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Guest Column: Statewide support has helped PNWU thrive | Opinion

Remarkable things are happening at Yakima’s Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences (PNWU), a grassroots, nonprofit university founded less than 20 years ago by a passionate group of community leaders.

In less than two decades, PNWU has achieved national recognition. Our College of Osteopathic Medicine is ranked in the top-10 in the U.S. in three mission-related categories: Second for most graduates practicing in primary care fields, third for most graduates practicing in medically underserved areas, and sixth for most graduates practicing in rural areas (U.S. News and World Report).

On Saturday, we celebrated our 12th annual commencement ceremony. Each of our graduates become healers in their communities, and most of them choose Washington as their home.

Our wholehearted commitment to the health of rural and medically underserved communities has been possible thanks to the enduring support of the Yakama Nation, and our state’s leaders, including Gov. Jay Inslee, House Speaker Laurie Jinkins, Sen. Curtis King, Sen. Judy Warnick, Rep. Marcus Riccelli and Rep. Chris Corry, among many others. We are grateful for the generosity of the state of Washington for allocating $5.25 million to PNWU which will provide equipment for our School of Occupational Therapy and support construction of the Student Learning Collaborative that will house parts of all of our programs, including our developing School of Dental Medicine.

Our aspirational vision to revolutionize community health is within our reach thanks to strong partnerships with health care organizations throughout the state, including MultiCare Health System, Premera Blue Cross, Delta Dental of Washington, Yakima Valley Farmworkers Clinic, Yakima Neighborhood Health Services, Sea Mar Community Health Centers, Comprehensive Healthcare, Community Health of Central Washington and others.

Fellow colleges and universities believe in our mission. Washington State University, University of Washington, Central Washington University, Heritage University, Yakima Valley College, Perry Technical Institute,

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