Posted by Charles Rehberg on Sep 18, 2017
North Notes
Spokane North Rotary Club Bulletin
September 18, 2017
          Board time: The club officers and directors meet Wednesday, Sept. 20, at 4 p.m. at Mountain West Bank near Costco on North Division.
Agency boosts area medical research funding
          One of the louder cheers for the Inland Northwest’s growing medical community should be “give me an H-S-S-A!!”
          The cheering is for the Health Sciences & Services Authority of Spokane County.  The mission is “to invest funds to create and support a nationally competitive health sciences research cluster in Spokane County and to increase access to health care.”
          Susan Ashe, HSSA executive director, talked to the club Sept. 18 about the research and infrastructure working to encourage bioscience economic development in the area.
          “It’s exciting to have two medical schools and a school of pharmacy,” Ashe said, adding the developments will help HSSA fund national breakthroughs in topics like genomics, imaging, mass spectroscopy, molecular sciences and infection control.
          Innovative research also includes areas of liver disease and end-stage renal case, Ashe said.
          The idea for HSSA originated in 2007 and began in two years later, pushed by a city, county and state partnership, with various other funding sources.  Former State Sen. Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, then the majority leader, helped push the concept into reality.  State funding for a county-wide sales and use tax continues through the year 2023.
          HSSA has already invested more than $5.1 million, which has created 445 jobs and $70 million in economic activity, Ashe said. 
          She said grant funding since 2009 includes $7 million, with $5 million for research and infrastructure and $1.9 million for access to health care.
          Ashe was a longtime Kaiser Aluminum executive and recently worked as the city’s director of legislative affairs.
          Part of the Spokane-based HSSA involves geography, she said.
          “Will we ever be Seattle? No,” said Ashe, talking about medical developments in western Washington.
          But with Washington State expected to need an additional 4,200 physicians by 2030, including 1,700 primary care physicians, the new medical facilities will be needed.
          Improving rural medical care is an important need, said Ashe, who was born in Omak.  She talked about WWAMI, the successful five-state collaborative effort which has pooled medical activities.  She said Yakima interests also have approved health science developments.
The bulletin producers:
          Bulletin editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink
          Photo: Sandy Fink
          Program coordinator: Brad Stark