WSU Spokane aims to be newest medical school in the Pacific Northwest

WSU Spokane has announced their plans to implement a medical program in 2017 to help address the shortage of primary care physicians in Washington. WSU Spokane says that there are approximately ten doctors for over 10,000 people in Wash. State. The amount of medical students in state at University of Washington has remained a consistent 100 for the past 40 years, despite the states increase in population. Many community leaders in the Spokane area have lobbied for the implementation of the medical program in response to these statistics.

David Choi, ASWSUV President and biology major, is excited for the medical program, saying, “I think it is amazing!” Choi said that this is “an opportunity to meet the needs of the state,” pointing out that the University of Washington is the only university in the entire state that offers students a M.D. program aside from WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho). WWAMI is a regional medical school program that lets their student’s start/complete their medical training within the five states.

Choi said that “if everything was set up and ready to go,” he would attend the medical program in Spokane rather than at UW, wanting to be a part of the “new and upcoming” program.

Nancy Youlden, vice chancellor of student affairs at WSU Vancouver, also believes that the medical school in Spokane would be beneficial to the state of Washington as a whole, saying “there is a documented demand for more primary care doctors in the state, and so adding medical training education opportunities will directly contribute to this demand.” Youlden also said that in regards to medical education seats per capita, Washington is in last place nationally and that “a real need exists” for the medical program.

Not everyone wants WSU Spokane to fund a medical school. In an article written by James Camden for the Spokesman Review, he discusses WSU Spokane wanting $5.9 million to fund the program. Camden says that UW has “exclusive rights to medical education at state universities,” protected by law and does not want WSU Spokane to use the money. Ian Goodhew, chief information officer for UW School of Medicine, said that UW should be able to spend this money on students attending this year, not students of the future. Goodhew also said that if WSU keeps their share of the money, than UW “would not be able to expand in Spokane as planned,” saying that the funds should be used to “teach students now, not down the road.” Camden said that The House Higher Education committee has considered amending the law granting exclusivity to UW, saying that the law does not mention anything in regards to money.

If an undergraduate is considering transferring from one WSU campus to another, they can access the campus transfer form at registrar.wsu.edu for more information. Youlden also said that students “can contact the WSU Vancouver registrar’s office if they have questions.” For more information students can also go to spokane.wsu.edu.


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