A federal $2.5 million grant will help the University of Montana train physicians for rural or underserved areas. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration announced the funding last week. The 5-year funding will be used for the Family Medicine Residency of Western Montana program, which works with a network of 16 sites, including Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital in Hamilton and Stoneybrook Medicine in Stevensville.

In a news release, assistant director Dr. Darin Bell said, " We will have the resources to develop a number of new programs that have been in various stages of planning for several years." The program will train in addiction medicine, telehealth and interprofessional education. The pgoram began in 2013 with 10 residents at nine sites. There are now 16 sites - Browning, Lewistown, Dillon, Plains, Anaconda, Deer Lodge, Eureka, Ennis, Hamilton, Libby, Polson, Sheridan, Ronan, Butte and St. Ignatius. Bell said over 70 percent of the graduates have gone on to practice in rural areas. UM works with the University of Washington Family Medicine Residency Network.

UM's sponsoring hospitals are Kalispell Regional Healthcare, Providence St. Patrick Hospital and Community Medical Center in Missoula, with continuity clinic training at Partnership Health Center in Missoula and Flathead Community Health Center in Kalispell. Bell said, "This award has a big impact in helping us continue to fulfill our mission of training the highest quality family doctors for rural and underserved communities in Montana."