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

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Ana Mari Cauce and Thayne McCulloh: New building makes for an exciting future

By Ana Mari Cauce and Thayne McCulloh

By Ana Mari Cauce and Thayne McCulloh

The excitement of University of Washington and Gonzaga University students learning together in Spokane’s newest hub for medical and health education is something to be celebrated, not just by our two universities, but by patients, providers and community members throughout Eastern Washington.

The official opening of this new building marks a major milestone in the UW School of Medicine-GU Health Partnership’s long-term commitment to the local education of healthcare professionals, as well as improving healthcare and well-being in the Inland Northwest.

The region’s next generation of health care providers and leaders will first pass through the new building’s doors into state-of-the-art classrooms and labs, and later walk out of those same doors into hospitals and clinics throughout this region.

Foundational to its success has been the support of the Spokane community, and the business community’s focus on health care as a major economic priority. We’ve carefully steered this partnership – which combines the UW’s 50 years of experience providing top-ranked family practice and rural medicine education in Eastern Washington, with Gonzaga’s renowned science teaching and deep roots in Spokane – to this new reality, which imagines healthier kids and adults as essential to the growth and flourishing of our communities.

It is a future that imagines citizens in every part of our state receiving the benefits of accessible, affordable, high-quality care provided by the doctors, nurses, physician assistants, dentists and health professionals our universities and partners educate.

As we think about the work we do every day, we are conscious of the fact that the ultimate stakeholders in this endeavor are all of you. We want you to see the positive outcomes generated by our efforts, whether that’s better access to health care, growing local economic opportunities brought about by our research, or something as comforting as knowing there is a locally trained doctor next door.

The ongoing collaboration of GU and UW faculty members will continue to create a campus culture that attracts the finest students in the region, making the Spokane partnership site their top choice for medical and health education.

The UW’s long history of health care education collaboration with providers and academic partners in the region will be made even stronger as the partnership’s focus emphasizes opportunities to keep the region’s top students here at home for their education and career.

Our private sector partner, Emerald Initiative, an independently owned affiliate of McKinstry, helped make this new physical facility possible through their vision of building impactful projects with partners who share their values of sustainability, equity and invention. This new building is a piece of an innovation presence they are determined to continue to expand in Spokane and we’re proud to call them our partner.

We wholeheartedly believe this facility is a key asset to the evolution of health care in Spokane. It seems the Legislature believes the same, as state lawmakers have consistently shown their support for our partnership, and by extension our students and their future patients. We want to make good on their trust and hope our partnership’s successes create continued state – and private – support.

The new building is a shining example of people working together for the public good and it demonstrates that we – all of us – really are stronger together.

Ana Mari Cauce is president of the University of Washington. Thayne McCulloh is president of Gonzaga University.