E.Flo MD: The story behind the name

My first day at the College of Medicine, back in 2016,

was also the first day we were operating under Provisional Accreditation. It was a time of many “firsts” for the College, and thanks to Founding Dean Dr. John Tomkowiak, the entire team was conscious that each decision we made in those early days would ripple through the organizational culture for many years. And, wow, were there a lot of decisions to make! I had no idea what I had really signed up for that summer.

The College had just signed an agreement to join a software consortium and participate in a collaborative, open-source approach to the development of a learning- and curriculum-management system. Today, that system and consortium is called Elentra.

My job was to stand up and configure the system,

and meet with stakeholder groups to understand which features we should focus on and how we should use them, then train faculty and staff on the platform. In addition to that, it was also my job to develop new features and collaborate with the broader Elentra community to ensure our ideas and work were carried upstream into the core platform, where they could be shared and further extended by other medical schools.

About a week after I started, we had a team—well, two people—out from Queen’s University to help me set up servers, install the software, and receive an introduction to the codebase and development methods used by other Elentra Consortium developers.

Now, the first thing you always do when setting up web-based software is to choose a URL. A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is a convenient way to point to something on the Internet. And the thing to know about URLs is that it really is best to avoid changing them. Ever. Just trust me on this.

But which URL to choose?

Dr. Dawn Elise DeWitt, who was instrumental in bringing Elentra to the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine from her prior post at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine, had a great suggestion: What if we branded our Elentra platform E.Flo MD, in memory of Elson S. Floyd, who was the catalyst for creating the College of Medicine? WSU students had a fun history of referring to Elson Floyd as “E Flo,” and we thought it would be a nice touch to honor that tradition.

So that’s it. I put in a request to the DNS (Domain Name System) team here at WSU, they pointed eflo.medicine.wsu.edu to our servers, and the rest is a small ripple in history. Over the years, it has been subject to a few misspellings—there is no w; it is not spelled Flow—but other than that, I think we did what we set out to do with the name. I am proud to say that we memorialize Dr. Floyd, in a small way, hundreds or thousands of times every day, with each URL request to https://eflo.medicine.wsu.edu.

More To Explore