Empire Health Foundation to Administer State's New Cancer Research Fund

Empire Health Foundation (EHF) of Spokane has been selected to serve as the Program Administrator for the statewide Cancer Research Endowment (CARE), a new public-private partnership that supports cancer research across the state. EHF is responsiblse to administer grants to fund research that utilizes the best science with the greatest potential to improve health outcomes for patients.

"Empire Health Foundation is deeply committed to the CARE Fund's goals and is eager to launch and scale this important initiative for our state," said Antony Chiang, president of EHF.

The initial strategic plan by the CARE Board will focus on two priority areas:

  • Distinguished Researchers. The CARE Fund will match up to $500,000 to fund recruitment packages that bring leading cancer researchers to cancer research institutions in Washington.
  • Breakthrough Fund. This fund will provide grants up to $750,000 in the first year to partnerships or collaborations solving a critical problem or trying to achieve a transformational breakthrough.

A request for proposals (RFP) for the Distinguished Researchers program will be released this summer. Proposals for the Breakthrough fund will be solicited and evaluated later this year.

CARE is created and defined by statute in RCW 43.348.

HSSA "Access to Care" RFP



HSSA RFP #13 - 2018: Increase Access to Health Care in Spokane County through Innovation

Funding agency:

Health Sciences & Services Authority (HSSA) of Spokane County

Address and contact information:

Health Sciences & Services Authority

The Paulsen Center

421 W Riverside Avenue, Suite 661

Spokane, WA 99201

Questions may be directed to:

HSSA Executive Director at (509) 474.0798 or at grantadmin@hssaspokane.org. For further information about HSSA visit www.hssaspokane.org.

Key dates:

RFP posted date: August 21,2017

Letter of intent due by 12 noon: September 21, 2017

Proposal due by 4pm: October 21, 2017

HSSA Board review: October 23 – November 6, 2017

Awards announcement: November 20, 2017

Earliest funding start date: Grant is for one year beginning in January

Funds available and project duration:

The HSSA will award one or more grants for a total of $350,000 for one year to provide innovative and collaborative health service delivery that increases access to health services in Spokane County, assuming an organization making a proposal can demonstrate a commitment to coordination, cooperation and collaboration that durably increases the efficiency of health service delivery and increases access to health care in Spokane County.


The Health Sciences and Services Authority (HSSA) was created by the Washington State Legislature in 2007 (RCW 35.104) to promote bioscience-based economic development and to advance new therapies and procedures to combat disease and promote public health. The HSSA was authorized by resolution of Spokane County in 2007 and a subsequent Memorandum of Understanding with the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board in mid-2008. The Authority has the same boundaries of Spokane County. Under the legislation, the HSSA is empowered to:

  • Leverage public monies with amounts received from other public and private sources in accordance with contribution agreements, to promote bioscience-based economic development, and to advance new therapies and procedures to combat disease and promote public health;
  • Solicit and receive gifts, grants, and bequests to promote bioscience-based economic development, and to advance new therapies and procedures to combat disease and promote public health;
  • Hold funds received by the Authority in trust to promote same; and
  • Make grants to entities pursuant to contract to promote bioscience-based economic development, and to advance new therapies and procedures to combat disease and promote public health. Grants are to specify deliverables.

The HSSA invests funds to create and support a nationally competitive health sciences research (academic and private) and health care cluster in Spokane County catalyzing connections between higher education and research and health care that lead to high wage jobs, long-term sustainability, and economic diversification. HSSA will fund the very best projects through a competitive, well-monitored and accountable process. This proposal specifically addresses a commitment to innovative and collaborative health care delivery in Spokane County that increases access to health care for its citizens. This is not a research project.


Applications for HSSA 2017 RFP #13 grant competition funding are invited from Spokane County public and nonprofit organizations, singly or in collaboration with other public and nonprofit organizations or with for-profit companies.

Eligible organizations are those that exhibit innovative new procedures, processes, or systems to deliver better solutions for promoting and delivering public health in Spokane County and increase access to health care services.

The applicant organization is responsible for submitting the application and for leading and/or facilitating the project, administering the grant and disbursing HSSA funding. An application may include one or more co-applicant organizations. Throughout this request for proposals (RFP), the terms “applicant” or “applicant organization” refer to the organization sponsoring innovative new procedures, processes, or systems to deliver better solutions for promoting and delivering public health in Spokane County and increased access to health care services.

Within this RFP, the terms “collaborating organization” or “collaborator” refer to an entity that will contribute to the proposed project, but will not share in HSSA grant funds.

For-profit entities and organizations from outside of Spokane County are not eligible to apply individually for funding, but as justified are encouraged to join an eligible applicant as a co-applicant or collaborating organization.

Applicants are responsible for consulting amendments to be sure they have the latest information.


Competition in this grant cycle will be rigorous given the anticipated demand by those organizations who serve the health care needs of Spokane County. Preparation of a proposal can be time consuming, so applicants are advised to read this RFP carefully and to review the questions below before deciding to apply. If an applicant cannot make a strong case with regard to each of the following questions, it is unlikely that his or her application will be successful.

  • What are the compelling reasons for HSSA to support this proposal?
  • What are the proposed outcomes (health indicators, increased number of people served, economic indicators), and are they significant and how so?
  • What are the compelling reasons why this project won’t be accomplished without HSSA’s investment?
  • What will be the benefit to Spokane County (and the State of Washington) from HSSA’s investment in this proposal?
  • How will the applicant continue the program after the grant has been completed?

Applicants’ answers to these questions will be evaluated as part of the proposal review process.

Submitting an RFP does not commit HSSA to award a grant or to pay any costs incurred in preparing a submittal. HSSA reserves the right to accept or reject any or all submittals, or to cancel, at its discretion, this request for qualifications at any time.


Compliance with this RFP and assurance that application materials are accurate, complete, and timely is the sole responsibility of the applicant. Applications that do not adhere to content requirements, are incomplete or incorrect, or are late will not be reviewed.

Applicants must complete two steps: 1) a mandatory letter of intent (LOI), and 2) a proposal. LOIs and proposals (with attachments) are submitted on line at www.hssaspokane.org/grants. In addition, a hard copy may be mailed to HSSA, Paulsen Center, 421 W Riverside, Suite 661, Spokane, WA 99201. No application should include information that might compromise the applicant’s subsequent ability to secure patent or other intellectual property protection.


All applicants must submit a mandatory LOI stating their intent to submit a proposal. The LOI must be received by HSSA by noon on or before September 21, 2017. Submitting an LOI does not require the prospective applicant to submit a proposal. However, no proposal will be reviewed unless an LOI has been received. The proposal is expected to address the same subject matter as that outlined in the LOI.

The LOI is not a pre-proposal. The LOI helps HSSA prepare for review of the proposals. If an LOI describes a project or program that is clearly not suited for HSSA 2017 funding, the applicant will be notified of that determination. The applicant should be aware that the LOI is subject to public disclosure. The Applicant should apply on-line at http://www.hssaspokane.org/grants. Upon receipt of the LOI by HSSA, an e-mail acknowledgement will be sent confirming receipt. Upon receiving an email notification from HSSA with a link to the proposal template, the Applicant will submit a full proposal on line.


The proposal must be received on or before 4 p.m. October 21, 2017.


  • Background, Significance and Relevance to HSSA Goals

Describe how the project will contribute to the broad, long-term strategic goal of HSSA to increase access to health services for under-served persons in Spokane County. Ensure that the following questions are answered:

How will the project exhibit innovative new procedures, processes, or systems to deliver better solutions for promoting and delivering public health in Spokane County?

Address how the program meets the HSSA goal to increase access to health care, particularly for underrepresented populations.

Who are the collaborating organizations participating in this endeavor?

Provide the experience and expertise of project director and/or staff, board members expertise and affiliation.

Describe the significance of this problem and explain how the project will alleviate and/or minimize the problem.

List the projected goals and measurable outcomes against which the grant will be measured.

Describe any significant collaboration with other organizations.

Describe how the project will leverage other funds and resources and how it proposes to be sustainable over time.

B. Challenges

Discuss the potential difficulties and limitations of the proposed project and alternative approaches to achieving the project’s aims.

C. Timeline and Milestones

Provide a timeline for the proposal keyed to the project’s objectives. Identify major milestones, propose target dates for their accomplishment, and define the criteria by which achievement of each of the milestones will be assessed.

D. Personnel

Identify key project personnel: project director, co-directors, and other individuals who will be responsible for key aspects of the project. Define their roles, and explain how their work will be coordinated.

E. Outcomes and Sustainability Plans

Describe the next steps in capitalizing on the project’s success, including both the near-term and long-term outcomes the project is designed to achieve. Describe the following:

  • the potential for contributions to the local economy;
  • the potential for follow-on funding; and
  • any commitments from collaborators.

8.REQUIRED ATTACHMENTS: The following information is to be provided under Required Attachments heading:

  • Budget. The budget must be appropriate for the scope and goals of the proposed project. Costs must be reasonably associated with the conduct and completion of the proposed project. All should be listed as direct costs, including costs typically associated with general facilities and administration. A projected timeline for expenditure of funding is required within the 12 month grant period.
  • Budget Justification. Describe the complete funding plan, detailing any support from other sources. Highlight and explain the need for any extraordinary expenditures. Describe any other infrastructure capacity-building support received or applied for that is related to the subject matter of the project being proposed to HSSA. Detailed budget figures are to be provided elsewhere.
  • Facilities and Equipment. Describe the facilities, equipment, and resources available for the project. If new equipment is part of the proposal request and will be available to support other efforts outside the scope of the HSSA-funded proposal, explain how time will be allocated to it.
  • Biographical Sketches. Applicants must provide biographical information on key personnel.
  • Letters of Support. Letters of support are required to confirm the commitment of time and resources to the project from key personnel and organizations, as well as desired (but not necessary) from supporters from the community-at-large.
  • Intellectual Property Certification. HSSA grants support projects that may lead to discoveries having commercial potential. The intellectual property (IP) certification is required for HSSA to assess how IP developed under the project will be owned and managed.

The following budget categories are provided:

  • salaries, to include wages, benefits and stipends. Salaries should be calculated on the basis of individuals’ percent effort in the project.
  • equipment, to include equipment with a unit cost greater than $5,000 that is specifically required for the project. Include only items of property with an expected service life of more than one year.
  • administrative costs, to include other administrative costs that support the project, including clerical and fiscal support. If it is impossible to break down administrative costs that are charged on an institution-wide or central basis, you may apply that portion of the indirect cost rate to the total project budget (after subtracting equipment to be purchased) and include its value in administrative costs. Departmental or other “local” administrative costs must be calculated as direct costs before inclusion. At the time of award, the applicant organization will be expected to provide the details of the components that comprise administrative costs.
  • facilities costs, to include using existing facilities for the program. Do not apply an existing indirect cost rate to the total project budget to calculate facilities costs. At the time of the award, the applicant organization will be expected to provide the details of the components that comprise facilities costs.
  • supplies, to include consumable materials and supplies required for the project, including equipment having a unit price of $5,000 or less. Expenses for personal computers are not allowable unless primarily used for this project.
  • services, to include work performed by entities other than the applicant or co-applicant organizations in support of the project. Services are provided as a regular part of such entities’ normal business operations. Services include project consultants.
  • subcontracts, to include the expenses of project research performed by co-applicants. For proposals listing for-profit collaborating companies as co-applicants, the companies will be expected to pay for their own internal costs associated with research and development activities performed on a best-effort basis. Monies may be subcontracted from the applicant organization to a company for products and services provided as deliverables to the project.
  • travel, to include expenses required for field work, attendance at meetings and conferences, and other travel required for the proposed project, including per diem allowance, subject to the applicant’s usual accounting practices.
  • other, applicant to itemize costs falling outside of the typical budget categories above, including education fees for trainees.

Proposals must clarify whether applicant organizations have policies regarding ownership and management of IP developed by their employees. If a party other than the applicant, co-applicant or collaborating organization(s) will own or have rights to IP developed under an HSSA-funded grant, the applicant must provide an explanation of and justification for such provision.

Applicants must describe how IP developed under an HSSA grant will be managed for commercialization. Applicant organizations with established IP management infrastructures can meet this requirement by referencing the policies, practices, and structure they already have in place. Organizations without an IP policy or an established infrastructure to manage IP should contact the HSSA before submitting their proposal to discuss how they plan to manage and commercialize IP associated with the proposed project.


Following the proposal deadline, all proposals will be screened for compliance with this RFP. Those that are judged to be compliant will proceed to review.

Grant Review Process: A subcommittee of the HSSA Board will evaluate and score each proposal based on individual merits. To assist its evaluation, the subcommittee may, at its sole discretion, seek outside expertise. All reviewers are subject to the HSSA’s confidentiality policy. Once all proposals are scored, they will be ranked and awards made by the HSSA Board as provided herein.

HSSA reserves the right to invite applicants for a personal interview or to require a site visit as part of the expert review process.

Names of reviewers will not be made available to applicants. Applicants and their representatives may not contact reviewers regarding submitted applications. Any such contact or attempt to contact may result in the disqualification of that applicant’s proposal from the competition.

Evaluation Criteria

All funded proposals will be expected to foster innovative new procedures, processes, or systems to deliver better solutions for promoting and delivering public health in Spokane County and increase access to health care services.

Selection of Awards

The HSSA Board Grants Committee will recommend proposals to the HSSA Board of Directors for funding. The Board will individually review all proposals. The Board’s award selections will be based on the Board’s individual review of the proposals, the Subcommittee’s recommendations, the availability of funds, and the goals of the grant competition. Consistent with these and with its enabling legislation, the Board will consider the following applicable additional criteria in making award decisions:

  • Quality of the proposed research;
  • Its potential to improve health outcomes, with particular attention to the likelihood it will lower health care costs;
  • Evidence of sustainability through additional extramural funding;
  • Its potential to provide health care benefits; and
  • Its potential to stimulate employment; and
  • Evidence of public and private collaboration.

Specific to this grant competition, a combination of results may be considered to include identification and development of necessary infrastructure to support health and bioscience research such as:

  • follow-on funding;
  • stimulation of collaborations;
  • new business start-ups;
  • cost savings or cost avoidance (e.g. emergency care) due to HSSA investment;
  • number of workers employed due to the HSSA investments;
  • number of additional patients served because of the HSSA investment, and number of total patients served by the grant recipient organization, and
  • contribution to improved health and health care.

Grant Award Agreement

Awards are subject to grant agreements that will be negotiated between the grant recipient organizations and the HSSA. Research funding will be disbursed to applicant organizations on a cost-reimbursement basis subject to the achievement of mutually agreed upon milestones and timelines. The grant award agreement will include the right of HSSA to withhold payments if progress reports have not been provided or milestones have not been met in a timely fashion.


RFP Updates

The HSSA reserves the right to amend or terminate this RFP after its release. Any clarifications or changes in guidelines or requirements will be reduced in writing and sent to those submitting responses to the RFP. Applicants are responsible for reviewing amendments to be sure they have the latest information.

Confidentiality and Public Disclosure

Information in grant application is reviewed by HSSA with the understanding that it shall be used or disclosed solely for evaluation of applications or as required by law. HSSA holds all applications confidential, subject to the public disclosure laws of the State of Washington. [For more information about Washington public disclosure law, applicants are referred to chapter 42.56 RCW and to the exemption provisions in RCW 42.56.270(18).]

Applicants responding to this RFP are hereby put on notice that their responses are public records and may be subject to public disclosure under the state’s Public Disclosure Act codified in chapter 42.56 RCW; provided, however, the Public Disclosure Act contains various exemptions with regard to some information contained in the RFP. One such exemption is RCW 42.56.270(18) which reads as follows:

(18) Financial, commercial, operations and technical and research information

and data submitted to or obtained by a health sciences and services authority

in applications for, or delivery of, grants under RCW 35.104.010 through 35.104.060,

to the extent that such information, if revealed, would reasonably be expected to

result in private loss to providers of this information is exempt from disclosure.

Please MARK all information provided in your proposal which you believe falls into the above provision or any other applicable provisions in the Public Disclosure Act which are applicable to a proposal in response to this HSSA RFP. Applicants will be notified of any public disclosure request with regard to a proposal and be afforded an opportunity to provide further information specifying why the information is exempted from disclosure under the above provision or any other application exemption from disclosure. The ultimate determination of whether the information is subject to disclosure will rest with the HSSA. However, HSSA will advise the Applicant of its ultimate determination on whether to release all or a portion of any application and afford the Applicant a 10-day time frame to seek appropriate legal redress should it disagree with HSSA’s determination.

Conflict of Interest

When performing HSSA-funded research or increasing infrastructure capacity for research, it is essential that the personal interests of reviewers or the proposal proponents do not impede their judgment or compromise their objectivity. Even the perception of a conflict of interest has the potential to erode the public’s confidence in the research process. It is essential that applicant organizations have a financial conflict of interest policy in place and that all proposals submitted to HSSA have been vetted according to that policy. In accepting an award, the applicant organization will certify to HSSA in the grant agreement that potential financial conflicts of personnel participating in the funded research or infrastructure project have been disclosed and that all conflicts have been eliminated or mitigated. Applicant organizations that do not have a financial conflict of interest policy should consult with HSSA early in the application process to discuss how the financial conflict of interest review will be performed.

Intellectual Property

Projects involving multiple collaborating organizations must be supported by an agreement that makes explicit provision for the disposition of IP rights among the organizations. Such an agreement must clearly allocate the rights that the organizations will have in any IP developed during HSSA-funded research and identify which of the organizations will be responsible for commercialization. The IP rights disposition agreement does not need to be submitted with the proposal but must be in place before the grant agreement is signed. One example of an appropriate agreement for this purpose can be found in the Federal Small Business Technology Transfer Research Program – “The Allocation of Rights in Intellectual Property and Rights in Intellectual Property and Rights to Carry out Follow-On Research, Development, or Commercialization”: www.dodbir.net/solicitation/pdf/allocationofrights.pdf.

Reporting Requirements

HSSA grants are an investment by Spokane County and the State of Washington in the future of its citizens. Full and timely reporting of the progress and results of funded proposals by principal investigators has great importance for calculating the returns on that investment.

Reporting requirements, specific for each funded proposal, will be finalized in the grant agreement. HSSA requires the following reports: semi-annual progress reports, annual financial reports, final project and financial reports, and post-project annual reports for a period of five years. Site visits to and in-person briefings from principal investigators may be used by HSSA as tools to track the progress of funded projects.


HSSA reserves the right to publicly disseminate information about its granting activities. HSSA communications to the public may include lists of LOIs and proposals received, the names of principal investigators and applicant organizations, project titles, descriptions of proposals funded, and reports about project progress and outcomes. Recipient organizations and principal investigators will be expected to provide the HSSA with reasonable assistance in communicating funded research and its impacts to the public.

Funding Start Date

Funds will not be authorized for expenditure by HSSA until the Grant Award Agreement between HSSA and the recipient organization is completed and signed by both parties.

HSSA Announces $350,000 2018 "Access to Care" Grant Competition


August 21, 2017


Nancy Isserlis Susan Ashe

HSSA Board Chair HSSA Executive Director

nli@winstoncashatt.com susan@hssaspokane.org

509.838.6131 509.474.0798

HSSA Announces $350,000 2018 “Access to Care”

Grant Competition

SPOKANE, WA – The Health Sciences & Services Authority (HSSA) of Spokane County announced that its annual “Access to Care” grant competition to non-profit and other organizations is now open. This grant seeks applicants who provide innovative health service delivery and increased access to health care to at risk populations.

The HSSA RFP #13 2018 – Access to Care grant will award up to $350,000 for one or more grants that durably increase the efficiency of health service delivery and increases access to health care for at risk populations in Spokane County.

“HSSA’s mission includes increasing access to health care through innovative and collaborative health care delivery in Spokane County, as well as to improve the capacity of the Spokane region to contribute to advances in health sciences research,” said Nancy L. Isserlis, HSSA Board Chair.

Here are key dates related to HSSA RFP #13 2018 “Access to Care” Grant applicant proposals for funding:

RFP posted date: August 21, 2017

Letter of intent due by 12 noon: September 21, 2017

Final Proposal due by 4 pm: October 20, 2017

Awards announcement: November 20, 2017

Applicants should submit a letter of intent (LOI) on the HSSA website at www.hssaspokane.org under the Grants tab on or after August 21st. HSSA will acknowledge receipt and for those Applicants who meet HSSA criteria, HSSA will provide a link for the Applicant to use to submit a full proposal. This should expedite the process. HSSA also will coordinate directly with the applicants, if necessary. If the LOI is selected, a full proposal would be due via the HSSA website by 4 pm on October 20, 2017. In addition to the normal requirements of applicants, past recipients should reference in the current proposal the major outcomes in past HSSA grants.

HSSA’s grant competition helps to meet one of its strategic goals to increase access to health services in Spokane County for at risk populations, and represents a fund of about 15 percent of annual revenues designated for this purpose.

“To date we have awarded $1.9 million in “Access to Care” grants, providing resources to those organizations in our county who do important work with people who otherwise would not receive health care services or would seek these services from the area’s emergency rooms and other expensive options,” Isserlis said. “Some end up incarcerated at taxpayers’ expense, so one of HSSA’s intents is to decrease costs to our area health care providers and taxpayers,” Isserlis said.

HSSA’s other strategic initiative is to increase local health sciences research and the infrastructure that supports it, and as required designates 75 percent of its revenues for that purpose. In the latter case, research grants are open year-round for proposals at any time. HSSA has invested $5 million to date in health science research grants.

Together with its Access to Care grants, the organization estimates that it has created a total of 469 jobs and $52 million in total economic activity. This includes over $17 million in extramural federal grant funding to Spokane. More information about all HSSA grants may be found at www.hssaspokane.org.


About HSSA:

The Health Sciences & Services Authority (HSSA) of Spokane County was established in 2007 by the Washington legislature, authorized county-wide by Spokane County in 2008 and began operating in 2009. Its mission is to invest in health sciences research to promote economic development, advance new therapies and procedures to combat disease, and to promote public health. HSSA invests funds to create and support a nationally competitive health sciences research cluster in Spokane County, and works to catalyze higher education research and the health sciences industry that will lead to higher wage jobs, long-term sustainability and economic diversification. For more information, visit our website at www.hssaspokane.org or call 509.474.0798.

About Our Board:

Nancy Isserlis, Attorney, Winston & Cashatt and HSSA Board Chair; Michael Wilson, Consultant and HSSA Grants Committee Chair; Jason Thackston, Senior Vice President of Energy Resources, Avista Corp. and HSSA Finance Committee Chai0; Gary Pollack, Ph.D., Dean, WSU College of Pharmacy, WSU Spokane; Kevin Oldenburg, Ph.D., President, 2nd Sight Bioscience; David J. Vachon, Ph.D., CEO/Founder, Iasis Molecular Sciences/Novion Technologies, and Dr. Francisco Velàzquez, President & CEO, PAML and PAML Ventures.


HSSA Announces Two Board Vacancies

SPOKANE, Wash. – The Health Sciences and Services Authority (HSSA) of Spokane County has announced two vacancies on its nine-person Board of Directors. These positions will be appointed one each by the Mayor of Spokane and by the Spokane County Commissioners. These local governmental organizations have their own application process found on their respective websites www.spokanecity.org and www.spokanecounty.org under Boards & Commissions.

The HSSA Board seeks individuals to fill these vacancies preferably with professional life/health sciences experiences in the private sector and/or academia. Experience successfully starting and operating health/life science businesses is preferred, but not mandatory. The HSSA Board meets quarterly.

HSSA Board members serve four-year terms but in the case of these two vacancies where new members will fulfill existing terms, the County appointee would initially serve until May 2019, and the City appointee will serve until July 2019. When the terms expire there is the opportunity to serve additional terms.

HSSA has invested approximately $5 million to date in health science researchers, research and infrastructure in the county. It also has invested about $2 million in its annual Access to Care grants to promote public health. It has created over 460 direct/indirect jobs and $52 million in total economic activity.

Questions about these Board vacancies may be directed to the Executive Director at 509.474.0798 or susan@hssaspokane.org.

Concerns for Higher Education/Research in New D.C. Administration Outlined by WSU Pharmacy Dean Pollack

Here is a thoughtful discussion from Dr. Gary Pollack, WSU Dean of the College of Pharmacy and HSSA Board Member. Dr. Pollack outlines concerns for higher education and research at the federal level in a new Administration. The article first appeared in the College's e-newsletter Cougar RX.

A new administration in Washington D.C. always brings uncertainty to higher education. Changes in policy, budgetary priorities, and politico-social philosophy can have profound effects on colleges and universities, especially public institutions with a significant research mission.

The current anxiety in higher education is more acute than most of us have experienced in our lifetimes. Within academic health sciences in particular, there are at least three key areas of concern:

  • Vulnerability of the NIH budget given the administration’s stated goals directing priorities to other areas. Without associated reductions in entitlement programs, it is unclear how a congress previously committed to a balanced budget will approve these new expenditures without significant cuts in a variety of federal programs, including those that fund basic and applied research.
  • “Fake science” may become institutionalized. The first indication of this potential trend is the recent alleged commission on “vaccine safety and scientific integrity” (suggesting that the integrity of the science that has demonstrated conclusively that vaccines are safe and effective will be under attack). A recent outbreak of mumps in Washington state, including a large cluster of cases in Spokane County, is a reminder of the critical importance that immunizations are to public health.
  • Restrictions on immigration may have an impact on academic research. A significant plurality of students pursuing advanced degrees in the sciences at U.S. universities are from overseas. These international students are not displacing U.S. citizens from academic programs; there is simply an insufficient supply of domestic students who are interested in advanced training in the sciences, including biomedical and health sciences. The fear of losing the ability to enroll qualified international students in advanced degree-granting programs within the academy is real. The realization of that fear ultimately being a reduction in the science workforce with significant and persistent long-term costs to the economy.

Among these areas of concern, the debate continues as to which one is the most important and how each will impact the policy landscape surrounding higher education and research. In this environment of anxiety we need to keep several thoughts close to both heart and mind; thoughts which are part of the very fabric that our university community is comprised of and which, I believe, cannot be reiterated too much. At WSU we hold the following core values:

  • We are committed to being a community that protects the free exchange of ideas while encouraging dialog that is constructive and civil.
  • We embrace a worldview that recognizes and values the importance of domestic and global diversity, global interdependence, and sustainability.

Time will tell us what the final policy landscape will look like. In the meantime I know that the progress we have made as a college, university and community cannot be undone if we keep our core values close to heart and continue to collaborate on the solutions that will advance, promote and protect human health. This is the vision of our college’s land-grant heritage and tradition of service to society, and is why we strive every day for excellence in collaborative research and scholarship, and developing outstanding health care professionals and scientists.

Spokane-based PAML to be sold to LabCorp

Life sciences company LabCorp, headquartered in Burlington, N.C. intends to purchase Spokane-based Pathology Associates Medical Laboratories from its current owners, Providence Health & Services, Renton, WA, and Catholic Health Initiatives, Boulder, CO. The companies confirmed the sale in a news release issued yesterday.

PAML employs 1,600 people, about 500 employed in Spokane where the company is headquartered. Its President & CEO, Francisco Velazquez, MD, SM, is also a member of HSSA's board of directors. The sale is likely to continue through 2017 into 2018.

WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine Gets NWCCU Accreditation

WSU's Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine in Spokane has now achieved another major milestone when it received news this week that WSU was granted accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) for the doctor of medicine program it will be offering.

Founding Dean John Tomkowiak, MD, MOL, said the accreditation process was a rigorous one and required enormous combined effort of faculty, staff and administration. "This is a major step that allows the university to confer the MD degree to graduating medical school students," said Dr. Tomkowiak.

The inaugural class of medical students will begin in August 2017.

Life Science Washington Commercialization Bootcamp & Networking Events in Spokane

Life Science Washington is partnering with WSU Spokane and Startup Spokane to host a networking event March 16th, 5:30-7:00 PM at Startup Spokane, 610 W 2nd Avenue, Spokane. It's called Ecosystem (as in the life sciences ecosystem) Connect. The next day on March 17th from 9 AM - 4 PM at WSU Spokane Room SAC 147, the partners will deliver a one day bootcamp. Topics to be covered include funding sources, regulatory issues, IP/legal issues and market research. These events are FREE to attend. Registration for the Ecosystem Connect networking event is www.eventbrite.com/e/ecosystem-connect-networking-... and registration for the bootcamp is www.lifesciencewa.org/event/LSBootcampCourse. For more information, contact Kayla Young, Kayla@lifesciencewa.org. The event is funded by a grant from the Life Sciences Discovery Fund.

UW CoMotion Labs Expand to Spokane

CoMotion, the University of Washington's collaborative innovation hub, recently expanded its CoMotion Labs to Spokane. The intent is to connect the region's vibrant startup community more fully with western Washington's. Called CoMotion Labs @ Spokane, its mission is to contribute to the growth of the innovation community in Eastern Washington by bringing UW resources, assets, tools and networks to the region. UW suggests the focus of the Spokane lab will be on manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture and robotics. CoMotion Labs hired Brady Ryan as the CoMotion Labs @ Spokane manager. He most recently was the commercialization manager and business development manager at Life Science Washington. Ryan will be located at the UW Spokane Center in downtown Spokane.

"Spokane's University District and the entrepreneurial ecosystem will greatly benefit with the presence of University of Washington's CoMotion Labs," said Steve Trabun, Avista regional business manager. "Having CoMotion Labs in our community will further enhance the collaborative opportunities between Startup Spokane, a program of Greater Spokane Incorporated, and our region's colleges and universities. As a result, the entrepreneurial ecosystem will be strengthened to create even more ideas and early stage growth companies in technology, life sciences, and other emerging areas."

Velazquez, Ashe elected to Life Science Washington Board Positions

HSSA Board member Dr. Francisco Velazquez, PAML President & CEO, has been appointed to the Executive Committee of the Life Science Washington Board. Susan Ashe, HSSA Executive Director, also was elected to the statewide board for her first term. Life Science Washington is an independent, non-profit trade association serving the life sciences industry in the state of Washington.The organization advocates for positive public policy and private investment, and brings together research institutions, investors and entrepreneurs to grow its economic sector and create healthier communities.