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St. Luke’s Establishes Scholarship for Idaho Students Who Want to Practice Medicine in Rural Areas
Thursday, September 23, 2021


 St. Luke’s Health System is establishing a scholarship endowment that supports Idaho WWAMI medical school students interested in pursuing careers caring for rural and underserved populations.

 “The St. Luke’s endowment helps Idaho WWAMI medical students earn their M.D. and benefits the state by supporting the physician pipeline,” said Jeff Seegmiller, director of WWAMI at the University of Idaho. “Our medical students are Idahoans, train in clinical settings across Idaho and many of them intend to practice in Idaho. To keep these bright and talented future physicians at home, offsetting their medical school debt is critical.”

 The WWAMI Medical Education Program is a multi-state partnership between the top-ranked primary care medical school, the University of Washington School of Medicine (UWSOM), and Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho (WWAMI).

 Idaho WWAMI students are Idaho residents and spend the first two years of medical school at the University of Idaho, followed by two years of clinical training; most of their required clinical rotations can be completed in 13 communities across the Gem State.

 St. Luke’s pledge of $500,000 to the University of Idaho Foundation will create the endowment. Scholarships will be awarded to full-time Idaho WWAMI students who demonstrate financial need and academic achievement. Preference will be given to students who are participating in the Targeted Rural and Underserved Track (TRUST) program.

 “We are thrilled to partner with the Idaho WWAMI program,” said St. Luke’s Chief Physician Executive Dr. Jim Souza. “Supporting future physicians is critical here in Idaho. The costs related to becoming a medical doctor can be a barrier for many students and our goal is to leverage this endowment to help Idaho WWAMI medical students achieve their dreams of providing care to people in need across the state.”

The amount and number of scholarships awarded each year depend on annual earnings generated by the endowment. Scholarships may be used for educational expenses including tuition, fees, books, and room and board. The first scholarship is expected to be awarded in 2022.

 “Partnering with St. Luke’s means that our medical students can continue to live, learn and train in-state without as much financial burden,” Seegmiller said. “Graduating with less debt provides them more options to practice in settings where many of them grew up — in Idaho’s rural and frontier communities.”

WWAMI is the University of Washington School of Medicine’s (UWSOM) multi-state medical education program. The acronym, WWAMI, stands for the states that partner with UWSOM to help educate physicians across the five-state region: Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho.

 Idaho WWAMI is the state’s only publicly-funded medical education program and offers an opportunity for students to attend a world-class medical program for the cost of in-state tuition at the University of Idaho. In 2020, U.S. News & World Report ranked UWSOM No. 2 nationally in primary care and family medicine.  For more than 25 consecutive years, until 2018, UWSOM’s rural medicine training program ranked No. 1; this category has not been ranked since. 


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