Helena man is first pharmacist to be elected to MT leadership program

MMA Leadership Program
Posted at 9:20 AM, Apr 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-05 12:47:41-04

HELENA — The Montana Medical Association (MMA) announced that Helena Pharmacy Director, Tony King, with Mountain-Pacific Quality Health, has been selected to participate in the 2021 Healthcare Excellence in Leadership Program.

“This is the first time a pharmacist has been selected to participate 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. MMA says in a press release that participants in this 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.

“An increasing number of physicians recognize that they are needed to step up and lead efforts to improve 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.”

Tony King also recognize the increasing demand of healthcare from all aspects of the industry.

"I think part of the solution to the rising healthcare costs and the adversity we are seeing in the medical field, part of that is the team-based approach, the more people we can get involved in patient care the more people that can input their expertise, the better we're gonna be," says King. "Pharmacists, clinical pharmacists, ambulatory-care pharmacists, retail pharmacists, we all bring something to the table for patient care and we're finally getting recognized as one of the important pieces in team care. I think this is just an opportunity for us to expand on that and show what a pharmacist can bring for the team."

Other statewide 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

• 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

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.

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