Feud Intensifies Between UW, WSU Over WWAMI Program

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The state of Idaho participates in the so-called "WWAMI program," which reserves spots for prospective medical school students from Idaho and four other states—Washington, Wyoming, Alaska and Montana—at the University of Washington's School of Medicine. The program requires first-year medical students to remain in their home state while coming to UW for their second year of medical training. The remaining two years of medical school can rotate among home states, Seattle (UW's home) or other WWAMI states.

But Washington State University has indicated that it wants a cut of the action and has proposed building its own medical school in the Spokane area. And that has fueled a new feud between the two Washington universities. In fact, UW is criticizing a WSU study that supports the creation of a new school as "deeply flawed."

The Associated Press reports that the WSU study points to a "big shortage of doctors outside the Seattle metro area" and advocates for the creation of a new public medical school in Spokane. But that would require a lot more public dollars that could be siphoned away from UW.

"You can't spend the same public dollars twice," a UW statement argued. 

But WSU insists that a new med school in Spokane "could double the number of in-state students graduating from medical schools during the next decade, with no capital expenditure," according to the study. 

"I could feel the tension in the air," said Seattle state Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, describing the feud between WSU and UW. "I think this will be a big issue for the state this (legislative) session."

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