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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Extra Credit

Record number of UW med school grads chose primary care this year

About 60 percent of the University of Washington's medical school graduates this year will pursue primary care residencies, a new record for the five-state physician training program.

According to the university, 130 of the 217 graduates were matched with residency programs in the fields of family medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics. Another 17 will specialize in general surgery, eight in obstetrics and gynecology, and seven in psychiatry.

“This is a direct reflection of the UW School of Medicine’s outstanding special programs that introduce students to and prepare them for careers in primary care," Dr. Paul G. Ramsey, medical school dean and CEO of UW Medicine, said in prepared remarks. "The pay-off is tangible: our students choose primary care. In addition, nearly two-thirds of our graduates end up practicing in Washington state.”

In Spokane, where UW operates a branch of its five-state medical school in WSU facilities, more than a third of the graduates who started at the Riverpoint campus will do their residency training in Spokane-based programs.

The announcement came just hours before state lawmakers cleared the way for Washington State University to begin establishing its own medical school in Spokane, though funding has yet to be debated.

WSU is promising lawmakers its medical school will focus on producing primary care physicians who can help alleviate rural doctor shortages, which studies indicate will worsen as growing numbers of doctors retire in the coming years. The UW, meanwhile, is proposing to expand its Spokane branch, which currently is training 40 first-year and nine second-year medical students.

The two universities used to be partners in the Spokane operation but parted ways over disagreements surrounding WSU's push for its own medical school. The University of Washington also trains medical students from Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho under funding agreements with those states.

David Wasson oversees coverage of politics and state and local government and assists with editing on the City Desk.

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