Meeting Future Needs
“UW Spokane medical students become ambassadors for Spokane as a city and a place to start a medical career.”
UW is training doctors and building medical capacity in Eastern Washington.
“The Cascade Curtain is a powerful thing,” says Darryl Potyk, Associate Dean for Eastern Washington at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “But when people in Seattle actually learn about the sophisticated medical community in Spokane, it chips away at any notion that this region is less-than.”
Potyk goes on to say that, while recently having built up to critical mass through the UW/Gonzaga Regional Health Partnership, UW has had a strong medical presence in Eastern Washington for nearly half a century.
Today, their focus is looking at the region’s health ecosystem and preparing a next-generation medical community to take over for an aging population of care providers. While UW’s medical research hub is in Seattle, the focus in Spokane is on collaboration with local partners to grow the area’s overall research and commercialization potential.
In other words, when a new generation of doctors are receiving world-class training, and new medical products, companies, and jobs are created, human beings become healthier — and so does the local economy. Potyk is passionate about working across institutional boundaries in Spokane for the sake of creating this future for the Inland Northwest.
“We’re excited to meet these future needs collaboratively with all the institutions in Spokane, not duplicating infrastructure, but complementing one another,” he says. “Rivalry is a lot of fun for a football game like the Apple Cup. But not for healthcare. Not for our patients. One great way I see all of our local medical colleagues collaborating is through groups like Health Equity Circle.”
Outside of work, Potyk is also seeing positive growth in Spokane’s overall culture in the twenty five years he has lived here.
“Students and medical professionals who relocate here are sometimes surprised,” he says. “You can’t beat the cost of living, but the quality of opportunities is really significant, from outdoors to dining to the arts. So [UW Spokane medical students] become ambassadors for Spokane as a city and a place to start a medical career. And it’s become a positive feedback loop as word is getting out.”
photos courtesy of The University of Washington