Training

WWAMI – Five-State Rural Community Training

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

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

WWAMIDr. Meeka Gandhi enjoying her WWAMI experience in Missoula, MT where she now works as a pediatric hospitalist.

In second year, residents spend two months at one of six WWAMI practice sites, learning from community pediatricians about primary care in a 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. Residents also have the opportunity to work with community pediatric hospitalists in local hospitals.

This unique opportunity provides residents with a firsthand understanding of what it is like to be a practicing community physician away from the resources of a tertiary care center. Every year our residents, even those who don’t anticipate a primary care career, rank the WWAMI experience as one of the top educational opportunities of their training.