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WWAMI: Idaho's Medical School

WWAMI: Idaho's Medical School

Stethescope, Health Care, Doctor, Medical
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho
Idaho 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:

  1. Provide publicly supported medical education.
  2. Increase the number of primary-care physicians and correct the maldistribution of physicians.
  3. Provide community-based medical education.
  4. Expand graduate medical education and continuing medical education.
  5. 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:
The 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.