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Montana now has a Pediatric Rheumatologist

Julie Campbell
Posted at 8:32 AM, Apr 05, 2024

Montana was one of seven states that did not have a Pediatric Rheumatologist - but that is no longer the case as Dr. Julie Campbell has come home after her training to serve her Montana community.

Dr. Campbell is a Bozeman native and did her medical training through the university of Washington WWAMI program. Her training involved a three-year residency focused on Pediatrics and a three-year fellowship specializing in Pediatric Rheumatology. This fellowship was sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation.

“Having the Arthritis Foundation fellowship really allowed me to basically start working on what my practice would be like pretty early in my fellowship. And then also start coming out to Montana to come do a couple of outreach clinics a year” Campbell explained.

Rheumatology is the study and management of musculoskeletal conditions, as well as autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. Dr. Campbell first grew an interest in the subject watching her grandmother manage her own lupus diagnosis.

October of 2023 is when Dr. Campbell first started her practice in Montana. Since then, she has been treating around 500 to 800 kids across the state. She is based in Missoula but travels to Great Falls and Kalispell for two days, alternating months, and to Bozeman once a month.

You may be wondering, who treated these kids before Dr. Campbell arrived?

“There have been a couple different groups who have come out to Montana to help kind of fill the gap. Seattle Children’s came to Missoula about 8 or 9 times a year. And then both Colorado Children’s and the University of Utah have come to Billings as well but certainly no one has come to the Great Falls area before.”

Julie Campbell
Julie Campbell

Often children and families would have to travel to Washington, Utah, or other surrounding states to find this kind of specialized care.

Dr. Campbell’s impact being in Montana has already been felt by many, including 12-year-old Allison Fitzpatrick who was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis a year ago.

“She’s really nice and sweet and she’s super fun. Even though she’s sweet, she takes things seriously and always asks my opinion in what I want to do,” Fitzpatrick explained.

“I think the biggest thing I am looking forward to is being able to get to know the families and the kids so much better and create more of a community,” said Campbell.