Two Rock Springs Students Attend UW’s WWAMI Stethoscope Ceremony

Two Rock Springs Students Attend UW’s WWAMI Stethoscope Ceremony

Members of the new WWAMI Medical Education Program class at UW are, from left: front row, Samantha Britz, Bethany Shotts, Bailey Theis, Audrey Mossman and Tristan Bohlman; second row, Brandon Izatt, Sara Martinez-Garcia, Matthew Rorke and Hanna Ahuja; third row, Jessica Garcia, Laura Stamp, Tazle Markovich and Brandon Young; fourth row, Kurt Leseberg, Colin O’Neill, Saul Alvarado and Seth Eckhardt; fifth row, Carson Walker and Christopher Henry. (UW Photo)

The WWAMI Medical Education Program on the University of Wyoming campus has welcomed 20 new future physicians, marking its 24th class of medical students.

Both Hanna Ahuja and Jessica Garcia of Rock Springs attended the stethoscope ceremony on Aug. 20 at Ivinson Memorial Hospital (IMH). This ceremony was the first official WWAMI event under new Program Director Dr. Brant Schumaker.

WWAMI is a five-state consortium (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho), with each state providing students clinical experiences leading up to graduation through the University of Washington School of Medicine.

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The ceremony followed a one-week period of orientation/immersion, allowing students to meet faculty members and familiarize themselves with the Wyoming medical school’s facilities. It also was a period of introduction to the foundations of clinical medicine.

Schumaker thanks community health care providers, as well as members of IMH staff, for their support of the WWAMI students, especially in providing clinical space for medical students to practice their skills.

“If we have learned anything during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the importance of collaboration among all segments of the health care community,” Schumaker says. “I can’t stress enough how important the relationship is between our medical school curriculum and the physician and hospital partners who help facilitate and foster our students’ early clinical education.”

Four faculty mentors within the WWAMI program each will work with five students, assisting with instructional needs as well as helping with personal challenges related to medical school. These mentors are Drs. Yvette and John Haeberle, clinical curriculum director and family medicine physician with Family Physicians of Laramie, respectively; Dr. Julie Carlson, assistant clinical curriculum director; and Dr. Tim Govaerts, a consultant for IMH who practices nephrology within a clinic he owns at UW’s Mountain View Medical Park.

Carlson says the ceremony of new medical students receiving their stethoscopes along with clinical white coats is a fairly new tradition in medicine. The short coat they received in the recent ceremony is a symbol of authority and professionalism, representing the caring and trust they must earn from their patients. The white coat welcomes the students to the community of physicians by giving them “a powerful symbol of compassion and honor.” The long coat they will later receive is a symbol of being an equal clinician to others who have earned their long coats, to “carry on the noble practice and tradition of medicine,” she says.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, each student received his or her white coat and stethoscope. Then, along with friends and family members, they were treated to a barbecue dinner outdoors at Washington Park in Laramie.

Listed by hometown, members of the new class of medical students are:

Afton — Carson Walker
Buffalo — Scott Killian
Casper — Tazle Markovich, Sara Martinez-Garcia, Audrey Mossman, Colin O’Neill and Laura Stamp
Cheyenne — Saul Alvarado
Cody — Bethany Shotts
Dubois — Kurt Leseberg
Gillette — Brandon Izatt and Bailey Theis
Jackson — Matthew Rorke
Laramie — Seth Eckhardt and Christopher Henry
McKinnon — Brandon Young
Powell — Tristan Bohlman
Rock Springs — Hanna Ahuja and Jessica Garcia
Wheatland — Samantha Britz