Tonya Fancher, an associate professor of internal medicine who has overseen a variety of student training programs that focus on underserved populations, has been named the associate dean for Workforce Innovation and Community Engagement at the School of Medicine. In her new role, Fancher will lead the school’s workforce development initiatives and community-based clinical pathways to help further strengthen UC Davis’ efforts to improve health and health care for the underserved.
“Dr. Fancher is an enthusiastic advocate for innovative programs that enable our students to gain valuable experience and understanding about the health needs of communities that have long suffered physician shortages and less-than-optimum health and health care,” said Julie Freischlag, vice chancellor for human health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine at UC Davis. “As an associate dean, she will have an even greater role to improve the clinical pipeline from our medical school training to actual clinical care in communities.”
Fancher serves as director of UC Davis’ highly regarded Transforming Education and Community Health for Medical Students (TEACH-MS), a pre-doctoral training program that expanded medical student training opportunities in community-oriented care for urban populations. She also helps direct curriculum for the UC Merced/San Joaquin Valley PRIME Program, which provides medical students with firsthand experience working with patients and families from culturally diverse backgrounds in California’s Central Valley and helping them develop a true understanding of the issues and conditions that impact access to and quality of health care in the region. And she is the founding director of UC Davis’ innovative Accelerated Competency-based Education in Primary Care (ACE-PC) program, a collaboration with Kaiser Permanente that enables medical students to graduate in three years and immediately begin training as physicians in the clinical setting.
As the new associate dean, Fancher will be working closely with the university’s Office of Medical Education and its Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion to ensure that physician pipeline programs are more successful in attracting doctors to live and work in medically underserved areas. She will collaborate with the Office of Admissions to ensure that the school continues to recruit outstanding medical students who have a desire to one day practice in areas of the state that don’t have enough physicians to meet the health care needs of local residents.
The new position also includes a role in helping guide curriculum content and graduation competencies, as well as innovations and scholarship in medical education and workforce development.
“This is one of our school’s defining moments,” added Mark Servis, senior associate dean for medical education. “To create this new position and have a person of Dr. Fancher’s dedication and caliber leading it reflects the School of Medicine’s commitment to improving health care for all."
Known by medical students for always being available for advice and a terrific mentor, Fancher was honored with a 2016 Gold Humanism Award, which recognizes individuals who are exemplars of humanistic patient care and who serve as role models, mentors and leaders in medicine. She was recognized last year with a Chancellor’s Award for Diversity and Community and, in 2014, earned an Exceptional Woman of Color Award from a local organization that serves as a networking resource for African American and urban businesses, non-profit organizations and community groups in the Sacramento area.
Fancher is a New York University School of Medicine graduate, where she also did her residency in internal medicine. She earned her Masters of Public Health from UC Davis and has been a member of the faculty since 2004.