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WWAMI: Idaho's Medical School

Background

This page is no longer being updated. For ongoing coverage of this topic, go to Boise State Public Radio’s website.

Idaho is one of four western states without a medical school. So, Idaho, Wyoming, Alaska and Montana have partnered with the University of Washington School of Medicine to provide in-state tuition rates for out-of-state medical students.

The program — known today as WWAMI (sounds like whammy) — was created in 1971. Wyoming joined in 1996.

According to the WWAMI webpage, these are the programs’ five goals:

  1. Provide publicly supported medical education.
  2. Increase the number of primary-care physicians and correct the maldistribution of physicians.
  3. Provide community-based medical education.
  4. Expand graduate medical education and continuing medical education.
  5. Provide all of these in a cost-effective manner.

The state of Idaho subsidizes the cost of attending the University of Washington for 20 medical students per year.  Idaho pays about $50,000 per seat, per year, leaving the student to pay just in-state tuition and fees.

Here’s a look at the number of WWAMI seats Idaho has had over time:

The state also pays for a similar program with the University of Utah School of Medicine.  There, Idaho subsidizes the cost of tuition for eight medical students per year.

In fiscal year 2013, Idaho committed $3,986,900 to the WWAMI program and $1,257,200 to the University of Utah.

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