In the budget for health education programs, JFAC has gone along with the governor’s recommendation to add five new first-year medical seats in the WWAMI TRUST, or Targeted Rural and Underserved Track, program, and also approved two other tiny boosts to medical education programs: A $68,400 increase to the family medical residency program, and a $10,000 increase for the psychiatry residency program, which has jumped from four to 11 students. Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow, a physician who graduated from the WWAMI program, said the new seats will connect the newly trained doctors to rural areas in Idaho, but the boost to the residency programs also is key. “The best way to ensure medial students returning to a community is residency training,” he said. “In my opinion, this is a great investment for the state of Idaho.”
The motion was approved in the joint committee on a 12-8 vote; it reflects a 4.3 percent increase in state general funds for health education programs, while the governor had recommended 3.6 percent.