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Spicer doctor chosen as state's top family physician

The Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians has selected Dr. Richard A. Wehseler of Spicer as the 2010 Family Physician of the Year.

This award is presented annually to a family physician who represents the highest ideals of the specialty of family medicine, including caring, comprehensive medical service, community involvement and service as a role model. Family physicians from across the state were nominated for the award by patients, community members, and colleagues.

Four finalists were selected fr-om the field of nominees.

After reviewing dozens of nomination letters, the academy board of directors chose Wehseler as the winner. The award will be presented to him during the family practice organization's all-member banquet on April 15.

Wehseler practices at Affiliated Community Medical Centers in New London/Spicer.

He has been a family physician in the community for 12 years. He attended medical school at the University of Minnesota in Duluth and did his family medicine residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

Those who nominated Wehseler describe him as an outstanding family physician who demonstrates genuine concern and compassion for his patients on a daily basis.

"If there is only one reason why Rick Wehseler deserves this award, it is not because of the work he performs with his hands, but rather the work he performs with his heart," wrote New London resident April Dorry.

Another patient, Diane Paffrath, wrote, "Dr. Richard Wehseler exemplifies everything a family physician characterizes. He is caring, kind, considerate and most importantly, he takes the time necessary to meet the needs of his patients."

Patients say Wehseler is known for his personalized notes to patients, house calls when needed, and strong support during times of crisis. New London resident Abigail Duly summed it up this way: "He is the epitome of the gold standard people would hope to encounter at some point in their lives -- not just as a professional, but as an active member of the community."

Along with carrying a full patient schedule, Wehseler is the chief of staff at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar and assistant county coroner for Kandiyohi County.

He is also an active volunteer in the community, helping with skin checks before wrestling meets, serving on several church committees and working at the parish cemetery.

Wehseler and his wife, Nancy, live in Spicer with their three children.

The Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians is a professional association of approximately 3,000 family physicians, family medicine residents and medical students organized to assist family physicians in providing quality medical care in Minnesota.