Nebraska Family Physician of the Year

The Nebraska Academy of Family Physicians is no longer seeking nominations for the 2017 Nebraska Family Physician of the Year. The application period concluded on June 16, 2017. Thank you to those who submitted nominations!

The purpose is to honor a physician who exemplifies, in the tradition of family medicine, a compassionate commitment to improving the health and well-being of people and communities throughout Nebraska.  Nominations may be made by any individual who is close to the physician—patients, colleagues, friends, family, etc.  Candidates must be AAFP and NAFP members in good standing.  A winner will be selected by the NAFP Public Affairs Committee based on the following criteria:

  • Provides his/her community with compassionate, comprehensive, and caring medical service on a continuing basis.
  • Serves as a role model to his/her patients, community, family medicine colleagues, other health professionals, and especially to medical students and young physicians in training.
  • Is directly and effectively involved in community affairs and activities that enhance the quality of life in his/her home area.


Past Recipients

1982   Rudy Sievers, M.D., Blair
1983   Donald Larson, M.D., Aurora
1984   William A. Doering, M.D., Franklin
1985   No Award Given
1986   James E. Ramsay, M.D., Atkinson
1987   Stuart P. Embury, M.D., Holdrege
1988   Dwight L. Larson, M.D., North Platte
1989   K. Don Arrasmith, M.D., Omaha
1990   James S. Long, M.D., Alma
1991   Delwyn J. Nagengast, M.D., Bloomfield
1992   Charles F. Ashby, M.D., Geneva
1993   Eugene L. Sucha, M.D., West Point
1994   Darroll J. Loschen, M.D., York
1995   Charles J. Vlach, M.D., Hartington
1996   Steven M. Williams, M.D., Omaha
1997   John M. McCammond, M.D., Kearney
1998   Dean R. Thomson, M.D., Nebraska City
1999   Dale E. Michels, M.D., Lincoln
2000   Richard A. Blatny, M.D., Fairbury
2001   Richard M. Fruehling, M.D., Grand Island
2002   Robert L. Wergin, M.D., Milford
2003   Gerald W. Luckey, M.D., David City
2004   Ron D. Scott, M.D., Kearney
2005   Jeffrey D. Akerson, M.D., Sidney
2006   David F. Demuth, M.D., York                
2007   Kathleen A. Bliese, M.D., Grand Island
2008   Mark R. Jones, M.D., Lexington
2009   Van E. Vahle, M.D., Seward
2010   Fred J. Pettid, M.D., Omaha
2011   David J. Hoelting, M.D., Pender
2012   Kent T. Lacey, M.D., Scottsbluff
2013   Randy T. Kohl, M.D., Firth
2014   Thomas A. McKnight, M.D., Fremont

2015   Joseph S. Miller, M.D., Lexington

Gilbert Rude, MD, FAAFP Named the 2016 Family Physician of the Year

  • The Family Physician of the Year award is given annually to a Family Physician who exemplifies a compassionate commitment to improving the health and well-being of the people and communities throughout Nebraska. Dr. Gilbert Rude was honored at the State Capitol by Governor Pete Rickets on October 5, 2016 as the recipient of this year’s award.

    Dr. Rude has been a member of the Nebraska Academy of Family Physicians for 37 years. He earned his medical degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 1976 where he continued on to complete his Residency in 1979. From there, he began working at Family Practice Associates in Kearney, Nebraska. He has remained an integral part of this practice until his recent retirement in May of this year. Through the years, Dr. Rude has also been an active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, a volunteer faculty member of the University of Nebraska, a board member of the Good Samaritan Hospital Board in Kearney, and a volunteer physician at the Help Care Free Clinic.

    Dr. Rude and his wife, Belinda, live in Kearney and are known for being deeply involved members of their community. Dr. Rude and Belinda are parents to Michael and wife Kristi, Matthew and wife Kate, and grandparents to Isabelle and Fletcher.

    In letters of nomination for this award, he was noted as “one of the finest and most committed Family Physicians of this era.” He was commended for his unending efforts to deliver quality care to his patients, his responsibility to his community, interest in medical education, and his willingness to help others whenever needed. In a letter from a colleague, it stated that “what makes Dr. Rude stand out is his absolute commitment and availability to his patients.” It went on to add that since his retirement in May, he has continued to give back to the medical community within and beyond Kearney, further displaying his deeply rooted investment to improve the health of all Nebraskans.

    Patients supported the nomination with statements like, “It is because of his love and compassion for his patients, and his commitment to his profession that Dr. Rude has earned such admiration and respect” and “it was easy to see it in Dr. Rude’s eyes, hear it in his voice, and see it in his actions that he genuinely cares, feels your pain, and wants to make you better.” Dr. Rude embodies the qualities of an exemplary leader in the field of Family Medicine.

    As the 2016 Nebraska Family Physician of the Year, Dr. Rude becomes a candidate for the 2017-2018 American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) Family Physician of the Year. The Nebraska Academy of Family Physicians (NAFP) is a Constituent Chapter of the American Academy of Family Physicians which has over 124,000 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care. Approximately one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care. The Mission of the Nebraska Academy is to promote, support, and serve its members as they strive to improve the health of all Nebraskans.