Magic Valley Program

South Central Idaho, commonly known as the “Magic Valley” due to the phenomenal growth of crops, is now also “magic” due to the medical community and the extremely broad training offered here. Residents will become a member of the physician team serving the rural community of Jerome while having the benefit of rotations with specialists in the referral community of Twin Falls, located only 15 miles away. The flexibility and adaptation of this program to both the professional and personal needs of the residents is aimed to achieve the balance necessary to create patient oriented, well-prepared, fulfilled family physicians. Our program offers strong training in maternity care and medical/surgical procedures.

The Magic Valley RTT began in 2009 and is now graduating two residents per year. Residents will complete their three years of training in Magic Valley (about 120 miles east of Boise). All graduates are successfully board certified and our graduates practice in diverse settings, including rural and international settings. Medical students interested in the Magic Valley RTT program must submit an application through ERAS with details included in the Boise application. Applicants invited to interview for the Magic Valley RTT will also be interviewing in Boise at the core residency program.


PGY-1 Magic Valley (1-2) half days per week, 1st 6 months (2) half days per week, 2nd 6 months 3-6 patients per half day

Medicine8/8St. Luke's Magic Valley
Pediatrics12St. Luke's Magic Valley & Treasure Valley
Obstetrics8St. Luke's Magic Valley
Surgery4St. Luke's Magic Valley
NICU/Rural2/2St. Luke's/Twin Falls

PGY-2 Magic Valley (2) half days per week, 8-10 patients per half day

Medicine8St. Luke's Magic Valley
Pediatrics4St. Luke's Magic Valley
OB8St. Luke's Magic Valley
ER4St. Luke's Magic Valley
Card/CCU4St. Luke's Magic Valley
Surgery4St. Luke's Magic Valley

PGY-3 Magic Valley (1) half days per week, 10-12 patients per half day

Medicine8St. Luke's Magic Valley
Pediatrics4St. Luke's Magic Valley
Obstetrics8St. Luke's Magic Valley
Sports Medicine4Office
ICU4St. Luke's Magic Valley


Noon Conference Schedule

  • Tumor Board: A time spent reviewing current cases with the surgeons, primary doctors, radiologists, pathologists, and oncologists (provides great education in cancer screening, presentation, treatment, monitoring as well as rdiology and pathology review).
  • Noon Conferences: Weekly.
  • Journal Club: Monthly.
  • ACGME (Televideo): Outside medical experts from varying fields are brought in to present the latest information and research on their topic to the entire medical community for continuing medical education.
  • Physician Lectures: Weekly primary care and OB lectures.

Other Didactics

  • Monthly Half Day Conference: Fourth Thursday of every four week block covering OB/Gyn procedures, Sports Medicine, Geriatrics, etc.


Joshua Kern, MD

Site Director

Dr. Joshua Kern graduated from the University of Washington School of Medicine in 2005. He did his residency training at the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho and finished in 2008, where he was one of the chief residents from 2007-2008. His medical interests include chronic disease management, obesity, and procedures including colonoscopy and colposcopies. He became site director in 2012 and did the National Institute for Program Director Development Fellowship in 2012.   Along with his clinical work in Jerome and working with the residents he is Vice President of Medical Affairs for St. Luke’s Health System, East Region.  In his spare time he spends time with his wife and three children and trains for Spartan races.

Jim Irwin, MD

Assistant Site Director

Dr. Jim Irwin graduated from the University of Utah in 1980 and did his residency in Family Medicine at the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho in Boise. He has served as an auxiliary faculty member with the University of Washington since 1983 and a clinical faculty member with Idaho State University for many years. He is currently a Clinical Associate Professor with the University of Washington and Director of the Continuity Clinic for the Magic Valley Rural Training Track in Jerome Idaho. He is a recent recipient of the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho Alumni Community Service Award. Dr. Irwin is also Jerome Citizen of the Year for 2010. He maintains a busy office practice in Jerome as well as serving as a Medical Consultant for the Regional Child Development Center. Dr. Irwin loves the full spectrum of family medicine—from obstetrics and babies through complicated internal medicine and into old age. He is especially interested in evidence based medicine, including alternative therapies to the optimal care of each individual. Dr. Irwin is actively involved in keeping our environment healthy. He has been instrumental in organizing cleanup for the Snake River Canyon between Centennial Park and Pillar Falls for the past 15 years. He has helped numerous Boy Scouts achieve their Eagle Scout award through involvement with cleanup efforts and other projects such as wood duck boxes. He and his wife, Lorna, have been married for more than 38 years and have 3 children, a profoundly deaf daughter in graduate school and 2 sons completing college. His non-medical interests include hiking, hunting, fly fishing, photography, scuba diving, and playing with his “gorgeous” mules. He was recently chosen as the Idaho Academy of Family Physicians’ Physician of the Year for 2011.

Kim Stutzman, MD

Program Director Nampa / Chief Rural Officer

Dr. Stutzman grew up in Northern Michigan and trained at the University of Michigan School of Medicine. She completed a residency at Family Medicine Spokane. After a year at the University of Washington as a fourth year chief resident she settled in White Salmon, Washington in a small rural practice. After 12 years of wonderful, broad-spectrum, rural, community-based care she moved to Boise in 2007 to pursue teaching at the residency program. She has special interest areas in geriatrics, medical student teaching, and training the next generation of rural family doctors. When not at work she enjoys outdoor activities, camping, hiking, tandem bike riding and indoor activities of reading, sewing and spending time with her husband and two teen aged children.

Steven Kohtz, MD

Magic Valley RTT Faculty

Steven was born in Twin Falls, Idaho as the 3rd-generation to be raised in agricultural Southern Idaho. Attending the University of Idaho he met his future wife, Elizabeth, who was to become a dairy veterinarian with the plan to move back to Twin Falls in the dairy heart of Idaho. After graduating AOA from Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Steven worked his way to the Chief Resident position at the Kaiser Permanente Fontana Family Medicine Residency. After graduating in 2008 and moving back to Twin Falls, he began a full-time Family Medicine practice while initiating involvement in management of his large, multispecialty primary care practice and attending Idaho Medical Association events. Steven became his practice’s President for 2 years followed by transitioning to an employed position within St. Luke’s Health System where he acts as a Division Medical Director for Primary Care in Magic Valley and Jerome, serves on the Board of the St. Luke’s Health Partners Network, and Chairs multiple committees aimed at governing St. Luke’s transition from volume to value. Steven also serves on the Idaho Medical Association Board of Trustees. Elizabeth and Steven have 2 wonderful daughters, Arabella (6) and Josephine (4) and enjoy hiking, biking, and camping as a family. Currently Steven is working his way up the Idaho Centennial Trail in small increments with his brother and father, the 100-miles from Nevada to Hammet completed this spring.

Rick Sandison, MD

Magic Valley RTT Faculty

Dr. Sandison graduated from the University of California, Davis School of Medicine in 1989. He completed his internship in Family Medicine and Community Health at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, where he was awarded “First Year Resident of the Year.” Following internship he worked in Africa for one year in a Presbyterian Church of East Africa Mission Hospital in Chogoria, Kenya. He returned to complete his Family Medicine residency at the University of Iowa. He has worked as a Family Physician in Twin Falls, Idaho continuously since 1993, with the exception of a sabbatical in 2008 and 2009, during which time he worked in a mission clinic in Ecuador. He has also lived in Mexico and Costa Rica. He was a cofounder of the Mustard Tree Free Medical Clinic in Twin Falls. His hobbies include running, cycling, swimming, triathlon, snowboarding, backpacking, and reading. He has ridden his bicycle across the United States. His most prominent fitness interest is ultra endurance sports with events completed including the Vermont 100-Mile Endurance Run, the Grand Teton 100-Mile Endurance Run, and the Big Horn 100-Mile Endurance Run.

Current Residents

Tony Blankers, MD

Magic Valley RTT 2020

doctor holding a fish

Tony Robert Blankers hails from Hospers, Iowa, a town of 600 in scenic northwest Iowa. The son of James (a pilot for Southwest Airlines) and Brenda (a classroom aid at the local elementary school). He is the middle of three brothers, Theo (older) and Jake (younger). Traveling to the big city of Minneapolis/St. Paul, he attended Bethel University for an undergraduate degree in Biology. Favor fell upon him when he was accepted to the Mayo Medical School in Rochester, MN. A few years after graduating, he married his college sweetheart, Steph, in the summer of 2015. Following college friends to Boise, the mountains called and he decided to make FMRI home. Traveling to Twin Falls for the Magic Valley RTT will afford him the small town feel he grew up with. Tony is privileged to practice medicine with a dedicated and caring team and looks forward to serving a rural community in the not-so-distant future.

Jared Henderson, MD

Magic Valley RTT 2019

Hi there, welcome to Idaho. I am a native from a very rural area in Idaho who got his start on a large cattle ranch. I have lived on the east coast, west coast and worked in pretty much every state in the west. Also I attended med school at Ohio State (Go bucks!). So I have been around, but, as you can see I came back and have plans to put down roots in the rural mountain west. Almost anyone that lives or has spent time in a rural area will be able to explain concisely how family medicine is the hub of care delivery. Anywhere else and no one is really sure who is at the helm. I guess that sums up why family medicine and why here. Still not in the know yet? I invite you to come and see for yourself. And if I don’t see you soon no worries our paths will likely cross again while I am living the dream near one of your favorite vacation spots. Cheers.

Kena Lackman, MD

Magic Valley RTT 2020

Eastern Montana is home to me – I grew up on a sugar beet farm along the Yellowstone River outside of Hysham. While my summers were consumed by taking care of my 4-H animals, irrigating, and driving tractor on my parents’ farm, I stayed busy during the school year by participating in basketball, volleyball, and track, and competing in FFA.

I attended Montana State University (GO CATS!) in Bozeman, MT. After graduating, I took a year off and worked as a nanny before attending the University of Washington where I participated in the Targeted Rural and Underserved Track (TRUST) program. Primarily through the TRUST program, I realized my desire to practice full spectrum family medicine in a rural/underserved community.

I chose FMRI for multiple reasons after completing my Sub-I in Boise. The attendings are phenomenal teachers and really cool people to be around. The residents work hard and play harder. The experience is unopposed, with hands-on training in all aspects of family medicine. A particular interest of mine was the ability to develop my Spanish communication skills, and FMRI supports language development through patient interaction, international medicine rotations and language classes, and a grant to provide individual/group tutoring weekly to those interested.

During my Sub-I in Boise, I spent a day in Twin Falls-Jerome and immediately knew the Magic Valley RTT was the program for me. Not only did I get the true intern experience of being on a team of residents in a more structured teaching environment in Boise, but I then would receive a more independent and hands-on form of training in a critical access hospital. The combination seemed too good to be true.

When I’m not catching babies or rounding on inpatient medicine, I enjoy playing sports, knee-boarding, boating, camping, cooking, baking, and the occasional Netflix binge (do not judge!). Come visit us in Boise or one of the RTTs! We would love to have you!


Anthony Markuson, MD

Magic Valley RTT 2021

Anthony grew up on the family farm near Chester, Montana. He attended Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. Upon stepping on the campus, he felt right at home, found a group of lifelong friends, earned a degree in Biology, and studied abroad in Botswana along with a few other places. After graduating, he moved to Baltimore, MD for a year of service at the Don Miller Houses. A plethora of opportunities, including shadowing a Family Physician in his hometown, lead him to understand that practicing medicine is his vocation.

He matriculated at the University of Washington School of Medicine as a Targeted Rural Underserved Scholar. This program allowed him to spend time in Lewistown, MT throughout various stages of his schooling. Service learning was an essential component, and he enjoying working with vulnerable populations including LGBTQ, underserved, HIV+, and those suffering from homelessness. His mentors insisted he “check out FMRI’ as a potential residency program.

Early on, Anthony understood FMRI would train him extremely well to serve his future community. He is extraordinarily enthused that he matched with the Magic Valley Rural Training Track and looks forward to joining the Boise, Twin Falls, and Jerome communities in the coming years.

When not working, Anthony enjoys spending time with his dog Cooper, skiing, biking, kayaking, rock climbing, running, fly fishing, scuba diving, and camping as much as possible!


Luke Sugden, DO

Magic Valley RTT 2021

Luke was born and raised in the heart of the Magic Valley in Jerome, Idaho. At the time; Jerome was a single stoplight, agricultural community with a small critical access hospital staffed entirely by family physicians. His mother being one of them. Growing up watching the impact she had on the small community was the genesis of his interest in rural family medicine. After many summers playing in the mountains and fields, off he went to Boise State University. There, he majored in microbiology and minored in chemistry, although what he really enjoyed was playing tuba in the Blue Thunder Marching Band! While in Boise he trained as an EMT and joined the Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue Unit. This allowed him to blend his love of the wilderness with his love of medicine. After graduation it was off to Peru for five months of medical volunteering. There is a dramatic need for primary care in developing countries and this furthered his resolve to become a family physician. Once back, he headed to Colorado to attend medical school at Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine. There he was selected into a Rural and Wilderness Medicine Honors Program, providing additional training for a practice in rural family medicine. He could not feel more privileged to be attending the Magic Valley Rural Training Track. He is excited to be able to return to the community that helped him get started, and be able to give back.  The full scope training offered at the MVRTT will well prepare him for his dream of being a full scope family physician practicing in a small town! When he is not at school he enjoys spending time with his wonderful wife Michelle in the outdoors.

Sarah Waterman, MD

Magic Valley RTT 2019

I was born and raised in rural Northern California, where health care providers are few and far between. When I was 13 years old, I traveled to Mozambique, Africa for the summer and also witnessed the great need for medical professionals in that country. From then on, I knew I wanted to become a physician and work in rural areas and overseas where there is a great need for doctors. I traveled to Africa again when I was 16 and spent the summer working with a nurse, treating tropical ulcers and setting broken bones. From that moment on, I knew I would do all I could to become a physician. My passion for Family Medicine stems from these experiences, and from growing up in a rural community where there were only Family doctors, and no other specialty. These physicians are able to do so much, from managing a wide range of illnesses, delivering babies, managing the emergency room, to being community leaders. This inspired me to want to be able to work with a wide patient population and become more involved in the community I serve. I plan to return to a rural community after my training is complete, and also spend time serving in third world communities. I chose FMRI for multiple reasons. This program offers a wide range of experiences, from rural medicine to surgery, OBGYN to pediatrics. FMRI is an unopposed program, so I knew I would be able to have more hands-on experience than if I went to an academic institution. When I interviewed for the Magic Valley RTT, I felt like I was back at home in my small mountain town. The fact that I will be able to train at a critical care access hospital was a huge bonus. And the surrounding area is absolutely gorgeous, so that helped as well. Outside of medicine, I enjoy being outside as much as possible. I love to hike and camp, and am planning on trying out mountain biking and exploring the foothills of Boise. I also love to cook and bake, and am always interested in trying out new restaurants. I’m a big sports fan, and I play fantasy football every year. Also, go Jays! Hometown: Chester, CA Undergrad: California State University, Monterey Bay Medical School: Creighton University School of Medicine

Resident Life

The team of residents in the Magic Valley RTT definitely live by the “work hard, play harder” mantra.  Historically, all of the residents have lived in Twin Falls, which is where the majority of the clinical hours are spent. When the residents are not fulfilling clinical duties, you will likely find them outside.  The Snake River Canyon offers paddle boarding/kayaking opportunities, fishing, hiking, spelunking, golfing, zip lining, and many local waterfalls to explore.  For rock climbers, there is an indoor gym for year-round opportunities, with Dierkes Lake twenty minutes outside of Twin Falls and the City of Rocks 1.5 hours from Twin Falls.  While at Dierkes, it is worth the few extra miles to drive to Shoshone Falls, or you can take the Snake River by navigating over Pillar Falls with your flotation device of choice. The Magic Valley offers many opportunities to visit farmers markets or pick your own produce at the College of Southern Idaho’s fields and many other local orchards. This is a great opportunity to get the family outside, and gain access to fresh and affordable produce. During the fall and winter months, many residents enjoy hunting, downhill and cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling. For snow sports, Magic Mountain is one hour south of Twin Falls, or you can go north two hours to reach Sun Valley. After getting some exercise, nothing beats a nice long soak in some of the local hot springs including Miracle Hot Springs, Banbury Hot Springs, 1000 Springs Resort, and may natural non-commercial hot springs. Favorite local eateries include Twin Beans for crepes and coffee, The Yellow Brick Café for brunch, The Anchor or Scooters for a local brew and burger, Elevation 486 for the views, Rudy’s for wine and cheese nights or to join the local book club, Cloverleaf Creamery in Buhl for ice-cream, and many other eateries. Twin Falls also is now home to two local breweries, Von Schidt’s and Koto, as well as a yearly BrewFest in City Park for those who enjoy an occasional beer. Residents also commonly gather for backyard barbeques and s’mores. A lot of effort has recently been made to re-vitalize downtown Twin Falls. New events include the Twin Falls Tonight Summer Concert Series where local artists perform, and the whole community turns out to enjoy yummy food truck grub while their children play in the new Centennial Waterfront Park. We are always seeking new adventures and hope you visit us to see what the Magic Valley has to offer! Follow us on Instagram


The application process allows the faculty and residents of the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho to thoroughly review each applicant’s credentials prior to extending an invitation to interview. Applications will only be accepted through the ERAS system. Interviews will be scheduled during the fall/winter. The interview allows the applicant an opportunity to discuss the program with the faculty and residents, meet with staff members and examine the facilities and hospitals. Spouse or significant other is welcome to come for the interviews. Arrangements for them to meet the spouses of current residents will be made. A short tour of Boise and the Magic Valley is included during the drive to each hospital. Deadline for receiving applications is November 1. After all applicants have been interviewed, the faculty and residents rank applicants in order of preference and submit the list of names to the National Resident Matching Program.


  • Wednesday, November 7, 2018
  • Wednesday, November 14, 2018
  • Wednesday, November 28, 2018
  • Wednesday, December 5, 2018
  • Wednesday, December 12, 2018
  • Wednesday, December 19, 2018
  • Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Cherri Bingham Magic Valley Residency Program Coordinator Family Medicine Residency of Idaho / St. Luke's (208) 814-9800


MV SceneryThe Magic Valley and Snake River Plain is a place where you can feel the forces of nature. Kayakers can ride the rapids and easily appreciate what it may have been like to see the Bonneville flood smash through the Snake River Canyon 15, 000 years ago. Twin Falls is situated in the scenic area of South Central Idaho, within a 2 hour drive from famous Sun Valley, Boise, and Pocatello. Twin Falls has a population of 35,000 people with a projected annual growth rate of 1.5%. Jerome is located about 15 miles north of Twin Falls across the Snake River Canyon. It has a population of about 9600 people—and many more cows than people.


The economy has a solid base of industry, which is primarily agriculture related. Twin Falls has one large mall as well as major specialty stores. Restaurant services include major chains and many locally owned restaurants. Fall Creek Falls and Snake River, Idaho smThe College of Southern Idaho’s beautiful campus is located near the Snake River Canyon and hosts a variety of educational opportunities, as well and stimulating and entertaining cultural events. Options include theatre, a wide variety of musical productions, community events, and sports, including a national award-winning basketball team. Training in aquaculture, alternative energy, a LEED certified medical education facility for training in various medical allied fields are also a part of the campus. Jerome is a rural agricultural based economy with numerous dairies and cheese processing facilities. There is a multitude of farms growing hay, potatoes, corn, sugar beets, and beans, as well as famous Idaho potatoes.


The Magic Valley has a four season climate. Daytime highs in July are about 91 degrees F with comfortable overnight lows of 54 F. January temperatures typically range from about 37F in the daytime to 19F overnight. The Valley has relatively little precipitation, receiving about 17 inches of snow and 9 inches of rain each year. Residents enjoy sunny skies 260 days annually, and the air is dry and clear. This is a high desert sage brush plain with canyons, and a beautiful mountain backdrop creating a gorgeous contrast to the lushly green irrigated fields.


South Central Idaho offers unlimited recreational opportunities and scenic beauty. A popular tourist attraction is the Snake River Canyon, which is spanned by the Perrine Bridge. The bridge is 1500 feet long and is 485 feet above the canyon floor. This majestic bridge is a world-famous base jumping venue. Nearby Shoshone falls has a vertical drop of 212 feet and spans a width of 1,000 feet, making it 52 feet higher than Niagara Falls. Local country clubs and community golf courses provide a challenge to the most avid golfers. A number of community recreational facilities including large baseball and softball fields, both indoor and outdoor tennis courts, basketball courts, swimming pools, all compliment the opportunities available. Craters of the MoonOther tourist attractions nearby include Shoshone Ice Caves, Mammoth Caves, Craters of the Moon National Monument, Balanced Rock, Thousand Springs , and the Sawtooth National Forest Recreational area. World famous Sun Valley, a year-round scenic and recreational resort and ski area, is less than 90 minutes away. Skiers can select from 54 groomed runs, and sixteen high volume chair lifts whisk them 2,300 vertical feet up to Bald Mountain’s 9,200 foot summit. Over 60 international restaurants provide all types of dining and entertainment. Big game hunting includes antelope, bear, deer, elk, moose, and sheep. Several lakes and rivers, including Salmon Falls Reservoir, Magic Reservoir, Thousand Springs, Billingsly creek, Silver Creek, Copper Basin, and the Snake River, provide popular fishing spots. White water adventure trips, ice skating, camping, hiking, swimming, boating, water skiing, and other recreational opportunities are available at various times of the year. The Middle Fork of the Salmon River in South Central Idaho was rated one of the best white water rafting areas in the United States by the New York Times Travel Section in 1999.