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New medical school presents opportunities for students and patients in Washington State

SPONSORED — Attention, Washington: There’s a new doctor in the state. Actually, soon there will be 60.

This August, Washington State University’s new medical school — the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine — will welcome 60 students to the Spokane Health Sciences campus. This will make the school the second publicly funded medical school to serve students within the state in 70 years.

With several months left until its doors officially open, the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine has already begun shaping its culture, placing an emphasis on valuing the individual — both students and patients. The college is attracting resourceful, agile, inventive and generous students who are looking to serve their state and communities through research, innovation, education and truly patient-centered care.

Focusing on the underserved

According to the American Academy of Physicians, doctors are more likely to practice in areas where they received their medical training. This point proves true in Washington State, where half of all physicians are located in urban King County — leaving a vast population underserved. According to the Washington State Department of Health, several Washington counties are currently medically underserved, including several pockets in and around Spokane, where the new medical school will open. New students will soon have the opportunity to change that not only in Spokane, but in Vancouver, Tri-Cities, and Everett where the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine will also be training students and partnering with local clinics.

“The Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine will incorporate community healthcare resources into a medical student’s education rather than focusing the educational experience at a university-owned, campus-based teaching hospital,” according to a statement from the College. “The approach provides medical students with unique field experiences in a variety of community settings, including smaller hospitals and clinics focused on primary care.”

This approach will be particularly beneficial to those severely underserved populations, many of whom live in rural areas. These areas — those with 10.4 or fewer doctor per 10,000 residents — have difficulty attracting new doctors to their communities. With specific, practical field experience in these types of settings, new physicians will be better equipped to take their expertise where it is most needed.

New opportunities for Washingtonians

Washington state residents dreaming of becoming physicians have not had an easy road thus far. In fact, Washington has ranked 42nd of 45 states with accredited medical schools in allowing eligible in-state applicants to attend an in-state program.

The Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine aims to change this statistic.

Washington students who dream of becoming doctors have a better shot at doing just that — while staying in the state. For those 60 students inaugurating the medical school this fall, Washington State University aims to deliver the professional expertise needed to become innovative leaders who can adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing healthcare landscape. For those students — and each of their potential patients — that’s promising news.

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