Pin It

Med School Multiplier 

A four-year medical school could hit Spokane with a Fairchild-level economic impact

click to enlarge art14857.jpg

A four-year medical school is to the educational and medical communities what a Trader Joe’s is to Spokane’s socially conscious consumers: a long sought-after dream that supporters hope will dramatically transform the city.

Sure, WSU Spokane’s campus already has a three-year medical school. Medical students can attend their first, third and fourth years in Spokane. But by adding a fourth year, and increasing attendance numbers from 20 students per class to 80, supporters promise the economic impact could be explosive.

But precisely how explosive? That’s exactly what WSU Spokane and Greater Spokane Inc. are paying $45,000 to market research firm Tripp Umbach to find out. Tripp Umbach did the same thing for its hometown of Scranton, Pa., which ultimately built a medical school.

Preliminary estimates, says GSI’s Dawn Picken, put the annual economic impact of a four-year medical school in Spokane somewhere on the level of Fairchild Air Force Base. Since each doctor employs six or seven people, Picken says, each doctor is an economic engine.

“In general the data shows that every doctor in the community contributes about a million dollars per year,” says Brian Pitcher, chancellor of WSU Spokane.

Doctors tend to practice in the city where they went to med school. And Spokane, like most cities across America, has plenty of need for new doctors. A feasibility study on the WSU Spokane medical school calculates the Spokane region needs an additional 281 doctors.

And it’s not just in the new doctor’s offices where the economic impact can be found. It’s in the construction of a new $80 million building. It’s in the jobs for new faculty members and support staff. It’s in the boon to the resources of area hospitals. It’s in the bragging rights Spokane can put on its business-attracting rèsumè. It’s in the steady increase in research grants.

“WSU’s estimated that, with a medical school, over a 20-year period of time, research grants will grow from $10 million a year to $70 million a year,” GSI president Rich Hadley says.

Granted, a medical school would be costly, Pitcher admits. Even before breaking ground on an $80 million building, that ground needs $5 million worth of soil remediation. WSU Spokane hopes to have money for a building by July 2011, with the whole thing being completed by July 2013.

There are other costs, too. And for now WSU Spokane’s waiting to hear back from Tripp Umbach to see if they’re outweighed by the benefits.

  • Pin It

Speaking of Med School, education

  • 'Seek and Destroy'
  • 'Seek and Destroy'

    In his final days as state superintendent of public instruction, Randy Dorn keeps shouting on behalf of schools. Has anyone listened?
    • Aug 18, 2016
  • The Ripple Effect
  • The Ripple Effect

    Education: WSU looks to take full advantage of the new medical school opening in Spokane
    • Aug 1, 2016
  • Too Smart for School
  • Too Smart for School

    What happens when a 12-year-old prodigy tries to go to college in Spokane?
    • Jun 30, 2016
  • More »

Latest in News

  • Buried in the Headlines
  • Buried in the Headlines

    Big stories largely ignored by the mainstream media
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • A Sense 
of Détente
  • A Sense of Détente

    In only two months, the seemingly intractable battle between mayor and council has turned into an exuberant truce
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • Not Green Enough
  • Not Green Enough

    State says no carbon exemption for Spokane Waste-to-Energy Plant; plus, settlement reached in Priest River high school football concussion lawsuit
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed
Ghost Stories: An Interactive Theatre Experience

Ghost Stories: An Interactive Theatre Experience @ Spokane Community College

Oct. 29-30, 7:30-9:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Daniel Walters

Most Commented On

  • Defending North Idaho

    Why Heather Scott must go
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • The Do-Over

    After failing to pass a bus service tax hike last year, Spokane Transit Authority has a plan to get you to vote for it again
    • Oct 6, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

election 2016


green zone


trail mix

Readers also liked…

  • The Virtue of Renee
  • The Virtue of Renee

    After a homeless woman was run over while sleeping outdoors, her family grapples with the events that led her there
    • Mar 11, 2015
  • State of Play
  • State of Play

    The state auditor raises concerns about cash management at Riverfront Park and the city's golf courses
    • Mar 11, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation