Spokane North Notes
A weekly bulletin of the Spokane-North Rotary Club
November 23, 2015
Editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink
Program coordinator: Brad Stark
Happy Thanksgiving!
Few of us will ever forget the pre-Thanksgiving week of 2015.
            For club president Lenore Romney, the memories will be bittersweet.  The top floor of the Romney’s South Side home was crushed by a falling tree from their yard.  Fortunately husband Bob Romney narrowly escaped from one of the upstairs rooms.   Covered with insulation dust, he told Lenore he was all right.
            Jim Minkler’s home in a sylvan, tree-lined South Hill neighborhood also was heavily damaged by some of the six falling trees.  Fortunately, no one was injured.
            When asked at the Nov. 23rd meeting for a show of hands if anyone present got through the week without loss of power at work or home, no one did.  Several were still waiting for power restoration six days after the windstorm.
            To enhance the weekly invocation, President Romney had all present join together in the center of the meeting room, while Art Rudd read an apt poetic verse.  A special moment, indeed.
            Melinda Keberle, who is coordinating the holiday shopping efforts for needy Holmes Elementary families, said that since District 81 schools were closed the effort would be postponed until next week.
            Amid all of the week’s bad luck, Robbie Jackson reported some good news.  Her husband hit a slot machine jackpot at the Coeur d’Alene Casino and won a new Lexus hybrid vehicle.  Robbie donated $20 in happy bucks to share the good fortune, and another $20 because power was restored at her home that morning.  Lenore Romney also donated $20 because her husband was uninjured in the tree-falling episode.
WSU: The more medical education the better
            There is plenty of room in Spokane, Eastern Washington and the entire state for two medical schools, WSU-Spokane Chancellor Lisa Brown told the club Nov. 23.
            Washington, with just 120 slots, ranks near the bottom nationally for students in medical schools, said, adding that won’t suffice with a critical doctor shortage and an aging population.
                        Brown, a longtime teacher at area colleges and former State Senate majority leader, cited the Florida model as an example of how to proceed.
                        She said the University of Florida objected when Florida State wanted to expand medical education, but there has been plenty of room for both schools to grow.
                        Her appearance at the club follows a presentation from the University of Washington, which also would like to operate a newly expanded med school in Spokane.
                        Brown said the paperwork applying for accreditation “is being completed as we speak.”  WSU would admit new med school students in fall of 2017, she said.
            WSU currently has schools of nursing, pharmacy, and biomedical sciences at its Health Sciences Center in Spokane.  The multi-school campus also houses EWU’s dental hygiene and physical therapy programs and has a number of working relationships with UW, Gonzaga, Whitworth and the Community Colleges.  The WWAMI program, training students from Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho, also is housed there.
            WSU’s Spokane campus dates to 1989 when Gov. Booth Gardner signed the measure opening the door for what has become the Riverpoint campus.  Gov. Jay Inslee signed the measure creating the medical school, a dream of the late WSU president Elson Floyd.
            Brown commended the Spokane legislative team, headed by Sen. Mike Baumgartner and Rep. Marcus Ricelli, for moving the project forward.
            Asked about possible redundancies for taxpayers in supporting UW and WSU efforts here, Brown said the state needs more medical education and two schools in Spokane is not too many.  The new dean, John Tomkowiak, comes from Chicago, where they have six medical schools operating, she said.
            Brown said med students will spend two years at the Spokane campus, then spend the following two years at clinics and hospitals around the state.
            “UW is an academic-center model, with its own hospital,” Brown said.  “We won’t build a university hospital.  We will send students for their third and fourth years to the Tri-Cities, Vancouver and elsewhere.  It will truly be a statewide medical school.”
            She said UW will continue to be active in Spokane and WSU will be active in Seattle, as it already has programs with Swedish Hospital there.
            To fund the med school a six-year, $100 million campaign is under way, Brown said.
            Asked if there has to be a winner and a loser in Spokane-based medical education, Brown said, “legislators like win-win situations.”  Except perhaps in Friday’s Apple Cup.