As I am composing this article right now there are 210,000 residents living in Spokane, Washington. About 20% of those people are healthcare workers. Within the next five years, another 20% of those healthcare workers plan to retire from the workforce altogether. The baby-boomers of Spokane make up 33% of our population to this day and are growing closer to needing more care with each year. This trend has sparked the largest need for healthcare workers in history for us. Luckily for Spokane there is a plan of action in place.
The WSU board of regents has approved the pursuit of building a fully accredited medical school right here in Spokane. Consultation from MGT America showed that we already have most of the resources needed to provide an excellent learning experience for the medical students of the future. At $47 million per year to build and run the new school, many think we will be coming out ahead in the long run. With a doctor to citizen ratio of 1 to 1,000 we don’t really have a choice but to prepare for an even greater shortage in the future if nothing is done today. Only 15% of Washington’s medical students are enrolling in state and it has nothing to do with that being their preference. With only 135 spots open to future medical students and 3,200 applicants, things can get tricky. At UW there are approximately 100 spots open each year (for the past 40 years) for those who come from Eastern Washington. That number has yet to increase, despite the increase in our population.
With four large hospitals and even more specialty clinics around town, there appears to be plenty of space for third and fourth year medical students to get on the job training opportunities in many different areas of practice. Studies show we need to be training four times the number of students that we are right now to compensate for the shortages.The Medical School will provide a great solution to some of these problems. The Health Sciences building in Spokane is complimented by a world-class research institution and a unique sleep performance research center. A briefing of this new project and other features of the current campus are listed on the WSU website shown below.