Alex doctor chosen 2011 Family Physician of Year
This Alexandria Clinic medical director is swift with a smile and a stethoscope and he's willing to don a pair of skis to save lives.
Dr. Anthony Lussenhop is this year's recipient of the Family Physician of the Year award. He received the accolade from the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians Thursday for his outstanding service. The award was presented at the All-Member Celebration held at the Crowne Plaza Riverfront Hotel in St. Paul.
The annual award is given to a family physician who represents the highest ideals of the specialty and is nominated by patients, community members and colleagues.
"It's quite a tremendous honor to be nominated by someone that you provide care for; and to receive letters of support from staff and colleagues," Lussenhop said. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime deal."
When asked what inspired him to become a doctor, Lussenhop fondly remembered the two family physicians he saw regularly growing up who positively influenced him: Dr. James Flinn and "Doc" Lenz.
"I grew up in a small town and we had a very grandfatherly sort of family doctor that was very nice to me."
Lussenhop said he enjoys the close relationships he has developed with people that come to the clinic for care. He also appreciates the variety his job offers.
"I don't have two days that are the same - ever."
Typically, in the morning, Lussenhop visits hospitalized patients and then he returns to the clinic for most of the day.
"If there is an issue, he will take his own time in the evening or on the weekend to call and check on you," patient Jennifer Lorentz said.
Hardy Huettl of Alexandria said, "He's the complete package, you might say. A great doctor, citizen and father."
In addition to Family Physician of the Year, Lussenhop also received another prestigious award.
A gleaming crown and sash were proudly received from his loyal and light-hearted coworkers to honor the event. When asked whether he would don his royal finery for a photo op, Lussenhop politely chuckled and declined.
His coworkers were ready with compliments about his devotion to his patients as well as his family.
"He's a great role model and he's efficient and kind to his patients and coworkers," Dr. Deb Dittberner said.
"He's very humorous," Bonnie Manderschied, LPN, chimed in, adding he was serious when he needed to be.
"I think if you're up here on Station 5 [at the clinic with Lussenhop], we have one of the best working environments," Dittberner said.
"He always puts his patients first." Lindsay Christensen, LPN, added.
Lussenhop grew up in Morton and obtained his undergraduate degree from St. John's University in Collegeville. He graduated from medical school at the University of Minnesota and then completed his residency in family medicine in Duluth.
After residency, Lussenhop and his wife, Sue, a St. Cloud native, moved to Colorado where he worked for three years at a migrant health clinic for a National Health Service Corps scholarship.
He and Sue have lived in Alexandria for 13 years with their children: Lauren, 16; Carolyn, 15; Jack, 13; and Georgia, 10.
"It's just been a great community for us," Lussenhop said of his family's experience in the city.
When he first moved to the area, Lussenhop worked in the emergency room at Douglas County Hospital. He has served as medical director for the Alexandria Clinic for almost five years.
Lussenhop discussed juggling work and family responsibilities:
"Because of the demands and the pace that we see - trying to find balance is something that is a challenge for me and for, I think, most physicians - dedication to job and patients and family as well."
Lussenhop said his practice has changed in recent years.
"I'm doing more adult medicine and I'm doing a lot more dealing with families that have aging parents."
Outside of work, Lussenhop said he enjoys spending time with his children, attending sporting and school-related events, boating and golfing.
He also just finished his sixth season as a ski patroller at Andes Tower Hills.
"It's a fun group," he said.
Lussenhop responds to injuries on the slopes, including sprains, strains, and fractures, as well as more serious accidents like falls from jumps and people colliding with trees and poles.
What are Lussenhop's plans for the future?
"I've been doing this long enough to know that this is what I'm supposed to do; and I can't imagine doing anything else."
An open house in Dr. Anthony Lussenhop's honor will be held on Wednesday, May 4, from 2:30 to 4 p.m. at Alexandria Clinic.
ABOUT THE ACADEMY
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. The MAFP is the largest medical specialty organization in Minnesota and is a state chapter of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the largest medical specialty organization in the U.S. with more than 94,000 members.