Education

They came to study medicine. WSU hopes they stay to care for Tri-Citians

WSU College of Medicine

Former WSU President Elson S. Floyd and the College of Medicine's founding dean talk about the importance of having the college.
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Former WSU President Elson S. Floyd and the College of Medicine's founding dean talk about the importance of having the college.

Washington State University Tri-Cities is getting its first batch of medical students.

The inaugural class from the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine is being divided across campuses in Spokane, Vancouver, Everett and Richland to start their final two years of medical school.

Along with taking classes, the 15 students coming to the Tri-Cities will work at local healthcare centers.

“Our Tri-Cities community is thrilled to work with these talented students at our local hospitals, doctor’s offices and health clinics,” said WSU Chancellor Sandra Haynes. “This is a fulfillment of the dream of late WSU President Elson S. Floyd, who had a vision that these students would impact our Washington community statewide.”

When the students started, they picked one of the four campuses where they wanted to finish out medical school. For the first two years, they spent six weeks visiting the campuses and spent time with local doctors.

WSU hopes the doctors will connect with the communities and be more likely to stay in the state after they graduate.

Benton County trails most Western Washington counties when it comes to the number of doctors per 100,000 people, according to a University of Washington report.

Franklin County was in a worse position, trailing most of its neighbors.

“Our goal is to give the students an exceptional training experience such that they will want to stay here and practice in Eastern Washington,” said Dr. Farion Williams, the associate dean of clinical education for college.

“Our students will learn from physicians here in the Tri-Cities from all of our hospital-affiliated patterns, as well as those in private practice.,” said Williams.

These will the first batch to arrive, but they won’t be the last.

Fifteen more students are expected to come next year and, as the first group prepares to graduate, the next group of 20 students will be starting at the school.

Cameron Probert covers breaking news and education for the Tri-City Herald, where he tries to answer readers’ questions about why police officers and firefighters are in your neighborhood. He studied communications at Washington State University.
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