Washington State University, Spokane is looking for local residents willing to help the school’s inaugural class of medical students get acquainted with the community.
Sixty students in the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine will arrive in Spokane in August for their first two years of training.
WSU Spokane is looking for hosts who will periodically spend time with the students, introducing them to local leaders and helping them gain insights into the region, its culture, socioeconomic dynamics and medical needs.
“The program is designed to help immerse students in the life of the Spokane community and give them a sense of what it’s like to live here,” said Christina VerHeul, the medical school’s director of communication and marketing.
The hosts will serve as an entry point to Spokane beyond the classroom walls, helping students become invested in an area where they might someday practice medicine.
The new medical school’s mission is to train doctors for rural and family practices in underserved areas of the state.
To help further that goal, all of the medial students in the initial class are from Washington. New doctors often end up practicing in the cities, or the state, where they did their training, VerHeul said.
After the first two years in Spokane, the students will complete their medical training in either the Tri-Cities, Vancouver, Everett or Spokane. Fifteen students have been assigned to each of the four communities for the final piece of their training.
WSU Spokane is looking for 15 local host families in the Spokane area. So far, the program has received nine applications and needs at least six more.
If the host applicants aren’t selected this year, they could be considered in future years, VerHeul said.
Applicants must pass a federal background check. They also must be able to meet with students at least once during the six specified weeks over the two-year period and attend Wednesday night dinners with the students during those weeks.
The six weeks are spread out between September 2017 and March 2019. The first meeting is scheduled for the week of Sept. 3.
For students assigned to the Tri-Cities, Vancouver and Everett during the second half of their training, the hosts will also provide limited stays in their homes. The homestays will help those students get introduced to those communities before they move there for the last part of their med school training. However, overnight hosting is not needed in Spokane, VerHeul said.
People can apply for a host position on WSU’s website: https://medicine.wsu.edu/community-hosting-and-homestay-program/
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