Today one of Coeur d’Alene’s long-time family physicians, Richard McLandress, M.D., received recognition for his contribution to medicine in our region. McLandress, director of Kootenai Clinic Family Medicine Coeur d’Alene Residency, received the WWAMI Alumni Award for excellence in mentoring teaching, leadership, and patient care. McLandress is the seventh recipient of this award, nominated and chosen by colleagues across the state.
“Recipients of this award are chosen based on their commitment to giving back through teaching and mentoring new physicians and students as well as acting as leaders in their profession and community,” said Mary Barinaga, M.D., assistant dean for regional affairs at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “Dr. McLandress exhibits all these qualities and more.”
The WWAMI Medical Education Program, affiliated with the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, represents a partnership with the University of Washington School of Medicine to provide medical education to students from the states of Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho. Idaho, along with Alaska, Montana, and Wyoming, has no medical school, so the partnership is critical to helping Idaho educate its future physicians.
“I feel humbled to receive this award,” McLandress said. “I believe a commitment to teaching in medicine is a commitment to excellence. Our commitment as a community to the training and education of new physicians is a commitment to excellence in medical care.”
McLandress, the driving force behind the creation of a family medicine residency in northern Idaho, understands the importance of recruiting new providers to the region. With Idaho ranking 49th out of 50 in the number of doctors per-capita, and in the number of medical residents per-capita, the need to recruit primary care physicians in our region is strong. Between faculty members and residents, Kootenai Clinic Family Medicine Residency has 28 physicians and four nurse practitioners treating patients in northern Idaho. The residency also just celebrated a milestone as the first class to join the program graduated in June 2017. Three of the six graduates remained in the state to practice medicine.
“Dr. McLandress is most deserving of the Idaho WWAMI Alumni Award, having been teaching since they day he graduated from his own residency,” Devin Laky, M.D., a graduate of Kootenai’s family medicine residency, said. “Since starting the residency in 2014, he has extended this learning opportunity to hone our skills in family medicine in Coeur d’Alene to 24 residents. I am part of that legacy now too, carrying it forward, and so proud of the classes who are in line to graduate as well. Coeur d’Alene and Kootenai Health offer a great community to train in.”
In addition to a physician shortage, Barinaga notes the age of the physician workforce in northern Idaho is higher than that in other regions.
“Dr. McLandress saw the writing on the wall a long time ago and worked diligently with Kootenai Health, community leaders, and the state legislature to build a residency there,” Barinaga said. “His passion and leadership in this endeavor stands out, and the state of Idaho will benefit because of it.”