Department of Education and Early Development - Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho (WWAMI) Medical Education
Increase Alaska's physician workforce by providing public medical education to Alaskans and by providing residency training for medical school graduates.
- Pre-college outreach.
- Provide programs to encourage Alaskans' interest in and preparation for a medical career.
|Mission Results||Core Services|
|Mission Results||Core Services|
|A: Result - Provide for an Alaska medical program.|
Target #2: Achieve and maintain a program graduation rate of 95%.
Enrollee to Graduation Comparison
Analysis of results and challenges: In nearly 50 years of the program's existence, only about 20 students have not graduated due to various reasons including academic difficulty, personal circumstances, or death. The major component to achieving this target is selecting Alaskans who demonstrate the academic and personal characteristics that are strong indicators of their ability to thrive in the challenging academic setting and their commitment to return and practice in Alaska.
|A1: Core Service - Pre-college outreach.|
Target #1: Maintain applicant pool quality at a 4:1 ratio of applicants to fill 20 class seats.
Analysis of results and challenges: High school and undergraduate college outreach programs help to promote the program and ensure a consistent pool of qualified applicants. Ongoing outreach efforts include a service-learning program called Health Education & Awareness through Role-Modeling & Teaching that works with area high schools, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and EXPO days at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), PreMed Advising sessions at UAA and the PreMed Summit, the Alaska Interior Medical Education Summit (AIMES) conference in Fairbanks, and Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA). The experience in Alaska shows a stable and consistent applicant number.
|B: Result - Ensure program graduates practice in Alaska.|
Target #1: Through the WWAMI program, produce physicians for Alaska practices at a rate of 65% or more.
Analysis of results and challenges: Nationally less than 39% of students from state-supported medical schools' practice in the same state they were trained. To date, the Alaska WWAMI program has sustained a physician production rate in excess of the national 39% rate. About 60% of Alaskan students return to practice in Alaska annually.
The overall decrease in return rate from prior years is reflective of the 2007 increase in class size that has since doubled the number of graduates. Graduates of these classes have not yet completed residency trainings, thus decreasing the overall return rate temporarily. The number is expected to increase in coming years to meet the mission goal.
To foster practice in Alaska, WWAMI offers educational opportunities for medical students in rural Alaska and clerkships in a variety of specialties and longstanding rural programs: Rural/Underserved Opportunities Program (RUOP) ~ students spend one month in a rural Alaska or underserved clinical setting and it is offered to all WWAMI students after their first year of coursework; the Targeted Rural Underserved Track (TRUST) ~ a continuity experience that matches students to a rural community for four years of medical school; WWAMI Rural Integrated Training Experience (WRITE) ~ a longitudinal experience that matches students to a rural community in the third year of medical school for five months during the completion of several of their required clerkships.
|B1: Core Service - Provide programs to encourage Alaskans' interest in and preparation for a medical career.|
Target #1: Maintain Alaska medical student clerkship to satisfy the demand.
Analysis of results and challenges: Alaska physicians, in sites around the state, train third- and fourth-year medical students throughout the year. Clerkship sites fluctuate and change based on physician availability. Alaska WWAMI continues to explore and develop clerkship sites around Alaska, adding new required and elective clerkships.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the Alaska WWAMI program did not pursue the development of new clerkships during the 2020-2021 academic year.
Target #2: Increase the number of student clerkship rotations in Alaska to offer a broad compliment of clinical clerkship opportunities in Alaska, consistent with physician workforce needs and student interests.
Analysis of results and challenges: The annual number of students in Alaska clerkships fluctuates based upon student preferences and availability of physicians/clerkship sites and slots. The third- and fourth-year clerkships are open to all WWAMI region students. As a result of these opportunities to experience medical practice in Alaska, non-Alaska WWAMI students have also chosen to locate their practices in Alaska. With class expansion, it was necessary to ensure the availability of sufficient clerkship sites and department-approved physicians to accommodate the increased number. In addition to the increase in class size, the new curriculum, introduced in 2015, resulted in an overlap in classes in the spring of 2017 and temporarily doubled the class size and increased the need for clerkships even further. In the years following the overlap, the availability and rotation numbers have decreased to reflect the class size going back to 20. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic clerkship availability was reduced during the 2020-2021 academic year.
Current as of November 9, 2021