University of Washington President Michael K. Young has announced the appointment of an Advisory Council on Medical Education Access and Affordability, to be led by former Gov. Dan Evans.
Young is asking the council to engage with the Spokane community and clinical training sites throughout the state of Washington on how the recently announced “Next Generation WWAMI” initiative can best meet the health care and economic needs of their communities and the state. He is also asking the council to advise the University on ways to assure that Next Generation WWAMI best connects state workforce, health care, and education goals with local health workforce, economic, and patient needs in Spokane and other communities in the state with clinical training sites.
As part of its work, the council is expected to conduct “listening and learning tours” of various Washington WWAMI participant communities to gather important feedback on local health care needs which will be used to inform the implementation of the Next Generation WWAMI program in Spokane and at other clinical training sites around the state.
“To meet the rapidly growing and changing health care and economic needs of our state, we must increase the number of family physicians and other doctors who care for underserved patients in rural and urban areas,” said Young. “In addition, we must find a way to meet these needs as quickly and cost effectively as possible. That is why I am excited that Governor Evans has agreed to chair this advisory council. The council’s work will help inform the success of Next Generation WWAMI as we set about doing the work of educating and training more doctors in Spokane and across the state.”
“I am very pleased to be appointed by President Young to serve as a member of the council,” said Scott Morris, president and CEO of Avista Corp. “Its mission is crucial to enabling our community to realize its vision for the economic future of Spokane and to promoting the delivery of health care to citizens throughout the state. I am eager to engage in a collaborative process that recognizes the importance of the council’s task to our community, to students, and to the entire state.”
The University of Washington is uniquely positioned to solve this challenge. The UW’s WWAMI Program (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho) is a highly successful regional partnership devoted to the health care needs of both rural and underserved urban communities. Started in 1971, WWAMI is recognized today both nationally and internationally as a model program for training primary care physicians and other health care professionals in the highest quality and most cost effective manner.
“One of the strengths of the WWAMI program is that it has continued to evolve and be responsive to the needs of the state and its citizens since I signed the original legislation more than forty years ago,” said Evans.
“Once again, it’s time to take the program in some new and innovative directions. I’m excited to help lead the council’s work over the next several months to make the Spokane medical school a national model for health care education.”
“Next Generation WWAMI” is an initiative aimed at transforming medical education, research, and health care service on both sides of our state and across the Pacific Northwest. By building on the unparalleled record of the WWAMI program and by leveraging the current success of the Spokane WWAMI program, Next Generation WWAMI will support and develop new ways to train physicians, conduct medical research, and care for patients.
The heart of this plan includes quadrupling the number of medical students in Spokane’s classrooms, implementing a new state-of-the-art medical education curriculum, fostering growth of biomedical research, and expanding clinical training opportunities across the state.
In addition to Evans, who will chair the council, other members include:
- Jerry Grinstein, member, University of Washington Medicine Board.
- Kristi Blake, regent, University of Washington.
- Rogelio Riojas, regent, University of Washington.
- Dave Clack, former chairman, Old National Bank.
- Mari Clack, former regent, University of Washington.
- Phyllis Campbell, vice chairman, J.P. Morgan Chase.
- Scott Morris, president and chief executive officer, Avista Corp.
- Lura Powell, regent, Washington State University.
- Mike Worthy, regent, Washington State University.
- Betsy Cowles, chairwoman, Cowles Publishing Co.
The council’s first meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 21, in Spokane. Details regarding time and place will be announced soon.