The Washington State House Higher Education Committee held a hearing today to learn about House Bill 1559, which would – among other things – allow WSU to operate a medical school. WSU President Elson Floyd was among those testifying in support of the bill.
The bill, introduced by Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane), calls for a policy change and has no funding attached to it. A companion bill in the Senate – introduced by Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane), mirrors the House bill.
In addition to this policy change, WSU is seeking $2.5 million in startup operating funds to begin the process of accreditation for a medical school in Spokane.
The House bill, which has 65 co-sponsors so far, is set to get a hearing Tuesday morning bright and early at 8:00 a.m. in the House Higher Education Committee. You can watch it online at TVW.org.
For a refresher on how these bills become a law, allow Schoolhouse Rock to explain (this video focuses on the federal government, but the process at the state level still applies):
The hearing is a chance for committee members to get any questions answered before acting on the bill. These bills are just one step in our pursuit of a medical school in Spokane. The 1917 law needs to be changed, and we are also asking the legislature to provide $2.5 million in startup funds for the next two years. With that funding, we will be able to hire a Founding Dean, begin to recruit faculty and develop curriculum.
Washington State University’s pursuit of a medical school took a big step forward today when two bills – one in the Senate and one in the House – were introduced today and would allow WSU to operate a public medical school. A law that dates back to 1917 currently mandates that only the University of Washington can operate a public medical school in Washington.
Senator Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane) introduced the bill in the Senate, while Representative Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane) introduced the bill in the House.
WSU Spokane held its Spring Semester Kickoff event this morning and recognized the past year’s accomplishments and longtime staff members.
The big awards went to Kim Noe and Brady Ratsch, who were recognized for their good work.
Noe, the Administrative Manager for the College of Medical Sciences, received the Administrative Professional Staff Excellence Award. Ratsch received the Civil Service Staff Excellence Award. Both Noe and Ratsch were joined by their families to celebrate.
A number of staff members were recognized for their years of service to WSU Spokane:
If not for the greater Spokane community, our campus wouldn’t sit along the beautiful Spokane River.
Our campus wouldn’t be able to grow like it has over the past 25 years. Without the Spokane community and the many partnerships it has offered, our pursuit of a medical school here would hit a brick wall.
Studies show those in lower income environments are more prone to poor health because they don’t have access to the care they need. They also may lack access to the legal services that may be needed.
Law students and medical residents will use teamwork to pinpoint those that need health and legal services and address them.
Teamwork produces great results. There’s no need for us or Gonzaga to build a wall on our sides of the Spokane River. It’s better for the community for us to build bridges and become a team. This is exactly what we’re doing with this new medical-legal partnership
Lois James is a Research Assistant Professor in our Sleep and Performance Research Center. The Center and our Criminal Justice program have worked with the Spokane Police Department on a number of studies and trainings.