Medical Education Provides for Benefis’ Future

Medical school has taken Jessica Cole from her family’s wheat farm/cattle ranch near Ekalaka to Washington state and now home to Montana to continue her education at Benefis Health System.

With aspirations of someday practicing small-town family medicine in Montana, Jessica said she feels grateful to be treating patients in person, while many of her classmates are learning online. She’s found in her first weeks that the five extra minutes with a patient can be the most important.

Jessica comes to Benefis from Pacific Northwest University. Benefis also welcomes students from the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM) for a year of hands-on training. The University of Washington School of Medicine’s WWAMI Regional Medical Education Program also brings students to Benefis for six-week terms. 

A Montana State University graduate with a degree in cell biology and neuroscience, Keiffer Hepola of Butte is one of five Montanans in the first group of ICOM students to come to Benefis, which helped launch the medical school in Boise, Idaho.

Keiffer has a strong interest in anesthesiology, though he looks forward to learning more about his options during his two years at Benefis. He would like to eventually practice in Montana.

Clinical experience is vital for students. Students are able to use their medical knowledge for diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for each case they see.

Recently, Benefis has significantly increased the number of medical students invited to further their education here. Supporting students is part of our commitment to medical education and to reducing the provider shortages across our state.