The University of Washington’s expansion of its medical school in Spokane and an increase in residency positions are among the ways to best meet the economic and health care needs in Spokane and throughout the state, according to an advisory council chairman’s report.
UW President Michael K. Young convened the Presidential Advisory Council on Medical Education Access and Affordability to assess the health care and economic needs of the both the Spokane community and the state, and recommend how “Next Generation WWAMI” can best meet these needs. The council was not asked to determine if a separately accredited medical school is necessary or should be pursued by WSU, but the council stated in the report that it expects the UW and WSU “to be aligned in a plan for providing medical education in the state of Washington,” specifically related to the needs and objectives of the Spokane community.
The 11-member council, chaired by former Washington Gov. Dan Evans, voted unanimously on a comprehensive set of five recommendations. Read the full press release.
Gonzaga to explore partnership with UW medical school in Spokane
Gonzaga University announced its intention to engage in a community-focused exploration of a medical education and research partnership with the University of Washington School of Medicine in Spokane. This announcement follows an invitation, made to Gonzaga by the University of Washington, to consider forming a new partnership to sustain and potentially expand UW Spokane’s medical school and create opportunities to grow biomedical research in Spokane.
“We at Gonzaga, together with many other community members, have actively supported expansion of WWAMI medical education – and the promise of economic growth stimulated by research – in Spokane since the original proposal to bring the four-year medical school to the University District launched,” said Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh. “Given the reality that expanding medical education has always been considered in view of the opportunities for Spokane and the benefits to Eastern Washington, we feel it is important to get community input on the role and value of a UW-GU partnership.”
The University of Washington’s plan to double the size of its medical school in Spokane is “clearly the most cost-effective option” to meet the physician workforce needs in Eastern Washington and throughout the state, according to an independent study by research firm Tripp Umbach.The study also found that Eastern Washington currently cannot support two medical schools because of a lack of capacity in clinics and residency programs. As an established program, the UW School of Medicine has greater capacity to retain students who remain in the region to practice and to grow graduate medical education in Eastern Washington, the study said.
Tripp Umbach’s report provides independent, third-party recommendations to best fulfill the medical education expansion needs in Eastern Washington for the state of Washington.
Medical education annual cost per student
The UW School of Medicine provides the most cost-effective way for the state of Washington to provide medical education in order to grow the state’s physician workforce.
Tripp Umbach believes that developing a new independent medical school in Spokane, which Washington State University proposes, is currently the most expensive option to grow the state’s physician workforce.
While national data demonstrate that operational impacts from a standalone medical school typically generate more economic impact than regional program expansion, higher operating costs to taxpayers associated with a standalone WSU medical school would negate much of this benefit.
UW School of Medicine return rate to Washington vs. national average
Eastern Washington cannot feasibly support two medical schools at this time due to limited clinical training and residency training sites.
The University of Washington has a greater capacity than Washington State University to grow graduate medical education programs in Spokane and Eastern Washington.
Increasing the number of medical school graduates without increasing the availability for them to remain in-state to complete their residency training would be ineffective in addressing the shortage of physicians within the state.
Medical education in other states
About the firm
Tripp Umbach is a national leader in conducting feasibility analysis and economic impact studies for universities, hospitals, academic medical centers and corporations throughout the United States and internationally, having completed more than 2,000 studies over the past 25 years. During that same time, the firm has completed multiple studies for both the University of Washington and Washington State University.
The Tripp Umbach research team completed eight weeks of research and analysis of each of the programs, as well as the broader community and statewide needs. The team also met with business leaders in the Spokane community to gather impressions and information on the community needs in the area. This study is intended to allow leaders at UW and WSU, as well as multiple health care, education and economic development partners regionally and statewide, to understand impacts and implications associated with both schools’ plans.