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Clovis Medical School Welcomes Smittcamp, Zelezny as Trustees



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Wawona Frozen Foods President and CEO Bill Smittcamp and CSU Bakersfield President Dr. Lynnette Zelezny are the newest trustees at California Health Sciences University.

“With their impressive contributions to our Valley and robust experience in healthcare, education, and leadership, they will round out our already stellar board,” said CHSU President Florence T. Dunn.

In other changes at the Clovis-based private osteopathic medical and pharmacy schools, Dr. John Welty will step down as board chairman but stay on as a trustee.

The former Fresno State president had served as the board’s chair since the university’s inception.

Ikeda Is New Board Chair

The new board chair is Debbie Ikeda, a former Clovis Community College president and currently an elected State Center Community College trustee.

Ikeda elevates to CHSU’s top board leadership position after serving eight years as vice-chair.

Other trustees moving into new board roles: Dr. Kristen Watson as vice-chair and retired banking executive Susan Abundis as board secretary.

Dunn also announced that Mary Contreras, the retired chief nursing officer for Community Medical Centers, is leaving the board after five years.

“Her contributions to CHSU are very much appreciated,” Dunn said.

(Darius Assemi, the publisher of GV Wire and president of Granville Homes, is a CHSU trustee.) 

New Three-Year Pharmacy Program

The university’s College of Pharmacy is finishing plans that will enable students to graduate in three years instead of four years.

“Student recruitment could begin in July,” said Dunn. The university anticipates enrolling 50 new students for the redesigned pharmacy program.

“That’s contingent upon various approvals from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education,” Dunn said.

Dunn noted that CHSU recently held a ceremony for 76 Doctor of Pharmacy graduates — 90% of which plan to practice in the San Joaquin Valley. The college has produced nearly 250 pharmacists in the four years since its opening.

“I want our students to know that I have been and will continue to be highly focused on a student-centered approach to education,” said Dr. Okamoto, dean of the College of Pharmacy. “The only way this program can succeed is for our alumni to grow, prosper and become leaders in the pharmacy profession. Students have my commitment that our main focus will always be their success.”

Watch: Grad Opens Pharmacy in His Rural Hometown

College of Osteopathic Medicine Is Growing

Seventy-nine medical students are finishing their first-year studies and, in July, the university will welcome 120 additional students. The university’s goal for 2022 is to enroll 150 more students, Dunn said.

“With many of our students recruited from the Valley, we will graduate physicians that improve the health care in the region for generations to come,” said Dr. John Graneto, dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine.


Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email