Spokane City Hall is backing crimson over purple.
The city announced this week it will help Washington State University lobby the Legislature for money to begin establishing its own medical school on Spokane’s Riverpoint campus. The WSU request for $2.5 million in startup funding over the next two years is among the city’s top three legislative priorities for the upcoming 2015 session.
Although the city also is supporting the University of Washington’s pledge to expand its medical education program in Spokane, it’s not among the top priorities.
The state’s two leading universities, after partnering for years on a shared medical education program with a branch in Spokane, are parting ways and will battle it out in the Legislature next year for money to pursue their own vision of how best to train doctors.
WSU wants its own Spokane-based medical school that relies on forging community partnerships with hospitals around the state to train physicians who’d be encouraged to practice in under-served regions of the state. The UW, which has one of the best medical schools in the country for primary care training, proposes aggressively expanding its Spokane satellite branch, which currently operates in facilities that WSU wants to use for its medical school.
Spokane has long sought expanded medical education opportunities at the Riverpoint campus as part of an overall push to strengthen the local economy and help ease physician shortages in rural communities.
But until now, city and other community leaders had largely avoided taking sides.