The WWAMI consortium, started in 1971, has grown into a nationally acclaimed rural medicine program named after its five member states: Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho.
Based at the University of Washington in Seattle, it emphasizes primary care and decentralized training similar to the approach favored by UC Merced. More than 60 percent of its graduates have stayed to practice within the five states.
Dr. Dan Hunt, who headed the consortium for 17 years, is now senior director of accreditation services at the Association of American Medical Colleges in Washington, D.C., which accredits all U.S. medical schools. A longtime advocate of training more rural doctors, he cautions that launching such programs can face an uphill battle.