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One Scholarship At a Time

Idaho WWAMI Medical Education Program at University of Idaho Celebrates the Future of Idaho Physicians at Their First Annual Scholarship Reception

Just nine years ago, Idaho WWAMI had only $7,000 in scholarships to award to their students. 

Now, in 2023, Idaho WWAMI and their partners will award their students over $800,000 in scholarship money. 

In October, Idaho WWAMI held its first annual Scholarship Reception to honor and thank their generous scholarship donors for everything they are doing to help the Idaho WWAMI mission and the future of Idaho physicians. 

Over the past five years, Idaho has consistently been one of the fastest growing states in the United States, taking the number one slot in 2022 with a 1.8% population increase.

Despite this, Idaho remains 50th out of 50 in physicians per capita.

Idaho WWAMI is committed to helping solve the physician shortage in Idaho. As the only allopathic medical school in Idaho, University of Idaho’s WWAMI focuses on training medical students who are residents of Idaho to meet the needs of Idaho’s largely rural population. But they can’t do it alone. 

Three women standing together and smiling.
Kendra Witt-Doyle, Executive Director of the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health (far right) with two of the Blue Cross of Idaho scholarship recipients.

“Thank you to the donors who have locked arms with us and have joined in our mission to help solve Idaho’s challenges,” said Jeff Seegmiller, regional dean and director of Idaho WWAMI. “You are investing in the future of Idaho.”

Idaho WWAMI at U of I has been able to partner with different healthcare organizations like Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health and St. Luke’s, as well as private individuals like Durward and Susan Huckabay to make this possible. 

Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health Executive Director Kendra Witt-Doyle said that Idaho WWAMI’s dedication to Idaho kids and Idaho healthcare is why Blue Cross of Idaho chooses to support the Idaho WWAMI medical education program. 

“We have a physician shortage here in Idaho and I think Idaho WWAMI really understands that and is trying to meet that need and get Idaho kids the medical education that they need to meet the needs of Idaho,” she said. 

Alexis Ericsson, a second year Idaho WWAMI student from Soda Springs and a Blue Cross scholarship recipient, knows exactly what these scholarships can do for medical students, and rural communities down the line. 

“Right now, we only have two physicians in my hometown, and one is about to retire,” Ericsson said. “We have some advanced practice providers, but only one doctor. The doctor who used to do colonoscopies just left, so now people have to drive 60 miles to get that procedure done. They are definitely in need.” 

Idaho WWAMI is determined to be a part of the solution when it comes to a shortage of healthcare providers in Idaho, and securing these scholarships have been a step in the right direction. 

“Our students are the right people and our donors have recognized our needs,” Seegmiller said. “Thank you to our donors.” 

John Huckabay conversing with students in white coats.
John Huckabay (middle) talks with Idaho WWAMI students about their goals post-graduation.

Article by Emma Zado, Idaho WWAMI Medical Education Program.

Photography by Melissa Hartley, University Visual Production.

Published November 2023.

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