UW, WSU reach understanding on medical school expansion

SPOKANE, Wash. – Leadership at the University of Washington and Washington State University today announced they have reached an agreement that will mutually dissolve their WWAMI partnership and provide a pathway to pursue separate solutions to address the state’s medical education needs and physician shortage.

In order to provide the greatest benefit to the state and to meet the significant demand for more physicians, leaders from both universities agree that UW and WSU will independently pursue their respective proposals to meet the state’s medical education needs. The two universities have signed a memorandum of understanding that acknowledges both WSU’s immediate efforts to secure accreditation for a new medical school and UW School of Medicine’s independent pursuit of rapid expansion of its four-year WWAMI program in Spokane.

“The collective needs of our students, the Spokane community and our state are our top priority,” said UW President Michael K. Young. “To this end, the UW remains fully committed to immediately expanding our medical school in Spokane, including a commitment to grow the research, industry commercialization and medical residency opportunities that will ensure a vibrant healthcare economy well into the future.”

WSU President Elson S. Floyd agreed.

“Now is the time to address the physician shortage confronting a great many Washington State communities,” Floyd said. “We also have a unique opportunity to further grow our state’s healthcare economy by fully utilizing the exceptional medical talent we have and by building on the tremendous investment made by the state and community in our research campus, WSU Health Sciences at Spokane.

“This memorandum of understanding provides a clear path forward for each of our universities and allows us to refocus our efforts on how best to serve the people of our state,” he added.

The universities have agreed to work together on a subsequent agreement to fully transition the WWAMI program in Spokane to the University of Washington. Assuming completion of that agreement, both institutions agree not to oppose each other’s legislative initiatives to expand medical education opportunities.

It is the goal of both universities to complete further discussions and define a transition plan prior to the 2015 Washington State legislative session, in an effort to ensure the ongoing success and viability of the WWAMI program and minimize any impacts on medical students and their education.

A copy of the full agreement can be found at http://www.medicine.wsu.edu and at http://uw.edu/spokanemedschool.


Norm Arkans, Media Relations & Communications, University of Washington, arkans@uw.edu, 206-543-2560

Kathy Barnard, University Communications, Washington State University, kbarnard@wsu.edu, 509-335-8055

Victor Balta, News and Information, University of Washington, balta@uw.edu, 206-543-2580

Terren Roloff, Communications and Public Affairs, WSU Spokane, terren.roloff@wsu.edu, 509-358-7527