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Health organization announces Spokane grants

THURSDAY, JULY 15, 2010, 11:28 A.M.

The drive to establish a four-year medical school program in Spokane received a $75,000 boost from local tax dollars this year.

The money was granted to Greater Spokane Inc. and Washington State University.

The grant was among three totaling $180,000 announced by the Health Sciences & Services Authority of Spokane County.

Another recipient is the Northeast Community Center Association, which will accept $75,000 to help expand its Spokane Falls Clinic to treat the area’s poor and under-served. It is operated by the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic, and the program and building expansion is expected to attract at least 3,300 patients per month, up from 1,100.

And Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center will accept $30,000 to help treat more patients at the Spokane HIV Clinic.

The Legislature established the health authority, also called the HSSA, in 2007 to capture local taxes and fund health and science-based economic development projects.

The Seattle equivalent is the Life Sciences Discovery Fund.

Last year the HSSA made grants of $675,000 to the Institute for Systems Medicine for research and to help fund the creation of a human tissue and data bank. About $225,000 more went to Project Access, which links uninsured patients with physicians and clinics.

At its May meeting, the HSSA board voted to issue $10 million in bonds.

It is run by a nine-member board, three each appointed by the governor, Spokane County commissioners, and Spokane’s mayor. The board has employed Susan Ashe as acting executive director. Ashe had earlier worked as chief lobbyist for the City of Spokane and as local public affairs officer for Kaiser Aluminum.

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