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Education
00000176-d8fc-dce8-adff-faff71620001Idaho is one of four western states without a medical school. So, Idaho, Wyoming, Alaska and Montana have partnered with the University of Washington School of Medicine to provide in-state tuition rates for out-of-state medical students.The program -- known today as WWAMI (sounds like whammy) -- was created in 1971. Wyoming joined in 1996.According to the WWAMI webpage, these are the programs' five goals:Provide publicly supported medical education.Increase the number of primary-care physicians and correct the maldistribution of physicians.Provide community-based medical education.Expand graduate medical education and continuing medical education.Provide all of these in a cost-effective manner.The state of Idaho subsidizes the cost of attending the University of Washington for 20 medical students per year. Idaho pays about $50,000 per seat, per year, leaving the student to pay just in-state tuition and fees.Here's a look at the number of WWAMI seats Idaho has had over time:00000176-d8fc-dce8-adff-faff71620002The state also pays for a similar program with the University of Utah School of Medicine. There, Idaho subsidizes the cost of tuition for eight medical students per year.In fiscal year 2013, Idaho committed $3,986,900 to the WWAMI program and $1,257,200 to the University of Utah.

Head Of New Idaho Medical School Says He Can Create Residencies

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Courtesy Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine
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Since we learned recently that a for-profit medical school will be built in Meridian, we’ve also heard criticism that it won't help solve Idaho’s doctor shortage. Much of that criticism is about the lack of residency positions in Idaho. Critics argue doctors don’t practice where they go to medical school, but where they do their residency. Idaho only has 41 spots for residents and competition is already stiff.

The dean of the proposed Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine, Robert Hasty, says his organization will create a significant number of new residency programs. Hasty acknowledges that will be difficult, but he stands on his record. He was an associate dean at Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine in North Carolina, which started in 2013.

“Over the past few years at North Carolina the start of that new osteopathic medical school, we created 383 new residency positions at seven different organizations,” Hasty says. “It’s really made a huge difference there.”

Not all the residencies Hasty plans to create will be in Idaho. His school will also serve Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas. Some of the new residency programs will be in those states, as well.

Find Adam Cotterell on Twitter @cotterelladam

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