UM Family Medicine Residency Program to Graduate 10 New Physicians

June 25, 2019

MISSOULA – Montana, Idaho and other underserved and rural areas will gain 10 new family medicine physicians when the University of Montana’s Family Medicine Residency of Western Montana graduates its fourth class on Sunday, June 30.

All 10 of the graduating family physicians have accepted employment, and seven plan to practice in Montana.

“We are very pleased to add to our prior graduates and will now have placed physicians in Browning, Hamilton, Helena, Kalispell, Lewistown, Libby, Missoula, Polson, Red Lodge, Ronan and Whitefish,” said Dr. Ned Vasquez, program director. “FMRWM graduates also have entered practices in rural communities in California, Idaho and Washington. More than three-fourths of our graduates have remained in Montana, and a similar fraction is practicing in rural and underserved communities.”

Montana continues to experience physician shortages, with 54 out of 56 counties considered underserved, and 12 to 13 counties typically left without any kind of physician. When FMRWM accepted its first class in 2013, Montana ranked 50th in the nation for graduate medical education positions per capita. With the creation of FMRWM, the state has moved to 46th for resident physicians per capita and substantially increased the pipeline for communities to recruit doctors.

UM’s Family Medicine Residency of Western Montana graduates from left to right: Julia Gruetzmacher, Ruben Hipolito, Madeline Mussman, Caitlin Blau, Matt Klippenstein, Katie Williams, Karen Vesely, Kelby Wilson, Dallas Clark. Not pictured: Rachel LaRocca. The FMRWM Class of 2019 graduates and their future practice sites include:

  • Caitlin Blau, Missoula
  • Dallas Clark, Red Lodge
  • Julia Gruetzmacher, Missoula
  • Ruben Hipolito, Kalispell
  • Matt Klippenstein, Reno, Nevada
  • Rachel LaRocca, Woodstock, Vermont
  • Madeline Mussman, Hamilton
  • Karen Vesely, Whitefish
  • Katie Williams, Lewistown
  • Kelby Wilson, Grangeville, Idaho

Vasquez, who has been the program director since the residency’s inception, will retire at the end of this academic year. The current associate program director, Dr. Rob Stenger, will become the new program director beginning July 1 and continue to advance the values and mission of FMRWM. The program is a part of UM’s Health and Medicine initiative.

“The goal of UM’s Health and Medicine initiative is to train the next generation of health practitioners and researchers, with a focus of not only serving Montana and its needs, but also the world,” said UM College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences Dean Reed Humphrey. “We are pleased to be able to sponsor and work closely with the residency program.”

Based in Missoula and Kalispell, FMRWM is sponsored by UM and affiliated with the University of Washington Family Medicine Residency Network. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Residents are involved in continuity clinic training at Partnership Health Center in Missoula and Flathead Community Health Center in Kalispell.

FMRWM works with an extensive rural training network of 10 sites, including Anaconda, Browning, Butte, Dillon, Hamilton, Lewistown, Libby, Plains, Polson and Ronan, and plans to add one to two new rural sites soon. The residency’s three primary sponsoring hospitals are Providence St. Patrick Hospital and Community Medical Center in Missoula and Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

For more information visit


Contact: Jessica Tripp, administrative associate, Family Medicine Residency of Western Montana, 406-531-1406,