By Meghan Gutzwiller
Glenn Nemec, M.D., a Monticello Clinic stalwart for nearly 25 years, has won the prestigious 2012 Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians Merit Award for his outstanding contributions to family medicine and his dedication to the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians.
Nemec began his tenure with the Monticello Clinic in Aug. of 1987, and he has seen the clinic through many changes in that time, providing team leadership and working to advance best practices all the while. He has been a longtime active member of the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians, which helps family physicians with a wide variety of issues that affect them in their practice, from legal issues that arise in the national legislature to helping doctors best diagnose different illnesses and diseases. Academy members such as Nemec then spread the word to other family physicians in their practices.
A soul-searching afternoon of fishing as a teenager led to Nemec’s decision to enter the medical field, and as he took more science classes he found himself drawn to patient care. As he completed his rotations in medical school, Nemec found that he enjoyed every one of his rotations. This revelation led him to pursue family medicine, where he could find a wide variety of medical issues to deal with every day rather than specializing in a select few.
“You get to bounce from thing to thing, never totally focused on one area,” Nemec said. “You get to see some really strange stuff; you get to see some really simple stuff.
There are never-ending opportunities for learning and improvement,” he added. “There’s no way to possibly ever know it all in family medicine. That appealed to me.”
Fellow doctors and Academy staff describe Dr. Nemec as good-natured, easy to work with and extremely loyal. Some examples of his work include making classroom appearances to help kids stay tobacco-free, assisting with patient-education news releases and giving his time to the Rural Physician Associate Program.
One of the areas Nemec has been especially involved in is the academy’s public relations effort, which aims to get educational information out to the general public as well as practicing physicians. They work mainly through Minnesota newspapers to educate citizens on a variety of issues, from choosing the best sunblock to recognizing signs of heat stress.
Nemec’s own father was also a family physician, so he had the benefit of seeing up-close the ups and downs of this particular profession. However, he said he was still surprised to see how difficult it is for family doctors to have an impact on large systems like universities and training centers. Not much research has been done until recently on many issues that family practitioners see on a daily basis.
“I shouldn’t have been [surprised], because I had been warned about this from just about every family doctor I ever worked with. I was probably a little bit unprepared for how much we as a specialty were generally ignored,” he said with a laugh.
Luckily, Nemec said government and insurance companies have recently been taking a greater interest in the field of family medicine, which he said is an economical method of caregiving in comparison to specialists.
Besides his active role in the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians, Nemec is involved in clinic leadership as the current managing partner for Buffalo Clinic’s building partnerships, and he has “provided a lot of leadership to the clinic through his involvement with the Minnesota Medical Association,” according to Buffalo Clinic administrator Linda Dircks.
“He has been a very solid family practice physician with our group, doing obstetrics and a full range of family practice,” Dircks said. “When you need someone to step up and help out, cover extra shifts, be on committees or see a couple extra patients, he has never said no. He’s always there when you need him.”