Scholarship Donors Help Butte Medical Student Develop Expertise to Serve Montanans

You can support the next generation of healthcare professionals with your donation to Benefis Foundation scholarships. Scholarship applications are due June 1. Click here to apply.

As he worked alongside Benefis physicians, medical student Keiffer Hepola of Butte learned how to think and act like a doctor – as well as how to practice medicine with compassion and enthusiasm for each day.

The experience also reaffirmed his desire to return to Montana when he becomes an orthopedic surgeon, he said, and “serve the great communities of Montana that have raised me.”

For the first time this year, Benefis Foundation donors provided scholarships to medical students in addition to the more than $100,000 donors provided to healthcare students.

Keiffer, a fourth-year medical student, received $5,000 from the David and Tanya Cameron Medical Education Endowment Scholarship. He’s one of three students who received $12,500 in medical student scholarships.

“As a fourth-year medical student, I am currently completing audition rotations at hospitals with orthopedic surgery residencies across the country. The scholarship has helped in paying for housing 
at these locations, transportation, and finally applying to numerous residencies, which can easily add thousands of dollars in addition to my tuition costs.”

Keiffer is a Montana State University graduate with a degree in cell biology and neuroscience. He 
was one of five Montanans in the first group of students from the Idaho College of Osteopathic 
Medicine (ICOM) to come to Benefis for their medical student rotations.

The David and Tanya Cameron Medical Education Endowment Scholarship he received is designed to assist medical students while also boosting Benefis’ recruitment and retention efforts. The scholarship is for students who have clinical rotations at Benefis, with preference to ICOM and WWAMI Regional Medical Education Program students, as well as future students of Touro College Montana. Touro and Benefis leadership broke ground on the new medical school in Great Falls in October.

“I heard Benefis has good mentors and good patients to learn from,” Keiffer said. “I went to ICOM because I knew I wanted to come back to Montana.”