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Published on April 06, 2016

Helmsley Charitable Trust increases generous support for rural health

Billings Clinic Internal Medicine Residency receives major funding

Billings, MT—The Helmsley Charitable Trust announced grant awards designated for training and supporting rural healthcare providers in Montana. The funding announced today coupled with the funds awarded in November 2015 totals $42 million provided to rural healthcare facilities and programs in Montana.

Today, Helmsley announced a $4.6 million grant to the Montana Department of Health to fund Simulation in Motion Montana (SIM-MT). Three “eighteen-wheeler” trucks containing simulation learning labs and high-fidelity patient simulators will be used to train rural healthcare providers and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel in their respective communities across Montana.

Additionally, two grants totaling $4.3 million were awarded to Billings Clinic in support of a new program for their Internal Medicine Residency. This award will fund the Helmsley Rural Healthcare Scholars program, a rural rotation program, as well as a challenge grant to support program expenses.

Seven Helmsley Rural Healthcare Scholars will receive funding over three years. The internal medicine residents selected as Helmsley Rural Healthcare Scholars will conduct research focused on rural healthcare. Paired with faculty mentors, the Scholars will receive funding for their research expenses, and have the opportunity to present at a regional conference and submit findings for peer-reviewed publication.

The rural rotation program will provide internal medicine residents with an opportunity to experience a comprehensive and immersive rural rotation. These residents will complete four-week rotations at Sheridan Memorial Hospital in Sheridan, Wyoming, and Livingston HealthCare in Livingston, Montana.

“These rotations will give these internists a chance to experience rural clinical practice,” said Walter Panzirer, trustee of the Helmsley Charitable Trust. “The goal is to give them a safe, challenging environment to see how rewarding a rural practice can be.”

The Helmsley Charitable Trust is also offering a 3-to-1 match on philanthropic and private donations from the community to support Billings Clinic’s new internal medicine residency program. “We believe the residency program is worth supporting, and we wanted to create a way to reward the community for backing this as well,” said Panzirer. The challenge grant will provide up to $500,000 to fund program expenses over the next three years.

“We are grateful for this generosity and commitment to rural healthcare,” said Nicholas Wolter, MD, CEO of Billings Clinic. “This level of generosity will improve access for patients in rural communities throughout Montana and it will support the training of physicians who will deliver primary care in the rural setting. We thank the Helmsley Charitable Trust for their support of these programs that will improve access and quality care for our rural populations.”

With these grants and others previously awarded this spring, the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s total philanthropic giving in Montana has climbed to $42 million. This amount includes 38 grants awarded since 2012 focusing on increasing access to healthcare in rural areas. Montana has received grants focusing on areas such as cardiac care, cancer care, radiation imaging, telehealth services and improving access to well-trained healthcare providers.

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About the Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective organizations in health, place-based initiatives, and education and human services. Since 2008, when the Trust began its active grant-making, it has committed more than $1.5 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. The Trust’s Rural Healthcare Program funds innovative projects that use information technologies to connect rural patients to emergency medical care, bring the latest medical therapies to patients in remote areas, and provide state-of-the-art training for rural hospitals and EMS personnel. To date, this program has awarded more than $285 million to organizations and initiatives in the upper Midwest states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa and Montana. For more information, visit www.helmsleytrust.org.

About Billings Clinic

Billings Clinic is Montana’s largest health system serving Montana, Wyoming and the western Dakotas. A not-for-profit organization led by a physician CEO, Billings Clinic is governed by a board of community members, nurses and physicians. At its core, Billings Clinic is a physician-led, integrated multispecialty group practice with a 285-bed hospital and Level II trauma center. Billings Clinic has more than 4,000 employees, including more than 400 physicians and advanced practitioners offering more than 50 specialties. 

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