State Legislature Moves Cougar School of Medicine Forward!~

UW WSU warThere are ONLY two reasons to support the WSU idea ..PORK and POLITICS.

Despite that, Reuven Carlyle reports that the “House Appropriations Comm voted Friday to allow WSU to begin process of opening a medical school. I voted ‘no’ and here’s why: While I totally support their aspirations, I am troubled by inevitable efforts to reduce funding for UW Medical School–the nation’s #1 primary care institution. I think I’m most disappointed that we speak only privately about the real issue: A new school is about empowering WSU to attempt to enter the top tier of national institutions, and the east-west, urban-rural narrative shouldn’t pretend that a new WSU medical school in Spokane is needed because UW’s highly respected Spokane program has failed. There’s room for both if we’re just more open about the real issues. We’re stronger together.”

Reuven is right! 

Like Reuven, I  am a proud Washingtonian.  This is a wonderful sate .. from the coast to the Columbia.  We need to develop Spokane and strengthen WSU.

BUT this subsidy will not work. WSU SOM students who can now get WWAMI degrees from the UW,  will get their education from a thrid rate medical school with few research faculty to teach state  the art of modern medicine.  High quality modern medicine  can not be taught without  hospital beds needed for medical students to experience high level care.

The idea that a newly founded medical school will be able to compete for federal or even worse industrial research dollars is absurd.  NIH is undergoing a HUGE retrenchment ..about 20% in real dollars over the last decade.  We are lucky that Seattle with the UW, Hutch and Childrens is competitive.  Despite that, even the Seattle area is seeing a disastrous exit of biotech firms attracted to San Francisco, Souther California and Boston. Washington  state funds subsidizing a third rate school at WSU make no economic sense.

The annual cost estimates provided by WSU boosters are ridiculous. A recent national survey of comparable low level medical schools shows a minimum LOCAL subsidy of 30 million dollars ..far below the 14 million projected by WSU.

Even this is way below the huge costs of creating a hospital with the clinical and teaching resources of the UW, Childrens and Harborview. Institutions at that level require literally billions in capital. Those numbers are in the billions.  Without first class hospitals, the graduates of Cougar SOM will certainly not be able to find residencies in our state.  The Cougar SOM grads  will complete their education and likely find jobs elsewhere.

With all that, NO increase in seats for WA state kids is proposed.  Rather, fewer kids will get 9nto9 the UW’s prestigious WWAMI program that already serves Eastern Washington.

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