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Hughes of Aitkin named 2013 Family Physician of the Year

AITKIN — The Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP) selected Dr. Donald Hughes of Aitkin as the 2013 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 from the field of nominees. After reviewing nomination letters and determining which finalist best fit the award criteria, the MAFP Board of Directors chose Hughes as the winner. The award was presented to him at the All-Member Celebration during the MAFP Annual Meeting April 18 at the RiverCentre in downtown St. Paul.

Hughes practices at Riverwood Healthcare Center in Aitkin. He has been a family physician in the community for 20 years. Those who nominated Hughes describe him as a compassionate and dedicated man.

“It is rare to find an individual who not only meets personal expectations, but continually exceeds them,” wrote patient Jason Erickson.

Hughes is praised for his exceptional interpersonal relationship skills, his passion and his integrity. In a letter to the MAFP, patients Mike and Judy Patterson wrote: “He has shown a professional character which is second to none. He is always willing to go the extra mile.”

A co-worker wrote: “I have seen him spend countless hours with patients not minding the clock, but minding the health and well-being of everyone he sees.”

Along with his work at the clinic, Hughes is a teacher and mentor to area medical students and family medicine residents. He works with the Rural Physician Associate Program each year and travels to Duluth monthly to teach in the Family Practice Residency Program. He is also very active in the community. He provides medical services at local sporting events and helps educate athletes and parents about health issues.

“I feel blessed with the opportunity to be a family physician and share in the lives and families of my patients,” said Hughes in a personal statement to the MAFP. “The greatest reward is the heartfelt thanks those patients share with me.”

The Family Physician of the Year award has been given annually since 1981.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
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