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Politics & Government
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.

Idaho Looks To Expand Seats For Homegrown Medical Students

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Emilie Ritter Saunders
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Boise State Public Radio

Idaho lawmakers are considering a proposal to make more room for Idaho students in a University of Washington med school program. Idaho doesn’t have its own medical school, so the state instead works through a U-W partnership known as WWAMI.

The proposal would increase the number of slots for Idaho med students from 30 to 35 next year. It could go up to 40 in two years.

The assistant dean in Idaho told lawmakers that about half the Idaho students who attend the U-W program return to Idaho. Idaho suffers from one of the worst doctor shortages in the nation -- especially in rural areas.

Changes in the WWAMI curriculum will have students spending less time in class in Seattle. Idaho students will instead do all their basic courses at the University of Idaho in Moscow and be placed in clinical settings sooner. They’ll go to Seattle for specific clinical instruction, like in the Level 1 trauma center at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center.

Idaho lawmakers asked about the effects of the dispute between the University of Washington and Washington State University over WSU’s plan to create its own medical school. Dr. Mary Barinaga, assistant dean of WWAMI in Idaho, said there would likely be little effect. She says opportunities opened up for Idaho students in the Pullman-Moscow area when WSU moved eastern Washington medical students to the Spokane campus.

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