UW, Gonzaga join forces for medical education in Spokane

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UW, Gonzaga join forces for medical education in Spokane

Partnership to start in fall 2016 with Spokane’s largest-ever entering med-school class; Gonzaga president sees 'phenomenal opportunity'
Jean Hayes

The University of Washington (UW) and Gonzaga University (GU) have signed an agreement to continue, enhance and expand medical education and research in Spokane.

The agreement makes Gonzaga a partner in the UW’s regional, community-based medical-education program and sets in motion plans to advance health-related research, entrepreneurship and interdisciplinary health-sciences teaching in Spokane.

Gonzaga University
This coming fall, Gonzaga will welcome WWAMI-Spokane's largest-ever entering medical-school class.
picture of people walking on Gonzaga University campus

“Finding solutions to our most pressing issues in healthcare requires breaking down the traditional barriers in higher education and working together for the benefit of our state and local community,” said Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh. “Uniting Gonzaga University’s commitment to educational excellence, leadership, service with the UW’s nationally-recognized medical school and research engine will continue the long tradition of educating doctors in eastern Washington. It represents a phenomenal opportunity not only for our faculty and students, but the entire Inland Northwest.”

Starting in fall 2016, the University of Washington School of Medicine-Gonzaga University Partnership will welcome the largest-ever entering class of Spokane medical students to dedicated facilities on the Gonzaga campus. Faculty from both schools will recruit, teach and mentor students, utilizing UW’s new and notable medical curriculum. UW and GU will also embark on a collaborative Regional Health Initiative to develop shared facilities and high-impact, applied research.

The partnership's development will be guided by a dedicated executive director at Gonzaga, Spokane-based UW School of Medicine leadership, and a new community advisory board.

“This is about more than a medical school, it’s about community and economic vitality,” said UW President Ana Mari Cauce. “Partnering with Gonzaga builds on the University of Washington’s lasting commitment to Spokane and Eastern Washington. Together with Gonzaga, we will educate the next generation of health professionals and enhance the health, well-being and prosperity of the entire region.”

Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh and UW President Ana Mari Cauce championed the medical school partnership.
pictures of Gonzaga President Thayne McCullogh and UW President Ana Mari Cauce

“As the Spokane region asks itself where it wants to be in the next decade, it is critical to consider that growing medical education and related research has a potential $1.7 billion annual economic impact,” said Scott Morris, CEO of Avista and chair of the Gonzaga Board of Trustees. “This partnership will be a key part of reaching that goal.” 

For more than 40 years, the UW School of Medicine has provided medical education in Spokane and Eastern Washington through a five-state, community-based program called WWAMI. Today, more than 2,500 faculty in 58 communities throughout Washington serve as educators and mentors for UW medical students. This year, UW was selected by the American Medical Association as one of 20 medical schools to join a consortium to create the medical school of the future.

“One of the primary reasons the University of Washington is consistently ranked as the top primary and rural healthcare medical school in the nation is because of WWAMI’s community partnerships – and our partnership with Gonzaga will be no exception,” said Suzanne Allen, UW Medicine vice dean for academic, rural and regional affairs. “We want to thank the Spokane medical community and clinicians for their ongoing support and dedication to the UW School of Medicine. We’re eager to find new ways this initiative can advance our shared commitment to advancing the health and vitality of the region.”

Media contact for UW: Victor Balta, 206.543.2580, balta@uw.edu