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Kawasaki Introduces Legislation to Create UA Medical and Law Schools

Bill encourages ‘Growing Our Own’ healthcare and law professionals

Fairbanks – Representative Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks) introduced legislation (HB 43) to create the UA School of Medicine and the UA School of Law at the two main area campuses in Fairbanks and Anchorage. Kawasaki said that the time to invest in education is now if we are to build the workforce that Alaska will need in the next 20 years. Kawasaki points to the continuing doctor shortages and the costs of healthcare and legal services.

“Alaska needs more skilled professionals in medicine and law,” Kawasaki said. “The costs for medical and legal services will only continue to grow unless Alaska makes changes today, and preparing Alaskans to meet that demand and fill those high-paying jobs is a great first step.”

Kawasaki said that the University of Alaska should be the model state for rural healthcare, alternative medicine, tribal and environmental law. Medical rotations and residencies in Alaska continue to be filled. The Alaska Family Medicine Residency program has an extremely high rate of return in which 70% of the 55 graduates have remained in Alaska. The study shows that students tend to remain in the area in which they earn their degree. Legal clerkships in the judicial system and for agencies in Alaska are also coveted by many third year students.

“Alaska shouldn’t deny opportunity to its best and brightest or export their talents, and we shouldn't have to import professionals from the lower 48 who don’t have a connection to our state,” Kawasaki said. “It is time Alaska begins to grow more of its own professionals.”

Alaska remains one of only six states that have no medical school and the only state without a law school.

Representative Scott Kawasaki represents the City of Fairbanks and is a second generation graduate of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He currently serves on the House Finance Committee.

If you have additional questions, please contact Jessie Peterson at 907-456-7423.

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