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WSU Plans Med School While UW Highlights Flaws

Paige Browning
Spokane Public Radio

Washington State University leaders announced plans Wednesday for a medical school in Spokane. School leaders approved the idea last week, which has the University of Washington on edge about its own Spokane program.Leaders from both public universities say they want to continue their partnership on WSU’s Spokane campus, but they have different plans for how to do so. For WSU leaders, it’s possible for an independent medical school and UW’s WWAMI program in Spokane to exist cohesively. President Elson Floyd spoke about the statewide need for doctors on Spokane’s campus.

 Floyd: “And the reason we need both is because of the dire need associated with it. Neither one of us can do it on our own, and so we will continue to have active and meaningful conversations with the University of Washington, and our solution is to do both.”

Floyd and UW’s president met this summer to discuss adding more students to the WWAMI program, which allows UW students to take medical classes in Spokane.
Arkins: “We want it to last, we’re committed to it, we think it’s the way to go.”
But University of Washington spokesperson Norm Arkins says that a WSU med school would take up WWAMI’s funding. Arkins says expanding WWAMI would be a low cost, higher efficiency option.
Arkins: “It’s a scalable program that can be expanded. We just need more funds, to hire more faculty, to teach more students, and we could start doing that in a year.”

Lisa Brown
Credit Paige Browning / Spokane Public Radio
Spokane Public Radio
Chancellor Lisa Brown hosted WSU's announcement on developing a medical school on September 17th.

Right now, WSU is focused on a different timeline. Consultant group MGT of America projects WSU could have its first class of med students in fall 2017. President Elson Floyd says he’ll ask the state for about 2.5-million dollars in the first three years of the med school, and by year 2024 will need 24-million dollars annually from the state.
Copyright 2014 Spokane Public Radio

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