University Renovations

WSU Spokane Receives Grant for Indigenous Clinical Simulation Space

Washington State University Spokane announced this week that its Native American Health Sciences program has received a grant to enrich its space. With a $250,000 grant from Bank of America, the Center for Native American Health will construct what is believed to be the first indigenous-developed and -instructed clinical simulation space in the U.S.

According to a news release, NAHS will build 1,045 square feet of clinical space featuring a patient exam simulation room, a hospital patient exam simulation room, storage for the clinical simulation spaces, and a teaching and meditation room. The Bank of America grant comes as a result of the company’s focus on advancing economic opportunities and racial equality. The space will be named the Bank of America Indigenous Clinical Simulation Suites.

“Throughout our histories and across the world, it has taken the listening ears, minds and hearts of our allies and friends who wanted to see a more peaceful, kind and equitable world,” said Naomi Bender, WSU Spokane Native American Health Sciences program director. “Through this generous gift, Bank of America is honoring what so many others have set aside: our ways of knowing and healing. 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.”

Native instructors will use the space to educate both students and clinicians on a more holistic view of medical, nursing, pharmacy and allied health treatment. Both Native and non-Native students will benefit from a more thorough knowledge of traditional healing perspectives.

“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,” said Kurt Walsdorf, Bank of America Spokane president. “Our 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. We appreciate the invaluable contributions of Dr. Bender and all those involved for ensuring that our region is a beacon for positive change.”

The Center for Native American Health opened in early 2021 and represents a university effort to recruit, retain and serve Native students and tribal community partners. According to a press release, the number of Native American pre-health students matriculating to the WSU system at large increased by 30 percent in the most recent academic year. WSU Spokane saw a 50% increase in Native American students moving into its medicine, nursing and pharmacy programs.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].