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News and Events

Alaska Health Education Summit

The Annual Alaska Health Education Summit (previously the PreMed Summit) will be held virtually this Saturday, March 26th, 2022 from 10:00AM to 3:00PM. Various programs from across the College of Health will be represented, and participants will not only walk away with a well-rounded idea of what the COH has to offer, but also with a better idea of what career path is right for them and how best to pursue it.

Participants include high school, undergraduate and non-traditional students, as well as parents, advisors and guidance counselors.

Please share this information with any prospective participants who may benefit from the event. A Zoom link is available upon free registration at uaa.alaska.edu/health-summit where you can also find our agenda and last year's summit archive.

Alaska WWAMI Community Celebrates 50th Anniversary

On Saturday, March 5, Alaska WWAMI medical students connected with faculty and alumni over cocoa, great conversation, and winter festivities in celebration of 50 years of partnership between the University of Alaska Anchorage and the University of Washington School of Medicine. Alaska WWAMI grows the next generation of physicians and expands Alaskans’ access to a high-quality medical education. 

 Alaska WWAMI has trained more than 500 physicians since 1971. The UW School of Medicine and its WWAMI program has been ranked No. 1 in primary care education for most of the past nearly 30 years, and is currently ranked in the top two medical schools in the country for Family Medicine by U.S. News & World Report. About 60% of Alaska WWAMI graduates return to practice in Alaska and account for almost 14% of the state’s licensed physicians.

 “We are proud to be Alaska’s medical school,” said Dr. Barb Doty, Assistant Clinical Dean of Alaska WWAMI. “We are able to cost-effectively educate high-quality medical school candidates from Alaska that want to practice in Alaska.”

Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Pre-medical Studies 

Beginning fall 2021, the Alaska WWAMI School of Medical Education and the College of Health at UAA were delighted to offer a new Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Pre-Medical Studies. This certificate is designed to help those students who already have a baccalaureate degree prepare themselves for medical school and complete their pre-requisite coursework.

2019 Alaska Family Physician of the Year

Congratulations to Kathy Young, M.D., for receiving the Alaska Family Physician of the Year! Dr. Young received the honor from the Alaska Academy of Family Physicians for her dedication to family medicine and commitment to serving underserved communities in Alaska. As her WWAMI colleague. Dr. Sarah Murphy stated, "I cannot say enough positive things about the professional learning environment Dr. Young creates for the future physicians of Alaska. She inspires future Family Physicians and those opting for other specialties to embrace the both the academic and humanistic sides of medicine."

WWAMI Director Announced

Dr. Kathy Young  has been appointed the WWAMI Foundation Director.Kathy Young photo

Dr. Young currently practices family medicine at the FQHC MatSu Health Services as she has a drive to provide care to underserved populations in Alaska.

In the WWAMI program at University of Alaska-Anchorage, she inspires future Family Physicians as she leads the Foundations of Clinical Medicine course, works as a College Mentor, and coordinates the student's Primary Care Practicum. In addition to being a teacher and mentor in WWAMI, she is currently on the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee at Providence and is involved in the Alaska State Medical Association. Dr. Young received her medical degree from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and has been practicing medicine for almost 30 years. 

 A Celebration of Scholarship

Over the fall quarter, first year WWAMI students presented their work at each Foundation sites’ 2018 Medical Student Poster Session. This celebration of scholarly work included hypothesis-driven research, literature reviews, Rural Underserved Opportunities Program (RUOP), and Global Health Immersion Programs (GHIP) projects. Students presented meaningful and impressive work on topics such as: 

  • Peer-Based Intravention: Bidirectional healing as primary prevention for youth opioid addiction in Ketchikan
  • Postoperative Outcomes Following Colorectal Surgery for Patients with Crohn's Disease Managed with an Enhanced Recovery Protocol
  • Targeted Liposomal TRP-2 Peptide Immunotherapy for Melanoma in Mice
  • Prevalence of Helicobacter Pylori, Gastric Cancer, and Ulcerative Disease Among American Indian and Alaska Native Peoples 2001-2014
  • Depression and Suicidality in Naivasha, Kenya: Investigating the Intentionality of Poison Ingestion and Providing Clinical Tools for Those Caring for Suicidal Patients
  • Preserving Cognition in Elders with Mild-To-Moderate Dementia using Cognitive Stimulation Therapy in Homer, Alaska 

And many others! The wide range of topics and scholarly approaches reflect the diverse interests of members of the E17 UWSOM student body, who are well poised to innovate and move medicine forward in an equally wide range of domains. We are proud of what they have accomplished in this short time and very much appreciate the faculty mentors who guided the process. 

In addition to presenting their work at their regional sites, seven Alaska WWAMI students, representing UWSOM, presented at the annual Western Student and Resident Medical Research Forum (WSMRF) in Carmel, CA. on January 24-26, 2019.  Student and resident presenters are fully integrated into sub-specialty sessions moderated by faculty from academic medical centers in the western region. All accepted student and resident abstracts are published in The Journal of Investigative Medicine.  In recent years, WSMRF has evolved to become the largest faculty mentored student and resident research meeting in the U.S., with over 450 abstracts presented by students, residents, and faculty each year. Two Alaska WWAMI student were among Conference Award Winners, Congratulations

  • Rachael Carricaburu received the Western Section of the American Federation Medical Research/Western Association of Physicians/Western Society for Clinical Investigation Student Subspecialty Award Winner for her Data Gathering/Hypothesis-Driven Inquiry, Use of non-invasive serologic markers and FibroScan® to determine severity of liver disease in patients with Chronic Hepatitis B: Can non-invasive testing approximate liver fibrosis and determine which patients need treatment: A population-based cohort study
  • Erik Wortman received the Best Presentation Award for his work, 'Grandpa Speaks, Nobody Listens' A Change in Mindset of Elders in the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands 

First Alaska WWAMI Medical Student from Barrow Advances in Medical Program, Receives Award

Twenty medical students attending the University of Washington School of Medicine at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA)/the Alaska WWAMI program, have successfully completed the Foundations of Clinical Medicine phase of their training, marking the first milestone on their path to becoming physicians. During a ceremony this on December 11, 2017, the students were presented with personalized white coats that signal the end to their time studying basic science curriculum, and the beginning of their practical/clinical study in hospitals and clinics.

Among these students is WWAMI Alaska’s first-ever student from Barrow, Nicole Jeffery. Nicole is Yup’ik Eskimo, originally from Bristol Bay. She grew up in Barrow and graduated from Alyeska Central School. Nicole graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in Human Biology. In addition to successfully completing the first phase of her medical education, at the ceremony Nicole received the 2017 Director’s Award for Academic Excellence, for her ability to share rich and diverse experiences and perspectives with her fellow students in the WWAMI program.

“We are very fortunate to have such a high-quality medical school experience in Alaska,” said Jane Shelby, Ph.D., assistant dean for the Foundations Phase at UAA. “The transition ceremony represents the successful completion of a very rigorous curriculum, and these students and our state should be very proud of their accomplishment. Through this state-supported program, Alaska medical students are given the opportunity to realize their dreams of becoming physicians. This is especially important for rural communities such as Barrow, Chugiak, Kasilof, Kenai and Talkeetna, in dire need of physicians.”