Alaska's lone medical school defends its worth to Senate committee

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A state Senate panel on Monday heard a rebuttal to Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s plan to shut down Alaska’s lone medical school program, an effort to save slightly more than $3 million.

The program is run through the University of Washington School of Medicine and is best known by its acronym WWAMI for the five participating states: Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho.

Alaska was the first state to enter into the collaboration in 1971; it now educates 80 students annually, said Dr. Suzanne Allen, a vice dean for the UW School of Medicine. Students can complete their entire program in Alaska except for two clinical rotations at the University of Washington.

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