Residents

The Family Medicine Residency of Western Montana has focused its recruiting on residents to fulfill its mission of serving the rural and underserved communities of our state. We have classes of residents who have demonstrated an interest and commitement to broad spectrum education and exposure to rural family medicine.

MISSOULA

Philip Anuta

phillip-anuta-headshotDes Moines College of Osteopathic Medicine

I grew up on a farm outside of a small town in northern Indiana. After completing my undergrad at Indiana University in physics and German, I moved to Austria and worked as an English teacher for a year. When I moved back to the States, I lived out of a van in West Virginia mainly pursuing rock climbing, spent a season in Colorado as a ski instructor and eventually ended up in Salt Lake City taking night courses to get my advanced-EMT certfication. I worked rural EMS in Wendover, Nevada on the weekends and at a homeless healthcare clinic in downtown SLC which solidified my desire to become a physician. After attending medical school at Des Moines University in Iowa, I completed a preliminary year in general surgery at University Texas, San Antonio and switched my focus to rural, broad-spectrum primary care. I look forward to building on my skillset at FMRWM and enjoying all the great outdoor recreational opportunities Missoula has to offer with my partner Jess.

BEN MERBLER

ben-merbler.pngKansas City University COM

I was raised in the beautiful state of Michigan, where I spent the majority of my childhood playing sports outside, exploring local forests, and enjoying our incredible lakes with my family each summer. I went on to play football and study kinesiology at Saginaw Valley State University, where my classes and professors helped to foster an interest in preventative medicine, particularly at the physician level through primary care. I traded the great lakes for the great plains as I moved to Missouri to attend medical school at KCU. During my time in school, I developed interests in international medicine, addiction medicine, and wilderness medicine, all of which further cemented my desire to pursue a career in primary care. I fell in love with Western Montana during a week long backpacking trip after my first year of medical school, and I’ve felt a strong pull to this region since then. I’m incredibly fortunate and grateful to have matched at FMRWM and can’t wait to begin my training in full-spectrum family medicine in this new home, surrounded by unrivaled beauty.

Outside of medicine I can be found backpacking, camping, watching movies, cruising through Stephen King novels, collecting vinyl records and, much to the chagrin of my girlfriend Paige, breaking out into various musical numbers. I’m eager to pursue all of these hobbies and especially excited to cultivate new ones over the next three years in Missoula.

JACQUELINE ORDEMANN

jacqueline-ordemann.pngTufts University - Maine

I was born in Seattle but moved when I was 5 years old to a small village in England called Tylers Green. My family moved to Groton, Massachusetts when I was 10 and I spent the majority of my childhood there. Through lots of family camping, canoeing, and hiking trips, I fell in love with the state of Maine and received my BS in Biochemistry from Bates College. While I was there I fell in love with rural community medicine and public health through my study abroad experience in Thailand and senior thesis research on lead poisoning prevention. After college I worked as an apprentice on Goranson Farm, a small family owned organic farm in rural Maine where my job included working at farmers markets, picking and packing vegetables, and taking care of the chickens and cows. I received my medical degree from the Maine Track Program at Tufts University which allowed me to complete my medical school rotations in rural communities throughout Maine and spurred my interest in full spectrum rural family medicine. From my time on the farm and in rural communities I also developed a passion for food access and I followed this passion as I completed my course work towards my MPH.

During my free time I enjoy knitting and spinning yarn, baking, singing, and being outdoors – particularly hiking, cross country skiing, and canoeing. I am thrilled to be joining FMRWM and I am so excited to explore Western Montana!

STEPHEN REALE

stephen-reale.pngTufts University

I grew up just north of Boston, in Melrose, Massachusetts, where a high school anatomy class solidified my interest in pursuing medicine. I then attended Dickinson College in rural Pennsylvania for undergrad where I majored in neuroscience and music composition, and whether teaching music or tutoring writing, what I truly enjoyed was helping people to improve. After working as an emergency department scribe in Pennsylvania, I returned to Boston to attend Tufts University School of Medicine. While there, I fell in love with everything from obstetrics to pediatrics to surgery, and I couldn’t imagine a career without all of it. It was rumored (in Boston) that this kind of “full-spectrum family medicine” no longer existed, so I took a road trip with my wife, a large animal veterinarian, and found it, alive and well, in the western US. Spending my last year of medical school in Maine, I immediately fell in love with the mountains and forests of western Montana, as well as the friendly, welcoming people of Missoula, and I cannot imagine a better place to train as a family physician. My goal is to fill my medical toolbox with as many tools as possible to help every patient achieve their own personal definition of wellness.

In my spare time, I enjoy hiking, rock climbing, and anything else outdoors, as well as writing and performing music, reading, cooking, and spending time adventuring with my cat and my brilliant and beautiful wife while planning our rural all-are-welcome human/animal practice.

JONATHAN RHEA

jonathan-rhea.pngDes Moines University COM

I grew up in a Houma, Louisiana, where I spent most of my childhood fishing on the bayous and in the gulf. I worked my way up through Louisiana restaurant kitchens, but missing the outdoors, I migrated to Asheville, North Carolina. There I worked as an outdoor educator, guiding backpacking and rock climbing trips. I longed for bigger mountains so took a job working on a cattle ranch in Aspen, Colorado. Eventually I ended up in Mammoth Lakes, California where I worked as a professional ski patroller for ten years. This experience piqued my interest in medicine, and I enrolled at the University of Nevada, Reno, majoring in chemistry. I completed medical school in Iowa at Des Moines University. Since I first left Mammoth, I knew I wanted to get back to a mountain town, and having a strong interest in rural family medicine, FMRWM seemed like a great fit. In my free time I enjoy mountain biking, backcountry skiing, and mountaineering. I plan to practice full spectrum family medicine in a small town in the mountain west.

I am excited to be moving to Missoula with my wife, stepson, and yellow lab, where I can introduce them to the joys of mountain living.

RACHAEL SCHMIDT

rachael-schmidt.pngUniversity of Nebraska

While I have lived all over the United States, I have spent the most of my time in Omaha, Nebraska. At the University of Nebraska – Lincoln I received my bachelor’s degree in biology. Shortly afterwards, I was accepted to the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) for medical school. It is during my time at UNMC that I discovered my passion for full-spectrum family medicine and deepened my interests in issues of public health, behavioral health, reproductive justice, and physician wellness.

After a camping trip to Glacier National Park, my husband and I have been waiting for the opportunity to move to such a beautiful area of the country. I am thrilled I can continue my learning with the amazing faculty and residents at FMRWM here in Missoula. During my free time I enjoy climbing, camping, traveling, photography, and hiking -- alongside my husband, David, and our two dogs, Henry and Louis.

MELANIE SCOTT

melanie-scott.pngPacific NW University COM

I was born and raised in Spokane Washington where I spent my summers on lake Coeur d’Alene. I attended Washington State University where I studied Neuroscience and Psychology. After college I spent time in a Neuropsychology lab working with older adults with memory impairment as well as in the ER in the Seattle Washington area. These experiences confirmed my love of medicine and helped me become the person I am today. I attended Pacific Northwest University in Yakima Washington where I developed my passion for preventative medicine, osteopathic manipulation, women’s health, and full-scope primary care. In my free time I enjoy hiking, yoga, baking, and watching movies.

I look forward to moving to Missoula and exploring all the outdoor activities that Montana has to offer with my husband Parker and our dog Moana.

KALISPELL

KATI LUCAS

kati-lucas.pngPacific NW University COM

I grew up in Richland, Washington where I spent most of my time climbing trees and playing with my brothers and sister. College soccer took me to Boise, Idaho (Go Broncos!) where I also earned a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences and worked my first healthcare related job as a scribe in both urban and rural Emergency Departments. This experience, along with abroad medical expeditions and local volunteering, helped grow my passion for people and medicine. I then attended medical school at PNWU and chose to pursue family medicine because preventative healthcare and building relationships with patients are most important to me. Outside of work, I love spending time with my family and friends, playing sports, running, reading, and adventuring outdoors.

TAYLOR SIMMONS

taylor-simmonsUniversity of Washington - Idaho WWAMI

I grew up in the small town of Middleton, Idaho, where time passed reasoning my way through books, pursuing state championships on the basketball court, and exploring the world from the back of a horse. I didn’t stray too far from home to continue my education and basketball career at Northwest Nazarene University. I majored in biology and realized the value of teamwork and sacrifice required from many to help a student athlete pursue her dreams. Blessed to be an Idaho resident, I entered medical school at the University of Washington via the WWAMI program. Through working at free clinics in the Palouse region, participating in a rural underserved opportunities program in Cottonwood, Idaho, and appreciating all the parallels of the world of CrossFit to a career in full-spectrum family medicine, I knew early on in my medical training I wanted to care for those in sickness and health, in treatment and prevention. I’m passionate about family medicine for its purpose to serve the community and all people, but I have specific interests in reproductive health, obstetrics, underserved populations, and nutrition/lifestyle. In my free time, you’ll find me enjoying the outdoors in my hiking or ski boots, working out at the local CrossFit box, pretending I know what I’m doing in the kitchen, or snuggling my miniature dachshund, Tucker.

BARBARA STEWARD

barb-steward.pngPacific NW University COM

I had the pleasure to grow up in the beautiful northwestern Montana town of Plains. I was able to stay close to and return home to coach cross-country and javelin, volunteer and work in my family-owned natural stone quarry while I attended The University of Montana-Missoula. I graduated with a degree in Exercise Science in Health and Human Performance and during this time I fortified my love for the human body and longed for a continued connection with all whom I encountered. I understand the struggles and difficulties but also the pleasures of living in a rural area. I knew I could best give back to my community by serving them as a family physician.

I appreciate the holistic approach of osteopathic medicine and chose to attend medical school at Pacific Northwest University in Yakima, Washington. I was able to complete my clinical years in Kalispell, MT and am excited to return there for completion of my residency training. I am elated to be training at the FMRWM where I will continue to explore my passion for broad spectrum, rural care with an emphasis in OMM. I couldn’t imagine a better-suited program to help cultivate the compassionate and knowledgeable physician I aspire to be.

I am grateful to be close to home as in my free time I adore spending time with my husband, dad, family and 4 cats. I enjoy working out, eating at new restaurants, exploring the outdoors, fishing, hunting and indulging in board games or a sappy novel.

MISSOULA

SIENNA FOXTON

 Pacific Northwest University College of Osteopathic Medicine  s.-foxton.png

I was born in Bozeman, Montana but I grew up mostly in Alaska. My dad was a tour bus driver in Denali National Park so we spent the summers in Denali (in a cabin without electricity or running water) and the winters in Anchorage. I attended college at Wellesley College outside of Boston, but after four years in the east I missed the mountains too much and moved back to the Pacific Northwest. I landed in Yakima, Washington where I served as an AmeriCorps volunteer working with foster kids on the Yakama Reservation and as a ParaEducator at an elementary school. I also was a Peace Corps volunteer teaching 8th grade math in a small town in Mozambique. After the Peace Corps I returned to Yakima to start medical school at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences. During medical school I was consistently drawn to family medicine for its emphasis on preventative care, opportunity to treat the whole family,
and focus on social determinants of health.

My interests within family medicine include women’s health, underserved medicine, and osteopathic manual medicine. I was drawn to FMRWM because of the program’s emphasis on rural and underserved medicine, the strength of the OMM curriculum, and the wonderful people that make the program what it is. In my free time my wife Emmy and I enjoy backpacking, biking, hiking, gardening, and cooking new recipes.

KARA FRANCIS

k.-francis.pngUniversity of Washington School of Medicine

I was born and raised in Livingston, MT. After receiving my undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Oregon, I returned to Montana to work at a health center in Hardin, MT. My upbringing in a small community, work in Hardin, and love of the outdoors led me to desire a career and life in rural Montana. Thus, I decided to pursue family medicine with specific
interest in work with rural and underserved populations, social justice, and social determinants of health. I attended medical school at the University of Washington, where I completed much of my training in Montana communities, further encouraging my passion for rural family medicine.

Outside of medicine, I love to spend time outdoors with my dogs and partner, trail running, skiing, hiking, and more recently learning to fly fish. I am thrilled to continue my training in my home state and to explore the incredible areas around Missoula.

ALEC KERINS

a.-kerins.pngUniversity of Colorado School of Medicine

I was born and raised in Helena, Montana where I spent my childhood exploring the woods, raising livestock, and running up and down the soccer field. After earning my B.A. in Biology from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR, I joined Teach for America and taught high school science in the San Francisco Bay Area. Seeing first-hand the systemic inequities and barriers
that prevented my students from accessing the high-quality education they deserved, I spent the better part of the next decade working to change that. After repeatedly facing the tight connection between health and educational outcomes, I decided to make the transition to medicine. I earned my medical degree from the University of Colorado, and was fortunate to have great mentors that provided experiences allowing me to explore my passion for rural communities, population health, advocacy and
healthcare access.

My wife, two sons, and our two pups are really looking forward to joining the FMRWM family and calling Western Montana home again. When not thinking about medicine, I can be found trail running, skiing, fly fishing, camping, working on home improvement projects, and exploring the back-roads of Montana.

TRAVIS KINANE

t.-kinane.pngPacific Northwest University College of Osteopathic Medicine

Born in the middle of the Willamette Valley in Beaverton, Oregon, I attended Linfield University near the Oregon coast, where I played basketball and ran track. At the start of my junior year, I accepted a two-year internship working with underprivileged, overweight children in the community that changed my career trajectory towards medicine. I then worked as a medical assistant and surgical scrub at an orthopedic clinic for several years after finishing college. I matriculated into medical school at Pacific Northwest University in Central Washington and spent my clinical years in Fairbanks, Alaska. I chose to pursue family medicine to provide preventative medicine and full-spectrum care to my patients. During my free time, I love exploring the outdoors with my family and friends, biking, playing basketball, or skijoring with my hound-dog Huckleberry.

JENNIFER SELLAND

j.-selland.pngUniversity of Massachusetts School of Medicine

I grew up in Needham, MA, a suburban town about 10 miles west of Boston, and spent most of my teenage years horseback riding and skiing. I attended University of Rochester for college, and that’s where my desire to reach vulnerable populations strengthened after working for the Preventive Care Program for Urban Children with Asthma. During a gap year post college, I was fortunate to work at a summer camp for children with high-cognitive autism spectrum disorder and then as a medical assistant in a Radiation Oncology department. Through both of those jobs, I realized just how important forming relationships with the patients and families I was working with on a daily basis was to me, and that’s when I knew I wanted to enter a field where I could have strong continuity of care in my practice. After starting medical school at UMass, I was drawn to Family Medicine because of the mission of the specialty to address health inequities and act as community advocates for patients, as well as the compassionate personalities of others in the field.

My passions outside of medicine include running, skiing, hiking, dog walks, working on my vegetarian culinary skills, and convincing anyone I’m with to play a game of Catan. It has been my dream to move to a mountain town like Missoula, where the opportunities for outdoor activities are endless. I am so excited to explore Montana, learn, and grow alongside the FMRWM team!  

REBECCA SHARAR

r.-sharar.pngUniversity of Washington School of Medicine

I grew up on an island outside of Seattle and have been traversing the water and mountains ever since. I set off to be an architect at the University of Washington only to discover that design was not, in fact, my strongest asset. Traveling through Ecuadorian rain forests in college led me to ultimately study biology and Spanish. After a brief stint as a high school basketball coach in California I moved to Michigan to get my MPH at the University of Michigan and work for a county health department. The Great Lakes sure were great, but I realized the mountains were where I was home. My interests in preventative health, longitudinal patient relationships, and working with people of all ages and experiences led me back west to medical school at the University of Washington to become a future family medicine doctor. I participated in the WWAMI program which took me throughout Washington, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana for my clinical training. It was in Montana (my dad’s homeland) that I fell in love with rural family medicine practice and living. I plan to return to a small community in the Montana mountains after residency.

If I’m not inside a classroom, clinic, or hospital, I am probably skiing in the backcountry, flying a paraglider off Mt Jumbo, trail running through the Bitterroots, or losing a well-fought game of Settlers of Catan in the living room.

CECILIA WEEKS

c.-weeks.pngJohn Hopkins University School of Medicine

Born in a small town in upstate New York, my three sisters and I spent our early childhood playing in creeks and cornfields. After moving around quite a bit, I settled down in Austin, TX for my formative years, which I now call my hometown. I attended the University of Texas at Austin, studying biology with a public health focus. As a healthy policy intern, I advocated to close the coverage gap in Texas. After graduating, I spent my gap year as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer teaching reproductive health to high schoolers in Austin. I returned to the East Coast to attend Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where I was able to help develop and lead a trauma-informed care elective for my fellow students. I’m passionate about breaking the cycle of generational trauma by addressing not only children’s health needs, but by improving the health of parents, grandparents, and mothers-to-be. This is why family medicine has always made sense to me. I’ve been an outdoor enthusiast since my childhood but picked up running and cycling along the way. My husband, Ryan, and I are thrilled to move to Missoula with our cat, Pluto.

KALISPELL

SARAH DAVIS

s.-davis.pngPacific Northwest University College of Osteopathic Medicine

I was born and raised in a small, rural town in Northern California. After high school, I began college at Cal Poly, and decided after two years to transfer to Montana State University. At MSU I completed my Bachelor’s in Cell Biology and Neuroscience and Master’s in Health Sciences, and completely fell in love with the beauty and culture of the state of Montana. During my time in Bozeman, I worked several jobs including caregiving for a young boy with special needs and teaching anatomy in various settings. These experiences affirmed that I longed to serve and teach others through medicine, and that I was on the right path by pursuing a career in primary care. I have a deep passion for caring for those with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and have devoted much of my extracurricular time to serving this population. I plan to continue to do so in my future practice by working to improve access to quality, full-spectrum primary care for these individuals and other underserved populations in Montana. Outside of medicine, you’ll catch me spending time with loved ones and furry friends. We enjoy anything outdoors, and often go hiking or backpacking, and also enjoy any indoor crafts and projects. I am honored and could not be more excited to join the FMRWM team.

EMILIE MCINTYRE

e.-mcintyre.pngUniversity of Washington School of Medicine

I grew up in Seattle and had always envisioned an urban life. I enjoyed combining creativity and pragmatism as an architecture student in college and found myself drawn to more humanitarian avenues for design after graduating. My professional plans were rerouted by my personal experiences with chronic illness, and I felt pulled to become a compassionate and empathetic physician. During medical school, I evolved from initially wanting to specialize to wanting to become an expert in my patients through the longitudinal relationships unique to family medicine.

I fell in love with western Montana while hiking the Pacific Northwest Trail, as well as during subsequent rural rotations during medical school. My wilderness backpacking adventures have taught me that my heart is at home in the mountains, and I am thrilled to be putting down roots at the base of some of the most beautiful ones. I look forward to becoming a small-town doc doing full spectrum family practice with obstetrics.

BRYCE ROBERTS

b.-roberts.pngDes Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine

I was born and raised in the great state of Oklahoma in a town called Broken Arrow. Growing up, you could usually find me at one of two places: the local skatepark working on my latest tricks or cooling off at the pool. After high school, I served a 2-year, Spanish-speaking mission trip to Los Angeles, CA. When I got home, I attended Iowa State University and earned a BA in Spanish and a minor in Chemistry. I completed my medical degree at Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine. While in school, I had the opportunity to work in small-town Iowa and was instantly drawn to rural family medicine; however, my love of mountains inspired me to look outside of Iowa. Rural family medicine coupled with breathtaking Montana mountains is a dream come true. I spend most of my free time with my beautiful wife and 3 amazing kiddos and we love the outdoors. Our favorite activities include biking, hiking, swimming, fishing, skateboarding, snowboarding and so much more. We are so excited to raise our family in Montana and to explore its beauty.

MISSOULA

NICHOLAS BOOKER

Des Moines College of Osteopathic Medicine booker.png

I grew up in Andover, Minnesota, which is about 30 minutes north of the Twin Cities. I got my first taste of Montana when I visited in my senior year of high school to tour MSU in Bozeman and spent a week at Big Sky. I spent my freshman year at Bozeman and then transferred to Minnesota State University, Mankato, where I studied Biomedical Science and Biochemistry. I attended Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine where I found a passion for Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment, and it’s uses in a primary care setting. During my fourth year, I spent four weeks working in a Family Medicine clinic in Missoula and fell in love with the town, the culture, and the people. I am thrilled to be returning to Missoula and to be a part of such a wonderful community. I’m interested in broad spectrum rural medicine, preventative medicine, cardiology, behavioral health, and addiction medicine. I want build long lasting relationships with my patients and truly understand their psychosocial situations, goals and needs and implement those into an individualized healthcare plan to help them live their lives to their fullest potential.

In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my wife, Megan, and our cats. I like snowboarding, golfing, kayaking, drumming, documentaries, and board games. I am excited to continue these hobbies and to adopt some new one’s during my time in Missoula!

ILANA BUFFENSTEIN

buffenstein.pngUniversity of Hawaii, John A Burns School of Medicine

Aloha! I was born and raised in beautiful Honolulu, Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi, where I grew up surfing, hiking, and generally appreciating the great outdoors. I attended the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa, where I explored some of my more non-medical interests, as both an English/Film studies major and a college radio DJ. As a medical student at the John A. Burns School of Medicine, I volunteered with our Homeless Outreach Medical Education (H.O.M.E.) project in a mobile RV clinic, providing medical care to unhoused individuals around the island of Oʻahu. I had the opportunity to work in rural settings on Oʻahu and the Big Island, where I witnessed numerous healthcare disparities – particularly within our own Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities. As a student, I pursued research avenues that let me continue my activism work, including projects in both abortion access via telemedicine and clinical trial representation of women and minorities. Wanting to receive more family planning training, I eventually became an abortion doula for people undergoing medication abortion.

My interests in medicine include women’s health, mental illness and substance use disorders in pregnancy, global health, and trauma-informed care. I was drawn to FMRWM because of the opportunity to practice full-spectrum rural FM, their RHEDI curriculum, and addiction medicine opportunities. I look forward to moving to Missoula and joining the lovely FMRWM mishpochah!

JULIE EGGLETON

eggleton.pngCalifornia Northstate University College of Medicine

Growing up in the sunny city of Tucson, Arizona, I spent mild winters adventuring outdoors and sweltering summers in air-conditioned museums. I happily attended the University of California, Davis where I earned a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with a minor in Spanish. After enjoying work at various jobs across the state of California, I was determined to answer my true calling of medicine and was pleased to obtain my medical degree from California Northstate University. I am drawn to family medicine because of the diversity of practice, the emphasis on preventative care, and the longitudinal relationships with patients and families. I am passionate about advocacy work, reproductive health, and providing care to under-resourced communities. I am thrilled to join the FMRWM family and aim to work in full-spectrum family practice with obstetrics.

In my free time, you can find me with my spouse, Micah, and our dog, Tucker. I love photography, baking, traveling, and all outdoor activities such as hiking, climbing, snowboarding, or kayaking. We are so excited about living in and exploring the beautiful state of Montana.

NEHA MALHOTRA

malhotra.pngUniversity of South Carolina School of Medicine-Columbia

I was born and raised in Irmo, a suburb just outside of Columbia, South Carolina. I spent my childhood running around with my two siblings (both of whom are doctors now!), flitting in and out of orchestra rehearsals, and enjoying many lazy afternoons at the Public Library. I went to college at the University of South Carolina and completed a BARSC-MD degree with focuses on Biology, Music, and Spanish. After undergrad, I matriculated to the University of South Carolina School of Medicine- Columbia. What really drew me to primary care is the opportunity to serve my community in so many different capacities. My professional interests include Women’s health, LGBTQ+ healthcare, and behavioral health. Growing up and going to medical school in the South gave me the opportunity to work with many rural and underserved populations, something that played a huge factor in my decision to train at FMRWM. Not to mention, I was very partial to the beautiful landscape in Montana!

In my free time I enjoy cooking, reading, knitting, dancing, playing with my cat Pippin, and taking care of my many houseplants. I love music and anything related to Star Wars. I’ve never lived outside of South Carolina, but my cat, Pippin, and I are looking forward to embracing the lovely city of Missoula as our new home!

MORIAH MURRAY

murray.pngToura University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine

I was born in Germany and raised in more than half a dozen places in the US, being an Army brat. My family comes from the rural South and West, and where I consider home for now is Boise, Idaho, where my mother put down roots 11 years ago (even if I kept moving). I graduated from Boise State and strongly considered working for the Forest Service with my biology degrees if med school didn't work out, so coming to Western Montana wasn't a hard decision to make. Before medical school I worked as a CNA in long term care/home care, and as a sterile processing technician. I pursued surgery (still aiming rural/underserved) for most of medical school, but my experiences with chronic disease and disability, along with my existing passion for those patient populations, led to a path shift. I am fully committed to becoming the full-spectrum family physician that I wish I had. My interests are broad, but primarily include wound care, reproductive/sexual and gender-affirming care, and multispecialty management of complex and rare diseases. Hospice/palliative care and geriatrics hold special places in my heart as well. I look forward to providing compassionate, trauma-informed care to the queer and disabled communities in particular.

Outside of medicine, I am excited to finally settle down and hopefully build a greenhouse that the wind can't blow away. Maybe even a chicken coop! I am filling up a National Parks passport and will happily give and receive tips about which parts are most accessible. I love camping, craft cocktails, and video games.

EMILY YOUNG

young.pngGeisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth

I grew up in a Navy family moving every couple of years; the most interesting place we lived was Moscow, Russia, and the nicest was Honolulu, Hawaii. At Harvard University, I studied Evolutionary Biology, and spent summers working at Camp Cheerio Adventures, where I met my now-husband, Bill. After college I moved to rural, Appalachian North Carolina with Bill and worked as an EMT for Wilkes County and did several other part-time jobs including driving school buses and substitute teaching for our K-8 school!

We moved to Vermont in 2018 when I was accepted to Dartmouth’s medical school. The best parts of medical school were my FM clerkship in Valdez, AK at a tiny hospital run by the 3-4 Family Docs, who showed me how invigorating it is to learn to provide all emergent and routine services for your rural community, as well as completing a year-long “Schweitzer Fellowship” community service project in which I became a DONA-certified birth doula to offer free prenatal, birth, and postpartum services to under-resourced women. Additionally, several Palliative rotations and volunteering with Bayada Hospice have made me passionate about palliative and hospice care. March of M4 year was fantastic, between Matching to FMRWM and the birth of our son, Theodore!

In addition to pursuing training at FMRWM to be a full-spectrum, rural Family Doc, Bill and I are thrilled to spend 3+ years in Missoula, surrounded by incredible outdoor opportunities to pursue our interests in rock climbing, whitewater rafting, downhill skiing, and mountain biking, along with Theo and our 1yo lab-mix, Bec!

KALISPELL

EMILY BALON

balon.pngUniversity of Cincinnati College of Medicine

Born into a working-class family in Middletown, OH (the backdrop of the #1 NY Times Bestseller Hillbilly Elegy), I was the first in my family to attend college. I was able to do so thanks to a full-tuition scholarship to Wright State University where I earned my degree in Anthropology, along with a minor in Spanish. I entered medical school at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine with an open mind, but was immediately set on family medicine after my third year rotation in small town of 4,000 in Indiana. I loved the comprehensive nature of the specialty: I loved the prenatal and pediatric visits, the geriatric patients, the ability to practice obstetrics, the in-office procedures, and most of all, the longitudinal relationships formed over generations. Furthermore, I felt practicing family medicine was the best way to position myself to address social determinants of health and population health. I was drawn to the FMRWM due to its comprehensive curriculum and rural training opportunities. My long term goal is to practice in a small town setting where I can help fill a needed role in a close-knit community. Outside of medicine, I enjoy trying new recipes, listening to audiobooks, tending to my house plants, hiking, cuddling with my cat, playing board games, supporting local ice cream shops, going on casual outings with friends, and FaceTiming with my grandparents.

MCKENZIE KEELING-GARCIA

keeling-garcia.pngPacific Northwest University College of Osteopathic Medicine

I was born in the northwest and grew up working on my family’s commercial fishing boat in rural Alaska. I fell in love with Montana when I came here for college and always hoped to return one day. I attended medical school at Pacific Northwest University in Washington and chose family medicine because I loved being able to combine my many interests, getting to know my patients, and care for their whole family. I am especially interested women’s health, obesity medicine, and addiction medicine. In my spare time, I enjoys spending time outdoors with my family and friends, hiking, snowboarding, wakeboarding, river floating, and always taking the back roads. My fiancé Cody and our cat Nessa are also excited to explore all that Montana has to offer. After residency I hope to practice full spectrum frontier medicine.

CONNOR ROGAN

rogan.pngUniversity of Washington School of Medicine

I was born and raised in the rural island community of Kodiak, Alaska. After high school, I played sprint football for Mansfield University in Pennsylvania for a year before attending the University of Alaska Fairbanks and earning a degree in Biology. After college, I returned to my hometown of Kodiak and had a career as a structural welder and commercial diver. My interest in medicine began while accompanying my wife to see specialists for her chronic disease and experiencing the limitations of healthcare in our community. I wanted to serve my community in a higher capacity which eventually led me to pursue medical school. I completed my medical degree at the University of Washington, participated in the WWAMI Rural Integrated Training Experience (WRITE), and was part of the Targeted Rural and Underserved Track (TRUST). I have always known I wanted to be a rural physician, and I plan to return to Kodiak after residency. I like the breadth of scope that family medicine provides and the variability in your day-to-day practice.

I am married to my high-school sweetheart, Amy. We have two children, a dog, and a rabbit. My interests include scuba diving, hiking with my family, baking macarons, and backpacking. My family and I are excited to experience Montana!

Class of 2023

MISSOULA

Philip Anuta

phillip-anuta-headshotDes Moines College of Osteopathic Medicine

I grew up on a farm outside of a small town in northern Indiana. After completing my undergrad at Indiana University in physics and German, I moved to Austria and worked as an English teacher for a year. When I moved back to the States, I lived out of a van in West Virginia mainly pursuing rock climbing, spent a season in Colorado as a ski instructor and eventually ended up in Salt Lake City taking night courses to get my advanced-EMT certfication. I worked rural EMS in Wendover, Nevada on the weekends and at a homeless healthcare clinic in downtown SLC which solidified my desire to become a physician. After attending medical school at Des Moines University in Iowa, I completed a preliminary year in general surgery at University Texas, San Antonio and switched my focus to rural, broad-spectrum primary care. I look forward to building on my skillset at FMRWM and enjoying all the great outdoor recreational opportunities Missoula has to offer with my partner Jess.

BEN MERBLER

ben-merbler.pngKansas City University COM

I was raised in the beautiful state of Michigan, where I spent the majority of my childhood playing sports outside, exploring local forests, and enjoying our incredible lakes with my family each summer. I went on to play football and study kinesiology at Saginaw Valley State University, where my classes and professors helped to foster an interest in preventative medicine, particularly at the physician level through primary care. I traded the great lakes for the great plains as I moved to Missouri to attend medical school at KCU. During my time in school, I developed interests in international medicine, addiction medicine, and wilderness medicine, all of which further cemented my desire to pursue a career in primary care. I fell in love with Western Montana during a week long backpacking trip after my first year of medical school, and I’ve felt a strong pull to this region since then. I’m incredibly fortunate and grateful to have matched at FMRWM and can’t wait to begin my training in full-spectrum family medicine in this new home, surrounded by unrivaled beauty.

Outside of medicine I can be found backpacking, camping, watching movies, cruising through Stephen King novels, collecting vinyl records and, much to the chagrin of my girlfriend Paige, breaking out into various musical numbers. I’m eager to pursue all of these hobbies and especially excited to cultivate new ones over the next three years in Missoula.

JACQUELINE ORDEMANN

jacqueline-ordemann.pngTufts University - Maine

I was born in Seattle but moved when I was 5 years old to a small village in England called Tylers Green. My family moved to Groton, Massachusetts when I was 10 and I spent the majority of my childhood there. Through lots of family camping, canoeing, and hiking trips, I fell in love with the state of Maine and received my BS in Biochemistry from Bates College. While I was there I fell in love with rural community medicine and public health through my study abroad experience in Thailand and senior thesis research on lead poisoning prevention. After college I worked as an apprentice on Goranson Farm, a small family owned organic farm in rural Maine where my job included working at farmers markets, picking and packing vegetables, and taking care of the chickens and cows. I received my medical degree from the Maine Track Program at Tufts University which allowed me to complete my medical school rotations in rural communities throughout Maine and spurred my interest in full spectrum rural family medicine. From my time on the farm and in rural communities I also developed a passion for food access and I followed this passion as I completed my course work towards my MPH.

During my free time I enjoy knitting and spinning yarn, baking, singing, and being outdoors – particularly hiking, cross country skiing, and canoeing. I am thrilled to be joining FMRWM and I am so excited to explore Western Montana!

STEPHEN REALE

stephen-reale.pngTufts University

I grew up just north of Boston, in Melrose, Massachusetts, where a high school anatomy class solidified my interest in pursuing medicine. I then attended Dickinson College in rural Pennsylvania for undergrad where I majored in neuroscience and music composition, and whether teaching music or tutoring writing, what I truly enjoyed was helping people to improve. After working as an emergency department scribe in Pennsylvania, I returned to Boston to attend Tufts University School of Medicine. While there, I fell in love with everything from obstetrics to pediatrics to surgery, and I couldn’t imagine a career without all of it. It was rumored (in Boston) that this kind of “full-spectrum family medicine” no longer existed, so I took a road trip with my wife, a large animal veterinarian, and found it, alive and well, in the western US. Spending my last year of medical school in Maine, I immediately fell in love with the mountains and forests of western Montana, as well as the friendly, welcoming people of Missoula, and I cannot imagine a better place to train as a family physician. My goal is to fill my medical toolbox with as many tools as possible to help every patient achieve their own personal definition of wellness.

In my spare time, I enjoy hiking, rock climbing, and anything else outdoors, as well as writing and performing music, reading, cooking, and spending time adventuring with my cat and my brilliant and beautiful wife while planning our rural all-are-welcome human/animal practice.

JONATHAN RHEA

jonathan-rhea.pngDes Moines University COM

I grew up in a Houma, Louisiana, where I spent most of my childhood fishing on the bayous and in the gulf. I worked my way up through Louisiana restaurant kitchens, but missing the outdoors, I migrated to Asheville, North Carolina. There I worked as an outdoor educator, guiding backpacking and rock climbing trips. I longed for bigger mountains so took a job working on a cattle ranch in Aspen, Colorado. Eventually I ended up in Mammoth Lakes, California where I worked as a professional ski patroller for ten years. This experience piqued my interest in medicine, and I enrolled at the University of Nevada, Reno, majoring in chemistry. I completed medical school in Iowa at Des Moines University. Since I first left Mammoth, I knew I wanted to get back to a mountain town, and having a strong interest in rural family medicine, FMRWM seemed like a great fit. In my free time I enjoy mountain biking, backcountry skiing, and mountaineering. I plan to practice full spectrum family medicine in a small town in the mountain west.

I am excited to be moving to Missoula with my wife, stepson, and yellow lab, where I can introduce them to the joys of mountain living.

RACHAEL SCHMIDT

rachael-schmidt.pngUniversity of Nebraska

While I have lived all over the United States, I have spent the most of my time in Omaha, Nebraska. At the University of Nebraska – Lincoln I received my bachelor’s degree in biology. Shortly afterwards, I was accepted to the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) for medical school. It is during my time at UNMC that I discovered my passion for full-spectrum family medicine and deepened my interests in issues of public health, behavioral health, reproductive justice, and physician wellness.

After a camping trip to Glacier National Park, my husband and I have been waiting for the opportunity to move to such a beautiful area of the country. I am thrilled I can continue my learning with the amazing faculty and residents at FMRWM here in Missoula. During my free time I enjoy climbing, camping, traveling, photography, and hiking -- alongside my husband, David, and our two dogs, Henry and Louis.

MELANIE SCOTT

melanie-scott.pngPacific NW University COM

I was born and raised in Spokane Washington where I spent my summers on lake Coeur d’Alene. I attended Washington State University where I studied Neuroscience and Psychology. After college I spent time in a Neuropsychology lab working with older adults with memory impairment as well as in the ER in the Seattle Washington area. These experiences confirmed my love of medicine and helped me become the person I am today. I attended Pacific Northwest University in Yakima Washington where I developed my passion for preventative medicine, osteopathic manipulation, women’s health, and full-scope primary care. In my free time I enjoy hiking, yoga, baking, and watching movies.

I look forward to moving to Missoula and exploring all the outdoor activities that Montana has to offer with my husband Parker and our dog Moana.

KALISPELL

KATI LUCAS

kati-lucas.pngPacific NW University COM

I grew up in Richland, Washington where I spent most of my time climbing trees and playing with my brothers and sister. College soccer took me to Boise, Idaho (Go Broncos!) where I also earned a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences and worked my first healthcare related job as a scribe in both urban and rural Emergency Departments. This experience, along with abroad medical expeditions and local volunteering, helped grow my passion for people and medicine. I then attended medical school at PNWU and chose to pursue family medicine because preventative healthcare and building relationships with patients are most important to me. Outside of work, I love spending time with my family and friends, playing sports, running, reading, and adventuring outdoors.

TAYLOR SIMMONS

taylor-simmonsUniversity of Washington - Idaho WWAMI

I grew up in the small town of Middleton, Idaho, where time passed reasoning my way through books, pursuing state championships on the basketball court, and exploring the world from the back of a horse. I didn’t stray too far from home to continue my education and basketball career at Northwest Nazarene University. I majored in biology and realized the value of teamwork and sacrifice required from many to help a student athlete pursue her dreams. Blessed to be an Idaho resident, I entered medical school at the University of Washington via the WWAMI program. Through working at free clinics in the Palouse region, participating in a rural underserved opportunities program in Cottonwood, Idaho, and appreciating all the parallels of the world of CrossFit to a career in full-spectrum family medicine, I knew early on in my medical training I wanted to care for those in sickness and health, in treatment and prevention. I’m passionate about family medicine for its purpose to serve the community and all people, but I have specific interests in reproductive health, obstetrics, underserved populations, and nutrition/lifestyle. In my free time, you’ll find me enjoying the outdoors in my hiking or ski boots, working out at the local CrossFit box, pretending I know what I’m doing in the kitchen, or snuggling my miniature dachshund, Tucker.

BARBARA STEWARD

barb-steward.pngPacific NW University COM

I had the pleasure to grow up in the beautiful northwestern Montana town of Plains. I was able to stay close to and return home to coach cross-country and javelin, volunteer and work in my family-owned natural stone quarry while I attended The University of Montana-Missoula. I graduated with a degree in Exercise Science in Health and Human Performance and during this time I fortified my love for the human body and longed for a continued connection with all whom I encountered. I understand the struggles and difficulties but also the pleasures of living in a rural area. I knew I could best give back to my community by serving them as a family physician.

I appreciate the holistic approach of osteopathic medicine and chose to attend medical school at Pacific Northwest University in Yakima, Washington. I was able to complete my clinical years in Kalispell, MT and am excited to return there for completion of my residency training. I am elated to be training at the FMRWM where I will continue to explore my passion for broad spectrum, rural care with an emphasis in OMM. I couldn’t imagine a better-suited program to help cultivate the compassionate and knowledgeable physician I aspire to be.

I am grateful to be close to home as in my free time I adore spending time with my husband, dad, family and 4 cats. I enjoy working out, eating at new restaurants, exploring the outdoors, fishing, hunting and indulging in board games or a sappy novel.

MISSOULA

SIENNA FOXTON

 Pacific Northwest University College of Osteopathic Medicine  s.-foxton.png

I was born in Bozeman, Montana but I grew up mostly in Alaska. My dad was a tour bus driver in Denali National Park so we spent the summers in Denali (in a cabin without electricity or running water) and the winters in Anchorage. I attended college at Wellesley College outside of Boston, but after four years in the east I missed the mountains too much and moved back to the Pacific Northwest. I landed in Yakima, Washington where I served as an AmeriCorps volunteer working with foster kids on the Yakama Reservation and as a ParaEducator at an elementary school. I also was a Peace Corps volunteer teaching 8th grade math in a small town in Mozambique. After the Peace Corps I returned to Yakima to start medical school at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences. During medical school I was consistently drawn to family medicine for its emphasis on preventative care, opportunity to treat the whole family,
and focus on social determinants of health.

My interests within family medicine include women’s health, underserved medicine, and osteopathic manual medicine. I was drawn to FMRWM because of the program’s emphasis on rural and underserved medicine, the strength of the OMM curriculum, and the wonderful people that make the program what it is. In my free time my wife Emmy and I enjoy backpacking, biking, hiking, gardening, and cooking new recipes.

KARA FRANCIS

k.-francis.pngUniversity of Washington School of Medicine

I was born and raised in Livingston, MT. After receiving my undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Oregon, I returned to Montana to work at a health center in Hardin, MT. My upbringing in a small community, work in Hardin, and love of the outdoors led me to desire a career and life in rural Montana. Thus, I decided to pursue family medicine with specific
interest in work with rural and underserved populations, social justice, and social determinants of health. I attended medical school at the University of Washington, where I completed much of my training in Montana communities, further encouraging my passion for rural family medicine.

Outside of medicine, I love to spend time outdoors with my dogs and partner, trail running, skiing, hiking, and more recently learning to fly fish. I am thrilled to continue my training in my home state and to explore the incredible areas around Missoula.

ALEC KERINS

a.-kerins.pngUniversity of Colorado School of Medicine

I was born and raised in Helena, Montana where I spent my childhood exploring the woods, raising livestock, and running up and down the soccer field. After earning my B.A. in Biology from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR, I joined Teach for America and taught high school science in the San Francisco Bay Area. Seeing first-hand the systemic inequities and barriers
that prevented my students from accessing the high-quality education they deserved, I spent the better part of the next decade working to change that. After repeatedly facing the tight connection between health and educational outcomes, I decided to make the transition to medicine. I earned my medical degree from the University of Colorado, and was fortunate to have great mentors that provided experiences allowing me to explore my passion for rural communities, population health, advocacy and
healthcare access.

My wife, two sons, and our two pups are really looking forward to joining the FMRWM family and calling Western Montana home again. When not thinking about medicine, I can be found trail running, skiing, fly fishing, camping, working on home improvement projects, and exploring the back-roads of Montana.

TRAVIS KINANE

t.-kinane.pngPacific Northwest University College of Osteopathic Medicine

Born in the middle of the Willamette Valley in Beaverton, Oregon, I attended Linfield University near the Oregon coast, where I played basketball and ran track. At the start of my junior year, I accepted a two-year internship working with underprivileged, overweight children in the community that changed my career trajectory towards medicine. I then worked as a medical assistant and surgical scrub at an orthopedic clinic for several years after finishing college. I matriculated into medical school at Pacific Northwest University in Central Washington and spent my clinical years in Fairbanks, Alaska. I chose to pursue family medicine to provide preventative medicine and full-spectrum care to my patients. During my free time, I love exploring the outdoors with my family and friends, biking, playing basketball, or skijoring with my hound-dog Huckleberry.

JENNIFER SELLAND

j.-selland.pngUniversity of Massachusetts School of Medicine

I grew up in Needham, MA, a suburban town about 10 miles west of Boston, and spent most of my teenage years horseback riding and skiing. I attended University of Rochester for college, and that’s where my desire to reach vulnerable populations strengthened after working for the Preventive Care Program for Urban Children with Asthma. During a gap year post college, I was fortunate to work at a summer camp for children with high-cognitive autism spectrum disorder and then as a medical assistant in a Radiation Oncology department. Through both of those jobs, I realized just how important forming relationships with the patients and families I was working with on a daily basis was to me, and that’s when I knew I wanted to enter a field where I could have strong continuity of care in my practice. After starting medical school at UMass, I was drawn to Family Medicine because of the mission of the specialty to address health inequities and act as community advocates for patients, as well as the compassionate personalities of others in the field.

My passions outside of medicine include running, skiing, hiking, dog walks, working on my vegetarian culinary skills, and convincing anyone I’m with to play a game of Catan. It has been my dream to move to a mountain town like Missoula, where the opportunities for outdoor activities are endless. I am so excited to explore Montana, learn, and grow alongside the FMRWM team!  

REBECCA SHARAR

r.-sharar.pngUniversity of Washington School of Medicine

I grew up on an island outside of Seattle and have been traversing the water and mountains ever since. I set off to be an architect at the University of Washington only to discover that design was not, in fact, my strongest asset. Traveling through Ecuadorian rain forests in college led me to ultimately study biology and Spanish. After a brief stint as a high school basketball coach in California I moved to Michigan to get my MPH at the University of Michigan and work for a county health department. The Great Lakes sure were great, but I realized the mountains were where I was home. My interests in preventative health, longitudinal patient relationships, and working with people of all ages and experiences led me back west to medical school at the University of Washington to become a future family medicine doctor. I participated in the WWAMI program which took me throughout Washington, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana for my clinical training. It was in Montana (my dad’s homeland) that I fell in love with rural family medicine practice and living. I plan to return to a small community in the Montana mountains after residency.

If I’m not inside a classroom, clinic, or hospital, I am probably skiing in the backcountry, flying a paraglider off Mt Jumbo, trail running through the Bitterroots, or losing a well-fought game of Settlers of Catan in the living room.

CECILIA WEEKS

c.-weeks.pngJohn Hopkins University School of Medicine

Born in a small town in upstate New York, my three sisters and I spent our early childhood playing in creeks and cornfields. After moving around quite a bit, I settled down in Austin, TX for my formative years, which I now call my hometown. I attended the University of Texas at Austin, studying biology with a public health focus. As a healthy policy intern, I advocated to close the coverage gap in Texas. After graduating, I spent my gap year as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer teaching reproductive health to high schoolers in Austin. I returned to the East Coast to attend Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where I was able to help develop and lead a trauma-informed care elective for my fellow students. I’m passionate about breaking the cycle of generational trauma by addressing not only children’s health needs, but by improving the health of parents, grandparents, and mothers-to-be. This is why family medicine has always made sense to me. I’ve been an outdoor enthusiast since my childhood but picked up running and cycling along the way. My husband, Ryan, and I are thrilled to move to Missoula with our cat, Pluto.

KALISPELL

SARAH DAVIS

s.-davis.pngPacific Northwest University College of Osteopathic Medicine

I was born and raised in a small, rural town in Northern California. After high school, I began college at Cal Poly, and decided after two years to transfer to Montana State University. At MSU I completed my Bachelor’s in Cell Biology and Neuroscience and Master’s in Health Sciences, and completely fell in love with the beauty and culture of the state of Montana. During my time in Bozeman, I worked several jobs including caregiving for a young boy with special needs and teaching anatomy in various settings. These experiences affirmed that I longed to serve and teach others through medicine, and that I was on the right path by pursuing a career in primary care. I have a deep passion for caring for those with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and have devoted much of my extracurricular time to serving this population. I plan to continue to do so in my future practice by working to improve access to quality, full-spectrum primary care for these individuals and other underserved populations in Montana. Outside of medicine, you’ll catch me spending time with loved ones and furry friends. We enjoy anything outdoors, and often go hiking or backpacking, and also enjoy any indoor crafts and projects. I am honored and could not be more excited to join the FMRWM team.

EMILIE MCINTYRE

e.-mcintyre.pngUniversity of Washington School of Medicine

I grew up in Seattle and had always envisioned an urban life. I enjoyed combining creativity and pragmatism as an architecture student in college and found myself drawn to more humanitarian avenues for design after graduating. My professional plans were rerouted by my personal experiences with chronic illness, and I felt pulled to become a compassionate and empathetic physician. During medical school, I evolved from initially wanting to specialize to wanting to become an expert in my patients through the longitudinal relationships unique to family medicine.

I fell in love with western Montana while hiking the Pacific Northwest Trail, as well as during subsequent rural rotations during medical school. My wilderness backpacking adventures have taught me that my heart is at home in the mountains, and I am thrilled to be putting down roots at the base of some of the most beautiful ones. I look forward to becoming a small-town doc doing full spectrum family practice with obstetrics.

BRYCE ROBERTS

b.-roberts.pngDes Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine

I was born and raised in the great state of Oklahoma in a town called Broken Arrow. Growing up, you could usually find me at one of two places: the local skatepark working on my latest tricks or cooling off at the pool. After high school, I served a 2-year, Spanish-speaking mission trip to Los Angeles, CA. When I got home, I attended Iowa State University and earned a BA in Spanish and a minor in Chemistry. I completed my medical degree at Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine. While in school, I had the opportunity to work in small-town Iowa and was instantly drawn to rural family medicine; however, my love of mountains inspired me to look outside of Iowa. Rural family medicine coupled with breathtaking Montana mountains is a dream come true. I spend most of my free time with my beautiful wife and 3 amazing kiddos and we love the outdoors. Our favorite activities include biking, hiking, swimming, fishing, skateboarding, snowboarding and so much more. We are so excited to raise our family in Montana and to explore its beauty.

MISSOULA

NICHOLAS BOOKER

Des Moines College of Osteopathic Medicine booker.png

I grew up in Andover, Minnesota, which is about 30 minutes north of the Twin Cities. I got my first taste of Montana when I visited in my senior year of high school to tour MSU in Bozeman and spent a week at Big Sky. I spent my freshman year at Bozeman and then transferred to Minnesota State University, Mankato, where I studied Biomedical Science and Biochemistry. I attended Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine where I found a passion for Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment, and it’s uses in a primary care setting. During my fourth year, I spent four weeks working in a Family Medicine clinic in Missoula and fell in love with the town, the culture, and the people. I am thrilled to be returning to Missoula and to be a part of such a wonderful community. I’m interested in broad spectrum rural medicine, preventative medicine, cardiology, behavioral health, and addiction medicine. I want build long lasting relationships with my patients and truly understand their psychosocial situations, goals and needs and implement those into an individualized healthcare plan to help them live their lives to their fullest potential.

In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my wife, Megan, and our cats. I like snowboarding, golfing, kayaking, drumming, documentaries, and board games. I am excited to continue these hobbies and to adopt some new one’s during my time in Missoula!

ILANA BUFFENSTEIN

buffenstein.pngUniversity of Hawaii, John A Burns School of Medicine

Aloha! I was born and raised in beautiful Honolulu, Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi, where I grew up surfing, hiking, and generally appreciating the great outdoors. I attended the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa, where I explored some of my more non-medical interests, as both an English/Film studies major and a college radio DJ. As a medical student at the John A. Burns School of Medicine, I volunteered with our Homeless Outreach Medical Education (H.O.M.E.) project in a mobile RV clinic, providing medical care to unhoused individuals around the island of Oʻahu. I had the opportunity to work in rural settings on Oʻahu and the Big Island, where I witnessed numerous healthcare disparities – particularly within our own Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities. As a student, I pursued research avenues that let me continue my activism work, including projects in both abortion access via telemedicine and clinical trial representation of women and minorities. Wanting to receive more family planning training, I eventually became an abortion doula for people undergoing medication abortion.

My interests in medicine include women’s health, mental illness and substance use disorders in pregnancy, global health, and trauma-informed care. I was drawn to FMRWM because of the opportunity to practice full-spectrum rural FM, their RHEDI curriculum, and addiction medicine opportunities. I look forward to moving to Missoula and joining the lovely FMRWM mishpochah!

JULIE EGGLETON

eggleton.pngCalifornia Northstate University College of Medicine

Growing up in the sunny city of Tucson, Arizona, I spent mild winters adventuring outdoors and sweltering summers in air-conditioned museums. I happily attended the University of California, Davis where I earned a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with a minor in Spanish. After enjoying work at various jobs across the state of California, I was determined to answer my true calling of medicine and was pleased to obtain my medical degree from California Northstate University. I am drawn to family medicine because of the diversity of practice, the emphasis on preventative care, and the longitudinal relationships with patients and families. I am passionate about advocacy work, reproductive health, and providing care to under-resourced communities. I am thrilled to join the FMRWM family and aim to work in full-spectrum family practice with obstetrics.

In my free time, you can find me with my spouse, Micah, and our dog, Tucker. I love photography, baking, traveling, and all outdoor activities such as hiking, climbing, snowboarding, or kayaking. We are so excited about living in and exploring the beautiful state of Montana.

NEHA MALHOTRA

malhotra.pngUniversity of South Carolina School of Medicine-Columbia

I was born and raised in Irmo, a suburb just outside of Columbia, South Carolina. I spent my childhood running around with my two siblings (both of whom are doctors now!), flitting in and out of orchestra rehearsals, and enjoying many lazy afternoons at the Public Library. I went to college at the University of South Carolina and completed a BARSC-MD degree with focuses on Biology, Music, and Spanish. After undergrad, I matriculated to the University of South Carolina School of Medicine- Columbia. What really drew me to primary care is the opportunity to serve my community in so many different capacities. My professional interests include Women’s health, LGBTQ+ healthcare, and behavioral health. Growing up and going to medical school in the South gave me the opportunity to work with many rural and underserved populations, something that played a huge factor in my decision to train at FMRWM. Not to mention, I was very partial to the beautiful landscape in Montana!

In my free time I enjoy cooking, reading, knitting, dancing, playing with my cat Pippin, and taking care of my many houseplants. I love music and anything related to Star Wars. I’ve never lived outside of South Carolina, but my cat, Pippin, and I are looking forward to embracing the lovely city of Missoula as our new home!

MORIAH MURRAY

murray.pngToura University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine

I was born in Germany and raised in more than half a dozen places in the US, being an Army brat. My family comes from the rural South and West, and where I consider home for now is Boise, Idaho, where my mother put down roots 11 years ago (even if I kept moving). I graduated from Boise State and strongly considered working for the Forest Service with my biology degrees if med school didn't work out, so coming to Western Montana wasn't a hard decision to make. Before medical school I worked as a CNA in long term care/home care, and as a sterile processing technician. I pursued surgery (still aiming rural/underserved) for most of medical school, but my experiences with chronic disease and disability, along with my existing passion for those patient populations, led to a path shift. I am fully committed to becoming the full-spectrum family physician that I wish I had. My interests are broad, but primarily include wound care, reproductive/sexual and gender-affirming care, and multispecialty management of complex and rare diseases. Hospice/palliative care and geriatrics hold special places in my heart as well. I look forward to providing compassionate, trauma-informed care to the queer and disabled communities in particular.

Outside of medicine, I am excited to finally settle down and hopefully build a greenhouse that the wind can't blow away. Maybe even a chicken coop! I am filling up a National Parks passport and will happily give and receive tips about which parts are most accessible. I love camping, craft cocktails, and video games.

EMILY YOUNG

young.pngGeisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth

I grew up in a Navy family moving every couple of years; the most interesting place we lived was Moscow, Russia, and the nicest was Honolulu, Hawaii. At Harvard University, I studied Evolutionary Biology, and spent summers working at Camp Cheerio Adventures, where I met my now-husband, Bill. After college I moved to rural, Appalachian North Carolina with Bill and worked as an EMT for Wilkes County and did several other part-time jobs including driving school buses and substitute teaching for our K-8 school!

We moved to Vermont in 2018 when I was accepted to Dartmouth’s medical school. The best parts of medical school were my FM clerkship in Valdez, AK at a tiny hospital run by the 3-4 Family Docs, who showed me how invigorating it is to learn to provide all emergent and routine services for your rural community, as well as completing a year-long “Schweitzer Fellowship” community service project in which I became a DONA-certified birth doula to offer free prenatal, birth, and postpartum services to under-resourced women. Additionally, several Palliative rotations and volunteering with Bayada Hospice have made me passionate about palliative and hospice care. March of M4 year was fantastic, between Matching to FMRWM and the birth of our son, Theodore!

In addition to pursuing training at FMRWM to be a full-spectrum, rural Family Doc, Bill and I are thrilled to spend 3+ years in Missoula, surrounded by incredible outdoor opportunities to pursue our interests in rock climbing, whitewater rafting, downhill skiing, and mountain biking, along with Theo and our 1yo lab-mix, Bec!

KALISPELL

EMILY BALON

balon.pngUniversity of Cincinnati College of Medicine

Born into a working-class family in Middletown, OH (the backdrop of the #1 NY Times Bestseller Hillbilly Elegy), I was the first in my family to attend college. I was able to do so thanks to a full-tuition scholarship to Wright State University where I earned my degree in Anthropology, along with a minor in Spanish. I entered medical school at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine with an open mind, but was immediately set on family medicine after my third year rotation in small town of 4,000 in Indiana. I loved the comprehensive nature of the specialty: I loved the prenatal and pediatric visits, the geriatric patients, the ability to practice obstetrics, the in-office procedures, and most of all, the longitudinal relationships formed over generations. Furthermore, I felt practicing family medicine was the best way to position myself to address social determinants of health and population health. I was drawn to the FMRWM due to its comprehensive curriculum and rural training opportunities. My long term goal is to practice in a small town setting where I can help fill a needed role in a close-knit community. Outside of medicine, I enjoy trying new recipes, listening to audiobooks, tending to my house plants, hiking, cuddling with my cat, playing board games, supporting local ice cream shops, going on casual outings with friends, and FaceTiming with my grandparents.

MCKENZIE KEELING-GARCIA

keeling-garcia.pngPacific Northwest University College of Osteopathic Medicine

I was born in the northwest and grew up working on my family’s commercial fishing boat in rural Alaska. I fell in love with Montana when I came here for college and always hoped to return one day. I attended medical school at Pacific Northwest University in Washington and chose family medicine because I loved being able to combine my many interests, getting to know my patients, and care for their whole family. I am especially interested women’s health, obesity medicine, and addiction medicine. In my spare time, I enjoys spending time outdoors with my family and friends, hiking, snowboarding, wakeboarding, river floating, and always taking the back roads. My fiancé Cody and our cat Nessa are also excited to explore all that Montana has to offer. After residency I hope to practice full spectrum frontier medicine.

CONNOR ROGAN

rogan.pngUniversity of Washington School of Medicine

I was born and raised in the rural island community of Kodiak, Alaska. After high school, I played sprint football for Mansfield University in Pennsylvania for a year before attending the University of Alaska Fairbanks and earning a degree in Biology. After college, I returned to my hometown of Kodiak and had a career as a structural welder and commercial diver. My interest in medicine began while accompanying my wife to see specialists for her chronic disease and experiencing the limitations of healthcare in our community. I wanted to serve my community in a higher capacity which eventually led me to pursue medical school. I completed my medical degree at the University of Washington, participated in the WWAMI Rural Integrated Training Experience (WRITE), and was part of the Targeted Rural and Underserved Track (TRUST). I have always known I wanted to be a rural physician, and I plan to return to Kodiak after residency. I like the breadth of scope that family medicine provides and the variability in your day-to-day practice.

I am married to my high-school sweetheart, Amy. We have two children, a dog, and a rabbit. My interests include scuba diving, hiking with my family, baking macarons, and backpacking. My family and I are excited to experience Montana!