Updates from the Underserved Pathway

The Underserved Pathway Team is excited to announce big changes, including a new Faculty Director, and new online curriculum!

In order to make our modules more widely accessible, we recently made our Canvas site public (Health and Equity: Topics on Care of the Underserved). This will allow non-Pathway students, WWAMI faculty, and students and faculty from other institutions to share in our learning. Certain portions of the modules remain restricted to enrolled students and faculty.

We also launched a number of new modules. In response to student feedback, we created two new modules on topics related to racism and health, and exploring how everyday experiences of discrimination affects health. We have two new modules on Advocacy; the first is an introduction to the role of physicians as advocates, while the second provides tools for engaging in advocacy efforts. This fall we will also launch a new module on Veterans’ Health.

Dr. Sharon Dobie

Longtime Pathway Director Dr. Sharon Dobie is retiring after leading the Pathway since 2008. Since 2006, 366 students have graduated from the Underserved Pathway, which is a strong predictor of students matching into Family Medicine and other primary care residencies.

On July 1, we will welcome our new Director, Dr. Kim Kardonsky. Dr. Kardonsky has been clinical faculty in Family Medicine since 2015, and most recently worked at the Tulalip Health Clinic. Dr. Kardonsky brings years of experience in working with underserved communities, particularly Indigenous and rural communities. She will be a fantastic addition to the Pathway Team!

Dr. Kim Kardonsky

The Underserved Pathway has profound effects on our students. We are proud to offer an experience that combines clinical exposure, community-based work, and a thought-provoking curriculum. Below is a testimonial from Matt Novack, Class of 2018, who is starting his residency at Tacoma Family Medicine this summer!

Like many students who matriculate at the University of Washington School of Medicine, I was interested in primary care and underserved care prior to medical school. … volunteering at homeless shelters and free clinics … were the basis of my desire to become a physician. During medical school, it was easy to lose sight of the big picture of what I wanted out of my future career. The first 2-years emphasized building detailed, specialty specific knowledge for Step-1. I spent more time studying disease mechanisms rather than how disease presents in a primary care clinic. The Underserved Pathway was a protective factor in maintaining my interest in primary care. I established a mentoring relationship …We met regularly to discuss the struggles and joys of primary care, which gave me a more realistic understanding of the field. I participated in clinical volunteer opportunities, such as Casa Latina and CHAP Dermatology Clinic, which reaffirmed the fulfillment I get from service to others. …In my future practice, I want to improve outcomes for marginalized patients by maintaining primary care relationships throughout adverse life events, such as opioid discontinuation. This Fall, I am applying to residency in Family Medicine. I am thankful to the Underserved Pathway for keeping me connected to my core value of servicroughout medical school.