Alaska’s WWAMI Medical Education Program
Since 1971, Alaskan medical students have had the opportunity to begin their medical education in an Alaskan University. Today, the Alaska WWAMI class has 20 students enrolled at the University of Alaska Anchorage for their first year of medical school. The second year of instruction takes place in Seattle, at the University of Washington, and the final two years are spent in medical ‘clerkships’ or clinical rotations at clinics and hospitals all over the WWAMI area (Wyoming, Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho).
For the beginning medical student this system offers many advantages not enjoyed by students at other, more traditional medical schools. Alaskan students may choose to follow an “Alaskan Track” during their two years of clerkships and if chosen for this track will spend almost three of the four years of medical education in Alaska.
Here in the Interior of Alaska, the AHEC office and Fairbanks Memorial Hospital are partners in supporting the WWAMI medical program by coordinating the clinical rotations. There are three separate clerkships affiliated with FMH. The WWAMI Surgery Clerkship is budgeted for 12 surgery students per academic year and these rotations are spread out from August to June. The OB/GYN Clerkship is budgeted for 6 students during the academic year and this program is distributed evenly during the academic year as well. The Emergency Medicine Clerkship is budgeted for 6 students per year and they spend most of their time in the recently rebuilt Emergency Department.
Over 40 years, 400 of the Alaskan students have graduated as physicians and most have returned to Alaska to practice. The WWAMI system is a well thought out, collaborative public education program that will continue to grow and to provide practitioners for many years to come. Read the additional information referenced below to see if Alaska WWAMI Medical Program is the right choice for you!
Alaska WWAMI Home Page www.uaa.alaska.edu/wwami/
Physician-Health Career Alaska www.healthcareersinalaska.info/index.php/
UW Medicine WWAMI Alaska http://uwmedicine.washington.edu/education/md-