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Published on June 23, 2017

Billings Clinic Internal Medicine Residency honors first class of graduates

Helmsley Charitable Trust provides generous support for rural health training for residents

Billings, Mont.—Billings Clinic Internal Medicine Residency announces the first graduates of the Internal Medicine Residency program. A commencement and white coat ceremony honored the eight physicians that completed the three-year residency and the two physicians that completed a one-year preliminary program required for future specialty residency training. The graduates are:

  • Noelle Thomas, MD, who will practice at Billings Clinic in Billings, Mont.
  • Kale Knudson, MD, who will practice at Billings Clinic in Billings, Mont.
  • Sierra Gross, MD, who will practice at Big Horn Mountain Medicine in Sheridan, Wyo.
  • Sindy Byington, MD, who will practice at St. Luke’s Magic Valley in Twin Falls, Idaho.
  • Giorgios Hadjivassiliou, MB BS, who will practice at University of Alabama in Birminham, Ala.
  • Brenda Nyamogo, MD, who will practice at McClaren Medical Group in Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
  • Reno Terribilini, MD, who will practice at UCLA – Entertainment Industry Medical Group in Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Malathy Tharumarajah, MC, who will practice at McClaren Medical Group in Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
  • Michael Barton, MD, completed the one-year program and will continue training in a subspecialty residency program.
  • Chris Lin, MD, completed the one-year program and will continue training in a subspecialty residency program.

Billings Clinic established Montana’s first Internal Medicine Residency program in 2014. The three-year program combines education and research with practical clinical and hospital experience among a complex patient population. The residency program is designed to train internists to care for complex medically ill patients in rural environments. Training includes working in a rural community through the Rural Rotation Program. Each resident spends one month working at Central Montana Medical Center (Lewistown, Mont.), a 25-bed Critical Access Hospital, and one month at Sheridan Memorial Hospital (Sheridan, Wyo.), an 88-bed community hospital.

The program seeks to increase the number of primary care physicians that provide care for patients in rural locations. This graduating class is evidence of the benefits of a training program focused on the unique needs of practicing in a rural community. Of the eight physicians graduating from the three-year residency program, six will be practicing in rural areas including three who plan to practice at one of the residency program training sites.

The residency program is generously supported by funding from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. The Helmsley Charitable Trust has provided three grants to support Billings Clinic’s efforts to train general internal medicine residents and give them opportunities to practice in rural locations. Representing more than $5.9 million for Billings Clinic, the Helmsley funding is designated to the Helmsley Simulation Laboratory and Medical Education Center, the Internal Medicine Residency Scholar Support Project and the Internal Medicine Residency Rural Rotation Program.

The Helmsley grants support Billings Clinic’s commitment to create an educational experience that is innovative and unique in addressing rural communities’ challenges with geographic isolation and shortages of healthcare providers.

In October 2016, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) granted the Billings Clinic Internal Medicine Residency program 10-year accreditation with no citations. This is ACGME’s highest rating.

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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 and select place-based initiatives. Since 2008, when Helmsley began active grantmaking, it has committed more than $1.8 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. Helmsley’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 $320 million to organizations and initiatives in the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa, and Montana. Learn more at 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. More information can be found at www.billingsclinic.com.

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