June 21, 2024
Local Family Physicians Honored – Radio Mankato

Local Family Physicians Honored – Radio Mankato

The Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP) named Erin Westfall, DO, FACOFP, recipient of the 2024 MAFP Innovation & Research Award. This award is presented annually to an individual who has made a major contribution to the development of family medicine research and innovation. The organization also named Nicholas DeVetter, DO, as the 2024 Family Medicine Resident of the Year. This award is presented annually to a family medicine resident for outstanding contributions to the specialty through community involvement, leadership and educational
activities. Lastly, MAFP named John McCabe, MD, the 2024 Family Medicine Educator of the Year. This
award is presented annually to an outstanding teacher of family medicine in Minnesota.
Here is more information about the recipients:

Erin Westfall

Innovation & Research Award

Westfall is an assistant professor at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in Rochester, Minnesota. She is also the program director and director of osteopathic education for the Mayo Clinic Family Medicine Residency – Mankato and the chair of the Social Determinants of Health Subcommittee for the Mayo Clinic Midwest Primary Care practice.

She is active in community-based participatory action research, which is a partnership approach to research involving community members, researchers and organizational representatives as equal partners in examining and working to address a problem. Her research includes community health, health equity, oral health, osteopathic medicine and social factors influencing health. Westfall was instrumental in the development of the Greater Mankato Health Partnership, a community-based participatory research framework addressing health equity and modeled after the Rochester Healthy Community Partnership. She has received grant funding to study medical-dental integration, food as medicine, reducing cardiovascular disease in the Somali community of Greater Mankato, patient access to osteopathic medicine and health literacy.

Not only is Westfall active in research herself, but nominators wrote that “she encourages and inspires resident physicians to pursue innovation and research—not for the sake of research, but for the betterment of patients and improving the specialty of family medicine.” She is an alumnus of A.T. Still University of Health Sciences Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine and the University of Minnesota Mankato Family Medicine Residency (now, Mayo Clinic Family Medicine Residency – Mankato).

The MAFP is proud to honor Erin Westfall, DO, FACOFP, for her community-based participatory research, dedication to improving patient care and bringing attention to interventions that can be implemented quickly and thoughtfully.

Resident of the Year

Nicholas DeVetter

DeVetter is a second-year resident physician at the Mayo Clinic Family Medicine Residency – Mankato. He is passionate about community health and family medicine and actively engaged in leadership and scholarship activities as well as outreach initiatives. At the Mankato residency, DeVetter has been instrumental in developing the program’s community health and health equity curriculum, helps lead a social justice book club and leads a community health advisory committee which works to foster connections with community leaders and to help address health disparities in the Mankato community. He also is a co-founder of Connections Shelter Clinic in Mankato—a free clinic for patients experiencing homelessness—which is run by a collaboration of the Connections Shelter, Mayo Clinic Health System and Open Door Health Center.
In 2022, DeVetter was selected by the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation as a Family Medicine Leads Emerging Leader Institute scholar. He is also a Robert Graham Center scholar, working on the use of electronic social referral databases in the clinical setting, and has presented his research at the North American Primary Care Research Group annual meeting.

DeVetter has also been a lead author on three peer-reviewed publications, helped update the Mankato residency’s curriculum around scholarship and research and developed tools and processes to encourage resident engagement in scholarship and research. Nominators described DeVetter as dedicated, innovative and passionate. Co-resident Marijo Botten, DO, said, “Nick is involved in so many aspects of family medicine… [his] dedication to supporting and improving health care for patients is large scale, and he is always bringing others up and encouraging us to get involved in the things we’re passionate about too.” The MAFP congratulates Nicholas DeVetter, DO, on this well-deserved recognition and looks forward to his continued contributions to family medicine and community health.

Educator of the Year

John McCabe

McCabe has been a family medicine physician, educator and champion for more than 30 years.

Notably, from 2003 to 2023, he served as a family medicine residency program director in Minnesota—most recently, leading the Mayo Clinic Family Medicine Residency – Mankato.

He has also mentored and taught medical students and resident physicians from the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic and served as faculty with the University of Minnesota Rural Physician Associate Program. David Rushlow, MD, chair of family medicine for Mayo Clinic Midwest, had this to say about McCabe: “I frequently encounter resident [physicians] who have worked with [McCabe] in our Mankato program. They all have the same response—he has been a major influence in their lives. Many credit him with why they chose our program, why they feel family medicine is so meaningful and why they come to work every day to fulfill that same goal for their patients. He is an outstanding example of a teacher, a mentor and what it means to be a family physician.” Colleagues and students have described McCabe as understanding, kind, patient and competent and praised him for his vast experience, depth of knowledge and ability to prioritize the learning of his students and residents.

During his tenure as program director, McCabe oversaw several big transitions—first, moving the program from Waseca to Mankato; second, transitioning sponsorship from the University of Minnesota to Mayo Clinic. His colleagues remarked, “Dr. McCabe has been steadfast in his
commitment to family medicine and community health. No matter what was happening in our program, he provided steady, calm leadership; we knew that things would be ok and our mission would be fulfilled with him at the helm.”

McCabe has been honored for excellence in teaching by the University of Minnesota and, most recently, as Southwest Minnesota Educator of the Year (2023) by Mayo Clinic Health System Mankato of Southwest Minnesota. The MAFP is proud to recognize John McCabe, MD, for his outstanding contributions to the field of family medicine education.

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