AWSOM fills assistant dean slots, hires additional faculty

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,354 views 

The Alice L. Walton School of Medicine (AWSOM) in Bentonville announced Thursday (May 4) the hiring of four assistant deans:

  • Ken Hopper; Assistant Dean for Health Systems Science Education
  • Dan Kallenberger; Assistant Dean; Admissions, Recruitment, and Whole Health Initiation
  • Angela Pierce; Assistant Dean of Whole Health Integration, and
  • Quac-Ahn Thai; Assistant Dean for Art of Healing

In addition to the new assistant dean roles, AWSOM recently appointed seven new faculty members.

  • Gagani Athauda; Foundational Science Educator: Pharmacology
  • Lance Bridges; Foundational Science Educator: Biochemistry
  • Lance Forshee; Foundational Science Educator: Anatomy
  • Ayleen Godreau; Director Clinical Skills
  • Hector Lopez; Director, Anatomy Lab
  • Sylvia Merino; Director of Simulation, and
  • Ian Murray; Foundational Sciences Educator

According to a news release, the college’s goal is to hire 12 full-time faculty positions with representation in all the basic science disciplines and four positions within clinical skills and simulation by the school’s opening.

Beginning with its first class of students in 2025 and pending the appropriate accreditations, AWSOM will offer a four-year medical degree-granting program that integrates conventional medicine with holistic principles and self-care practices.

Sharmila Makhija is AWSOM’s founding dean and CEO.

First announced in March 2021, the medical school is a standalone sister organization of Bentonville nonprofit Whole Health Institute, created in 2020 by Walmart Inc. heiress and philanthropist Alice Walton.

AWSOM is being built on approximately 20 acres east of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art along Northeast J Street, north of First Presbyterian Church.

Construction of the 154,000-square-foot building is underway. Polk Stanley Wilcox is the lead architect for the project. Crossland Construction is the general contractor.

Click here for more information on AWSOM’s founding assistant deans.