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UM Health And Medicine Initiative Receives $1 Million Donation

Grizzly statue and Main Hall on the University of Montana campus in Missoula.
Josh Burnham
Montana Public Radio
Grizzly statue and Main Hall on the University of Montana campus in Missoula.

The University of Montana announced today it has received a $1 million donation that the school says will jumpstart its burgeoning health education program.

UM launched its Health and Medicine initiative - called UMHM - in 2016. The program is designed to attract faculty, staff and students to work and study in the health professions.

UMHM Director Reed Humphrey describes the $1 million in seed funding as a true investment that will further enable the program.

"To be innovative. To find new ways to manage premature chronic disease and disability and to really extend both the university’s reach, but our caregivers’ reach into places that desperately need us now and more so in the future," he said.

The $1 million gift comes from the Oregon-based Madrona Hill Foundation. Its president is UM Grad Cheryl Burnham. Burnham’s husband, Mark, is also a UM alum.

School president Seth Bodnar says their gift nudges UM one step closer to becoming the state’s preeminent health and medicine research institution.

"In the first year, the Madrona Foundation seed funding will help launch an occupational therapy program that's actually being done in collaboration with MSU Billings," Bodnar said.

A feasibility study funded by Montana’s Office of Public Instruction showed a growing need for occupational therapists.

The funding will also create a fellowship for doctoral students in public health and scholarships to support UM health care students in rural areas.

O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the University of Montana School of Journalism. His first career job out of school was covering the 1995 Montana Legislature. When the session wrapped up, O’Brien was fortunate enough to land a full-time position at the station as a general assignment reporter. Feel free to drop him a line at
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