NEMT AHEC Program
Resources and links for students currently enrolled in health professions education including the WWAMI medical program.
WWAMI is an enduring partnership between the University of Washington School of Medicine and the states of Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho. The WWAMI name is derived from the first letter of each of the five cooperating states. The WWAMI program's purpose is to provide access to publicly supported medical education across the five-state region. The UW School of Medicine maintains a Dean's Office in each of the five states. These offices oversee clinical medical education for the School of Medicine within their regions, providing support services for the local clerkships and students rotating among them.
WWAMI Program History and Philosophy
A significant part of any given student’s education occurs within the WWAMI region in communities utilizing a combination of both full-time and volunteer teachers.
How It Works
Each of the participating states designates a specific number of medical school seats. Montana is allotted 20 seats each year. These seats are supported through a combination of appropriated state funds and student tuition which cover the full cost of medical education. The tuition paid by students in Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho is the same as that paid by Washington state residents. This allows for publicly supported medical education in states where no freestanding medical school exists. Outcomes of the program at the University of Washington School of Medicine and WWAMI indicate that, over 30 years, 61% of graduating students stay within the five-state area to practice. Over the course of the past 20 years, very close to 50% of graduating students have chosen to pursue careers in primary care. This is particularly important since 35% of the population in the WWAMI region lives in rural, generally underserved areas underscoring the importance of primary care. Upon graduation, an estimated 20% of WWAMI graduates will practice in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) following graduate medical education.
RUOP - Rural/Underserved Opportunities Program
The Rural/Underserved Opportunities Program (R/UOP) is a program of the University of Washington School of Medicine (UWSM) in partnership with the WWAMI Programs and AHECs in Montana, Idaho, Alaska, Wyoming and Washington. R/UOP provides a four-week opportunity for students between the first and second years of medical school to be placed with a physician preceptor in a rural or urban underserved clinical site. R/UOP encourages primary care careers in underserved communities by providing students with hands-on experiences in clinical practices; in addition to exposure to the rural or underserved community. Preceptors are practicing physicians in rural sites or urban clinics serving the underserved. Physicians serving as preceptors are primary care physicians (Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Obstetrics/Gynecology and General Practice). The UWSM appoints R/UOP physicians as Clinical Preceptors - and - after two years of service as a R/UOP preceptor, physicians are eligible for appointments as clinical faculty at the UWSM. In Montana, yearly R/UOP placements are organized by the Montana R/UOP Site Coordinator, Lisa Benzel, who is the Montana WWAMI Trust Program Director. This coordination consists of matching the medical students with rural or underserved preceptors who have already been selected by the Montana WWAMI Clinical Dean, Dr. Jay Erickson. With the assistance of all regional AHEC offices, housing and travel support is provided to the students. In the summer of 2012, 32 R/UOP students were placed throughout Montana.