WWAMI STUDENT TRAVEL

As a student at the University of Washington School of Medicine, you will be expected to travel the five-state WWAMI region to complete required clerkship rotations (including the WRITE program) during your Patient Care and Explore & Focus phases of the curriculum. You might also travel nationally during any of the four years of the curriculum to attend various student and professional conferences. The School of Medicine has funding to help offset some of your major travel costs associated with clerkship and conference travel.

Because these funds come to the School from the WWAMI state legislatures, it is all public (tax) money, and there are laws and policies that limit how the money can be spent. This page attempts to briefly explain those limits.


1. YOUR OFFICIAL DUTY STATION
WWAMI Clerkship Travel funds can only be used to support your travel to required clinical clerkship sites, away from what's known as your "official duty station." What is your official duty station? The easiest way to think about duty stations is to remember that there are only two possibilities: Seattle, and an official Track Program site.

The official Track Program sites for the Patient Care Phase are:

State-based tracks:
Alaska
Idaho
Wyoming

City-based tracks:
Spokane, WA
Billings, MT
Bozeman, MT
Missoula, MT
Wenatchee, WA

The official Track Program sites for the Explore & Focus Phase are:

Alaska state-based track
Idaho state-based track
Montana state-based track
Spokane, WA city-based track

If you are not in one of the above-listed official Track Programs, then your official duty station is Seattle, WA. Note that the WRITE Program is not a Track; this means that for the purposes of student travel policy, your WRITE site is a required clinical clerkship site, and is not an official duty station. The official duty station for WRITE students is Seattle, WA. There are NO OTHER official duty stations than Track Program sites and Seattle.

SO WHAT IS MY OFFICIAL DUTY STATION?

Are you in one of the official Track Programs? If yes, then your Track site as listed above is your official duty station. If no, then your official duty station is Seattle, WA. The WWAMI Student Travel funding is able to support permitted expenses related to required clerkship travel from and returning to your official duty station only.


2. TRAVEL VERSUS COMMUTING
The School of Medicine is only able to provide funding support for travel from your official duty station to a required clerkship site and/or a required exam site (including OSCEs). Travel here means point-to-point, from your duty station to your clerkship site. Note that the School has no funding to support travel for preceptorships or elective rotations.

There is also no funding available to support commuting while at clinical sites or within the Seattle metropolitan area. Many clinical rotations, both in and outside the Seattle metropolitan area, require students to commute between multiple clinical sites, between didactic teaching sites and clinical training sites, and between student housing and clinical facilities. You will need to take the initiative to discover all site-specific transportation requirements before your clerkship begins. Some clerkship sites can provide vehicles, shuttle services, or other forms of transportation, while other sites provide limited or no transportation. You should generally expect to provide your own transportation. It is your responsibility to understand expectations for travel while at the clerkship site and make appropriate plans before the clerkship begins. You may need to be flexible with carpools, local and regional transportation options, bikes, etc., and be prepared to accept any costs related to "local commute" requirements, including providing your own vehicle. Detailed information on clerkship site transportation requirements can be got from the department clerkship administrators. You should contact the required clerkship department or the clinical site to get answers to any site-specific travel questions you have.


3. WHAT THE WWAMI STUDENT TRAVEL FUNDING PAYS FOR
The laws and policies regarding the funds the School receives to support WWAMI student travel limit what we can do. At present, the School is able to pay for the following:
  • 1. Mileage to/from a required clinical site
  • 2. Airfare* to/from a required clinical site in Alaska, plas baggage fees for the first two bags
  • 3. Overnight lodging whey you drive 650+ miles to a required clinical site, or when you drive to an end-of-clerkship exam held in a different location from your clinical site, or when there is inclement weather and you don't feel safe driving. The School will reimburse you up to $80/night for overnight lodging (you must present an acceptable receipt to claim reimbursment).
  • 4. Car rental in Alaska (non-Alaska students only). See here for the UW's policies regarding car rental, and information about the UW's Enterprise and National contracts.
  • 5. Required clinical clerkship housing in Seattle (for official Track Program students only).

That is everything the School pays for in the way of WWAMI clerkship travel. Meals, UHaul vehicles/trailors, skis, bicycles, repairs to your personal vehicle, traffic tickets, towing charges, and anything else not mentioned here, are your own personal expenses.

If you are going to an Alaska WRITE site, contact us at gowwami@uw.edu to make arrangements, because WRITE travel to Alaska can be complicated.

*AN IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT AIRFARE: Let us buy your airfare! If you insist upon purchasing your own flights, you assume the responsibility of providing receipts that meet the UW Central Travel Office's documentation requirements. These requirements are not necessarily intuitive or obvious, and there is a chance that you will not be reimbursed if the Central Travel Office (which is independent of the School of Medicine) rejects your receipts! Certain purchases (e.g. "package deals" combining airfare and lodging) are not reimbursible at all, so let us buy your airfare.


4. HOW IT ALL WORKS
BEFORE THE CLERKSHIP:

If you have a required clinical clerkship away from your official duty station, you will receive an email from the WWAMI CLERKSHIP TRAVEL account (gowwami@uw.edu) six weeks ahead of the first day of the clerkship. This email will have instructions about arranging airfare if your clerkship is in Alaska, and a few general instructions about travel otherwise. If you do not need the School to purchase airfare for you, you do not need to reply to this email.

DURING THE CLERKSHIP:

If you needed to stay overnight at a hotel during your travel to your clerkship site per item #3 above, you can immediately request reimbursement for up to $80 of the lodging cost by sending a copy of your receipt to gowwami@uw.edu with your request. Note that the UW Central Travel Office will reject smartphone photos of receipts, so please scan the receipt (at a minimum of 300 dpi resolution) and attach that scan to your email. Reimbursements take about two weeks to process.

If you travel to Seattle from your non-Seattle official duty station and have arranged your own lodging, you can immediately request reimbursement for up to $80/day of the lodging cost by sending a copy of your receipt to gowwami@uw.edu with your request. Reimbursements take about two weeks to process. NOTE: If you paid for your Seattle lodging in advance, you can request reimbursement even before the start of the clerkship. See here for more details about Seattle lodging for non-Seattle students.

If you traveled to Alaska and have baggage receipts, you can immediately request reimbursement for up to two checked bags by sending a copy of your receipt(s) to gowwami@uw.edu with your request. Note that the UW Central Travel Office will reject smartphone photos of receipts, so please scan the receipt (at a minimum of 300 dpi resolution) and attach that scan to your email. Reimbursements take about two weeks to process.

If you traveled to Alaska and rented a car, note that the rental agencies usually charge your credit card once when you first rent the car (for the first four weeks of the rental), and again for the remaining two weeks when you return the vehicle. As soon as your card has been charged, you should be able to get a receipt emailed to you. Forward that email receipt to gowwami@uw.edu and we'll begin processing your reimbursement. The UW Central Travel office wants the electronic version of the receipt rather than any paper receipt/contract you may have, and both Enterprise and National can easily provide one. See here for the UW's policies regarding car rental, and information about the UW's Enterprise and National contracts.

AFTER THE CLERKSHIP:

On the first Monday after the end of the clerkship, you will receive an email from the WWAMI CLERKSHIP TRAVEL account (gowwami@uw.edu) with instructions on being reimbursed for driving to/from the clerkship site and any other expenses you might have. Follow the instructions in the email. You will be sent a PDF form to print, sign and return to us. If you do not return the form, your reimbursment check will not be sent to you!

Reimbursements will all be in the form of a paper check, sent either to whatever address you provide for us, or to A300 where you can pick them up in person. The UW doesn't have the ability to reimburse you in the form of a direct deposit.

A CAVEAT ABOUT THE EMAILS:

The process that generates the before and after clerkship emails described above uses data from the e*Value scheduling system, which has limits and peculiarities. e*Value doesn't know about Track sites, it doesn't know about official duty stations, and it doesn't know about the UW's travel policies. Sometimes the reports we generate from e*Value to initiate the emails to you about travel have misleading or missing data, so it is possible that despite our best efforts, you may not get one of the before or after clerkship emails. If that's the case, please contact us at gowwami@uw.edu to arrange airfare or reimbursments.


5. OTHER THINGS:
WRITE PROGRAM TRAVEL
The WRITE program, for the purposes of student travel, is treated the same way as any other WWAMI required clerkship travel. Students will be reimbursed for travel to their WRITE site, or the School will purchase airfare to fly students to WRITE sites in Alaska. Alaska-site WRITE students who wish to ship a personal vehicle for Alaska for the duration of the WRITE program should contact gowwami@uw.edu for details, as the Washington State laws that control what we're allowed to do in this regard are subject to change.

WWAMI STUDENT CLERKSHIP HOUSING
Student housing at WWAMI (non-Seattle) Required Clerkship sites

SEATTLE CLERKSHIP HOUSING
Student Housing for WWAMI Track Students at Required Clerkships in Seattle

STUDENT CONFERENCE TRAVEL
The MSA conference travel award program

FAMILY TRAVEL
The School of Medicine Family Travel Program

EXAM/OSCE TRAVEL
Required exam/OSCE travel

STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?
Contact us at gowwami@uw.edu