What do our top rankings mean for you?

As Washington's medical school for 70 years, our #1 status means better healthcare for the entire state

More doctors

More than 30,000 doctors have graduated from UW School of Medicine's Washington WWAMI program. Many have chosen to practice across the state.

More research

We receive more research dollars from the National Institutes of Health than any other public university, funding critical research with the potential to save lives.

More students

UW School of Medicine received more than 8,000 applications last year. The best and brightest want to come here, which means we're shaping medicine's future.

More innovation

As architect of the only five-state rural medicine training program in the U.S., UW School of Medicine has changed the face of rural medicine for thousands of patients.

Medical education that is people-focused

#1 for primary care for 23 years; #1 for family medicine for 26 consecutive years

What do the humanities — specifically music, literature and visual art — have to do with medical training? If one remembers the great power the humanities have to evoke and preserve empathy for fellow humans…then quite a lot. That's the belief of Darryl Potyk, M.D., chief of medical education for the University of Washington School of Medicine-Gonzaga University Regional Health Partnership and associate dean for Eastern Washington. It's why he and his colleagues created the Daily Dose of Humanities program at the University of Washington School of Medicine regional campus in Spokane two years ago.

As medical schools evolve and adapt to the future, a vital tenet in their education and training must be a focus on the ever-crucial human aspect of patient care. "We must remember that we are treating the patient with a disease, not just the disease," says Dr. Potyk. This philosophy is ingrained in every aspect of medical education at the UW School of Medicine, and it's one of the many reasons the school is ranked No. 1 in the country for primary care and family medicine education.

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Medical training that is people-focused

#1 for primary care for 23 years; #1 for family medicine for 26 consecutive years

What do the humanities — specifically music, literature and visual art — have to do with medical training? If one remembers the great power the humanities have to evoke and preserve empathy for fellow humans…then quite a lot. That's the belief of Darryl Potyk, M.D., chief of medical education for the University of Washington School of Medicine-Gonzaga University Regional Health Partnership and Associate Dean for Eastern Washington. It's why he and his colleagues created the Daily Dose of Humanities program at the University of Washington School of Medicine regional campus in Spokane two years ago.

As medical schools evolve and adapt to the future, a vital tenet in their education and training must be a focus on the ever-crucial human aspect of patient care. "We must remember that we are treating the patient with a disease, not just the disease," says Dr. Potyk. This philosophy is ingrained in every aspect of medical education at the UW School of Medicine, and it's one of the many reasons the school is ranked No. 1 in the country for primary care and family medicine education.

A focus on humanizing healthcare is critical for every area of medical practice, but it's especially important for those areas that see the greatest volume of patients: primary care and family medicine. As technology has changed healthcare, and electronic medical records have become the standard practice, patients regularly report feeling disconnected, unheard and dismissed by their doctors who are often looking at a screen rather than at their faces. Patients want to be seen, heard and understood. And that's where empathy — invigorated by programs like the Daily Dose of Humanities — comes in.

The Daily Dose is a discussion, held right before patient rounds, between Dr. Potyk or one of his colleagues and residents and medical students. It's prompted by a song, piece of art or excerpt of writing, and both students and faculty are invited to share their thoughts. "The short, intense humanities sessions allow everyone to take a breath, look at the big picture and reflect for a moment on why they became doctors," says Dr. Potyk, who's taught at the UW School of Medicine since 1994. "Discussing a piece of art, a song or literature lowers barriers and allows us to glimpse into another person and discover other lives."

Judy Swanson, M.D., Internal Medicine Clerkship Director and Clinical Associate Professor, helped Dr. Potyk develop the Daily Dose program. She uses visual art to generate discussions with her care delivery team. "I am big on observation and physical diagnosis," she says, "and my goal using visual artwork in this program is to reinforce physical examination skills and help students see the whole patient, not just the ailment."

Truly seeing the individual is an important skill for all physicians, especially primary care or family medicine physicians charged with not only on caring for sick patients, but also on keeping patients healthy. Dr. Potyk says it will be a key focus as the UW School of Medicine continues to become a medical school of the future. 

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World-class physicians from world-class students

#1 choice of top-notch students

Seven. That's how many medical schools Jessica "Jess" Dawson, 21, was accepted to after graduating summa cum laude from American University with a bachelor's in biology and a bachelor's in business administration. As a highly desirable medical school candidate (who turned down interviews), Jess had her pick of medical schools across the country, including a prominent one on the East Coast. In the end, her choice was easy.

Jess, and many others, chose the UW School of Medicine, which was recently ranked No. 1 in the country for matriculation by U.S. News & World Report's Best Graduate Schools "Short List." This is where medical school candidates want to come, and Jess, now in her first year, knows the many reasons why.

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World-class physicians from world-class students

#1 choice of top-notch students

Seven. That's how many medical schools Jessica "Jess" Dawson, 21, was accepted to after graduating summa cum laude from American University with a bachelor's in biology and a bachelor's in business administration. As a highly desirable medical school candidate (who turned down interviews), Jess had her pick of medical schools across the country, including a prominent one on the East Coast. In the end, her choice was easy.

Jess, and many others, chose the UW School of Medicine, which was recently ranked No. 1 in the country for matriculation by U.S. News & World Report's Best Graduate Schools "Short List." This is where medical school candidates want to come, and Jess, now in her first year, knows the many reasons why.

The biggest deciding factor for Jess was the school's curriculum, which embeds many hands-on clinical experiences from the start. "As a first-year student, I spend two to four days in a clinic every week," she says. "I don't think other medical schools would have the flexibility to give me specialized preceptorships, shadowing and an 18-month longitudinal primary-care clinic assignment. I love my time in clinic during the classroom phase because it keeps me grounded and continually reminds me where my focus is — on patients and getting to know them."

If these broad, embedded opportunities weren't enough, there were also personal reasons that Jess chose the UW School of Medicine. Choosing to go to school in Seattle meant she could be near her parents and younger sister who live in Washington. "My clinic is in Bellevue and I don't have a car, so my dad helps me get to my clinic and other places," says Jess. "Big shout out to my dad! And if I really want a home-cooked Indian meal, my mom is waiting with open arms. That kind of support is incredible in medical school."

Now that she's here Jess can also say, without hesitation, that the people are what make the UW School of Medicine amazing. From faculty to staff to fellow students, Jess says the caliber and support of the people around her are how she knows she made the best choice. "My study group of brilliant minority students provides academic help, motivation and, most importantly, true friendship," says Jess. And from her faculty mentor to the school's deans who are always willing to listen, Jess feels heard and valued.

As a result, Jess's involvement in the school as president of the Medical Student Association has been very rewarding. She also advocates for diversity and social justice within the school. "As an Indian American born in the United Arab Emirates, diversity and equality are things I greatly value," Jess says. She is a leader in the UW's Community Health Advancement program and Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association. Her work in these groups involves providing free health screenings at places that serve marginalized groups, including Hispanic day-worker centers and homeless shelters.

It's clear that Jess is on a path to make a difference in the future of medicine. And that's why she thought the UW School of Medicine was the right place for her. "We have a great community; whatever you're looking for, you can find it here."

Big innovation for small towns

#1 for rural medicine for 26 consecutive years

Graduates of the UW School of Medicine carry the typical memories of any physician who graduated from a top-ranked medical school: classroom training with rigorous standards, and hours upon hours of clinical training. But many graduates of the UW School of Medicine, ranked No. 1 in the country for rural medicine training, also carry not-so-typical memories: rotations in four-room clinics in towns of a few hundred people; patients who arrive for their appointment by snowmobile; and plenty of bears, moose and even sled dogs.

It all happens because of the school's unique five-state rural-medicine education program called WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho), which has regional teaching campuses and clinical sites in each state. Now in its 45th year, the program is an innovative catalyst that has forged thousands of partnerships across the largely rural five-state region to open access to medical education and increase the amount of physicians practicing there. That means more highly trained physicians — and better healthcare — for residents of small, rural towns.

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Big innovation for small towns

#1 for rural medicine

Graduates of the UW School of Medicine carry the typical memories of any physician who graduated from a top-ranked medical school: classroom training with rigorous standards, and hours upon hours of clinical training. But many graduates of the UW School of Medicine, ranked No. 1 in the country for rural medicine training, also carry not-so-typical memories: rotations in four-room clinics in towns of a few hundred people; patients who arrive for their appointment by snowmobile; and plenty of bears, moose and even sled dogs.

It all happens because of the school's unique five-state rural-medicine education program called WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho), which has regional teaching campuses and clinical sites in each state. Now in its 45th year, the program is an innovative catalyst that has forged thousands of partnerships across the largely rural five-state region to open access to medical education and increase the amount of physicians practicing there. That means more highly trained physicians — and better healthcare — for residents of small, rural towns.

Since its inception, WWAMI has impacted thousands of people across the region with its higher-than-average rate of return on graduates who choose to practice where they were trained. Dr. Bob Urata, a WWAMI graduate who now teaches in the program and practices family medicine in Juneau, AK., has been a first-hand participant in that impact. Wrangell, AK., where he grew up, had no resident doctor when he was a child in the late 1950s. Now, he is the medical director of his hometown's 22-bed hospital.

Because of WWAMI, residents also benefit greatly from UW medical students who choose to do their clinical rotations at the regional sites, rather than at the big hospitals in Seattle. Medical students refer to these rotations as "the safari."

One such student, David Yu, completed his safari in 2017. He documented some of his experiences "in the wild" in his artwork, which has been a hobby ever since he was a child. One drawing depicts the hospital in Juneau where he did his emergency medicine rotation…with a parking lot full of bears, sled dogs and snowmobiles. His safari was an experience he will never forget, and not just for the wildlife.

"The staff at the regional sites encouraged me to do everything I could, from placing arterial lines, to intubating, to speaking with the patient's family after a procedure," says David. "Students are welcomed as future colleagues; no one ever said ‘Just get me your resident' because there often were no residents."

These circumstances allowed David amazing learning experiences that will continue to shape his future as a physician. The same is true for every medical student who rotates through the WWAMI region. A high percentage of those students choose to practice in the region after graduation, and that's an outcome that creates even better health outcomes for rural residents.

From Port Angeles to Spokane, we’re training medical students across the entire state.

 
 

Leading by example

To the many physicians across the state of Washington who guide, teach and mentor our medical students to become our region’s next generation of doctors – Thank You.

UW School of Medicine

For more information about the University of Washington School of Medicine visit us at uwmedicine.org/education