Medical Students Begin Classes
By Doug Nadvornick, WSU Spokane
Spokane’s fifth medical education class has gone to work at WSU Spokane. The Spokane students are part of the University Of Washington School Of Medicine’s WWAMI (Washington Wyoming Alaska Montana Idaho) program.
After a few days of orientation – including their annual ‘getting-to-know-you’ rafting trip down the Spokane River -- the new group of 20 students started work on the first of several anatomy units. The first year of medical school is devoted to learning about the body and its systems. That includes long afternoons spent cutting and examining cadavers.
The students supplement their course work with outside opportunities. They’re paired with local doctors who serve as ‘preceptors’ or mentors, with whom they spend a half-day a week. The students are also given time to pursue community service opportunities. One option is Saturday morning sessions at the House of Charity Clinic in downtown Spokane, where the first-year students work with doctors and more advanced medical students to provide care for homeless men and women. Students can also choose to pursue medical-related outreach projects in Spokane area elementary and high schools.
Of this year’s students, four claim Spokane as their hometown. One hails from Chewelah, another from Reardan. Four earned undergraduate degrees from WSU with one graduate each from EWU, Gonzaga and Whitworth. Others graduated from Princeton, Cornell, Wisconsin and Oberlin College in Ohio. One earned a degree from Columbia Law School in New York City.
This year’s group of medical students will be the first to have the option of staying in Spokane for their second year, rather than making the trek across the mountains for a year of study in Seattle. UW medical school professors are working with their Spokane counterparts to create a customized second-year curriculum.
Spokane is also home this year to 22 third- and fourth-year students who are doing the majority of their clinical clerkships here. Fifteen of those students started medical school in Spokane and chose to come back to continue their education here.