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JPMorgan grant helps WSU medical program in Spokane

Wed., March 5, 2014, midnight

Spokane’s business community has fulfilled its promise to invest in medical education by meeting its $2.2 million benchmark this week.

The JPMorgan Chase Foundation has given Washington State University the final $100,000 installment to educate second-year medical students on WSU’s health sciences campus. It’s the last of 14 local and regional companies and foundations that made gifts. 

“JPMorgan Chase is pleased to provide the capstone grant for WSU’s medical education curriculum,” said Brett MacLeod, Inland Northwest market manager for the company. “The program is critical in strengthening medical services in Eastern Washington and rural areas, and we believe the expanded health services campus will be a catalyst for future economic growth in the region.”

WSU Spokane’s medical training is part of the University of Washington’s five-state doctor training program, WWAMI, which stands for Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. WSU’s second-year medical student pilot is testing whether lessons traditionally taught in a lecture format can be modified for small-group learning. This is the first year the program has been offered in Spokane.

“We would not have second-year medical education taking place if it had not been for the community support,” said Lisa Brown, WSU Spokane’s chancellor.

The business community’s goal in supporting the program is to attract biological and medical businesses and researchers to the area.

As the campus grows, the vision is that within the next 20 years the campus will be a destination for 6,000 students pursuing various degrees in health care and science. The campus is also seen as a place where ideas can become enterprise, creating jobs and boosting the regional economy each year.

But community support will continue to be critical.

Brown said WSU secured $6 million in funds from the Legislature for equipment and faculty during the 2013-15 budget cycle and “I don’t think that would have happened without the community’s support.”

To keep the second-year medical students here, she said, “we will need continued community support.”

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