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

UW outlines expanded Spokane medical school

The University of Washington is confident it can have an expanded Spokane branch of its medical school operating in conjunction with Gonzaga University by 2016, depending on state allocations.

Gonzaga, however, says that while discussions with UW are ongoing, it’s too early to discuss details.

“It is premature at this point – before the Legislature has finalized budgets – to discuss specifics around that partnership,” said Gonzaga spokeswoman Mary Joan Hahn.

Both universities caution that important details still need to be sorted out and note that little can be accomplished until after the Legislature decides how to handle physician training. Washington State University, which used to partner with UW in the Spokane operation, wants to establish its own Spokane-based medical school, and lawmakers must decide whether to pay for both or choose between the two.

In a letter to supporters this week, interim UW President Ana Mari Cauce reiterated the university’s commitment to Spokane, noted curriculum and faculty changes are underway and predicted an agreement would be reached soon with Gonzaga.

“Our discussions with Gonzaga University continue,” Cauce said, “and while we await the outcome of the legislative session and have some important details to work out, our goal is to institute a new Spokane medical education partnership with Gonzaga beginning in the 2016-17 academic year.”

The update comes two weeks after WSU announced a nationwide search for a founding dean to oversee development of its medical school.

University of Washington operates the state’s only publicly funded medical school, which includes a Spokane site for first- and second-year students. It wants to expand it to a full four-year program but is looking for a new partner.