More than half of the people in a University of Washington task force that will look at the access, quality and cost of medical education in Washington are from Spokane or have ties here.
That’s significant as tensions between UW and Washington State University mount over the future of medical education in the state.
UW announced last month that former Gov. Dan Evans will lead a task force to look at the future of the 40-year-old, five-state WWAMI program that offers medical education in Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. News of the task force came just days after UW administrators met with WSU President Elson Floyd and WSU Spokane Chancellor Lisa Brown, who said WSU will study splitting off from the WWAMI system to launch an independent medical school in Spokane.
UW officials have repeatedly said they want to preserve and strengthen the WWAMI program instead, including adding more students in Spokane and retooling the medical curriculum throughout the WWAMI system.
The UW task force includes former chairman of Old National Bank Dave Clack; his wife and former UW regent Mari Clack; Scott Morris, CEO of Avista Corp.; Betsy Cowles, chairwoman of Cowles Publishing Co. (which owns The Spokesman-Review); Kristi Blake, a Spokane resident and UW regent; and Phyllis Campbell, a former Spokane resident who’s currently vice chairwoman of JPMorgan Chase.
Two Washington State University regents also are on the task force – Lura Powell and Mike Worthy. The other members are Rogelio Riojas, a UW regent, and Jerry Grinstein, a member of the UW Medicine Board.
The task force is part of “Next Generation WWAMI,” a project to look at how the medical education model can be adapted to meet local health care needs, a news release said.
The task force’s first meeting will be held in Spokane on April 21.