Updike: My dream is a medical school in Wyoming | Columns

Updike: My dream is a medical school in Wyoming | Columns

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One of my dreams stands above these: the University of Wyoming School of Medicine and Public Health. The State of Wyoming should construct a clear plan for building its own medical and public health school in Wyoming by 2040 or with a population of 700,000 people, whichever comes first.

As a resident physician, I can speak to the extensive education and training required, the institutional and systemic framework from which multiple disciplines coordinate and deliver care, and the multiple revenue streams involved. Currently, Wyoming is one of four states without a medical school, and is dependent upon other states to allow Wyoming residents slots for medical and/or public health education through WWAMI or WICHE PSEP. Additionally, many Wyoming residents must travel far or even out of state to receive appropriate healthcare because of a lack of local healthcare professionals and facilities.

In Governor Mark Gordon’s “Proposals for the Future: Wyoming’s Strategy to Survive, Drive, and Thrive” report from June 2021, the governor asks his Strike Team to consider multiple goals, including solutions that “retain and attract working families and young adults to permanently live and raise families in Wyoming, strengthen Wyoming’s economy and revenue streams and encourage the work of the Governor’s Health Care Task Force in ascertaining the most significant problems Wyoming citizens, especially children, adolescents, and the elderly, face with access to health care, mental health care, and substance abuse treatment services.” He also asks they identify and complete necessary and beneficial infrastructure projects. Planning, funding, and supporting the establishment of the University of Wyoming School of Medicine and Public Health would achieve all of these.

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