Cabinet Peaks Medical Center welcomes intern, Benjamen French in the CPMC Laboratory Department. He comes to Libby through the Montana Medical Laboratory Science (MMLS) Professional Program.

According to MMLS, the program was developed in 2008 as the result of Workforce Development funds becoming available through the Montana State Legislature. In addition to the grant from the state, many Montana hospitals contributed money, equipment, and time to help make the program possible. This program has helped to alleviate the critical need for medical laboratory scientists in the state of Montana, especially in rural communities. 15 students are accepted each year; they train at MUS during the summer, then move to one of eight hospitals in the state for two semesters of clinical laboratory rotations.

French received his associates of Science from Flathead Valley Community College in 2013, and then went on to work toward his Bachelors in Microbiology from MSU, which are prerequisites for the MMLS program. In fall of 2016, French was accepted into the MMLS program, which he began in May 2017.

Students in the program can complete their education and training in four years, becoming eligible to sit for a national certification exam. Once certified, French can become a licensed Medical Laboratory Scientists and work in clinical laboratories throughout Montana.

Prior to his internship with CPMC, French has acted as a student shadow, logging over 100 hours between 3 different facilities until September 2017, when he hit the ground running at Cabinet Peaks Medical Center.

Roger Riddle, CPMC Laboratory Manager is thrilled that French is at Cabinet Peaks. "The program that Ben is a part of truly benefits the community in that it works to bring skilled technologists to rural hospitals throughout the state of Montana. We are thrilled to have him here with us at CPMC. Throughout the duration of his internship, our CPMC Laboratory Techs have not only acted as co-workers but also as teachers, raising the bar and ensuring a new level of accountability. This internship has been a great experience for everyone, and Ben is always welcome here in our Laboratory."

Once his internship with CPMC comes to an end in February, French and his wife plan to move to Kalispell where he will finish the last 8 weeks of his internship at Kalispell Regional Medical Center. When asked about his next steps toward certification he stated, "I will focus mainly on Microbiology and Immunohematology, and then upon receiving certification in May, I will work as an employee for KRMC until September 2018. It has been a long journey, and will be an ongoing adventure. I'm grateful to CPMC for this opportunity and to my wife for sticking it out with me," French concluded.

For more information on the CPMC Laboratory, or internship program, please call 283-7090.