WSU medical school students met with regional policy-makers in Vancouver and Everett last week for an opportunity to get to know one another and talk about how the inaugural class of the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine (ESFCOM) is doing as students near the completion of their first semester of studies.

Policy-makers had the opportunity to learn about some of the journeys that brought the diverse inaugural class to the ESFCOM and ask questions about their experiences with the community-based medical school thus far, as well as their hopes for the future as doctors practicing in Washington State. It also allowed the students to engage some of the elected leaders, and their staff, that made it possible for the university to pursue accreditation and that provided necessary funding to support 60 first year and 60 second year medical students at WSU.

Students expressed repeated appreciation to legislators for the opportunity they are being afforded. Referring to the culture of the college, one student said, “It’s like a family. I’m really grateful every day to be a part of that.” Others spoke to how they were attracted by the college’s mission to increase access to health care in challenging health care environments. “It just aligned so well with all the things I was so passionate about. I’m so grateful,” shared another student.

The event took place during the college’s second intersession. As part of their first two years of studies, medical students spend three week-long intersessions per year at their assigned clinical campuses in Everett, Spokane, Tri-Cities and Vancouver to become integrated in those regional health care and greater communities. These established WSU campuses provide the necessary infrastructure and services to support the 15 inaugural medical students assigned to each location. In their third and fourth years of medical school, the students will study full time at their clinical campus and train in regional affiliate clinics and hospitals.

The university plans to hold similar events in Spokane and Tri-Cities during the next intersession, scheduled for spring, to allow policy-makers and medical students in those regions a similar opportunity.