Communications: News

Dr. Erik Kanten Named Minnesota's 2008 Family Physician of the Year

Wednesday, April 23, 2008  
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The Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP) has named Erik Kanten, M.D., Crookston, as its 2008 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.

Twenty-seven family doctors from across the state were nominated for the award by patients, community members and co-workers. Six finalists were selected from the field of nominees. Along with Dr. Kanten, they included Dr. Timothy Arnold, Aitkin; Dr. David Detert, Litchfield; Dr. Jeffrey Ehnstrom, Aitkin; Dr. Harvey Frank, Forest Lake; and Dr. Donald Kammerer, Albert Lea. After reviewing dozens of nomination letters, the MAFP Board of Directors chose Dr. Kanten as the winner. The award was presented to him during the MAFP All-Member Celebration on Thursday, April 17, 2008, at the RiverCentre in St. Paul. His name will be entered for consideration for the national award given by the American Academy of Family Physicians in 2009.

"This is a much unexpected honor,” Dr. Kanten said when accepting his award. "What makes this award so very special is that it is based on letters of support from people in the community where I live.”

Dr. Kanten practices at the RiverView Clinic in Crookston, Fertile and Red Lake Falls. He has been a family physician in the community for 20 years. He also sees patients at the University of Minnesota – Crookston.

"He’s a man of little words, but he has a very big heart,” said nurse Gail Henre.

Besides maintaining a busy practice, he Dr. Kanten serves as team doctor for Crookston High School sports teams, is on the hospital and county fair boards, is medical director for a local nursing home and the Fertile ambulance service. He is also director for technology services at his church.

Those who nominated Dr. Kanten say he is selfless with his time and resources. "He’s not practicing medicine so that other people can tell him he’s doing a good job. He’s not doing his community activities to look good.,” said community member Anne Rasmusson. "It’s obvious that he’s doing these things because he cares.”

Dr. Kanten grew up on a farm in Clarkfield, Minnesota. He went to college at Augsburg in Minneapolis, attended medical school at the University of Minnesota and then did his residency at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks where he met his wife, Judie. The couple has been married for nearly 22 years and has four daughters.

"He always seems like he’s not busy. Like he’s got all the time in the world when you know that there are five patients before you and five patients waiting to see him,” said patient Kristin Funk.

When describing his responsibilities as a family physician, Dr. Kanten said, "Family medicine is about caring and serving our patients. I feel it is important to return to the community at least a portion of what medicine has given me.”

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, one of the largest national medical organizations in the United States with more than 103,000 members.

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