at UTMB, he became the associate residency director for family medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine, and most recently served at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford, where he held many roles, including residency program director and assistant dean for graduate medical education.
Williams’ medical resúme includes extensive experience serving and developing programs for rural and underserved populations – a focus he said he looks forward to continuing at WSU.
“The mission of Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine is really important because there are many communities that lack resources for health care, and when access is limited, care is limited,” he said. “Once students have opportunities to train in rural communities, they are more likely to want to practice in rural communities, which is why it’s crucial that we establish those opportunities here in Washington state. I think it is very forward-thinking that WSU is focusing their program to help address this issue.”
In addition to his work stateside, Williams said he’d like to offer a study abroad opportunity that he has been a part of for several years at the University of Illinois. Through the program, medical students travel to Christian Medical College in India where they provide medical care, work with local physicians and learn about how the health care system works within the country.
“The study abroad program gives students an opportunity to experience the healthcare systems in another country, how health care is delivered, how different national policies affect the way healthcare is delivered, and how the populations are different,” he said. “Students see that a lot of good can be done with limited resources and develop a perspective of compassion and empathy for people.”
Williams worked with the department of family medicine faculty at the medical college in India to help them gain accreditation for their residency program through the Medical Council of India in March 2017.
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