The state of Idaho and a private partner have broken ground on what is officially the state of Idaho’s first medical school.
For years the University of Washington has trained medical students at the University of Idaho, part of the UW’s five-state program known as WWAMI, an acronym for Washington Wyoming Alaska Montana Idaho. But the program is administered in Seattle.
For years, leaders in the Gem State have wondered whether Idaho should create its own publicly-funded medical school.
The new college is a hybrid, privately-funded by the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine, but located on the Idaho State University campus in Meridian. The founding dean is Dr. Robert Hasty.
“As you may know, Idaho State University is the university in the state of Idaho with the health mission," Hasty said. "We’re really proud to be partners with them and it’s going to make a big difference in terms of inter professional education for our students.”
Hasty says the new school will not only serve Idaho but a big chunk of the Intermountain region, including Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota. He says Idaho ranks last in the nation in terms of primary care physicians per capita.
“We’ve made a commitment and a pledge that we will always give preference to Idahoans, as well as applicants from the five-state region,” Hasty said.
The new college is applying for its preliminary accreditation which would allow it to begin recruiting students. It expects to have an initial class of 150 and hopes to begin teaching them in the fall of 2018.