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Selland back in business

By Staff | Dec 13, 2013

Submitted Photo Dr. Brian Selland, a family physician from Rugby, has opened a new clinic in Dunseith.

The doors have opened at Turtle Mountain Family Medicine in Dunseith and a familiar face is greeting patients. After 19 years of practicing in Rugby, family physician Dr. Brian Selland is starting a new practice about 32 miles away.

Selland isn’t new to Dunseith, though. The 53-year-old traveled north to the city of about 800 in Rolette County for two days each week since he first started in Rugby.

“I’m excited about my new thing,” Selland said. “It’s a small independent clinic. It’s kind of a combination of a whole bunch of pieces falling into place to open a practice there. I practiced there already and the Dunseith community leadership has been very actively involved in wanting me to practice there.”

Selland’s service to Rugby isn’t over, though. The Minot native and University of North Dakota School of Medicine graduate has former patients eager to return to their longtime physician.

“They call, they write, they have been very excited and supportive,” Selland said. “They wanted me to continue practicing in the area. Lots of my former patients are interested. That’s kind of how it all came together.”

Selland has worked closely with Aurora Clinic in Grand Forks as one of its rural outreach providers. His responsibilities with Aurora include monthly visits to St. Luke’s Hospital and Clinic in Crosby.

Aurora Clinic medical director Dr. Mark Peterson is reciprocating by helping with the business side of Turtle Mountain Family Medicine.

“He’s always had an interest in starting his own local clinic there where he can continue to serve his patients locally,” Peterson said. “That Turtle Mountain Community Clinic is the result of that desire he has. He’s just very committed to family medicine and his patients and we’re just excited to help him and see him develop this new independent clinic. We enjoy the work he does for us very much, as well. He’s conscientious and very good with patients.”

Peterson and Selland met in 2005 when the former moved back to the Grand Forks area following a 12-year stint practicing in rural Alaska. Peterson met Selland’s brother Mark, a cardiologist in Anchorage, and reached out to the Rugby doctor.

“The outreach program was developed to help rural facilities that are struggling to meet their physician’s needs,” Peterson said. “That’s a passion we have at Aurora and we have physicians that have a need and we work to fill that need. (Selland) fits right in. He loves rural medicine and family medicine. It really fits his personality and style.”

His style was formed in rural and big-city settings. Selland did his residency in the Bronx, N.Y., following his time at UND. Before deciding on medical school, he went to the Hudson Bay in Canada with a group from Bottineau College and even taught at the Turtle Mountain Community College. He also traveled the country, which included a visit to Anchorage, Alaska, during his year off between college and medical school. The connections made in each stop stick with him, even the ones made in the biggest city in the country.

“That’s one of the things that makes me tick, is having those ongoing relationships with patients,” Selland said. “It was fun to not just do two or three years of residency and just go. I got to stay and was spoiled to get to keep seeing the same patients for a longer period of time.”

Selland is a father of three with his wife, Sharon Baker, a pastor at First Lutheran Church in Rugby.

“We’ve been lucky, professionally, to just be taken care of very well by people we’ve worked with or the congregations that she’s served in and patients I’ve taken care of,” Selland said. “They’ve just been very generous to us and that’s part of why we didn’t move (from Rugby).”

Selland, who operated the Johnson Clinic with two other physicians before it was bought by the Heart of America Medical Center in 2010, was terminated in January by a unanimous vote from the HAMC board. Selland said he was not provided a reason and HAMC CEO Jeff Lingerfelt cited philosophical differences in a Tribune report on Feb. 2.

Selland is excited for the new opportunity and pleased to still be serving rural North Dakota.

“There’s a real physician shortage in rural America and rural North Dakota,” Selland said.

“Putting a small clinic together from start to finish is a challenge. There’s a lot of detail, but we have a great staff of people working there.”

Turtle Mountain Family Medicine can be reached at 244-5800.

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