Close-knit community and a sense of purpose are keeping more PNWU grads in the Valley

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Close-knit community and a sense of purpose are keeping more PNWU grads in the Valley (Yakima Herald)

In an effort to retain much needed primary care doctors and specialists in the rural areas around eastern Washington, Pacific Northwest University, which graduated its first class from the College of Health Science in 2012, starts during the recruitment process: “It looks for students who grew up in or have ties to rural areas, and who indicate a desire to serve in underserved communities.”

With a limited number of residences in the Northwest, PNWU’s recruitment strategy helps ensure that even those students who go to the Midwest or East Coast for residencies will likely return to the area for their practice. To help with the shortage of residency placements in the Pacific Northwest, Washington and neighboring states have established clinical rotations at 16 different sites. In addition “a state bill passed recently provides some state money to support residency development, which PNWU and the University of Washington are pushing for.”

The results are paying off. “As of May this year, 78 of 142 alumni from the first two classes are now practicing, with the rest still in residency training or fellowships. Of those now in practice, 43 are in Washington state, mostly in primary care and many in rural or underserved areas.”

Delaware is also working both inside the state and with neighboring states to ensure a sustainable pipeline for Delaware’s health care workforce. Through partnerships with state educational institutions, hospitals/health systems, and regulatory bodies, as well as medical schools in nearby Pennsylvania, DCHI’s Workforce and Education Committee is driving the necessary initiatives that will enable local Delawareans to receive cutting edge training and education, with the ultimate goal of retaining them as practitioners in the state. To learn more, visit us at

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