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Eleven Health Care Providers Selected for Montana’s Top Physician Leadership Program:

Eleven Montana health care providers have been selected as participants in the 2021 Healthcare Excellence in Leadership Program.


05-07-2021: Healthcare Excellence in Leadership Program:

Session 3 of the Healthcare Excellence in Leadership Program will be held on May 7th & 8th in Big Sky.  Future sessions are scheduled on Aug, 6th at Bigfork & Sept. 17th at Fairmont.


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Eleven Health Care Providers Selected for Montana’s Top Physician Leadership Program

 MMA Hosts Eighth-Annual Healthcare Excellence in Leadership Program


HELENA – The Montana Medical Association today announced that 11 Montana health care providers have been selected as participants in the 2021 Healthcare Excellence in Leadership Program.

“This is the first time a pharmacist and a psychologist have participated in this top-tier program. By expanding to include the full health care team, we’re providing opportunities for more providers to move into leadership roles to spearhead the development of effective patient care,” said MMA Chief Executive Officer Jean Branscum. “This leadership program is dedicated to developing the skills health care workers need to become top leaders in the industry, influence state health care policy, and promote the positive change needed to provide better patient care in Montana.”

The Healthcare Excellence in Leadership Program was created in 2013 by Montana physicians to help industry health care providers step into new and emerging leadership roles and engage in vital healthcare policy discussions across the state. Participants in this top-shelf leadership program attend five monthly sessions across Montana to learn about the state’s critical health care issues and gain the leadership skills needed to create positive change in their practice, hospital, and surrounding communities.

The health care leaders selected for the 2021 program are:

  • Adrienne Coopey, D.O., Psychiatry, Billings Clinic, Billings
  • Dirk Gottman, M.D., Pediatrics, Western Montana Clinic, Missoula
  • Kevin Harada, M.D., Hospitalist & Internal Medicine, Northern Montana Hospital, Havre
  • J. Erin Hixson, M.D., Family Medicine, RiverStone Health Residency Program, Billings
  • Leslee Kane, M.D., Family Medicine, Bozeman Health Belgrade Clinic, Bozeman
  • Tony King, Pharmacy Director, Pharmacy, Mountain-Pacific Quality Health, Helena
  • Sara Potts, Ph.D., Psychology, Partnership Health Center, Missoula
  • Dierdre Strigenz, M.D., Anesthesiology, Gallatin Valley Anesthesia, Bozeman
  • Kristine Thayer, M.D., Pediatric Surgery, Community Medical Center, Missoula
  • Mark VanTighem, M.D. Emergency Medicine, Benefis Health, Great Falls
  • Stephanie Wolfe, M.D., Family Medicine, Bozeman Health Family Medicine, Bozeman

An increasing number of physicians recognize that they are needed to step up and lead efforts to improved health and healthcare,” said MMA President Pam Cutler, M.D. “This program teaches skills not offered in traditional medical education that build on the vast knowledge and unique experiences of physicians. The result is a transformational experience that prepares participants to be more impactful in clinical settings, governmental forums, and both corporate and non-profit boardrooms.”

Over 130 physicians and other health care providers have participated in the leadership program’s first seven years. Past participants have accepted top leadership roles in Montana health care institutions and received multiple industry awards, including the MMA’s Legacy of Leadership Award.

The program was developed through the support of the MMA Foundation and grants provided by The Physicians Foundation, a national non-profit organization that seeks to advance the work of practicing physicians and helps facilitate the delivery of health care to patients. The MMA Foundation supports physician education in Montana.

For more information or to provide sponsorship for this program, visit, or contact the Montana Medical Association at or (406) 443-4000.



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