Private sector helps to make case for medical education, health research
The academic health science center at Spokane’s Riverpoint Campus involves the entire community. WSU health sciences students tutor younger students through outreach programs (see video above), both on campus and off. Speech and hearing sciences faculty and students see patients in their on-campus clinic. Dozens of nurses, pharmacists and doctors in eastern Washington hospitals and clinics mentor health sciences students.
That sense of community also extends to civic leaders in Spokane.
When WSU officials went to Olympia in 2011 to ask the legislature for money for a new building to house medical education and the College of Pharmacy on Spokane's Riverpoint Campus, they were accompanied by Spokane business, medical and education leaders. Together they delivered a message that the region fully supports the university’s plans for four-year medical education and a robust health sciences research program at Riverpoint.
Their trip was a successful one. Even during a very difficult fiscal period, legislators allocated $35 million to begin construction on the new Biomedical and Health Sciences Building.
In 2012 the group went back to Olympia and secured the other funding needed to finish the building. It is scheduled to open in early 2014.
As the civic group built support among lawmakers, WSU Spokane worked with Greater Spokane Incorporated, Desautel Hege and Zipline Interactive to create a website to build public support. The result—www.morethanamedicalschool.com—shares information about the academic health science center at Riverpoint and lists the companies and institutions that have played a role in its success.