Insider Insight: Darryl Potyk

UW Spokane Medical School's Darryl Potyk discusses growth, interest

click to enlarge Darryl Potyk
Darryl Potyk

Darryl Potyk has been involved in medical education in Spokane for 25 years. In March 2017, he was hired as associate dean for the University of Washington School of Medicine and chief of medical education for the UW School of Medicine-Gonzaga University Regional Health Partnership.

Here, he looks at the landscape of medical education in Spokane and what distinguishes the UW Spokane Medical School.

Who needs Seattle?

Students are becoming more and more attracted to the Spokane campus for medical education. For the first time in nearly 50 years, interest in the Spokane location has outpaced even the demand in Seattle. There are 60 students in the class of 2018, and more on the waiting list.

"Spokane is a growing hub for medical education," Potyk says.

Plus, students have a good relationship with professors, feeling cared for and looked after. When they go out in the community, they're working with physicians who want to teach them and become the best doctor they can.

"All of that comes together," Potyk says. "And then for applicants looking at Spokane, the students are our best ambassadors."

'Three-legged stool'

Potyk sees educating the next generation of doctors as a "three-legged stool." The three legs are patient care, population health and preparing students to handle evolving technology. With technology, it's important to make sure students are prepared to integrate new technology when it arises. For example, he says UW is doing "great stuff" with bedside ultrasound technology.

Beyond patient care and technology, Potyk says UW is branching out to look at how the medical community cares for populations. They've launched a new four-year course called "Ecology of Health and Medicine" that looks at social determinants of health.


The UW has been involved in medical education for over 45 years. It's consistently ranked as one of the top schools in the nation for primary care and rural care, according to U.S. News & World Report.

"People have a notion that UW is all about research," Potyk says. "But we're all about making sure we're meeting our workforce needs here in Eastern Washington."

Still, he says they're not resting on their laurels.

"We still recognize a need to innovate," he says. "We're really trying to stay in front and be on that leading edge." 

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About The Author

Wilson Criscione

Wilson Criscione is the Inlander’s news editor. Aside from writing and editing investigative news stories, he enjoys hiking, watching basketball and spending time with his wife and cat.