BoatCommonly referred to as the "WWAMI experience," rural community training sites in Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho have been a unique part of University of Washington School of Medicine medical education since 1971.

WWAMIThere are great opportunities to explore the Pacific Northwest while practicing rural primary care during the WWAMI experience.

In the second year, residents spend two months at one of five WWAMI practice sites, learning from community pediatricians about primary care in a more rural setting. These practices are located in Port Angeles, Yakima and Bellingham, Washington; Missoula, Montana; and Sandpoint and Pocatello, Idaho.

Because of the impressive size of the WWAMI region, primary care pediatricians are widely dispersed, often in sparsely populated areas that do not have easy access to subspecialty pediatric consultative services.

In addition to their primary care responsibilities, these physicians must frequently provide emergency stabilization and hospitalization of sick children and facilitate occasional transport of children to tertiary centers such as Seattle Children's Hospital.

Other demands on these physicians range from coordinating the input of multiple consultants in the care of chronically ill and physically disabled children to helping design community health services geared toward children.

As an integrated member of a rural clinic, residents have an opportunity to work with these experienced physicians in managing simple to complex pediatric patients.

This unique opportunity provides residents with a firsthand understanding of what it's like to be a practicing community physician away from the resources of a tertiary care center.