Mark Wilbur, M.D. has practiced at Olmsted Medical Center in Byron for the past seven years. Photo by David Richards
By David Richards
He sees a dozen and a half patients on any given day.
On Tuesday of last week, he treated everything from ear infections to arthritis to diabetes, still had his stethoscope around his shoulders at 5 p.m., was still located in an exam room.
His last patient was gone, but his day wasn't over.
That's when the Muppets' Theme Song played.
"My kids inspired that," he said.
The song was actually Dr. Wilbur's cell-phone ring, as his wife Shawna Ehlers called to discuss their daughter's upcoming birthday party.
"It's challenging, but it's an enjoyable challenge," he said, about his busy life as a doctor.
Mark Wilbur, M.D. has practiced at Olmsted Medical Center in Byron for the past seven years. The position is his first out of residency, and he enjoys the mix of patients he sees, the pediatrics, the middle age families and the elderly.
"It's a great balance," said Wilbur, who lives with his wife and their daughters Calyn and Anya in Rochester.
For the second year in a row, Dr. Wilbur's hard work has paid off.
He has been nominated for the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians' Physician of the Year Award.
"It's a huge honor and a big surprise," he said.
A staff member, an administrator or a patient nominated Dr. Wilbur, although that information will be kept secret until a later date in the process.
The award has been handed out annually since 1981 and honors the family physician who "represents the highest ideals of the specialty of family medicine, including caring, comprehensive medical service, community involvement and serving as a role model," according to an MAFP statement.
Roughly 15-25 physicians are nominated each year, and additional letters are welcomed detailing why a certain doctor should be chosen for the award.
"He's fun, caring and down to Earth," said Sara Mattick, a medical assistant in the Byron office. "He's wonderful with patients, and we get lots of comments about how they appreciate his care."
Letters are accepted until Jan. 15 and members of a task force will then select up to four finalists for the honor. The MAFP board of directors will select the Family Physician of the Year from the finalists, with that list being posted on line in February, and the winner announced at the annual meeting in April.
"I was surprised last year because I never heard of anyone being nominated from Olmsted Medical Center," Dr. Wilbur said. "I've asked around."
Dr. Wilbur went to medical school at the University of Iowa and said he was drawn to medicine because of the mix of science and learning how the human body works. .
He handles a lot of everyday things in clinic, such as treating patients who have high blood pressure and giving Synvisc shots to patients who suffer for arthritis.
The more extreme emergencies are sent to Rochester.
"It's been awhile, but there was a guy who came in who almost hacked his thumb all the way off," Dr. Wilbur said. "I sent him to St. Mary's. I couldn't fix that."
In his free time, the doctor enjoys spending time with his family, as well as his two Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Kopa and Dema.
"We like a lot of outdoor, nature activities," he said.
Letters in support of Dr. Wilbur's nomination can be sent to Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians, 600 S. Highway 169, Suite 1680, St. Louis Park, MN 55426 or e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Wilbur said he enjoys working in Byron and with all of his patients and said mentioned "Star Wars" among his favorite movies and "The National," among his favorite band.