Like the best athletes, sometimes a university has to run full speed then shift directions. For months beginning last summer, WSU representatives pushed hard for a new medical school. The legislature approved the authority for the University to create a WSU College of Medicine this spring. Now the work begins to build the medical school.

After the governor’s signature, College of Medical Sciences Acting Dean Ken Roberts and his team pushed into action. They began the search for the new school’s founding dean. Teams of WSU faculty and local physicians are writing the curriculum, and staff members are developing the school’s student support infrastructure.

If preliminary accreditation is granted, the university could begin recruiting students in the fall of 2016 and the first class of students could begin in the fall of 2017.

Those students will spend their first two years of academic studies on the Spokane campus. For their third and fourth years, students will work in community settings at clinical campuses in Spokane, the Tri-Cities, Vancouver, and Everett, with an emphasis on primary care.

“We believe that by sending students to one of those places for two years, they will develop relationships with health care providers, patients, and the community, all factors that increase the likelihood that these students will return to practice in these communities,” Roberts says.

The school will go through three accreditation rounds before full accreditation, perhaps by 2020. By 2021, the University hopes to increase the size of its class to 120 students.

Follow the medical school progress at