Confessions of a Spokane High School Graduate and Aspiring Medical Professional

Spokane Medical School

Brad Skalstad is an 18-year-old intern here at Greater Spokane Incorporated. He recently graduated high school in Spokane with the hopes of possibly entering the medical field after college. Once he began his internship, he soon learned Spokane has a lot to offer to students like him. These are his words:

My family has coined the phrase “pulling a Bradley,” which essentially means not seeing what is directly in front of your eyes. Though usually referring to a pair of socks or a jug of milk in the fridge, I’ve come to see that I “pulled a Bradley” on one of the greatest towns in the west, and the one I more proudly call home: Spokane.

Having recently graduated from Shadle Park High School and accepted into the University of Washington, I thought I had things all figured out. It was my plan to leave Spokane and not return. With my sights set on entering the medical field someday, Seattle seemed like the perfect place to settle.

I have since come to realize how much I was missing in Spokane.

Naiveté has a funny way of clouding your vision. I had no idea that over the last few years Greater Spokane Incorporated was working hard to secure funding for the new Academic Health Science Center currently under construction in the University District. Working with legislators across the state, GSI recently secured the remaining $37 million needed to fund the completion of the project. Spokane will be positioned to fill the workforce gap as our nation is predicted to have a shortage of nearly 150,000 doctors over the next 15 years.

The new biomedical building will bring second year medical education to Spokane, as those courses are presently offered only at the University of Washington in Seattle. The addition of second year students completes the Spokane campus as a full-fledged four year medical education institution, a pretty incredible feat!

How humbling it is to find the very thing I was leaving Spokane to find was being built right under my nose. Oh, and did I mention that by 2030 the new medical school is predicted to ignite economic growth of nearly $2.1 billion statewide, creating thousands of new jobs?

And I had the audacity to scoff!

I was also unaware that in the next several years, Washington State University is planning to consolidate its College of Pharmacy in Spokane, bringing more than 200 students and faculty to the area. What an amazing opportunity for our town!

Not everything about medical education has to be big and flashy though. Did you know that health degrees are even accessible through the Community Colleges of Spokane? I sure didn’t! Transfer programs in dentistry, chemistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and many more are all available through the Community Colleges of Spokane.

But where does this all lead? What does this mean for a student like me? Though I’m going away to Seattle for undergraduate studies, the prospect of returning home is more exciting than ever.

Spokane has four years of medical school, five major hospitals, nearly 1,100 health related businesses, a vibrant environment for business, and is one of the nation’s top areas for raising a family.

It has, at least in my mind, changed my story from “The End” to “To Be Continued.”


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