Spokane Journal of Business

Native-based simulation clinic planned at WSU Spokane

Facility to be indigenous built, instructed space for health care learning

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-Washington State University
WSU Health Sciences students learn and practice in a simulation space in the Center for Native American Health.

WSU—Washington State University Spokane’s Native American Health Sciences program plans to build what the university claims will be the nation’s first indigenous-developed and instructed clinical simulation space at the recently opened Center for Native American Health, on the Spokane campus.

NAHS will construct 1,045 square feet of clinical space to include a patient examination simulation room, a hospital patient exam simulation room, a teaching and mediation room, and storage for the clinical simulation spaces and accompanying healing methods.

The project, which likely will be completed in 2023, is funded through a $250,000 grant from Bank of America as part of the company’s focus on advancing racial equality and economic opportunity. In recognition of the funding commitment, the space will be named the Bank of America Indigenous Clinical Simulation Suites.

“Bank of America is investing in a future where our health care workforce will begin to eliminate health disparities through culturally centered knowledge and practices that counterbalance western views, instead of perpetuating them,” says Naomi Bender, director of WSU Spokane’s NAHS program.

Students and clinicians will gain a holistic view of care with the help of Native American instructors in medicine, nursing, pharmacy and allied health, and areas of traditional healing perspectives, Bender says. 

The clinical simulation space will enable students—both indigenous and otherwise—to learn about indigenous health and wellness from Native American healers.

Kurt Walsdorf, Bank of America market president for Spokane and Idaho, says, “This program is creating pathways for Native American communities by reimagining both education and patient care in a way that is uniquely influenced by those it will serve.”

Walsdorf says the bank’s partners at NAHS are providing a strong curriculum “that tackles health disparities for tribal communities in the Pacific Northwest and beyond, while also developing a diverse future workforce.”

Additionally, NAHS is developing a 12-credit Interprofessional Indigenous Healing Perspectives certificate that will use the clinical simulation wing to advance cultural safety practices in medicine. 

The certificate will be available both in-person and online for learners across the nation.

The Center for Native American Health, which opened early this year, also represents a major milestone of WSU Spokane’s NAHS efforts to recruit, retain, and serve Native and non-Native students and tribal community partners. Native American pre-health students matriculating to WSU systemwide increased by 30% in the most recent academic year, and WSU Spokane saw even greater growth, with a 50% increase in Native American students matriculating to the medicine, nursing, and pharmacy programs.

With this grant, NAHS also aims to provide support, space, training, collaborations, and other work with tribal communities across the nation.

Currently, WSU Spokane boasts 45 Native American students, and NAHS serves 189 WSU Native American pre-health students, most of whom are based on the Pullman campus.

NAHS also hosts outreach events and programs at 47 public high schools and more than 30 tribal high schools throughout the Pacific Northwest.

This is the second recent collaboration between WSU and Bank of America. The first involved a $250,000 grant to help launch Spinout Space in Spokane, also known as sp3nw, a new life sciences incubator that assists startup companies.

 

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