Would be interesting to know who was the cool head who came up with the idea of ending the impending war between the University of Washington and Washington State University over medical education, and developing a powerful alliance of the two instead.
Whoever it was, it was a smart move.
UW has a highly-regarded and large-scale medical school operation, featuring both doctor training and medical research, to protect: A unique position in the region they would not want to lose. But there's also a doctor shortage in the region, and a growing Washington State University (and its board leadership) was seeing no good reason not to step into the gap. The opportunities for conflict between the two institutions were obvious.
But that was a loser's game; both sides were better positioned to block the other than to advance its own agenda. Just that was most likely going to happen in 2015.
Now, with an agreement signed by the presidents of the two institutions, they can and will go to the legislature with a comprehensive plan to increase medical education in the state, with WSU providing a major component of that. The two institutions will parcel out the pieces of the program, as (for example) UW increases its presence in Spokane with help from WSU. Their efforts may even be less costly this way.
The lobbying clout of the two together may be enough to push their plans through the legislature.
The need is clear. The nation is facing a doctor shortage, and it may be especially serious in areas away from major metros, like eastern Washington and Idaho state (which has no medical school and relies on its agreements with Washington to supply a number of its new physicians).
This agreement may be the first step in the Northwest's role in meeting that need.