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Foundation News

2019 Scholarship Recipients

Charles F. Ashby, MD, Memorial Scholarship (Two Scholarships Awarded)

This scholarship is given in memory of Dr. Ashby to new NAFP Family Physicians practicing in Nebraska. Dr. Ashby was a 60-year charter member of the NAFP, serving as president in 1964. He was active in state & local affairs, medical societies, his community and public service. He was dedicated to being a family physician and deeply committed to caring for his patients until the day he died. This scholarship is intended to assist new family physicians as they begin their practice in Nebraska. The recipients of this year’s awards are Drs. Kassandra Davis, of Kearney, and Hannah Christiansen, of Omaha.

Dr. Kassandra Davis was a graduate of UNMC Residency in 2018. While Dr. Davis was a medical student, she enjoyed all rotations.  However, after two months in David City, with Dr. Luckey, she realized she loved being able to know "a little bit about everything."  Dr. Davis described her experience as truly "lucky" to work with him and see the full scope medicine and what it meant to be a "rural physician."  Now that she’s graduated, completed residency, and having practiced 6 months as a physician, she still feels that same thrill.

Dr. Hannah Christiansen was a graduate of UNMC Residency program in 2018. Dr. Christiansen loved the idea of care for the entire family, including multigenerational care and the ability to care for someone for the duration of their life with an emphasis on underserved populations. While an undergrad, she volunteered almost every week for 2.5 years at the SHARING clinics as a Spanish interpreter. Other formative experiences were volunteering at One World Community Health Center and coordinating two summers worth of medical mission trips to the Dominican Republic through Creighton’s ILAC (Institute for Latin American Concern) program. She is now on faculty as an assistant professor at UNMC with her main clinic at UNMC’s DOC (Durham Outpatient Center). 


Donald A. Larson, MD, Memorial Scholarship

The NAFP Foundation established the Donald J. Larson, MD, Scholarship in memory of Dr. Larson in 2008. Don was a valued member and president of the Nebraska Academy in 1978. He was an acclaimed teacher of Family Medicine graduate education and served as a program director of the Lincoln Family Practice Residency Program. This scholarship is presented annually to a family medicine resident who is interested in family medicine in rural practice.

The recipient of the 2019 Donald J. Larson Resident Scholarship is Dr. Alexis Erbst. Dr. Erbst has been interested in being the “Family Doc” since the young age of 6 when she cut her lip open tearing down a large gravel hill on her Grandparents’ farm in rural Naper, NE. Her “family doc”, Dr. Ptacek, was on call and ready to help put her back together after that fateful crash. In her young eyes, Dr. Ptacek must be Superman’s cousin, because she was pretty sure that he could do anything. Ever since then, it has been her dream to be that kind of doctor and be able to help people of all ages on some of their worst and best days of their lives.


Medical Mission Trip Grant

Dr. Kathleen Bliese Walk, a trustee on the NAFP Foundation Board, was instrumental in establishing the Medical Mission Scholarship in 2002 to help defray expenses for medical students participating in medical mission trips as part of their medical educational experience.

This year we awarded the grant to Laura Tarantino, M1, who is a student at Creighton. Ms. Laura Tarantino chose to go on a medical mission trip as she believes it embodies a certain philosophy of care in Family Medicine that she hopes to be a part of for the rest of her career. During a summer internship as an undergraduate student, she worked with a social worker at a children’s home in northern India. She came to believe that any approach to bridge the gaps in access to health care must emphasize cooperation and respect for human dignity. She believes this next mission trip will improve her understanding of the complex interaction of poverty and health, teaching her to learn to empower patients and communities. I also hope to deepen my skills in working as part of a team, my clinical knowledge, and my Spanish.


William A. DeRoin, MD, Memorial Scholarship

The DeRoin Memorial scholarship is presented each year in memory of Dr. William A. DeRoin. Dr. DeRoin was the president of the Nebraska Academy in 1979-1980. He had been very active in the Academy, particularly in helping to form and work with the student family practice clubs. He passed away in 1980 and the DeRoin scholarship was created in his memory. It is presented annually to a Nebraska medical student attending either Creighton University or the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

The 2019 scholarship recipient is Seth Woods, who is a M1 at UNMC.  Mr. Woods wrote in his scholarship application, “Family medicine has always been my picture of what it means to be a doctor. In family medicine, I see meaningful, long-term relationships with patients and their families through ups and downs, different life stages, acute and chronic illness, and even joys and difficulties not directly related to health care.” He noted the trust and familiarity that he had with his family physician growing up is what he desires to have with his patients in the future.


Dennis DeRoin, MD, Memorial Scholarship

Dennis DeRoin followed his father's footsteps and made the decision to go to medical school to be a Family Physician. Dennis was privileged to work with his father one year before his father's early death at age 52. Dennis worked in private practice from 1979 until 1988 and then worked with Methodist Physician's Clinic until 2015 when he retired from the Louisville, NE clinic. Throughout his career he enjoyed the variety in Family Medicine, including delivering babies and caring for them, as well as their entire family. He enjoyed having students and residents come spend time at his clinic. He served on many Methodist Hospital committees including the Physician's Clinic Executive Committee. He was involved with the Nebraska Academy of Family Physicians when he was a medical student and his father brought him along to the annual meetings. He served as president of the NAFP from 1997 to 1998, also serving on and chairing many of the NAFP committees.  He was on the AAFP Subcommittee on Indian Health and the Commission on Minority Health Affairs, both of which interested him because of his American Indian heritage. He enjoyed being a Family Physician and especially loved spending time with his own family -- wife, Marcia, and children, Nicole and Bill.

The 2019 scholarship recipient is Nathan Harms, M2 student, at UNMC. Mr. Harms decided to pursue a career in Family Medicine after hearing stories of how a rural family doctor saved his Grandpa's life. His Grandpa was involved in a gruesome farming accident during harvest. Without the rural family doctor in his small town, he would have lost his life rather than just his hand. Growing up in a small town has made him appreciate having a reliable and versatile family doctor in a time of need. He looks forward to performing procedure-based medicine in Nebraska and serving a community that deserves quality healthcare.


Rural Student Externship Grant

The purpose of this six-week Externship is to introduce medical students to the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) and the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) model of care. The student will work in multiple locations over a six-week period. The student will have the opportunity to see how the Patient-Centered Medical Home concept is integrated into the policies of the ACO and how the medical director helps guide the members of the ACO in developing and implementing the Patient-Centered Medical Home model within their clinic.

The 2019 recipient of the externship opportunity is Grant Goertzen, an M1 at UNMC. Mr. Goertzen has spent much of his time shadowing Family Medicine and it indeed drove him into wanting to be involved as a Family Physician. He enjoys the aspect of getting to know patients personally and to include their families. He said as a physician, “you get to see them through the years and devote time to working with them and watching how they change and grow.” He desires the personal connection and gets that through Family Medicine. This summer opportunity will allow him to have the opportunity to work with rural medicine, allowing him to expand his scope.