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Gov. Otter Advocates For Expanding Idaho’s Medical Education Opportunities

Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter says Idaho should expand options for Idahoans who want to attend medical school.

During his State of the State speech, Otter pushed for legislation that would expand the number of seats in the WWAMI program. Medical students from Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho are able to attend the University of Washington’s medical school for the price of in-state tuition. The student’s home state pays the difference in out-of-state and in-state tuition.

Otter says the state should add five seats to the WWAMI program. That would boost the number of first-year seats from 20 to 25. The additional seats would cost Idaho about $250,000 per year.

Gov. Otter acknowledged the reason Idaho needs to expand it’s availability in WWAMI is because Idaho has fewer physicians per capita than every state in the nation except Mississippi.

Otter also cited Idaho’s aging physician workforce. As StateImpact Idaho reported last year, the most current data from the American Medical Association shows 41.5 percent of all physicians in Idaho are 55 or older.


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