I am excited to share with you an announcement that I believe will have important and beneficial impact upon the vitality of the Spokane region as well as our University. Today, the University of Washington (UW) and Gonzaga University (GU) have formally agreed to develop a collaborative partnership that has as its purpose the continuation, enhancement and expansion of medical education and research endeavors in Spokane.
Societal forces make this partnership an important one, not only for UW and Gonzaga, but for our region. Today, our country is facing unprecedented challenges in health care. The aging population and increased access to health services are creating an ever-increasing demand for well-prepared physicians and innovative approaches to delivering medical care. Spokane is an important regional hub of health care delivery and research, and enormous needs in this area lie before us. Finding solutions to these pressing issues requires breaking down traditional barriers in higher education and industry to collaborate in the development of comprehensive, sustainable, and just solutions.
The first element of this initiative will involve direct support of the UW School of Medicine. Starting in this coming academic year (2016-17), Gonzaga will host the students and faculty of the UW School of Medicine program in Spokane here on campus, at the Schoenberg Center. As an aspect of this partnership initiative for what is known as the “Foundations Phase”-- the first 18 months of medical education studies -- Gonzaga faculty will teach and mentor medical students together with UW faculty.
The second element of this initiative sets in motion plans to advance health-related research, entrepreneurship, and interdisciplinary health sciences teaching. Through a broader regional health initiative, we expect to develop high-impact applied research and teaching in new shared facilities that support our collaborative endeavors. We anticipate that the relationship with UW will afford new collaborations in science and engineering, in business and entrepreneurship, and other disciplines as well. A host of opportunities await our students, our faculty and the community and regions we serve as a result of the work we are committed to do together.
I wish to express my gratitude to Dr. Ana Mari Cauce, President of UW, Dr. Paul Ramsey, Dean, UW School of Medicine, and members of their team for helping shape this exceptional opportunity to work together. Our Academic Vice President Dr. Patricia O’Connell Killen, Associate VP for Finance Joe Smith, our Board of Trustees, my Chief of Staff John Sklut, and numerous colleagues have been instrumental in making this project a reality for us. I am particularly grateful for the engagement of our faculty for their involvement in discussions relating to this effort.
I look forward to sharing more with you all as we move to implementation of the partnership. I welcome your questions and interest, and are grateful for your support in this exciting new endeavor. Thank you.
Thayne M. McCulloh, D.Phil., President
February 24, 2016