A new school, offering a four-year post-graduate program in osteopathic medicine, is expected to open in central Washington in 2007, backers...

YAKIMA — A new school, offering a four-year post-graduate program in osteopathic medicine, is expected to open in central Washington in 2007, backers said yesterday.

The Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences expects to draw 100 students from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska each year.

Graduates of the private school will receive a doctor of osteopathic medicine degree and will move on to residency training, the school said in a news release.

Osteopathic medicine applies a holistic approach to medicine by emphasizing the relationship between the body’s nerves, muscles, bones and organs to prevent, diagnose and treat illness, disease and injury, according to the American Osteopathic Association.

No land has been purchased. Organizers were working to establish an office in Yakima, said Tim Morris, chief operating officer.

Sponsors of the school have secured commitments for $3 million of the estimated $20 million necessary for construction and initial operation of the school. Early plans call for construction of an 80,000-square-foot facility that eventually will grow into a 30-acre campus.

“We are proud to be in a position of training much-needed physicians dedicated to improving health care in the Pacific Northwest,” said Dr. Greg Mick, a neurosurgeon at the NeuroScience Clinic and president of the new school.

“We have a big job to do in terms of raising funds for this institution,” said Dr. Lloyd Butler, vice president of the school’s board. “At the same time, our team is very optimistic.”

The first two years of the four-year program will focus on basic sciences, followed by two years of clinical rotations.

Morris said that when fully operating, the school will employ an estimated 100 people, including faculty.

There are 22 osteopathic medical schools nationwide, the closest in California. The school will be accredited through the American Osteopathic Association, Morris said.