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• Tri-County Hospital and Wadena Medical Center announced Dr. Aaron Larson was recently awarded a Bush Foundation Medical Fellowship. He will use this opportunity to pursue certification in the field of psychiatry at the University of Minnesota with a concentration on adult and geriatric issues. Larson will be on sabbatical from his WMC practice from Sept. 1, 2009 through Aug. 31, 2012 as he completes the psychiatric residency.

Since its inception in 1979, the Bush Medical Fellows Program has chosen more than 300 fellows from the Foundation's region of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Each year, approximately 13 physicians are awarded fellowships by the Bush Foundation which enables them to take a leave of absence from their practices to pursue personal and professional goals that also address healthcare needs. Through the program, physicians have developed clinical and leadership skills that have resulted in improved health care in their communities and a rediscovery of their own potential.

Like most rural communities, Wadena and the surrounding area have a great need for psychiatric services but providers are scarce in supply. Approximately 450 psychiatrists provide care across the state of Minnesota, the majority of which are located within the seven-county metro area. Following the completion of his residency, Larson will return to Wadena. He intends to use the training and skills acquired during his residency to strengthen the mental healthcare delivery system in Wadena and the surrounding communities.

Larson stated that he is "honored and humbled" to receive the Bush Foundation Medical Fellowship.

"I look forward to this challenge and opportunity," Larson said. "The hardest part will be the time away from my family and patients but I will be back."

Following the completion of his family practice residency in Sioux Falls, S.D., Dr. Larson joined Wadena Medical Center in 1994. He and his wife, Peggy, have three children and make their home in Wadena.