New Health Sciences College Opens, Promises To Expand

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The need to offer additional educational opportunities for Health Sciences majors is great, but one northwestern college is doing its part to change that.

Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences (PNWU), located in Yakima, Washington welcomed its very first students on August 4, 2008. Already, the private non-profit doctorcollege is planning to expand, proposing to open two more colleges for the under-served northwest US.

The school is funded through private donations from contributors who helped to lay the ground work for what is now a 45,000 square foot, $19.7 million state of the art facility and the College of Osteopathic Medicine, where physicians will be trained in primary care medicine. Receiving nearly 2000 applicants, the university welcomed 75 students when it opened its doors.

“PNWU stands to significantly impact Eastern Washington and the Pacific Northwest as a whole, providing well-trained healthcare professionals including osteopathic-trained physicians and other practitioners to help address our provider shortages — particularly in rural areas,” said Washington state governor, Christine Gregoire. “I applaud the PNWU Board of Trustees, administration, and staff for their dedication and commitment to excellence and have every confidence that our state’s newest medical school will be a tremendous success.”

Currently, PNWU has been conducting a feasibility study to determine what additional health education programs might be made available. The university announced late last month that its board of directors had voted to open two additional colleges, possibly as early as next fall: the College of Allied Health Sciences and the College of Biomedical Sciences.

Degrees being offered by PNWU initially include a doctorate in clinical psychology and a master’s degree in clinical counseling or public health, a master’s degree for physician’s assistants, and a transition program for registered nurses with two-year associate degrees to pursue four-year bachelor’s degrees.

“The long-range vision for the university includes multiple colleges, offering degrees and training in a variety of health sciences regimens, each based on the needs of rural communities in the Northwest,” said Dr. Stan Flemming, university president. “We are pleased to begin this next step in the development of the university, significantly ahead of the anticipated schedule.”

PNWU is just the 25th osteopathic medical school in the country, training its students to become primary care doctors in five states: Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Montana, and Idaho.

(Source: Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences; The Seattle Times)


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