PNWU makes positive impact on area economy - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

PNWU makes positive impact on area economy

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YAKIMA, WA - Yakima’s own medical school, Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences (PNWU), is making a significant contribution to the local and state economy according to a new economic impact report released this week.

In fiscal year 2015-16, the University’s operations had a $26.8 million impact in Yakima County, according to the report prepared by Tripp Umbach, a consulting firm based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. PNWU’s operations supported 327 jobs throughout Yakima County and contributed $1.7 million in state and local taxes, for example. The University positively impacts industries ranging from colleges and professional schools to construction, hotel, food, real estate, government, hospital and retail sectors, the report indicated.

“Kudos to the leaders in the Yakima community who saw the [economic] potential back in 2006 before we broke ground,” said PNWU Chief Financial Officer Ann Hittle. “PNWU’s growth has stimulated significant real estate development in Yakima, including campus buildings, apartments, hotels, and restaurants.” 

Since PNWU College of Osteopathic Medicine welcomed its first class of 70 students in 2008, the College has grown to include some 569 students in first- through fourth-year studies. In addition, PNWU’s Yakima campus welcomes collaborative classes that include students pursuing the Master of Arts degree in medical sciences, the physician assistant degree of Heritage University, and the pharmacy degree of Washington State University.

PNWU employees and students generate $902,000 annually in charitable donations, volunteer services, and charitable care throughout our area, the economic impact report noted. Organizations benefiting from these services include the Union Gospel Mission, Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic, and Central Washington Mountain Rescue.

“Probably the most compelling element is the economic impact generated when our students go into practice,” Hittle added. “By the time the current 907 students and alumni in our pipeline are practicing physicians, the annual economic impact will be over $2 billion dollars per year, mostly in Washington and the Northwest.”

Statewide, PNWU has a total annual economic impact of $47.8 million, according to Tripp Umbach. This includes total employment of 419 jobs.