What's New

Dr. Neal Clemenson Memorial Service

03/31/2018
Michelle Wallace
The Great Plains Family Medicine Residency program is profoundly saddened to share that our Program Director, Dr. Neal Clemenson, passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, March 1.

The Life of a Friend and Coworker Celebrated

01/31/2017
Shonna Soria
Today we celebrate the life and service of our co-worker, Barbara Anspaugh.

Applicant Season

10/12/2016
Dr. Jenna Geohagan, PGY 2
This time of year makes me reminisce on the excitement and accompanying stress that surrounds trying to figure out which program suits your educational, family, and overall life needs. Therefore, I wanted to highlight three of my favorite aspects of the Great Plains Family Medicine Residency Program, so applicants have a better idea of who we are as a residency program.

An Update from the Director

09/14/2015
Neal Clemenson, MD

Integris Metro United Way Campaign - Wacky Bed Races!

09/09/2015
Michelle Wallace
The faculty, residents, and staff at Great Plains came out to support the United Way Wacky Bed Races by entering two teams and they tied for 4th place!!

Integrated behavioral health services

10/21/2014
Grace Wilson PhD
Nationwide, there is a movement towards collaborative medicine and integrated behavioral health services.

Home Where It Belongs...

07/23/2014
Kelly Roberts
June 20, 2014 was a very good day...at least for the Great Plains Family Medicine Residents! The OAFP "Quiz Bowl" Trophy is now solidly at our home clinic for the 2014-15 year, thanks to Drs. Vonfeldt, Wright, Landt and Wheeler.

It's Almost Time!...

06/11/2014
Kelly Roberts
Small changes are appearing around GPFM in anticipation of our incoming resident class.

Another Great Match!

03/28/2014
Neal Clemenson, MD

New Year, Mid-Year

01/10/2014
Terrence Truong, MD
After the blur of a whirlwind of a holiday schedule, GPFM physicians and staff alike reconnect with one another as we resume our work during this first full week of the new year.


Doctors are Teachers: Interview with Aubrey Kavanaugh, M.D.

Posted by Kelly Roberts on 06/05/2013

We’re here with Dr. Aubrey Kavanaugh today, and I’d like to start the interview with a fun topic.  One of the things you’re known for is your dry erase marker artwork. Could you reflect back and tell us about one of your favorite artworks that you’ve donated to the Great Plains family over the last three years?

Well, it’s kind of sad and I’m not sure this will be appropriate (laughs), but I’m one of our residents that does the writing on our whiteboard while we’re conducting a case conference. And, I used to just draw little doodles while I was waiting for it to start.  These doodles were never really anything specific.  Until one time, however, when I was on night float – I was here all the time, in the middle of the night when nobody else was here, and I was finishing my charts up.  So, I would go into the conference room and the character I would draw was “The murderous bunny”…

(laughs…) I SAW the murderous bunny! (laughs)

…so, the bunny always has a knife hidden somewhere, and it shows up in different or various places.  So, he’s kind of a recurring character.  But it started because I was bitter about being on night float (laughs).  And TIRED! (laughs again)

So, THAT is the onset of the bunny. See, I’ve only been here a year so far but he lived on so I got to see him, eh?  What do you think will become of this character?

Well, the bunny – around Christmas this past year – didn’t have a knife any more.  He traded it for a cocktail, so he was becoming a little less angry…maybe he’s transitioning. (smiles)

So, let’s talk about how you are such a teacher-learner kind of doctor.  You’re always pulling out X-rays, or looking at websites: “Look at this information…I just found this…”  That’s not something everyone does.  So how is it that you are such a lifelong learner?

I LIKE to teach.  I think a lot of it has to do with how you were taught.  I had a really good relationship with the third years when I was an intern, and they did that for me…they would show me things and teach me.  Same way with procedures – I’m a big proponent of, “if there’s a procedure I want you to have the opportunity to learn, there should be more than one person in the room.”  And if your intern doesn’t get the opportunity to do it, at least they can see it.  Because that’s how I was taught and how I learned things, so I really appreciated those opportunities.  You know, when you’re an intern and someone says, “Hey, do you want to come do this procedure?” that’s awesome…that opportunity.  So, I’m trying to give it back.  Krystal’s (a second year resident) told me that her first five IUD’s that she placed were mine because I had a bunch of them, and she had none, so I asked her to help with mine.  You develop relationships with people, and you want to help them learn to be better… there’s a certain amount of pride in being at a program that you feel proud of…you want these residents to be the best they CAN be because they represent you in some ways. But, I just also like to teach! (laughs)

Who’s going to be our up and coming second year resident that fills your teaching shoes?

Krystal – I think so.  She likes to teach.

So, that’s how you learn here, in our clinic and hospitals affiliated with the program.  But have you gotten opportunities to learn outside the regular system?

Yeah, my future partner, Dr. Anderson has taught me how to do vasectomies.  Almost all the vasectomies that I’ve done have been with him.  That was just an educational opportunity that I sought out.

How is it that you met Dr. Anderson?

Through Mike Robinson, who was a third year when I was an intern.

So, there was networking and more networking.  And through that connection, you met your future partner/employer and…teacher while you were in residency.

Mmm-hm.  I really excited about getting to work with him because he is such a good teacher, and he likes taking students.  As much as I’m…well, I’ve already told Dr. Truong and the other faculty that I plan on calling them when I get in trouble…it’s nice to have someone who has so much experience around that if I have a problem I can just lean my head out the door and say, “Hey, Dr. Anderson, do you have an opinion on this?”  And, he’s still willing to teach me vasectomies even though I’ll be out in practice on my own, so he’ll help with the continual learning.  You don’t ever quit learning!

What areas to you feel you’re already completely competent in and you’re ready to teach someone who would come to your own practice?

I love women’s health.  I’ve done a lot of IUDs and various forms of contraception, so I feel competent in those – and I HAVE taught other people about those already.  There are a lot of areas…I think there are finesse points on the treatment of blood pressure that I’ve really worked out.  You learn things over time. You know, dermatology issues.  I love OB, and I’m not going to be doing it, so – I’m just going to have to double up my efforts on the women’s health side.

I’m sorry you’ll miss that.  You’re really great in that area.  And so, I had asked Sheleatha to impart some wisdom for our incoming first year residents.   Do you have wisdom to provide – for any level, from what you’ve learned in the last three years?

I was talking to Krystal and Joel about this recently.  I think that part of becoming a doctor is to learn how to lead. You don’t do anyone favors by doing their work for them…especially, the first and second years. As they transition, and are going to have people under them, it’s to know how to lead them to do the appropriate thing – let them make those mistakes without killing people hopefully (smiles), but not to do their work for them.  Your gut instinct is, “Oh that person’s struggling.  I want to help them do something.” But you’re not always helping them if you jump in.  And, despite the fact that I know I’ve annoyed some people at times, I feel like a have a good enough relationship with my underclassmen to – hopefully – know they’ll respect my method of teaching.

So leadership – taking steps and risks to allow people to do THEIR jobs…and reinforce that structure.

Yes.  The other thing is, “Never say no to an opportunity.”  Just because it scares you to do a lumbar puncture for the first time, don’t say no.  Now’s the time!

Did you ever say no, then regret it?

No, I never did.  But that’s why people let me do stuff all the time.  You say no once or twice to someone, then they don’t ask you anymore.  Even if I was really busy, I just say, “I’ll be right there…”

Anything you’d like to say about the program?  Your wishes or hopes for after you graduate?

In general, I’ve been really happy here.  I think you start to chaff at your bonds toward the end, but I’ve really enjoyed my time here.  I’ve enjoyed most of the people that I work with – you know I was just talking with Dr. Truong about how I don’t even bother to page him anymore.  I have enough “disrespect” that I just sent him text messages or call him (laughs).  But that’s how I feel about most of our faculty – they’re approachable for the most part.  And, I’ll have a lasting relationship so I won’t be afraid to call them for help.  And in much the same way, I feel like my peers here – I’m going to be able to call them forever, and ask opinions.  And so I think this is a program that’s allowed me a lot of autonomy to figure out what I wanted to do. So, I’m going to miss people – it’s not the same when you’re not in this sort of environment anymore.  I’m not going to have all the camaraderie that I used to have which is kind of sad.  I’m excited, but it’s kind of bittersweet.

One thing I know about you, Aubrey, is that you take care to balance your social – slash – work life. And so I would imagine that you’ll have a little more camaraderie than others.  Where did you learn that lesson?

Probably my mom – she’s a mental health professional (laughs).  It’s a way to keep yourself sane.  You have to have a balance.  If you’re all one side you’ll just go crazy.  You start learning it in medical school even more, because that’s when all the hard core studying happens, so if you don’t do something to relax, you’ll really get crazy.

I really loved the way you made sure everyone at Great Plains knew that you were going on your cruise (laughs).

“I am leaving!  You will NOT be able to contact me…” (laughs)

Anything that I didn’t ask you that you’d like to say before we end our time together?

I’m just going to miss everybody.  Through all the ups and downs it’s been a good experience, and I’m going to miss people.  It’s going to be hard for me not to see people every day – that’s going to go away.  I was joking with Dr. Truong about how we need to go out have a beer sometime..that I’ll be leaving and there will be no more beers.  And he said, “Aubrey, you’ll still be in town, you can come over and have a beer with us.”

Dr. Truong may miss you – he won’t have anyone to compare his boards scores with…

I know, he’s my buddy.  He’s actually the sweetest guy.  He came out whenever I was stuck up here at Christmas because of the snow – when I was an intern there was a snow storm.  And I called him, he was the attending on service.  And I was like, “I can’t leave.  I’m stuck here because of the snow, and it’s not really fair to make Rianna try get out here, so we’ll just stay – the nurses have to stay, so I’ll just stay.”  And he said, “No, we’re not going to have that happen, Aubrey. I’m going to come get you.”  So I said, “But we’re not going to be able to get someone else here.”  And he said, “I’m going to go get Rianna too.” So he drove up in his big pickup and picked me up, he had to brave the back roads.  Went and got Rianna and brought her too.  Then he came and got Rianna the next day and took me BACK to work and it was just really nice, because I was thinking I was going to have to stay at the hospital for 48 hours…it would be awful.  Also, when my air conditioner in my house broke, he came and brought me an air conditioner – of all the faculty – he came and brought me a window unit until my air conditioner could get repaired so that I wouldn’t pass out from heat (smiles).  Yeah, he came and even installed it for me…so, he’s my buddy.

And now he can be your friend – he was a mentor, but can now be your friend.  Thanks for your time, Aubrey.



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