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Division of Health Sciences
Montana State University has a strong commitment to and focus on health professions
education. To promote,
support and expand the institutional
meet health related
needs of the people of Montana,
the Division of Health
Sciences (DHS) was
created and many of the health
related activities on
campus are united
under the DHS. Notably the
Division houses the Professions
Office which offers guidance
to students interested
in pursing careers
in Medicine, Dentistry, and
other health related fields.
The DHS is the home
of the Montana WWAMI Medical
Education Program, a
with the University of Washington
School of Medicine
that admits 20 Montana
residents into the program
leading to the degree
of Doctor of Medicine.
Montana WWAMI students spend
their first year of
medical school on
the MSU campus. The DHS encompasses
including the Montana Area
Health Education Center
(AHEC) and the Montana
Office of Rural Health (MORH).
The AHEC and the
MORH work with Montana
communities in many capacities,
to interest K-12 students
in health care professions,
programs that address
wellness issues in
rural communities and programs
that focus on communities
needs regarding health
issues. The Montana Family
Practice Residency program,
the "cousin" to
the WWAMI medical program
that provides training for
physicians in primary
care, is affiliated with the
DHS. The DHS extends
into the biomedical
research arena by fostering
integration of biomedical
at MSU, where there are strong
programs in biotechnology,
cell biology, molecular biology,
proteomics and genomics.
Many of these programs support
research and introduce
students to biomedical research.
key to achieving the
goals of the DHS and extend
to most of the colleges
on campus including
Letters and Science, Nursing,
Education, Health and
Engineering and Agriculture.
The DHS is committed
to the undergraduate community
interested in the health
sciences by providing
this service to help students
best achieve their
ultimate career goals.
The role of the office of
(HPA) is extensive and serves
students from across
the campus as well
as alumni considering career
changes. There are many
that support pre-health career
majors including the
in Cell Biology and Neuroscience
and majors in Engineering,
and Biochemistry, and Veterinary
to name but a few
of the more common choices.
Beginning at freshman
summer orientation, students
interested in learning
more about the health
professions may attend a special
at MSU. Prospective students
are also encouraged to
meet with the Health
Professions Advisor. In the
freshman year students
may take a one-credit
class focused on the variety
of health professions.
During the sophomore
year an introduction to dentistry
course is offered
as well as opportunities
for continued counseling through
the HPA office.
During the spring
of junior year, as students
begin to prepare for the
process to a health professions
school, detailed application
workshops are offered.
Additionally, a commercial
medical college admissions
test (MCAT) review
course is offered on campus.
Also during this critical
time, the pre- professional
health advisory committee
interviews with students
planning to apply to pre-health
advise on appropriate
schools to which students
should apply. Evaluations
are prepared by the
committee and used as part
of the student's application
the senior year, students'
applications are processed
and monitored by the
Health Professions Advisor
and/or the office
students are counseled throughout
the decision making
Supplementing the formal activities of the HPA, the only Montana chapter
of Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED), the national pre-health honors society,
hosts a series of presentations by a variety of health professionals to
introduce students to practical aspects of health careers. Students are
also encouraged to join the electronic mailing list provided by the HPA
and AED students have an opportunity to interact with first year medical
students enrolled in the WWAMI program to get insights from the student's
perspective. The success rate of MSU students applying to medical and
dental schools is substantially higher than the national average.
Montana State University is one of six universities participating in
a program to decentralize medical education in five states: Washington,
Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho (WWAMI). The WWAMI Program is supported
by the State of Montana and guarantees that 20 qualified students can
be admitted to the University of Washington School of Medicine each year.
The WWAMI Program does not involve premedical (undergraduate) education.
Sponsored by the University of Washington School of Medicine at Seattle
and leading to an M.D. degree from that institution, the program is designed
to make medical education available to citizens of the Northwest and to
educate medical students in a way that will encourage them to practice
primary care medicine in areas that lack a sufficient number of physicians.
Montana students receive the first year of their medical education at
Montana State University. The curriculum is similar to and compatible
with the University of Washington School of Medicine curriculum which
emphasizes an integration of the basic and clinical sciences.
Course subject matter
at Montana State University
includes human gross
human physiology, medical
to clinical medicine,
musculoskeletal anatomy, immunology,
infectious diseases, behavioral
systems and the nervous
system. A clinical preceptorship
program has been
developed, which involves
the students with local physicians
hours each week and
for four weeks during the
Following this first year of study at Montana State University, students
join the portion of the class that began their studies in Seattle at the
University of Washington as well as students from the other WWAMI regions
(Wyoming, Alaska and Idaho).
At the conclusion of the first two years, students enter the phase of
their education which is predominantly clinical in nature. During this
phase, students receive a portion of their training at the University
of Washington School of Medicine and a portion of their clinical education
from physicians in the communities where the physicians live and practice
(community phase). These latter "Community Clinical Units" are established
for a given educational need (e.g., pediatrics, family medicine). Seven
Community Clinical Units have been established in Montana. These are located
in Billings (Internal Medicine and Obstetrics), Great Falls (Pediatrics),
Missoula (Internal Medicine and Obstetrics), Havre (Family Medicine),
and Whitefish (Family Medicine).
To be eligible for the Montana State University WWAMI Program, the prospective
medical student must be a legal resident of Montana for one year prior
to application and must satisfy the admission requirements of the University
of Washington School of Medicine. It is not necessary for a student to
complete his or her premedical (undergraduate) education at Montana State
University in order to be eligible for the WWAMI Program. Students admitted
to the program are selected by the Admissions Committee at the University
of Washington School of Medicine and are regarded as members of the freshman
medical class there, although they register as resident students at Montana
State University for the first year of the program.
For further information see the WWAMI web site at http://www.montana.edu/wwwwami/,
contact the Montana WWAMI Director at MSU by calling 406-994-4411, or
send e-mail to email@example.com.
Until the fall of 2007, Montana was a regional AHEC for the University of Washington WWAMI Program, along with other states in the WWAMI system. The Montana AHEC at MSU was allowed to apply for funding through the College of Nursing in collaboration with the Montana WWAMI Program in the Division of Health Sciences. This new grant has allowed Montana to create its own AHEC system, with four regional centers and the Program Office which is located at Montana State University in Bozeman. The first center is in Billings and is hosted by Yellowstone City County Community Health Center, home of the Montana Family Practice Residency Program and the 3rd Year WWAMI Program. The second is located in Dillon, hosted by the Montana Hospital Association. In year two of the grant, a center will be started in Western Montana, probably in conjunction with the 3rd Year WWAMI Program in Missoula. In the fall of 2009, a center will be established in North Central Montana. Once in place, each center has up to six years of funding that will total approximately $1.5 million. After six years of start up funding, the centers receive a more modest grant and are expected to be self-sufficient. The purpose of the regional centers is to connect health professions education to rural and underserved communities. Programs developed at the centers will focus on creating a pipeline of health professionals; placing WWAMI students and other health professions students in rural rotations; and continuing education programs for health professionals. AHECs are designed to strengthen the healthcare workforce and improve health by forging connections between health professions education and communities.
The mission of the Montana Area Health Education Center is:
To improve the supply and distribution of health care professionals, with an emphasis on primary care, through community/academic educational partnership, to increase access to quality health care.
The mission is accomplished by pursuing goals, objectives and activities which are common to all AHECs.These are changed and/or modified each year in response to decisions made by the federal granting agency. The following guidelines are used in establishing annual goals, objectives and activities:
- Form productive linkages between healthcare units to the benefit of underserved and rural communities.
- Foster and encourage collaborative community-based health programs.
- Serve as a resource, clearinghouse and disseminatory of health information.
- Promote improved health and disease prevention through educational interventions.
- Respond to emerging community-based needs regarding health issues.
- Provide technical assistance on healthcare-related issues to underserved communities.
- Help implement collaborative community-based, multidisciplinary education and training for health professionals and health professions students.
For further information, see the AHEC web site at http://healthinfo.montana.edu/, contact the AHEC office at MSU by calling 406-994-6003,
or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Montana Office of Rural Health
The Montana Office of Rural Health is funded through the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. MORH is a resource for information on rural health issues, data, research and funding opportunities. MORH participates in 3RNet, a multi-state rural health professions recruitment program; manages the Small Hospital Improvement Program; and provides technical assistance to rural communities on rural health projects.
The mission of the MORH is "to serve its communities through: (1) collecting and disseminating information within the state, (2) improving recruitment and retention of health professionals into rural areas, (3) providing technical assistance to attract more federal, state, and foundation funding for rural health, and (4) coordinating rural health interests and activities across the state."
All of the SORH are required to conduct activities which will accomplish three core and two additional functions:
- Establish and maintain a State clearinghouse for collecting and disseminating information on rural health care issues, research findings related to rural health care, and innovative approaches to the delivery of health care in rural areas.
- Coordinate activities carried out in the state that relate to rural health care; including providing coordination to avoid duplication in such activities.
- Identify Federal, State and nongovernmental programs regarding rural health and provide technical assistance to public and nonprofit entities regarding participation in such programs.
- Encourage recruitment and retention of health professionals in rural areas.
- Participate in strengthening State, local and Federal partnerships in rural health.
For further information,
see the MORH web site at http://healthinfo.montana.edu/ ,
contact the MORH office at
MSU by calling 406-994-6003,
or send e-mail to email@example.com .
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