September 16, 2019
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UW, Gonzaga launch major expansion of health sciences work in Spokane

The health sciences partnership between The University of Washington and Gonzaga University is leading to major investments for the Spokane community, The Spokesman-Review reports.

Both universities recently approved new lease agreements with McKinstry, a Seattle-based design build firm. The lease agreements will support a new $60 million health sciences building that McKinstry will build and own near the Gonzaga campus.

The four-story, 80,000 square foot building will house about 120 University of Washington medical students and 35 physician assistant students, and 210 human physiology students from Gonzaga.

“We have been very, very lucky to be using the facility we are, but it wasn’t built purposely for medical education,” University of Washington president Ana Mari Cauce said. “This new facility will meet the long-term space needs of our medical education partnership.”

The University of Washington students in Spokane are part of the WWAMI program, which stands for the largely rural states served by the program: Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho.

“We know that health care disparities exist; the research is very clear. There are communities across this state that have very, very different health care outcomes, and that’s not something we want,” Cauce said. “This partnership and new facility is a part of how we remedy those disparities and make sure that we don’t have any community left behind.”

The UW School of Medicine has trained students in the WWAMI program for decades but began a partnership with Gonzaga in 2016; 220 medical students and 85 physician assistant students have completed their studies since then, the newspaper reported.

Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig, D-Spokane, applauded the work to expand the health-care teaching system in the Spokane region and university district.

“That collaboration is what made this progress, and it’s so Spokane to come together like that,” he said.



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