OLYMPIA – WSU Spokane’s new medical school would have a say in setting up the important hands-on training for medical students after they graduate, under a bill heard by a House panel Wednesday.
The Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine would be included in the Family Medicine Residency Network, which provides financial aid for medical school graduates at residencies where they learn skills at hospitals and clinics. The college’s dean would appoint someone to a new slot on the network and to a separate advisory board that recommends where residencies are set up, provides state money and evaluates the programs.
The WSU representatives would join members from the University of Washington School of Medicine and the Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Marcus Riccelli, D-Spokane, said the bill would help medically underserved parts of Eastern Washington fill their physician shortage, especially in rural areas. The medical schools must put a priority on support for those areas.
Providing residencies for medical students is critical to gaining more primary access care, he said.
“If people do their graduate medical education and their residencies in an area, they’re much more likely to stay,” Riccelli said.
The Family Medicine Residency Network, currently based in Seattle, is run by the University of Washington. Adding the WSU medical school would solidify WSU’s status as a growing medical program, supporters said.
Having a voice on the advisory board will help ensure medical students can continue their graduate education and training as WSU’s program develops, said Joshua Jacobs, chairman of the department of medical education and clinical science.
Chris Mulick, director of WSU’s office of state relations, agreed.
“It’s important to have the college named to participate in the activities” of the residency network, he said. “This bill will provide clarity by naming us to the board.”
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