Why UW School of Medicine

WWAMI - Our Regional Training Program

  • The WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) states make up 27% of the land mass of the United States but contain only 3.3% of the population.
  • UW School of Medicine is the only medical school for the 5-state WWAMI region, and the only 5-state medical school in the country.
  • UW is nationally recognized for its excellent regional training program.
  • Students from Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho complete the foundations phase of the curriculum in small learning groups in their respective home states.
  • Students from Washington attend their foundations phase in Seattle or Spokane.
  • Regional Clerkship Sites: The University of Washington School of Medicine (UWSOM) prides itself on the depth and breadth of excellent clinical educational opportunities available throughout all of the five states that comprise our WWAMI medical education program. The regional nature of our medical school allows our students to experience the entire gamut of medical care, both rural and urban, including private practice, community health care centers, community hospitals, and tertiary care hospitals.

UW School of Medicine Scope of Training

The UW School of Medicine provides opportunities for training with providers in all types of medical care settings.

  • Tertiary care- University of Washington Medical Center; Seattle Children’s Hospital; VA Puget Sound Health Care System; Harborview Medical Center (level 1 trauma center)
  • Affiliated Community Hospitals
  • Community Health Care Centers (urban and rural)
  • Private Practices (urban and rural)
  • International Health Clinics (local and abroad)
  • Indian Health Service Clinics

A distinguishing characteristic of the University of Washington Medical School is interdisciplinary collaboration. Scientists, educators, and clinicians are dedicated to helping each other reach the common goals of improving people’s health and alleviating suffering from disease.

Multiple Missions

Unlike some schools with a single mission to train only future scientists or only community physicians, the variety of our missions results in our selecting students from diverse backgrounds and with diverse future interests. UW School of Medicine mission statement.

Excellence in Diverse Missions

Snow World

Snow World, developed by an interdisciplinary team at UW, is a virtual reality technique that has been proven to reduce pain during treatment of severe burns. Dr. Hoffman, one of the developers noted: "The low fences between departments at the UW encourages interdisciplinary research."


  • Since 1974 UW School of Medicine has ranked consistently among the top 3 schools in receipt of National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant funding.
  • UW is currently ranked tenth in the country among research-oriented medical schools.
  • A number of established and start-up biotechnology companies, including Zymogenetics and ICOS, have their roots in UW School of Medicine research.
  • MD/PhD Program (MSTP) The Medical Scientist Training Program is designed for highly qualified candidates who wish to obtain both M.D. and Ph.D. degrees and to pursue careers in basic medical research.
  • PhD Program The School of Medicine provides advanced scientific training toward Ph.D. degrees in biomedical research in a resource-rich, collaborative environment dedicated to scientific discovery.

Opportunities for Primary Care and Rural Education

Clinical experiences are available at 60 sites for required clerkships in addition to 120 R/UOP sites and 15 WRITE sites. TRACKs are also available to allow students to spend an entire year in one WWAMI state.

  • R/UOP: Rural/Underserved Opportunities Program, a four-week, elective immersion experience in community medicine for students between their first and second years of medical school.
  • WRITE: WWAMI Rural Integrated Training Experience, a 20-week rural clinical medical training experience for a pre-selected group of third-year medical students.
  • TRACK: WWAMI State Track Program, allows a select group of students to complete most of the required clerkships scheduled in one specific site/state throughout the WWAMI region during their third or fourth year of medical school.
Clinical Experience 

TRUST (Targeted Rural Underserved Track) Programs

The TRUST program is available in Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho and is an integrated program for students interested in rural or underserved medicine. Beginning the summer before medical school and continuing throughout the curriculum, TRUST scholars participate in clinical and classroom experiences, on-line discussions, and regional or national conferences, exposing them to the satisfaction, challenges, and life style of a physician practicing in rural and underserved areas.


Mentoring in Clinical Skills  

The UW School of Medicine has undergone many innovative changes over the past 40 years.The Colleges system was incorporated to provide consistent mentoring in clinical skills, professionalism, and patient-centered care. The College structure helps make a large university intimate. ​

  • ​8 colleges
  • 6-7 faculty mentors in each college
  • 6-7 students per year for each faculty mentor


Medical students can select one or more of 5 pathways to develop knowledge and skills specifically tailored to working with vulnerable populations here and abroad. Each Pathway allows students to organize their courses, clinical rotations, and volunteer opportunities around a particular community, population, or aspect of underserved medicine with mentorship from faculty, staff, and community providers and partners who share those interests. Pathways Overview

Global Health​​

Uniquely based in both the School of Medicine and the School of Public Health, the Department of Global Health has one of the most comprehensive academic global health programs in the world. In addition to the Global Health Pathway, GHIP (formerly known as IHOP) and the GHRC-Elective Clerkship Abroad (ECA), medical students have a long list of global health courses to choose from, are invited to participate in the monthly Global Health Journal Club, are invited to attend Department of Global Health lectures and Washington Global Health Alliance Discovery Series lectures.

Global Health  

Interdisciplinary Students

The UW also has professional degree-granting programs for Physician Assistants, Nurses, Pharmacists, Dentists, Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists, Medical Technologists, and Epidemiologists. Some classes and volunteer service-learning opportunities include students from more than one discipline.