The Seattle Times had a story this past weekend featuring the increase of first- and second-year medical school seats on the east side of Washington.
From the Times:
The Seattle area’s concentration of hospitals, clinics and people has long made it the epicenter of medical education in this state.
But due partly to Washington State University’s legislative win this year — which gave it money and the go-ahead to open a new medical school in Spokane — the center for early medical education is beginning to tip east.
The Times cites our push to create more opportunities for aspiring medical students as the catalyst for this shift. Offering more opportunities to our state’s students retains our talent and keeps our students in-state.
That’s a big part of the solution. The other part is increasing residency programs – the training doctors get after four years of medical school. A large proportion of residency programs are on the west side of the state, but we are and have been working on increasing the number of residencies in the greater Spokane area. The Spokane Teaching Health Consortium – Providence Health Care, Empire Health Foundation and WSU Spokane – secured federal funding last year to add six new residency slots in Spokane. Thanks to that funding, Spokane has 80 residency spots. The goal is to increase that number to 125.
Our community-based medical school will send students across the state for the third and fourth years of study, but for now, the greater Spokane area is shaping up to be a prime spot for the early stages of medical education.