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Published on December 19, 2017

Billings Clinic Internal Medicine Residency Announces 2017 Helmsley Scholars

Billings, MT – Following a competitive review of research projects, the Billings Clinic Internal Medicine Residency is pleased to announce the selection of Shannan Patterson MD and Amy Consson MD as the 2017 Helmsley Scholars. The Helmsley Scholar program is a $10,000 grant opportunity for outstanding medical residents to perform scholarly inquiry, as well as report, write, publish, and present findings regionally and nationally. The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust for Advancing Rural Healthcare fund the program. This is the second annual Helmsley Scholar Awards Competition.

During the competition, seven residents presented a written proposal and made an oral presentation on a research topic specific to rural health. Competitive selection was based on scientific merit, overall coherence, the relation to rural health care, and the ability to complete the project in one year.

The research projects were judged by experts in medical education and population health, including Ralph Renger, PhD, professor at the University of North Dakota Center for Rural Health; Claire Oakley, PhD, MHA, program director of population health at RiverStone Health; and Justin Bottsford-Miller, MD, Billings Clinic gynecologic oncologist.

The competition featured the following six projects by residents at Billings Clinic:

Laurent Palmatier, MBBS and Kimberly Ng, MB BCH BAO
“The Feasibility of Studying the Effectiveness of an Electronic CBTi Course for Patients with Insomnia Living in Rural Montana”

Shannan Patterson, MD
“Use of hand-Held Echocardiography Devices for Detection of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm in Rural Montana”

Jonathan Bui, MD
“Determinants and Outcomes of False-Positive Exercise Treadmill Testing: Reducing Resource Utilization in Rural Populations”

John Becker, MD
“Anticoagulation Protocols to Prevent Procedure Cancellation: Rural Health Implications”

James Butler, BM, BMedSci, MRCP, PCGE
“Communication in Inter-hospital Transfer between Critical Access Hospitals and a Regional Center: A Prospective Descriptive Study”

Amy Consson, MD, MBA
“Predictors and Characteristics of Opioid Utilization > 15 Days Following Total Knee Arthroplasty (TKA)

Members of the judging panel said they are impressed by the quality of the research proposals. “I was impressed by the thoughtful approach to complex problems in the delivery of health care to vulnerable rural populations,” said Claire Oakley, PhD, Director of Population Health at RiverStone Health. Judging panelist Justin Bottsford-Smith, MD, noted, “As a practicing physician with a large panel of patients living in rural areas, I look forward to the improvement in care coordination that will result from these research initiatives. We are very fortunate to have the help of the Helmsley Trust.”

When the Helmsley Scholars’ projects are complete, the residents and faculty mentors will attend a regional or national conference to present their research findings.

About the Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts in the U.S. and around the world in health and select place-based initiatives. Since beginning active grantmaking in 2008, Helmsley has committed more than $2 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 upper Midwest states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa, and Montana. For more information, visit

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, a board of community members, nurses and physicians govern Billings Clinic. At its core, Billings Clinic is a physician-led, integrated multispecialty group practice with a 304-bed hospital and Level II trauma center. Billings Clinic has more than 4,100 employees, including more than 430 physicians and advanced practitioners offering more than 50 specialties. More information can be found at Billings Clinic sponsors Montana’s only Internal Medicine Residency Program, dedicated to the formation of general internists interested in rural and regional practice. Information on the residency program can be found at

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