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Increasing Rural Physician Capacity with 224 Osteopathic Medical Students in Training

YAKIMA - This week, Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences (PNWU), College of Osteopathic Medicine added a class of 75 medical students to the 149 currently training to address our regions primary care physician shortage. 

Among the new medical students are Anchorage area residents Jillian Bartling, Toby Currin, Jacob Jensen, Jacob Templin, Mary Terra, Sean Thrush and Kathleen Song.  In addition, third year medical students Owen Hanley, David Hoschek, Stephen Humpal, Andrew Peters and Anne Rutherford have recently begun community-based health care training in local hospitals, physician offices, community health centers and aging and long-term care facilities. 

It is PNWU's mission to educate and train healthcare professionals who will provide quality care throughout the Pacific Northwest, particularly rural and medically underserved communities.  By increasing access to healthcare and integrating students as part of the fabric of their communities, PNWU is committed to increasing the quality of Pacific Northwest communities with a resource that inspires economic vitality, a healthy workforce, new business development, and improved living standards.

Providing healthcare to underserved areas requires dedicated men and women who wish to be an important part of their community.  PNWU students are selected on the basis of academic excellence, commitment to primary care, commitment to practice medicine in an underserved area, personal characteristics, and ties to a Pacific Northwest community. 

In 2008, PNWU's inaugural class was selected from an applicant pool of 1,976 applicants.  Incoming classes in 2009 and 2010 were selected from over 2,300 qualified applicants each year.  Admissions are trending between 75% and 90% coming from the state of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska and Montana.

Ten communities throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska and Montana serve as regional campuses where 3rd and 4th year students receive hands-on training from nearly 450 adjunct faculty physicians. 

Many of PNWU's faculty and administration come from established health sciences universities.  For some, collaborating with multiple medical schools located in a single state was the norm. This first-hand experience and know-how continues to guide the Pacific Northwest's collaborative initiatives that support increasing rural physician capacity.

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