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Regional Voices: Dr. Luisita Francis – Washington State University’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine

Dr. Luisita Francis was named an assistant dean of Washington State University’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine in March 2016. Her responsibilities include helping develop clinical campuses in Spokane, Vancouver, the Tri-Cities and Everett for third- and fourth-year medical students, and strengthening partnerships between the college and rural hospitals and clinics. Dr. Francis also is co-owner and CEO of Riverside Place, the former downtown Masonic Temple that hosts weddings, charity functions, concerts, plays and other special events.

 What brought her to Spokane: My husband and I moved here in 2008 to expand PowerHandling Inc., an engineering company we started in 2001. We planned to stay only one year, but three kids and nine years later we’re still here.

Why the new medical school is here: The regents designated Spokane as the health sciences campus for the entire university system in 2010. Besides the fact that the pharmacy and nursing colleges are here, locating the medical school close to top-notch hospitals and clinics made the most sense.

 The response: In the shorter-than-normal recruitment period, our charter class had more than 700 applicants for 60 slots, demonstrating the great demand for a second publicly funded medical school in Washington.

Career opportunities: As co-owner of a local engineering company, I know there are many job opportunities in engineering and technology. And thanks to the medical school, I believe the healthcare sector will be a major player for years to come.

How Spokane is changing: We’re growing in size and diversity, with newcomers arriving from many different states. My work takes me throughout the nation, so I appreciate how collaborative this community has become – its many cross-discipline, private-public partnerships.

Recreational assets: Outdoor activities are available year-round, whether one prefers walking, biking, hiking, rafting, skiing or snowshoeing.

Goals for Spokane: I would like to see Spokane think big in terms of growth opportunities and fully recognize what we have to offer – instead of thinking “Why us?” think “Why not us?” I would love to see Spokane become an even greater healthcare hub by fostering more innovation and entrepreneurship.

Where Luisita takes visitors: I show them the Spokane Falls, the Centennial Trail, Manito Park and nearby lakes.

How she relaxes: I have no idea what that means! (laugh)

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