Sunday, June 29, 2014

Report: Feud Between UW, WSU 'Could Cloud' WWAMI Future

Posted By on Sun, Jun 29, 2014 at 2:00 PM

A new feud between the University of Washington and Washington State University—who are friendly rivals on a good day—may put the future of grooming the next generation of Idaho doctors at risk.

"UW, UW Spar Over Future of Region's Med Schools," reads the headline in this morning's Seattle Times, chronicling how the University of Washington wants to expand its current medical education program with a campus in Spokane while Washington State University is "vigorously pursuing a proposal to build its own medical school."

UW operates one of only two medical schools in the region and its WWAMI program, which reserves spots for prospective medical school students from Idaho and four other states—Washington, Wyoming, Alaska and Montana. The program requires first-year medical students to remain in their home state while coming to UW for their second year of medical training. The remaining two years of medical school can rotate among home states, Seattle (UW's home) or other WWAMI states.

But the Times reports that the battle between UW and WSU "could cloud the future" of WWAMI, because WSU claims UW "simply cannot accommodate all the qualified students." WSU President Elson Floyd claims that under WWAMI, Washington has lagged behind other states in the growth of slots in medical school, and prospective medical students who are turned away often go outside the state or the country to become doctors.

As a result, WSU is proposing that the new medical education model include both WWAMI and a WSU-run medical school.

"I could feel the tension in the air," said Seattle State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, describing the feud between WSU and UW. "I think this will be a big issue for the state this session."

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