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UW Medical School Hosts First WWAMI Legislative Day Since 2020

March 7, 2022
group of people sitting in a row
Members of the new class of Wyoming-WWAMI medical students, here visiting the office of Gov. Mark Gordon, are, from left, Colin O’Neill, Sara Martinez-Garcia, Laura Stamp, Saul Alvarado, Samantha Britz, Hanna Ahuja, Tristan Bohlman, Jessica Garcia, Tazle Markovich, Matthew Rorke, Brandon Izatt, Bailey Theis and Scott Killian. Not pictured are Seth Eckhardt, Christopher Henry, Kurt Leseberg, Audrey Mossman, Bethany Shotts, Carson Walker and Brandon Young. (Sara Martinez-Garcia Photo)

The University of Wyoming’s medical school, Wyoming-WWAMI, hosted its annual Legislative Day last month for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

The event, which allows state leaders to meet the newest incoming class of medical students, was held Feb. 22 at the Plains Hotel in Cheyenne. It included speaker presentations during a luncheon and a tour of the Wyoming Capitol.

UW’s branch of WWAMI medical education is part of a five-state partnership among Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. These states do not actually have their own medical schools; however, they all collaborate academically with the University of Washington School of Medicine (UWSOM).

The recent Legislative Day was hosted by new Wyoming-WWAMI Director Dr. Brant Schumaker.

“We want to train our graduates to be engaged as medical experts and citizens in their communities,” he says. “When health care issues are discussed, it is important that our doctors are trusted resources to consult about these topics. It was great to see this engagement by our students.”

The focus of Legislative Day is to thank legislators for their support of Wyoming-WWAMI and to welcome the newest class of medical students, as well as highlight clerkship sites, alumni and dignitaries represented at the event.

Presenters at this event included Dr. Robert Monger, clinical dean for Wyoming-WWAMI, and Dr. Suzanne Allen, UWSOM’s vice dean for academic, rural and regional affairs.

Gov. Mark Gordon also attended the luncheon and offered his encouragement to the newly minted class of 20 future Wyoming physicians.

Following the luncheon, the WWAMI students toured the Wyoming Capitol and were introduced to members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, before meeting with the governor.

“I wanted to tell the WWAMI students that we are so proud of them,” said Sen. Drew Perkins, R-Casper, following introductions to the members of the Senate. “They represent the best and brightest in Wyoming.”

The students also met with Wyoming State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist, as well as representatives of the Wyoming Medical Society and the Wyoming Hospital Association.

“I’d like to thank Gov. Gordon for his support of the Wyoming-WWAMI program,” says student Tazle Markovich, of Casper. “I really appreciate that he took the time to listen to our perspectives during the visit, and I am looking forward to his efforts in making Wyoming more hospitable for patients and physicians.”

“The WWAMI luncheon was a wonderful way to interact with current physicians in Wyoming, WWAMI alumni and current medical students in different years,” says student Hanna Ahuja, of Rock Springs. “It was great to be the voice of WWAMI -- as future Wyoming physicians and at the state level with Gov. Gordon.”

Members of the new class of first-year Wyoming-WWAMI medical students, listed by their hometowns, are:

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.

Star Valley -- Carson Walker.

Wheatland -- Samantha Britz.

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