Inaugural classes of medical and dental students enrolled in Spokane programs were recognized in ceremonies Sept. 25 at the Riverpoint campus Health Sciences Building.
 
The medical students from Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho are enrolled as part of the WWAMI regional medical education program offered by the University of Washington School of Medicine. Started as WAMI in 1971, the consortium became WWAMI in 1996 when Wyoming joined. The program’s first cohort of medical students at WSU’s Pullman campus enrolled in 1972; this year marks the first cohort at WSU Spokane.
 
WSU Spokane hired Kenneth Roberts early this year as director for the WWAMI Basic Medical Education Program on that campus. Roberts, who holds a doctorate in biochemistry from WSU, came to Spokane from the University of Minnesota Medical School.
 
The dental students are in the new Regional Initiatives in Dental Education, or RIDE, program being offered as part of a strategic expansion of the UW School of Dentistry to help meet the oral health needs of rural and underserved communities in the Northwest.  UW is collaborating with Eastern Washington University.
 
Together, the two programs are expected to help address physician and dentist shortages in the Spokane area and nearby rural towns. The programs are made available through an expanded partnership between UW, WSU and EWU with the support of the Washington State Legislature.
 
Growth is continuing at the Riverpoint campus.  The College of Nursing recently added a doctoral program there. And, some years down the road, the College of Pharmacy hopes to complete its move to Spokane as well.
 
Read more about Spokane’s WWAMI students ONLINE @ http://www.spokane.wsu.edu/Academics/Health_Sciences/WWAMI/About.asp.