The Alice L. Walton School of Medicine on Monday named Dr. Sharmila Makhija as the school’s CEO and founding dean.
Makhija will begin her duties in May. Makhija is the department chair of obstetrics & gynecology and women’s health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System in New York City.
“We are excited to welcome Dr. Makhija to the AWSOM team and to the region,” said Walton, the founder of the school. “Her background and commitment to medical education will advance our work in equipping physicians to tackle challenges of the 21st century by focusing on the physical, mental, social, and emotional health of the people and communities we serve.”
The 154,000-SF four-year school in Bentonville, which will be located on the campus of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, plans to welcome its inaugural class in 2025. The school, founded as the Whole Health School of Medicine, will offer a degree-granting program that integrates conventional medicine with holistic principles and self-care practices.
“The opportunity to build a medical school from the ground up, with the vision of philanthropist, Alice Walton, is a dream come true,” Makhija said. “Health care delivery is fractured and in need of transformation so that all Americans can have access to the respectful care they deserve. Training the doctors of the future, within a culture of diversity and inclusivity, is central to that transformation. Our goal is to build a new medical school and be a leader in improving health and wellness.”
The school in December named nine board members, including including board chair Dr. Lloyd Minor, dean of the Stanford University School of Medicine.