The University of Washington Medical School should “proceed as soon as possible” to expand and modernize its program in Spokane, a special advisory council set up by the university said Tuesday.
It should “aggressively pursue regional expansion opportunities,” the council said, with a special nod to the Tri-Cities, where it said expanded residencies and medical education are priorities for the business and health care community. It also should develop more residency programs, particularly for rural and underserved areas.
The special Presidential Advisory Council on Medical Education Access and Affordability, an 11-member body headed by former Gov. Dan Evans, is silent on whether Washington State University should develop its own medical school in Spokane. It does say the two universities should work together on a plan to provide medical education in the state and specifically for Spokane.
UW operates a five-state consortium known as WWAMI – for Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho – which was innovative when it started 43 years ago and has been successful and efficient, Evans said.
“It needs to be expanded, modernized and adjusted so it can continue to produce high-quality physicians for the next 40 years,” Evans said.
The two universities will ask for money for separate medical school programs in Spokane in the upcoming legislative session. UW is seeking $8 million to have more slots for first- and second-year students at the five-state WWAMI program located on the WSU-Spokane campus, while WSU is seeking $2.5 million to begin hiring staff and applying for accreditation for a new medical school.
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