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Medical Schools Seek Help Responding to Shortage of Doctors

by Michael Johns, Project Manager | July 23, 2006
SPOKANE -- The Legislature will be asked to pay to expand University of Washington medical and dental education programs here, university presidents said Friday.

The presidents of Washington State University, the UW and Eastern Washington University said they will ask for the funding when the Legislature meets in January.

If approved, the plan calls for 20 more medical students and eight dental students to be admitted each year to the UW programs. First-year students would take classes at Riverpoint, WSU's Spokane campus.
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The medical education initiative is part of the WWAMI partnership involving the UW School of Medicine and the states of Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho. The dental education plan is part of the Regional Initiatives in Dental Education, or RIDE program.

"To address its health work force shortages, Washington state needs more publicly funded students in the health professions, and the state has a proven training program in the WWAMI approach," UW President Mark Emmert said.

"The collaboration among the state's private and public universities and colleges, hospitals, clinics and medical and dental professionals conserves resources and makes this a cost-effective way of meeting the demand," he said.

The UW and WSU regents have approved making the budget request, and Eastern Washington University's board of trustees is expected to consider it in August.

Estimates for expansion of the medical school will be $7.5 million in construction at the Riverpoint campus and at the UW, $4.9 million in startup costs and about $5.5 million in annual operating costs, the presidents said. Estimates for the expansion of the dental school are $2.8 million in capital costs at both campuses, $1.3 million in startup costs and $2.2 million in annual operating costs.

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For the fourth consecutive year, University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC) ranks among the top 10 hospitals in the nation. UWMC is ranked 10th according to U.S.News & World Report's 2006 annual guide to "America's Best Hospitals," updated in its July 17 issue, available July 10.

Read more about University of Washington Mecial Center's TOP ranking: