Montana State University

30 students receive white coats, stethoscopes in newly enlarged WWAMI class

September 27, 2013 -- By Evelyn Boswell, MSU News Service

Students receive their white coats and stethoscopes Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, during an annual ceremony for the WWAMI Medical Education Program at Montana State University in Bozeman, Mont. The 2013 class is the first group to benefit from funding by the Montana Legislature and Gov. Steve Bullock expanding the program to 30 students. WWAMI provides Montana residents the opportunity to receive their first year of medical training at the MSU campus in Bozeman and subsequent training at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. The WWAMI program includes Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. (MSU photo by Kelly Gorham).Montana Gov. Steve Bullock congratulates Jean-Paul Toussaint, of Charlo, Mont., on receiving his white coat and stethoscope from the WWAMI Medical Education Program at Montana State University on Friday. Toussaint is part of the first WWAMI class since the 2013 Montana Legislature and Gov. Bullock provided funding to expand the program from 20 to 30 students. WWAMI provides Montana residents the opportunity to receive their first year of medical training at the MSU campus in Bozeman and subsequent training at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. The WWAMI program includes Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. (MSU photo by Kelly Gorham)

Students receive their white coats and stethoscopes Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, during an annual ceremony for the WWAMI Medical Education Program at Montana State University in Bozeman, Mont. The 2013 class is the first group to benefit from funding by the Montana Legislature and Gov. Steve Bullock expanding the program to 30 students. WWAMI provides Montana residents the opportunity to receive their first year of medical training at the MSU campus in Bozeman and subsequent training at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. The WWAMI program includes Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. (MSU photo by Kelly Gorham).   High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
msunews@montana.edu

BOZEMAN – Members of the largest class in the history of Montana’s WWAMI medical program received their white coats and stethoscopes Friday afternoon in a ceremony that involved state and university leaders who played a major role in its expansion.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Montana State University President Waded Cruzado and Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian applauded the 30 Montana students who entered the WWAMI program this year and thanked everyone who supported the 50 percent increase in enrollment.

For the past four decades, the cooperative program that involves the University of Washington School of Medicine and Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho has enrolled 20 Montana students a year.  The Montana Legislature in 2013 approved a permanent increase to 30.

“This is the first time in the history of Montana State University and the history of the state of Montana in which we have received this type of support for WWAMI from the legislature and from the state,” Cruzado told the students, family and friends who packed MSU’s Procrastinator Theatre. “That accomplishment allowed us to move from 20 slots for the first time in history and deserves a round of applause.”

The speakers all shared their appreciation for the legislators who supported the expansion, two of whom were in attendance, Rep. Tom Woods and Rep. JP Pomnichowski. The expansion received bipartisan support during the legislative session.

Christian said the increase showed that there’s strong support for WWAMI’s investment in Montana.  He noted that the program allows Montanans to serve Montanans and said the “best Montana students are stepping up to the plate.

“Learn the science of the profession, but also learn the art of the trade,” Christian advised the first-year students. “Then please come back to Montana and serve. We need you here.”

Bullock said, “You are taking important steps on a journey that will not only impact your life, but drastically impact the lives of thousands of people you are yet to meet.”

The students will face big changes in the field of medicine and big challenges in serving a state that has 1 million people in 147,000 square miles, Bullock said. Commenting that they will face an exciting time of change, he advised the students, “Don’t lose sight of yourselves. Don’t forget why you chose to follow the path you have.

“I trust that passion will bring you home,” Bullock said, adding that they can bring Montana closer to the goal that “all Montanans have access to health care no matter what their position in life.”

Montana students who enter the WWAMI program are enrolled in the University of Washington School of Medicine and complete their first year of medical school at Montana State University. Starting their second year, they join WWAMI students from other states in Seattle. The ceremony where students receive white coats and stethoscopes welcomes the students into the medical profession. It also helps make them aware of their professional responsibilities and encourages them to accept the obligations inherent in practicing medicine.

Members of this year’s entering class in Montana earned their bachelor’s degrees at institutions as near as MSU and as far away as Harvard University, Dartmouth College and the University of Notre Dame. The students majored in everything from French and photography to human biology and neuroscience. The white coat recipients  -- numbering 13 men and 17 women -- and their hometowns are:

Alberton: Scott Young

Billings: Julie Middleton

Bozeman: Abraham Bombeck, Jessica Brown, Julie Campbell,  Tiffany Dood, Megan Hatcher, Jeremiah Stringam and Ida Wilson

Butte:  Daniel Cornish, Whitney Wright

Charlo: Jean-Paul Toussaint

Ekalaka: Orin Hansen

Glendive: Ashlea Duke

Great Falls:  Conrad Addison, Bridgett McNulty, Catherine Miller

Helena: Matthew Goldes, Kayla McMahon, Ryann Milne-Price, Joseph Steffens

Hysham: Kena Lackman

Kalispell: Melanie Nelson, Jordan Vaughan

Missoula: Corey Gaul, Jestine MacDonald, Abigail Mansch, Cameron Scranton

Pray: Caroline Pihl

Trout Creek: Dylan Werst

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or evelynb@montana.edu