Catherine Kress, Western Wisconsin Rural Family Medicine Residency graduate

Catherine Kress, flanked her mother and a friend, head to a Packer game. Photo courtesy of Katie Kress

NEW RICHMOND – The first resident in HealthPartners’ three-year Western Wisconsin Rural Family Medicine Residency program graduated June 30.

Catherine Kress, doctor of osteopathic medicine, has been dividing her time between Amery Hospital & Clinic and Westfields Hospital & Clinic for two years. Prior to that, she spent the first year at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, Minn.

Along the way, Dr. Kress (aka “Dr. Katie”) cites many lessons learned from her work in our hospitals, from improved medical skills and time management to the variety of patients who provided a range of teaching opportunities.

“I enjoyed seeing a variety of patients,” says Kress. “In rural medicine, there are not as many specialists that are readily available, so I felt I was able to see a broad variety of patients and patient problems. I also was able to see a good variety of ages including pediatrics through elderly patients and the different concerns that come with the specific age groups.”

Armed with this training, Kress will next head East to work at an outpatient clinic in Falls Church, Va.

“My fiancé got a job out East, and so I am moving out there to work with a new practice and be near him,” she said.

HealthPartners launched the Western Wisconsin Rural Family Medicine Residency in 2017 as a way to increase the number of primary care physicians who practice in rural and underserved areas.

Catherine Kress

Catherine Kress

The assignment was a natural fit for Kress, a native of Eau Claire, Wis. Her mother was a doctor, which exposed her to the value of rural health care at a young age. In college (she is a graduate of Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine), she served patients as a certified nursing assistant.

“I have really enjoyed my time working with this program and appreciate all the time and effort that has gone into creating this program,” she says. “I know many changes have been made even in just the last three years, and am sure there are many more exciting developments to come in the next years.”

Teaching hospitals

The goal of the Amery and Westfields, as teaching facilities in the program is to:

Attract top physicians with the latest training at the forefront of medical research

Demonstrate a commitment to the training and development of medical professionals for rural practice

Plan for the community’s future health care needs by offering this training opportunity to some of the best graduating primary care physicians

A new cohort

As of July 1, Western Wisconsin Rural Family Medicine Residency has several new faces:

  • Linnea Kruit, MD, Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Michael Jepsen, DO, Campbell University
  • Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine.

As the residency class of 2024, they’ll spend their first year training at Park Nicollet Creekside Clinic and Methodist Hospital and the next two years at Amery and Westfields.

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