SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga University in Spokane and the University of Washington in Seattle announced a new partnership that will see UW medical students on Gonzaga campuses as soon as the fall of 2016.

The partnership will have 60 first-year medical students from UW go to Spokane for 18 months to study before they start their clinical rotations.

"This is literally transforming our local economy by building on our community's largest economic driver-our health care industry," said Greater Spokane Incorporated President Todd Mielke.

Presidents of both Gonzaga and UW were in attendance as well as Spokane Mayor David Condon.

“We see this as another example today of Gonzaga University carrying out its mission,” said Gonzaga University President Dr. Thayne McCulloh. "From our perspective there can be no higher calling then to address the concerns involving the health and well-being of our fellow citizens."

Dr. McCulloh said the nation’s need for health care professionals was part of the decision to partner with UW.

UW President Ana Mari Cauce said the Spokane community was a part of their DNA. She said the partnership will eventually go beyond medical education.

"With this new partnership we are further strengthening the vitality and health of this region as together we expand the medical school," said Cauce.

In addition to the new partnership, the presidents of UW and Gonzaga said they hope to begin research initiatives related to the health care industry.

UW's medical school most recently had a partnership with Washington State University, but that has since dissolved and now Washington State University will open its own medical school in Spokane in 2017.