Starting fall 2016, the University of Washington School of Medicine-Gonzaga University Partnership will welcome its largest-ever entering class to dedicated facilities on the Gonzaga University campus. Gonzaga faculty will recruit, teach and mentor medical students together with UW faculty utilizing the UW’s new, award-winning medical school curriculum.
UW Medical Education in Spokane
"Spokane is a great community and excited to have medical students, there are many opportunities to get involved and the administration is open to new ideas and recommendations from students." -UWSOM Student, Spokane
The faculty have a genuine desire to make us into the best doctors we can possibly be. The mentors take a vested interest in not only our successes in class, but also our wellbeing and life balance. -UWSOM Student, Spokane
The Spokane UWSOM faculty are clinicians that have a passion for teaching and engaging the local medical community in the medical education process. They are dedicated to helping students build relationships with local resident physicians, research faculty and clinicians. UWSOM Spokane offers smaller class sizes which allows faculty to get to know each student on an individual basis. Building one-on-one relationships with the students gives the UWSOM Spokane faculty insight into what clerkship opportunities students may want to explore. Students report that the faculty are open to student feedback and welcome opportunities to improve the learning experience. UWSOM Spokane provides an intimate, close knit educational setting that is hard to achieve in a large classroom setting.
UWSOM Spokane partners with all the major hospitals and medical groups in the area, one of which is the second largest hospital in Washington State. These partnerships expose students to learning opportunities traditionally reserved for resident physicians in larger teaching settings and as a result, students receive extensive hands on clinical experience. Spokane hospitals are electronically connected to area clinics allowing UWSOM Spokane students the unique opportunity to track patients through the medical system.
Service Learning Opportunities
One of the Service Learning Opportunities in Spokane is participating in the House of Charity Clinic. This opportunity allows medical students to work together to present patients to volunteer physicians and provide healthcare to transient, homeless, very low-income and senior populations.
Spokane Foundations Phase
"The highlights of the Spokane experience include small class size, beautiful campus, supportive administration, motivated faculty, excellent involvement with the medical community and opportunities to participate in clinical medicine early on." -UWSOM Student, Spokane
UWSOM Spokane students spend their foundations phase studying on the Gonzaga University campus. Starting in the fall of 2016, the UWSOM will accept 20 additional students who will spend their Foundations Phase in Spokane (60 students total). Many Spokane UWSOM students report that the small class size enables them to quickly get to know their peers and to study and socialize with them. They like the close contact they have with the UWSOM Spokane staff, faculty, and clinical instructors. Students appreciate the one-on-one relationships and weekly visits with their physician preceptors as well as that their schedule includes time for them to volunteer for community service and take advantage of clinical practice opportunities. Spokane’s smaller medical community reduces obstacles and promotes getting involved.
One of the things I like best about our curriculum is the integration of our basic science classes with clinical experiences. It’s incredibly exciting this early in our education when you learn about something in class one day and get to see and apply it to real patient the next. It makes the material that much more memorable. -UWSOM Student, Spokane
Engaged learning community
"The medical community of Spokane was one of our greatest resources for our first year. There is a wealth of doctors who are great teachers just waiting to share their passion for medicine! I had the opportunity to precept with three different physicians throughout the year. Each were always available and ready to teach. We didn't have the problems often seen in larger medical teaching facilities, like limited time with the attending, competition with the interns and residents etc. It was just me and my doc." -UWSOM Student, Spokane
Spokane hosts 79 resident physicians engaged in Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Radiology, Psychiatry and Transitional residencies. Residents are encouraged by faculty to build professional relationships with and support the learning of UWSOM Spokane students. Faculty and resident physicians are dedicated to the educational mission of UWSOM.
"Resident faculty create a supportive and enthusiastic learning environment that attracts residents with a passion for teaching. Residents are dedicated to the UWSOM students." -Dr. Matt Hollon
"I’m from a tiny town, and I did my undergrad in Spokane and had a lot of friends there. I liked the smaller-town feel. It made more sense for me to start medical school with some of my friends around and have a more intimate atmosphere for learning. The medical community in Spokane is incredibly supportive of medical students, and committed to growing medical education in the area. I’m going back there for my last rotation, in emergency medicine." -UWSOM Student, Spokane
Student Life: Lifestyle, public transportation, biking, restaurants
"There are lots of activities such as musicals, symphonies, restaurants, skiing, great walking and biking trails such as the Centennial Trail that is along the Spokane River and a 10 minute walk to school." -UWSOM Student, Spokane
The city of Spokane is very accessible and convenient. You never have to stress about traffic, finding parking, etc. Aside from that, the community is very friendly and embraces the medical students. -UWSOM Student, Spokane
The Spokane University District Riverpoint Campus is on the Centennial Trail and within walking distance of downtown Spokane entertainment, shopping, restaurants, coffee shops and just a short bike ride to hospitals. Spokane is a family friendly community that welcomes UWSOM students. The organizations below can assist you in relocating.
There is a host of recreational leagues including indoor soccer and basketball as well as, a wealth of outdoor activities like running/hiking in Bowl and Pitcher, Riverside State Park, cycling the Centennial Trail, hiking in Dishman Hills/Iller Creek, skiing at Schweitzer, Silver, 49 North.
You basically have everything you want no matter what your hobbies/pastimes are. And best of all, it’s so cheap!! -UWSOM Student, Spokane
Cost of Living
"Housing was cheap, I saved a ton of money, there wasn't any traffic, my 5 minute commute was a breeze, and parking was great." -UWSOM Student, Spokane
The Spokane area offers many apartment complexes within five miles of campus, with rent ranging from $350 to $600 for an unfurnished, one bedroom apartment. Most students live on the lower South Hill or in Brown's Addition and use Pad Mapper or Craigslist to find affordable housing.
Spokane University District
- Campus parking: there are several parking payment options call 509-368-6999. Enquire about parking early for the best pricing options.
Friends of UW Medicine Spokane information
The Friends of UW Medicine Spokane is a local committee who formed in 2011 to support and encourage medical education in Spokane. The Friends of
UW Medicine committee believe in the importance of supporting each and every Spokane medical student, and medical education in the greater Spokane area and Eastern Washington communities.
UWSOM Spokane FAQs
Are there research opportunities for students choosing Spokane as their Foundations site?
Clinical and bench research opportunities are available for medical students in Spokane. We are developing a collaboration with the Providence Medical Research Center for both direct mentoring and to develop a research curriculum. Students have worked with clinical and bench researchers at Providence, WSU and in the community.
UW SOM students in Spokane have also arranged research mentoring with investigators at UW in Seattle as well as Spokane.
I am interested in a sub-specialty
are there opportunities to explore specialty areas of medicine.
Yes. Spokane has a medical community that is very engaged in Medical Education and many specialists offer shadowing experiences to UW SOM students. We offer structured shadowing opportunities in a broad range of specialties during Term 2 and Term 3.
Are there Service Learning opportunities in Spokane?
Yes. There are several Service Learning opportunities for students to participate in while studying in Spokane. The House of Charity, Walking School Bus project, High School mentoring, Sleep Over for Science and Refugee Navigator Project are a few of the current Spokane Service Learning opportunities.
What type of clinical opportunities will I have at the Spokane campus?
All UW SOM students are paired with a primary care preceptor for bi-monthly clinical experience. In addition, each student has a scheduled time to take part in hospital patient interviews during College Mornings.
These experiences are designed to reinforce the concepts being taught in synchrony with the current Block.
I'm not familiar with Spokane, do I need a car to successfully navigate the city and meet the PCP (Primary Care Practicum) and Hospital Morning requirements?
No. You do not need a car to live in Spokane. The campus is centrally located and close to hospitals and clinical offices. PCP experiences and Hospital Mornings can take into account transportation requirements. Additionally, many students use the Spokane Transit Bus system (Husky U-pass will be transferable fall 2016), live within walking distance of campus or bike. Spokane is quickly becoming a year round bike friendly community.
Can I complete the UW SOM the Underserved, Indian, Global or Native Health Pathways at the Spokane WWAMI site?
Yes. The Pathways are structured so that all of the WWAMI regional students can complete all of the required Pathway modules. Electives, outside experiences and scholarship (research) can all contribute to Pathway completion. Contact the Pathway director for more information.
I am interested in Rural Medicine. Is there support in Spokane for RUOP students?
Yes. As a matter of fact, Spokane is a great location for you to choose for your Foundation Phase as John McCarthy, UW Assistant Clinical Dean for Eastern Washington is based in Spokane and is poised to help you navigate rural clinical opportunities across Eastern Washington as well as, the entire WWAMI region.
For more information or to schedule a campus visit contact
Director, Program Development and Operations, Foundations
Speak to a Student
If you would like to speak to a student who spent their first year in Spokane, we have several students who have volunteered and would be happy to answer your specific questions. Please
contact us and we will put you in touch with them.
Medical Students share their experiences
Colette Inaba's impression of Spokane, before moving there was a small country bumpkin town in the middle of nowhere, but she soon found out it wasn't so small after all, it's a city not a small town - the largest for many miles around. The summers are great, sunny, warm and dry, a nice change from gray rainy Seattle days. There are lots of activities such as musicals, symphonies, restaurants, skiing, great walking and biking trails such as the Centennial Trail that is along the Spokane River and a 10 minute walk to school. They did lots of academic activities as a class; casting and suture workshops, taught about heart anatomy and heart health to a 5th grade elementary class.. Camaraderie was fantastic. Housing and parking is cheap. The mentorship was incredible, and the preceptorship opportunities abundant. She is glad to have had both the Spokane and Seattle experience as part of her training. Spokane is a great community and excited to have medical students, there are many opportunities to get involved and the administration is open to new ideas and recommendations from students. Colette says to definitely go for Spokane if you are considering it.
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Angela Olson's expectations of Spokane were exceeded in many ways. The new campus is beautiful and set up perfectly for studying in small groups, by yourself, or large groups. There are lots of grassy areas and open spaces to get outside, enjoy the sunshine and have a quick game of frisbee between classes. The technology in the anatomy lab is very up to date, clean and organized. The resource room has a great library, and there is a key system to the building so it's secure to study there at night. Angela felt a huge benefit of the small class environment. The instructors are extremely helpful and help you structure your studies the way you learn best. If Angela had to choose her first year site again, she would definitely pick Spokane. It has the best campus, facilities, faculty, staff, and programs from what she has seen. The camaraderie of a small group is invaluable for the first year of medical school because it is an intense transition and having the support was exactly what she needed and wanted. Ask yourself - how do you learn best? There is more connection in a small group setting and Spokane has a very strong program.
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