Government staffers get inside look at WSU student programs, health science research

Marcela Pattinson speaking to a tour group.
The delegation met with several WSU representatives, including Marcela Pattinson, director of Undocumented Initiatives on the Pullman campus.

The Pullman and Spokane campuses played host to a delegation of federal and state policymakers during WSU’s annual Congressional and Legislative Staff Tour this week.

The delegation, which included representatives from Washington’s federal congressional delegation and state staffers from Olympia, learned about the challenges and opportunities facing WSU as it works to provide mental and physical health support for students through Cougar Health Services. To get a sense of student support programs, the group visited the Veterans & Military Affiliated Student Services Center, the Women’s Center, Rosario’s Place (which assists student-parents with donated items including clothing, toys, and diapers), the Office of Multicultural Student Services, and the Cougar Food Pantry.

The tour continued at WSU Spokane, highlighting innovative approaches to training the next generation of health professionals. The group discussed WSU Health Sciences’ focus on service in rural, remote, and underserved communities and the transformational research expanding knowledge to inform best practices and improve health outcomes throughout Washington. 

“Washington State University is a land grant university with a mission deeply rooted in expanding educational access and developing research innovations that improve our lives in very practical ways,” interim Vice President of External Affairs and Government Relations Chris Mulick told the group. “That land grant mission is just as relevant today as it was in the 1860s and explains the WSU you see today.”

The tour focused on two major themes — ongoing efforts to enhance student success and the student experience, and the innovative health sciences research taking place systemwide.

President Kirk Schulz greeted the delegation their first evening in Pullman. “We are incredibly fortunate to have strong support from state and federal leaders on both sides of the aisle who understand the wide-ranging impacts WSU has on Washington state,” Schulz said. “We don’t take these relationships for granted and look forward to continuing to work with our state and federal partners to support efforts to better serve students, the state, and nation.”

How the university is working to provide access and opportunity was a strong theme of the trip — both on recruitment and enrollment, and once students become part of the Cougar community.

Janelle Whipple speaking to a tour group.
The delegation tour included a visit with Janelle Whipple, Native American Health Sciences Programs and Student Services coordinator at the Center for Native American Health at WSU Spokane.

The group visited the Center for Native American Health, and its simulation space — a clinical wing which is the first Indigenous-developed and instructed clinical simulation patient exam space in any higher education health campus in the U.S.

Additional tour stops included the labs at the Sleep and Performance Research Center, an experiential learning space for the College of Nursing, and the Autism and Neurodevelopmental Clinic — a partnership with Range Community Clinic.

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