This is an archived article.

July 2, 1997

Montana opens its first training site for teaching University of Washington medical students about women’s health care

UW Health Sciences/UW Medicine

Montana will open its first training site for teaching University of Washington medical students about women’s health care. The obstetrics and gynecology clerkship for third-year medical students will begin Monday, July 7, in Missoula.
Dr. Janice Givler, a Missoula obstetrician/gynecologist who graduated from the University of Washington medical school in 1990, will coordinate the teaching site. The clerkship is part of the WWAMI program of regionalized medical education, an interstate effort among Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho to train new physicians for the region.

“Dr. Givler and the others in her group practice have a strong interest in medical student education and are tried-and-true teachers,” said Dr. Louis Vontver, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Washington and head of the region-wide medical student programs in his department.

The obstetrics and gynecology clerkship will be the sixth WWAMI clinical teaching site for third-year medical students in Montana. Other sites are: Billings (internal medicine), Great Falls (pediatrics), Havre (family medicine), Missoula (internal medicine) and Whitefish (family medicine). The WWAMI Program originated 26 years ago.

According to Givler, the new clerkship in Missoula is designed to give medical students a good overview of what obstetrics and gynecology is all about and how it is practiced in a mid-size city, at a distance from a university medical center. In this type of community setting, obstetrician/gynecologists need an extensive range of clinical skills to handle both routine and complex or unexpected conditions.

Medical students will learn about female health concerns at different stages of a woman’s life, from menarche to menopause and later years. The medical students will help care for women with normal pregnancies and those with complications. The clerkship will also teach students about the treatment of infertility. Among the other areas covered are the management of common disorders of the female reproductive system and the prevention, screening and therapy for gynecological cancers.

The first student to take the Missoula obstetrics/gynecology clerkship is Jackie Quisno, who grew up on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation near Harlem, Mont.

In addition to Givler, Dr. Lindsay Richards, Dr. Valerie Knudsen, and Dr. Mark Garnaas, all obstetrician/gynecologists, will teach medical students. Several nearby physicians from other fields will help with medical student training.

“Missoula has a good medical practice community that is willing to provide professional support for the teaching of medical students,” Givler said. She added that she has always wanted to be involved in academic medicine. The WWAMI clerkship enables to her to teach for the University of Washington medical school while living and practicing in Missoula, where she has family and other ties.

The obstetrics and gynecology clerkship now offered in Missoula is also taught to University of Washington medical students in Spokane, Anchorage, Boise, the Madigan Army Medical Center and at several medical centers in greater Seattle. The University of Washington’s multi-state educational program ranks among the top three in the nation in teaching medical students about women’s health care.

The new obstetrics/gynecology clerkship is the latest development in Montana’s long-standing contributions to medical education.

Medical students from Montana take their first-year medical school classes at the Montana State University WWAMI Program in Bozeman, under the direction of Dr. Stephen Guggenheim. After the first year, they can volunteer for placement in the Rural/Underserved Opportunities Program (R/UOP) to observe and train with a Montana physician during the summer. This summer R/UOP students have been placed in Belgrade, Butte, Big Timber, Columbus, Deer Lodge, Glendive, Helena, Libby, Lolo, Missoula, Ronan, Shelby, Sidney and Stevensville. Montana also has a family practice residency affiliated with the University of Washington. Under the interim direction of Dr. Thomas R. James, the residency program is based in Billings, with a rural training track called the Missouri, after a state river.