Alma Littles

Alma Littles

Alma Littles has been named interim dean of the Florida State University (FSU) College of Medicine.

Littles, a Quincy, Fla., native who graduated from the University of Florida (UF) College of Medicine, will take the lead at the FSU College of Medicine Feb. 1.

She has served as the senior associate dean and her appointment as interim dean comes at a time when the FSU College of Medicine is expanding its footprint in northwest Florida.

“Dr. Littles is assuming this role at an exciting time for the College of Medicine. Her long tenure at FSU combined with her relationships with the local health care community make her an ideal fit to lead the college, and we are grateful that she is willing to take on this challenge,” FSU Provost Jim Clark said in a prepared statement Friday.

Littles, the youngest of 12 children, returned to Quincy to practice medicine after graduating from UF and completing her family residency at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. Shortly after the College of Medicine was created during the 2000 legislative session, Littles became founding chair of the FSU College of Medicine Department of Family Medicine and Rural Health.

The FSU College of Medicine was created to specifically produce more primary care physicians with a focus on creating a workforce that would care for older patients and patients in rural and minority communities.

“The medical school’s mission sounded like my life story,” Littles said. “I was from a rural area, and I was interested in the health care of people from rural areas and in recruiting more students from those places into medicine. The words in the mission statement about serving underserved communities were like they were written for me.”

From its initial class of 27 graduates in 2005, the college has produced 1,721 M.D. alumni.

The College of Medicine also recently graduated its fourth class of physician assistants, graduating nearly 200 PAs in all.

As part of its med school expansion, FSU is partnering with Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare and the St. Joe Company to develop an academic health care campus located on an 87-acre parcel near Latitude Margaritaville Watersound, a 55-plus community planned for 3,500 homes in Panama City Beach.

The campus initially will include an ambulatory and urgent care center, for which a groundbreaking ceremony took place Jan. 17. Future development plans include the construction of an urgent care center and a 100-bed inpatient facility in a region where the nearest hospitals are 30 to 45 minutes away.

The university also is preparing for the development of a new academic research building in Tallahassee with a $125 million appropriation from the Legislature.

“The FSU College of Medicine can become a medical school that demonstrates the effective coexistence of a strong medical education program, robust research program and formidable clinical faculty practice without shortchanging success in all areas,” Littles said.

“In addition to its strong educational programs, our clinical practices will need to grow in a manner that meets the medical school’s mission and goals for patient care, provides clinical education sites for students and residents, and contributes to the growing clinical research initiatives,” she continued. “The clinical practices of faculty at the regional campuses provide a rich resource for clinical and translational research and education and require continued nurturing to allow the medical school to advance knowledge in the 21st century.”