College of Medicine incorporates nutrition, exercise physiology training

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SPOKANE, Wash. – The Nutrition and Exercise Physiology program at WSU Spokane has been named as an academic department and incorporated into the WSU’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine.

The move reflects Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine’s (ESFCOM) goals to be one of the first medical schools in the nation to make scientific wellness — where critical health indicators, including DNA and lifestyle, are accessed and followed by nutritional coaching — part of its curriculum. Inclusion of the nutrition and exercise physiology (NEP) department is an important step in that direction.

“I look forward to seeing our nutrition and exercise physiology students and medical students learning together as part of the interprofessional education,” said ESFCOM Founding Dean John Tomkowiak, M.D.

“As the College of Medicine accepts our first class of medical students, we seek to provide innovative programs that contribute to our mission of being a unique resource for the state of Washington. The teaching, research and service missions of the NEP department sit at the intersection of clinical and population-level approaches to combatting obesity and chronic disease, a key aim of the college,” Tomkowiak said.


Glen Duncan, Ph.D. and registered clinical exercise physiologist, is the chair of NEP. “Regular physical activity and proper nutrition are the cornerstones of health promotion and disease prevention, so it makes sense to house these disciplines in the College of Medicine,” Duncan said.

NEP focuses on the effects of nutrition and physical activity on human health. The interdisciplinary program combines study in exercise science, human nutrition, biological sciences, and social and psychological sciences, with hands-on clinical experience.

Both the Bachelor and Master of science degrees are offered. The Master of Science degree is a coordinated program in dietetics, nutrition and exercise physiology. However, the department will offer a thesis track Master of Science degree as well as a Ph.D. beginning fall 2018.

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The Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine is Washington’s community-based medical school. It is named after the university’s late president, Elson S. Floyd, who believed that Washington State University, as the state’s land-grant institution, should train doctors to serve all of Washington. Accredited in October 2016, the College’s charter class will begin in August 2017.


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