UW School of Medicine Electives

WWAMI Non-Clinical Electives

Distance Learning Courses

Please click the link below for the list of Autumn 2017 distance learning electives and course information such as date/time and faculty contact.

Distance Learning Non-Clinical Electives Autumn 2017

Non-Clinical Electives Offered Locally

Spokane Campus/ Gonzaga University

Contact: Carol Weigand, Deborah Greene

  • Rural Medicine I & II (1) – offered Fall (part I), Spring (part II)
  • Spanish for the Healthcare Professional (1) – offered Winter
  • Acute Dental Emergencies in the Medical Setting (1) – offered Winter
  • Issues in Indian Health (1) – offered Winter
  • Health Equity and Community Organizing/Community Organizing Practicum (2) – offered Fall

Rural Medicine I & II (1)

This course is designed to introduce the student to issues that are unique to the practice of medicine in rural areas. Although directed toward first year TRUST students, the course will encompass topics of interest for students interested in underserved medical practice as well.  During lectures and learning and/or observation experiences, students will gain appreciation of both the benefits and challenges of the rural health care environment.  Other students may be allowed to take the course with permission of the instructor.

Objectives:  At the conclusion of this course, the student should be able to:

  • Define and develop an understanding of rural health care
  • Develop an understanding of rural medical economics
  • Identify the differences of practicing and living in rural and urban environments
  • Review current efforts in health care reform and potential implications for rural health care

Offered:  Part I:  Fall; Part II: Spring

Spanish for the Healthcare Professional (1)

This course focuses on basic terminology that will allow students to communicate with predominately Spanish-Speaking patients in the clinical setting. Students enrolling must be intermediate level conversational Spanish speakers as this is a complete immersion course.


  • To teach you how to feel more comfortable with Spanish-speaking patients
  • To help you learn basic and intermediate medical Spanish
  • To provide you with some materials which will allow you to continue to improve your Spanish
  • To teach you the vocabulary needed to perform a review of systems and physical exam
  • To provide a basic orientation to important cultural considerations

Offered: Winter

Acute Dental Emergencies in the Medical Setting (1)

This course spans normal dental anatomy to the development of the emergency dental kit. During the course, students will familiarize themselves with the diagnosis and treatment of common dental emergencies and will learn useful dental skills for the office, emergency room, developing country and mountain top.


  • Perform a dental examination
  • Recognize normal and abnormal anatomy
  • Diagnose and treat orofacial pain
  • Treat hard and soft orofacial injuries
  • Recognize the seriousness of deep space infections
  • Approach dental emergencies in pediatric, elderly and immunosuppressed patients
  • Develop an emergency dental kit

Offered: Winter

Issues in Indian Health (1)

This course engages guest lecturers who will discuss topics that include Primary Care, Sovereignty, American Indian and Alaska Native Health Systems, Historical Trauma, etc., and includes visits from Native Elders. The Native Elders will share knowledge regarding traditional indigenous healing methodologies and practices with a focus on wellness, as well as share stories and life experiences.  The guest speakers are taped to allow for regional student participation with one localized seminar and community service experience.

Objectives: Understand the historical background of federal policy toward AI/AN, emphasizing health issues with a gradual progression toward present Indian health policy.

  • Analyze and determine the intent of past legislation on AI/AN health programs, as well as current Indian health policies and programs.
  • Analyze the historical development, purposes, and functionality of the Indian Health Services (IHS).
  • Examine the purposes and functions of reservation health programs, community Urban Indian Health programs, and Federal and State health programs. Analyze how they relate to the HIS and determine what effects they have on AI/AN health care.
  • Understand the major diseases and causes of mortality affecting AI/AN in the past, present and future. Compare the current status of AI/AN health with other minority and white populations.
  • Identify and define the nature of programs, recommended solutions, and determine a path of service, and future directions for AI/AN health care.
  • Understand traditional Indian medicine and its current use in the care of Indian health problems along with modern western medicine.
  • Learn to do a sensitive, cultural, belief/spiritual assessment.
  • Gain an appreciation for AI/AN contributions to modern medicine and health.

Offered: Winter

Health Equity and Community Organizing /Community Organizing Practicum (2)

The Health Equity and Community Organizing course facilitates learning of community organizing skills through participatory exercises, discussion, and short lectures. Students are drawn from across health professional programs providing a setting for inter-professional collaboration and shared learning. The course promotes community engagement by connecting students with existing community organizations, campaigns, and other socially active individuals.


  • Identify the interests they share with others and distil these into a clear, concrete, and winnable issue for them to work on;
  • Analyze what is needed to make change on that issue, who has the power to make that change, and what opposition they can expect; and
  • Hold effective meetings which create movement toward their goals.

Offered: Fall


University of Wyoming

Contact: Katrina Hughes

  • Academic Counseling (1) – offered Spring
  • Interdisciplinary Team Approach to Health (1) – offered Fall
  • Substance Abuse and Chemical Dependence (1) – offered Spring

Academic Counseling (1)

Academic Counseling builds on the content students gain from Systems of Human Behavior. Students are given the opportunity to explore topics in greater depth through reflective writing and case studies. Course content changes slightly from year to year depending on student interests, however past topics have covered: the joy and stress of being married while in medical school; the impact popular culture stereotypes have on doctors and patients; handling frustrations when patients don’t make recommended lifestyle changes; and concrete ways for providing feedback to patients, staff, and colleagues.

Offered: Spring

Interdisciplinary Team Approach to Health (1)

Topic varies. Alzheimer’s Example: Students will integrate the medical, social, and pharmacological needs and responses evoked by illness from an interdisciplinary perspective. The role of the health provider as a team member in concern with the patient, the patient’s family, and other specially trained providers will be examined.

Offered: Fall

Substance Abuse and Chemical Dependence (1)

Students will experience the extent to which addictions occur within the health care community.  They will become familiar with programs and resources that exist for intervening with health care professionals and will examine the biological changes that reinforce addiction.  Students will recognize NIDA as a resource for themselves, as professional health care providers, and for their patients as well as attend a 12-step meeting.

Offered: Spring
Faculty: Dr. Bert Toews


University of Alaska, Anchorage

Contact: Nancy Hall

  • The Healer’s Art (1) – offered Spring
  • Rural Medicine in Alaska: A Cross Cultural Perspective (1) – offered Spring

The Healer’s Art (1) HUBIO 594 D

The course is designed to encourage medical students to trust the power of listening and presence to heal, formulate a personal, comfortable, and compassionate response to loss, experience the healing power of grief, recognize that who they are is as important to the healing relationship as what they know, recognize awe and mystery in the daily practice of medicine, explore the concept of calling, write a personal mission statement, and explore the personal meaning of physicianhood.

The Healer’s Art facilitates students in clarifying, strengthening, and making a personal commitment to medicine as their life’s work. Students also have the opportunity to explore their personal values, and commit to developing and preserving their personal values, such as service, harmlessness, compassion, altruism, self-care, equality, justice, respect, and nurturing wholeness.

Offered: Spring
Faculty: Lex Von Hafften, MD

Rural Medicine in Alaska: A Cross Cultural Perspective (1) HUBIO 594 E

Topics covered will include health disparities in rural Alaska and Alaskan Natives, and an overview of the history of Alaska medicine. Current health care delivery systems will be presented, with demonstrations of telemedicine and triage to the Alaska Native Medical Center. Faculty will include current practitioners from the Alaska Tribal Health System, and native physicians.

Offered: Spring
Faculty: Jane Shelby, PhD


Montana State University

Contact: TBD

  • Rural Health Care Delivery (1) – offered Fall
  • Medical History Conference (1) – offered Spring
  • Spanish for Healthcare Professionals (1) – offered Fall
  • The Healer’s Art (1) – offered Spring

Rural Health Care Delivery (1)

Provide historical and current information about the health care industry, health care delivery systems and economics of health care and health care policy; with emphasis on rural health care. The purpose is to encourage WWAMI students to consider practicing in rural communities and/or providing health care to underserved populations. The infrastructure of the Montana Health Care Delivery System will be presented in detail.

Objectives: At the conclusion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Understand the various definitions of rural used by federal and state agencies to study and fund rural health care;
  • Differentiate and understand the relationships between rural, frontier, metropolitan and urban – and the significance to rural health care delivery systems;
  • Define and understand the rural health care delivery system;
  • Understand the history of development of federal safety net programs designed to assist rural health care delivery and delivery of health care to underserved and special populations;
  • Understand the impact of Medicare and Medicaid on rural health care delivery systems;
  • Describe the health care industry and understand the roles of federal, state, county and community governments in the industry;
  • Describe the infrastructure of the Montana rural health care delivery system;
  • Understand the role of industries which support health care delivery, including insurance, pharmaceutical, basic biomedical research, and clinical research;
  • Identify and describe federal health programs; including Indian Health Service and Veterans Administration;
  • Discuss the economics of rural health care;
  • Understand the process of health professions workforce development, including workforce strategies for rural areas;
  • Appreciate the multifaceted problems related to effective health care reform
  • Discuss the infrastructure and roles of the public health system at the federal, state, county and community levels.

Offered: Spans the entire 18 months of Foundations

Medical History Conference (1)

Volney Steele, a retired Bozeman physician with an avid interest in medical history, has organized a yearly conference dealing with topics related to Montana’s colorful medical history. Though this attracts a wide audience, first year WWAMI students are allowed to participate in this one day conference and receive one elective credit. To fulfill the requirements, attendance at a second two hour session organized through WWAMI during the second semester will be necessary. Previous programs include: medical practices of Native Americans, medical problems of the Lewis and Clark expedition, epidemics in the early American West, frontier medicine in the early settlements of the West, and women’s role in health care on Montana’s frontier, Ticks & Prions: the History of Animal- & Human-Related Diseases in the Rockies, Mining and Medicine, and Shaping Medical Practice in the new State of Montana.

Offered: Spring Semester

Spanish for Healthcare Professionals (1)

Learn basic and intermediate Spanish in a medical setting; the vocabulary needed to perform a review of systems and physical exams; and how to feel less uncomfortable with a patient who only speaks Spanish. Class topics include: Intro/Anatomy/Pain; Cardiovascular/HTN; Respiratory; Reproductive/OB/Urinary; Gastroenterology/Diabetes Mellitus and Final Clinical Review. Prerequisite: WWAMI medical student or consent of the WWAMI Medical Program and the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

Offered: Fall Semester

The Healer’s Art (1)

The Healer’s Art is a process-based curriculum that enables the formation of the community of inquiry between students and faculty. It takes a highly innovative, interactive, and contemplative approach to enabling students to perceive the personal and universal meaning in their daily experience of medicine. Evaluations are uniformly outstanding, and the faculty as well as the students describe the experience of the course as unique in their professional training.

Offered: Spring Semester


University of Idaho

Contact: Marlane Martonick, Maureen Evermann

  • Spanish for Healthcare Professionals (1) – offered Spring
  • Management of Stress and Maladaptive Responses (1) – offered Fall and Spring (students must attend both sessions for the 1 credit)
  • Health Disparities (1) – offered Spring
  • Rural Health (1) – offered Spring

Spanish for Healthcare Professionals (1)

Goals for this CR/NC course include focus on basic grammar and terminology that will allow students to communicate with a predominantly Spanish-speaking patient and provision with vocabulary needed to perform a physical exam; Credit will be based on attendance and demonstrated ability of the student to conduct a simulated interview with a Spanish-speaking patient.

Offered: Spring

Management of Stress and Maladaptive Responses (1)

One credit selective course offered to first-year WWAMI medical students. The primary goals are first, to train students in the effective use of coping skills both in themselves and their patients. Second, the goal is to educate students in the awareness and management of maladaptive responses to stress, both in themselves and their patients. The format of each day is a combination of panel presentations, lectures and small group discussions. Presenters include practicing physicians, their partners, and counselors who treat impaired physicians.

Offered: Fall and Spring (must attend both sessions for the 1 credit)
Faculty: Andrew Turner, PhD

Health Disparities (1)

One credit elective for medical students who are interested in learning more about health disparities. This course will use a variety of teaching techniques including class discussions, student-led discussions, and small group work. Students will discuss health disparities across race and ethnicity and explore environmental, social, behavioral, and genetic factors associated with health disparities in different populations. Example topics include food deserts, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, cancer, infant mortality and all-cause mortality. This course is designed to help the learner understand health disparities and apply this knowledge in the medical field.

Offered: Spring
Faculty: Chantal Vella, PhD

Rural Health (1)

Through various presenters and guest speakers from a variety healthcare backgrounds, topics will include: describing the demographics and characteristics of rural health.  Understand why rural populations are vulnerable, and outline the health issues faced by rural Americans.  Discuss the unique relationship between rural living and its effects on health.  Highlight joys and challenges for rural patients.  Guest speakers will integrate their knowledge of rural communities with real life experiences.  This will help students develop a deeper understanding of rural practice.  And finally, the class will discuss strategies and initiatives to improve care to rural residents.

Offered: Spring
Faculty: Dr. Hall