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First class of medical students starting at Montana College of Osteopathic Medicine this July

pallo, justin.jpg
Posted at 5:36 PM, Apr 25, 2023

BILLINGS — Rocky Vista University Montana College of Osteopathic Medicine will welcome the first class of 80 students this July to attend the first medical school in the state.

"I’m definitely excited. It’s something I’ll always be able to say, that I was one of the first medical students in Montana,” said incoming student Justin Pallo. “It’s exciting and a little scary. I’m excited because I know to some degree, I’ll be able to help build a culture that lasts for future students and I’ll be able to be something of a pioneer to figure out some of those harder things and I’ll be able to pass those on to future students as they come and help them not have to maybe see some of those challenges.”

Pallo, 25, grew up in Oregon and moved to Billings in 2020. He graduated from MSU-Billings with a major in biology and a minor in chemistry. He plans to go into primary care and said he is looking forward to starting this journey to become a doctor.

“It wasn’t until my interview day that I really decided to stay here. I was very impressed with Dr. Park, the dean. He answered all of our questions and left us with no doubts, and it was inspiring. It was then that I chose that I was going to stay here,” he said.

Pallo and his wife gave birth to their daughter in December. He said being able to stay in Montana to attend medical school will be nice because he and his wife have a lot of family in the state.

Justin Pallo and family

Pallo is currently spending time with his daughter before starting school.

“I’m a full-time dad right now. I figure it’s something I’ll never get to do again in my life. So, just taking that opportunity. My wife’s a nurse, so she’s providing for us while I do that,” he said.

There are 13 students from Montana that will attend the private RVU-MCOM. The annual tuition is approximately $64,000. According to Education Data Initiative, the average tuition cost for a private medical school is $65,575 a year. RVU-MCOM does offer access to scholarships, loans and grants.

The medical school will have a community open house with tours and family-friendly activities Saturday, July 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.