PULLMAN, Wash. — Andrew L. Turner, dean of students at the University of Wyoming, has accepted the position of director of the joint Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho (WWAMI) Medical Education Program at Washington State University and the University of Idaho.

Turner, who has more than 20 years experience with rural health care administration, education and professional psychology practice, begins Aug. 11.

WWAMI provides medical education to both rural and urban areas of these five states through the University of Washington School of Medicine, sharing existing facilities and personnel in local universities and communities. WSU and UI will send a total of 38 students to the UW School of Medicine in Seattle for their second year. The third and fourth years are clinical practice, which can be conducted throughout the five WWAMI states. The students earn their medical degrees at UW.

Turner has been dean of students at University of Wyoming since 2000, an administrator and clinical professor of psychology and medicine over his 14 years there, consulting psychologist to agencies, boards and private schools, and psychologist and director at several mental health centers over the years. He has been active in WWAMI activities in Wyoming and is committed to diversity training and minority affairs.

“After 20-plus years of interest in rural health care administration, delivery and excellence in training and education, I remain deeply committed to rural primary care in the mountain west region,” said Turner in his letter of application. WWAMI contributes to the development of future physicians and health care needs of the region, he added.

WSU Provost Robert Bates also welcomes Turner to the WSU faculty. “It’s clear that Dr. Turner cares deeply about rural health care. His background in psychology along with his proven track record of collaboration with researchers and physicians make him an ideal candidate for this position. His extensive experience with student affairs will greatly help our recruiting efforts, particularly with diverse populations.”

“We feel fortunate to have such a committed and experienced medical educator and administrator as Dr. Turner on board as the new WWAMI director,” said UI Provost Brian Pitcher. “His experience with the Area Health Education Centers to help meet the needs of the underserved as a clinical psychologist, researcher and rural health care administrator makes him a standout in the nationwide search.”

The position also includes a joint appointment as assistant dean at the UW School of Medicine. Turner will administer the first-year medical curriculum at WSU and UI, ensure a research environment for faculty, provide support services for first-year medical students and budget funds allocated to the programs from state, private and federal sources. He will foster outreach activities in K-12 programs and pre-medical clinical opportunities and partner with the medical communities, state leaders and public and private health care organizations in Idaho and Washington.

Turner, who will have offices at both WSU and UI, succeeds Michael Laskowski, who steps down after 14 years in the position to continue teaching and research in nerve regeneration.