St. Vincent’s Dr. Jim Richards Recognized with WWAMI Outstanding Teacher Award
Billings, MT - St. Vincent Healthcare is pleased to announce that Dr. Jim Richards, Neurology, has been named the recipient of the WWAMI Outstanding Teacher Award for the 2019-2020 school year. WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) is a one-of-a-kind, multi-state medical education program.
Dr. Richards is the lead preceptor for the Neurology clerkship for the University of Washington WWAMI program. He works directly with the 4th year students, who are in their “Explore and Focus” stage of medical school, and teaches them skills, techniques and procedures for direct care with patients.
“I loved this rotation. Dr. Richards was a great teacher and really took the time daily to point out neurologic findings, think out loud, work with the team, and at the end of every day, we did a discussion on an important topic that would be on the test,” mentioned one student. “He was very personable and approachable.”
He has been teaching WWAMI students since 2018. The neurology rotation is a required clerkship for students and Dr. Richards graciously takes a student for every block (every 4 weeks). He is typically full and can see up to 12 students in a school year. For the 2019-2020 school year, Dr. Richards taught and worked with 9-10 students.
Montana does not have a medical school, so the state partnered with the University of Washington, School of Medicine in Seattle in the 1970’s. The Billings WWAMI track program is overseen by the WWAMI Track Director, Dr. Mike Geurin with RiverStone Health.
Through the WWAMI program, UW medical students have access to a variety of settings for clinical training: from a busy Level I trauma center in Seattle, WA, to a small primary care clinic in Libby, MT, to working with Alaska Natives in Anchorage, AK. Community-based clinical faculty volunteer their time to educate the medical students. Whereas other medical schools have their students stay in the one area for their clerkships, WWAMI students are able to travel around the five different states to do their rotations. Because of the WWAMI program, the UW School of Medicine has been identified as a top medical school for primary care education, family medicine and rural medicine training.
Students in both their 3rd (Patient Care Phase) and 4th (Explore and Focus Phase) years are able to come to Billings for required and elective rotations. Depending on the rotation, they are able to go to St. Vincent’s Healthcare, Billings Clinic and RiverStone Health.
Dr. Richards is among a dozen physicians from various St. Vincent Healthcare specialties who participate in the WWAMI program. This is the first time that Dr. Richards has been recognized with this award. To honor his outstanding dedication to his students and field, he will be given a plaque and his name will be placed on the Teacher Appreciation recipients plaques that are hung up at both WWAMI student houses and at RiverStone Health, where the WWAMI Track Coordinator office is.
Congratulations, Dr. Richards! Thank you for your dedication to preparing our future young medical professionals.
To learn more about the program, visit https://www.uwmedicine.org/school-of-medicine/about
SCL Health is a faith-based, nonprofit healthcare organization dedicated to improving the health of the people and communities we serve. Founded by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth in 1864, our health network provides comprehensive, coordinated care through eight hospitals, more than 180 physician clinics, home health, hospice, mental health, and safety-net services in Colorado and the Montana Wyoming region.