Academic and Community Partnerships
Quarterly Newsletter

June 15, 2019
Welcome from the Vice Dean of the Office of Academic and Community Partnerships
Thanks to your support, WSU College of Medicine expands incoming MD class from 60 to 80 students

On May 21, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed the Biennium Budget. Included in the budget are the necessary funds to expand our current and future incoming classes of medical students to 80 students. Expanding our class means more State of Washington students will have the opportunity to enroll, learn and practice here in our state. This is great news—especially for our rural communities and underserved populations. Thank you to all our partners who supported this expansion by writing letters to local newspapers and reaching out to legislators.
Teaching opportunities for clinical partners

1 st and 2 nd year medical students
Each class of medical students is assigned to one of four WSU regional campuses: Spokane, Tri-Cities, Vancouver and Everett. Three times a year our 1 st and 2 nd year medical students visit their assigned campus during Clinical Campus Week, during which they spend time with preceptors at our partner clinics and hospitals.

3 rd year medical students
Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (LIC)
The WSU College of Medicine has designed an LIC for all 3 rd year students, where the core specialties of medicine are integrated into a 10-month longitudinal curriculum. Learning will happen in a variety of settings and over a longer period of time, allowing students to develop relationships with patients and their providers that are more meaningful than what can be accomplished in a 4-to-8-week block rotation. The dual continuity with both patient and preceptor results in deeper connection to the community as well as enhancement of role-modeling and mentorship.

There remain many opportunities for clinicians, clinic groups, and community organizations to become engaged in this evolved model of training. Learn more about our LIC curriculum here.

4 th year medical students
Community Engaged Medical Education (CEME)
There is shortage of approximately 700 physicians in the state of Washington, disproportionately affecting rural areas. There is strong evidence that if medical learners engage in training in rural environments that there is an increase in likelihood of them practicing in rural environments. However, most medical education happens in large urban environments. 

To address this situation, ESFCOM is exploring a unique medical education concept – Community Engaged Medical Education (CEME). In traditional models the physician supervisor is the teacher. In CEME, the community shares the responsibility of being “teacher”. Patients, community guides, clinic staff, members of the chamber of commerce are all part of the community that helps teach the student about patient care in the context of specific communities.

4th year WSU medical students will have a CEME 4-week Rotation. In addition to clinical education, the goals will be:

  1. Teach characteristics unique to rural practice: comprehensiveness, agency/courage, adaptability, scarcity, resilience, integrity, reflective practice, and collaboration
  2.  Introduce students to caring for patients in environments with limited resources
  3. Expose students to the challenge of referral and transfer for more complex medical problems and care coordination with local resources.
  4. Explore history of the region, demographics of the community, regional tours
  5. Review of the most common illnesses seen within the community
  6. Engage in community life and its co-existence with personal life

If your organization would like to engage in our CEME program, become an affiliate or a preceptor, please contact Dr. Ken Roberts, Vice Dean for Academic and Community Partnership at [email protected],
(509) 358-7516  
Health Equity Circle

Health Equity Circle is an inter-professional and intercampus network of students coming together to address health equity issues on campus and in the community.

The Spokane chapter includes students from WSU/EWU/UW/Gonzaga. Student leaders worked with the College of Medicine and the Spokane Alliance to perform a community needs assessment that helped direct the strategy of the mobile unit that will be introduced this coming fall. They also developed an interprofessional course that engages students from all four universities.
School outreach

One of the most rewarding components of our community engagement work is actively connecting middle and high school students with our medical students and faculty. In 2018, we connected with 3,000+ students located in 10 counties. This year, we are exceeding these numbers and going into communities where we have not been before.

One memorable school event was held in Othello this last spring. We partnered with the Gear Up program based in McFarland Middle School. With the help of two second year medical students, the Othello Community Hospital faculty, and physician faculty from Spokane, we connected with 350 middle school students in a fast-paced 4-hour engagement. Students learned about health career opportunities and the journey to medical school before engaging with different activity stations with mini-medical school activities such as ultrasound imaging, Stop the Bleed drills, and the Brain Architecture game challenge

As we have built relationships with school faculty and partners in the clinical community, it is wonderful to see how many people want to help the next generation succeed. If you know of a school that would be interested in learning about health career options, from a very dedicated and passionate group of people currently in these fields, please contact our office.
Welcome Dr. Lori Arviso Alvord

We are fortunate to have Dr. Lori Arviso Alvord join our faculty at our Tri-Cities Campus. An accomplished surgeon known for her work on Native American health, Dr. Alvord works at Astria Toppenish Hospital, one of our clinical partners. She will be taking our M3 students for their general surgery spotlight weeks. She has also participated as faculty on a panel of all women physician leaders for the Leadership in Medicine course for our Tri-Cities students.

“I am so pleased that I have the opportunity to teach WSU medical students, I fully appreciated all my teachers and mentors, and this is a wonderful opportunity to “pay it forward!”
Dr. Lori Alvord

"Dr. Alvord instills confidence in students. In working with her, despite not knowing much about her specialty in my stage of training, I was able to apply skills that I had learned throughout medical school, receiving feedback on ways to improve."
Carly J. Celebrezze, student of Dr. Alvord

“Working with Dr. Lori Alvord was such a pleasure! Her poise while leading an all-female OR team was exactly the model of female leadership that medical students such as myself need to see early on in their journeys. Her passion for her work in the OR and its effect on the health of her community was so clear as well!”
Alexandra Drury, student of Dr. Alvord
Practice-Based Research Network (PBRN)

For nearly two years, researchers at the WSU College of Medicine, CEOs, directors, and heads of various Washington State health clinics have vested time and energy into the creation of a Practice-Based Research Network (PBRN). A PBRN is a partnership of clinicians, practices, or institutions that have agreed to work together to address the medical concerns of the communities their facilities serve. The focus of our PBRN is to create a collaborative relationship between WSU and its affiliated practices to tackle relevant health and healthcare issues, enhance quality of care, improve community health, decrease health disparities, and connect clinicians with researchers to build knowledge. 

As a first step, we are looking to expand our emerging PBRN, focusing on central and eastern Washington, and on rural and tribal providers. We currently have 11 clinical partners vested in participating in the PBRN, and we are welcoming additional members. We hope to grow the PBRN into a sizable clinical, educational, and research enterprise that will benefit participating practices, students, researchers across several WSU colleges, and the health of Washingtonians for years to come. We are dedicated to answering your clinical questions, providing training opportunities, and supporting future physicians within the network. We believe the most important part of any PBRN initiative is that our collective efforts help clinics improve their practice.

Over the past year, we held a community meeting with our initial 11 clinical partners to identify topics of interest. Here are your colleagues’ top concerns:
  • Recruitment and retention of physicians and other professional healthcare staff
  • Improving and streamlining the usefulness and accessibility of the electronic health record
  • Providing access to behavioral health services
  • Offering a full range of services or the ability to send patients to a convenient location for additional services
  • Enhancing positive community engagement
  • Solutions to regulatory burden, payment reform, and financial sustainability
  • Opportunities for chronic disease management
  • Treatment for opioid addictions
We are eager to work together to address these and other concerns as we continue to move forward with the PBRN. We hope you will consider joining the network. Please feel free to contact us at [email protected] .  
Research and clinical practice

As College of Medicine grows and develops opportunities for communities to partner in important research as well as increase access to clinical care services, please keep asking us for updates and informing us of your community’s needs.