Minnesota Wild Medical Director, Sheldon Burns, M.D., was awarded the 2014 Family Physician of the Year by the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP). This award is presented annually to a family physician who represents the highest ideals of the specialty of family medicine, including caring, comprehensive medical service, community involvement and service as a role model.
Family physicians from across the state were nominated for the award by patients, community members, and colleagues. Three finalists were selected from the field of nominees. After reviewing nomination letters and determining which finalist best fits the award criteria, the MAFP Board of Directors chose Dr. Burns as the 2014 recipient.
Dr. Burns has been a family doctor in Minnesota for nearly 40 years. Not only does he maintain a busy practice at Edina Family Physicians, but he also serves as the medical director for the Wild, Minnesota Timberwolves and the Minnesota Lynx. He’s also been the team physician for the Minnesota Vikings since 1985. When you add it up, he staffs at least 125 games in the span of eight months.
Those who nominated Dr. Burns describe him as a compassionate and dedicated physician who genuinely cares about all of his patients whether they’re professional athletes or your average Minnesota family.
“You don’t ever feel like he’s got to get to the next thing. You’re number one when you’re with him,” said patient and Minnetrista mom, Jesse Neve.
Dr. Burns is certified in family medicine, emergency medicine and sports medicine. When working with the professional sports teams, colleagues say Dr. Burns brings family medicine values to the forefront by providing continuous and comprehensive care.
“He’s a mentor to a lot of us. The way he approaches patients and their families because he adds that extra dimension, that giving, that caring, that empathy,” said colleague Dave Hamlar, M.D., DDS.
“He’s very proactive in helping us. We’re very fortunate to have him, as are the other sports teams in this market,” said Wild owner Craig Leipold.
Along with his medical duties in the Twin Cities, Dr. Burns has volunteered for eleven Olympic games. He has been a member of four gold medal teams, including the Miracle on Ice 1980 men’s hockey team where he got his start as the assistant equipment manager. He is also the on-call physician for both the Target Center and Xcel Energy Center treating performers and members of tours who come through Minneapolis or St. Paul and find themselves in need of medical care.
“My patients are the joy of my profession,” Dr. Burns said. “I have been able to care for families of five generations. I know my patients so well. It’s such a tremendous thing to be able to have that history.”
The Family Physician of the Year award has been given annually since 1981. The award was presented to Dr. Burns at the All-Member Celebration during the MAFP Annual Meeting on Thursday, April 10, 2014. The event took place at the RiverCentre in downtown Saint Paul. A video highlighting the work of Dr. Burns is now posted on the MAFP YouTube Channel.