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May 2015

Dr. Joanne (Jody) Smith joins Raiter Clinic group of physicians

Dr. Smith


Raiter Clinic is pleased to welcome Dr. Joanne (Jody) Smith to its group of family practice physicians. Dr. Smith may be a new to Raiter Clinic, but her face is familiar to many local residents who have visited the emergency rooms at Cloquet Community Memorial or Moose Lake Mercy hospitals, where she’s worked as an ER physician for the last 13 years. In May, Dr. Smith began her practice at Raiter Clinic, where she’ll work three days each week – Tuesday through Thursday. She’ll see patients with a full scope of medical issues, with the exception of obstetrics.

Dr. Smith grew up in southern, Minnesota, where her father was a solo practitioner. She spent her first two years of medical school at the University of Minnesota Duluth before transferring and graduating from the U of MN Twin Cities campus. She returned to Duluth to complete her family practice residency and then spent about a year working as a family practice physician in Aitkin before moving to the northland and her position with CMH. She currently lives in the area with her husband, Mike Randall, and their 11 year-old daughter.

She is a member of the American Medical Association, the Minnesota Medical Association, the American Association of Family Practitioners and the Minnesota Association of Family Practitioners.

Dr. Smith is looking forward to returning to a family practice setting. “I’m excited to be back in the clinic setting working with the superb staff at Raiter Clinic and developing relationships with my patients,” she said.


April 2015

Dr. David Luehr retires

Dr. Luehr


David Leuhr, FAAFP, retired after 37 years of practicing family medicine at Raiter Clinic and four years as chief medical officer for Integrity Health Network (IHN). He also served as the medical director for IHS's predecessor, Northstar Physicians Network for seven years.

Luehr will continue to serve as IHN's medical director of primary care.

Among many accomplishments throughout his career, Luehr served as president of the Minnesota Medical Association, chair of the MMA committee on Quality in Medicine, delegate to the American Medical Association and associate clinical professor at the University Medical School in Duluth. He is a Fellow in the American Academy of Family Physicians and winner of the Thomas Stolee Award for Dedication to Medicine.

Luehr has truly dedicated his years in medicaine to improving the quality of healthcare for patients across the Northland and beyond.


January 2015

Dr. Woodward earns Degree of Fellow

Dr. Woodward


Jessica Woodward, M.D., recently earned the Degree of Fellow from the American Academy of Family Physicians. The Degree of Fellow recognizes AAFP members who have distinguished themselves among their colleagues, as well as in their communities, by their service to family medicine, by their advancement of health care to the American people and by their professional development through medical education and research. Dr. Woodward has been a family practice physician at Raiter Clinic since 2007.

Applicants are chosen based on activities in the following areas: life-long learning, practice quality and improvement, volunteer teaching, public service, publishing and research and service to the specialty.

Fellows of the AAFP are recognized as champions of family medicine. They are the physicians who make family medicine the premier specialty in service to their community and profession. From a personal perspective, being a Fellow signifies not only 'tenure' but one's additional work in your community, within organized medicine, within teaching, and a greater commitment to continuing professional development and/or research.

The American Academy of Family Physicians is the national association of family doctors. It is one of the largest national medical organizations, with more than 115,900 members.

The AAFP was founded in 1947 to promote and maintain high quality standards for family doctors who are providing continuing comprehensive health care to the public.

November 2014

Raiter Clinic adds new person, new position

Tami Matuszak


Tami Matuszak may be new to Raiter Clinic, but she’s been calling Cloquet “home” her whole life. Matuszak recently joined the Raiter Clinic staff in the position of family nurse practitioner. A nurse practitioner is an advanced practice registered nurse who has completed advanced coursework and clinical education beyond that required of an RN.

Matuszak’s duties will involve seeing patients of all ages for annual exams, illnesses and follow-up appointments. This will include Welcome to Medicare visits and Medicare Annual Wellness visits. She will help patients with both acute and chronic health concerns. She is able to prescribe medications and appropriate therapeutic and diagnostic procedures such as physical therapy, X-rays, CAT scans, MRIs and mammograms. She will be available at the clinic on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Born and raised in Cloquet, Matuszak graduated from Cloquet High School and went on to attend the College of St. Scholastica, where she completed a nursing major and became a registered nurse. She later graduated from the College of St. Scholastica with a Master of Arts in nursing and became a certified family nurse practitioner in 2001.

As an RN, she worked at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, St. Mary’s Clinic in Duluth and the Duluth Clinic. As a family nurse practitioner, she worked at Chisholm Medical Center, the VA Clinic in Hibbing, the nephrology department at SMDC (now Essentia) and Target Clinics in the northern Twin Cities area. Matuszak and her husband and two sons returned to Cloquet in 2005, and she’s been working at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College since 2010 as a faculty in the nursing program.

“I really enjoy family practice and taking care of patients of all ages for both wellness visits, acute illnesses and chronic disease management,” she said. “And it’s great to be back working as a nurse practioner my hometown of Cloquet!”

January 2014

Dr. Ricard Puumala to retire - successful medical career spans more than 50 years

The year was 1960 and a young physician named Ricard Puumala started his medical practice in Cloquet. Now, more than five decades later, Dr. Puumala is retiring.

The public is invited to celebrate and congratulate Dr. Puumala on his successful career at an Open House at Community Memorial Hospital on January 11, 2014 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.


dr. puumala


November 2013

Raiter Clinic welcomes Dr. Erin Louks-Smith to its team of family physicians

dr. louks-smith

Family practicioner, Erin Louks-Smith, M.D., recently joined the staff of physicians at Raiter Clinic in Cloquet. Dr. Louks-Smith will work in family medicine, including women’s health, obstetrics, pediatrics, outpatient and inpatient medicine.

“There is nothing better than being a part of welcoming a new life into the world,” she said. “It is exciting, humbling and it truly is an honor to be a part of this special time in people’s lives.”

John Turonie, clinic administrator, is glad to have Dr. Louks-Smith on board. “She will be a great addition to the clinic and the community,” he said. “It’s a perfect fit and we are delighted to have her join the clinic.”

Dr. Louks-Smith is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Medical School as well as a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians.

Prior to coming to Cloquet, Dr. Louks-Smith completed her residency at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, Minnesota. There, she served as a member of numerous committees including the Diabetes and Health Literacy Committee, Peer Review Committee, Medical Student Well-being Committee and as the Education Co-Chair of Women in Medicine. While working on her residency, Dr. Louks-Smith also worked as a volunteer for The Bridge for Youth, a teen homeless center.

While in medical school, Dr. Louks-Smith participated in the Rural Physician Associate Program (RPAP) at Kanabec Hospital in Mora, Minnesota. The RPAP is a nine-month community-based experience for medical students to experience hands-on learning as they care for patients in rural areas.

“The RPAP program was such a fantastic experience that from then on I knew I wanted to have a full-spectrum rural practice,” she said. “I loved the role the family doctors had in the overall health and well-being of the community and I admired the relationships they had with extended families.”

When not treating patients, Dr. Louks-Smith enjoys spending time with family and friends. “I love being outdoors,” she said. “My husband and look forward to breaking in our new snowshoes this winter.”

Dr. Louks-Smith is originally from Duluth and she says she is happy to be back home in the northland. “While my husband and I have spent most of our adult lives in the Twin Cities, it has always been our plan to return to the Northland,” she said. “It is so nice to be nearer to friends and family and to be a part of a small family-friendly community. I believe having a doctor who knows you and your family well and who cares about you personally is more important than any test of medication we can prescribe. It’s the relationship part of the equation that truly makes a difference,” she said.

April 2013

Dr. Riess successfully completes recertification

Raiter Clinic is pleased to announce that Dr. Les Riess has successfully completed the Recertification for Family Physicians. Recertification, which takes place approximately every seven years, is in place to assure both physicians and patients that a doctor is maintaining a high degree of quality in his or her speciality and is current with new treatments and technical procedures. In his 38-year career, Dr. Riess has successfully completed the recertification process six times.

The American Board of Family Medicine is the first specialty board to require recertification tests and has set the standard for other medical speciality areas.

September 2011

Dr. Ken Ripp recognized by Minnesota Medical Association with Community Service Award

Dr. Kenneth Ripp, a family practice physician at Raiter Clinic in Cloquet was presented with the Community Service Award by the Minnesota Medical Association at its annual meeting on September 16.

Dr. Ripp has a long history of volunteering to benefit the community. After graduating from college, he spent a year as a volunteer teacher in Kingston, Jamaica. After completing medical school and residency in New York, he joined Raiter Clinic in 1995. Since then, his volunteer activities have included teaching English as a second language, acting as a medical liaison to the Hmong community and encouraging youth participation in numerous sports. Dr. Ripp helped create a Nordic ski program to encourage youth to cross-country ski. Over the years, the program has grown from six to 60 participants. In addition, he’s coached youth soccer and helped to create a year-round adult soccer league.

On the medical front, Dr. Ripp has served as chief of Cloquet Community Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Services and medical director of the city’s ambulance service. He is medical director for quality at Raiter Clinic and president and medical director of quality for Integrity Health Network, which represents 25 independent clinics and 250 physicians.

September 2011

Raiter Clinic welcomes Dr. Joanna Burns to its staff

Joanna Burns, M.D., a native of Esko, is happy to return to the Northland and pursue her medical practice at Raiter Clinic in Cloquet. She is a board certified family practice physician with special interests in obstetrics, women’s health issues, chronic disease management and behavioral health.

Dr. Burns attended the University of Minnesota – Duluth for her first two years of medical school. She completed her third year as a participant in the Rural Physician’s Associate Program (RPAP), where she completed nine months of clinical training at Raiter Clinic. She finished medical school at the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus in May 2008 after which she completed her residency at the Center for Family Medicine in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Dr. Burns’ roots with Raiter Clinic run deep. As a child, she received her medical care at the clinic and credits a Raiter physician with instilling the idea that she could become a physician.

Dr. Joanna Burns

“I was 8 years old and during a routine visit to the clinic, our family doctor encouraged me to keep my grades up so I could be a doctor one day,” she said. “A seed was planted that day.”

As Dr. Burns attended high school and college, her relationship with Raiter Clinic continued. She worked in the business office during the summer and on school breaks.

“The staff at the clinic knew it was my goal to become a physician and they cheered me on,” she said. “When I got into medical school they kept supporting me with encouragement and wisdom.”

During her third year of medical school, Dr. Burns had the opportunity to participate in the RPAP. She worked at Raiter Clinic under the direction of three physicians.

“The Raiter Clinic doctors invested in me through their time and by teaching me the art of science of medicine,” she said.

Dr. Burns is excited to return to the Northland. “I love the beauty of the Northland,” she said. “I love the small town atmosphere and the definite sense of community here. I look forward to being involved in the community.”

It seems Dr. Burns has come home – to the Northland and to Raiter Clinic. And she couldn’t be happier.

“Working as a physician at Raiter Clinic was always my dream and goal. I knew I would be joining a fantastic group of physicians who are incredibly committed to providing high quality patient care in a supportive environment,” she said.

August 2011

Raiter Clinic has won THREE quality awards

Raiter Clinic is proud to annouce they recently received the following awards for 2011: The Minnesota Bridges to Excellence Award for Improvement of Optimal Vascular Care, the Minnesota QIPS Award for Achievement in Optimal Diabetes Care, and the Minnesota QIPS Award for Improvement in Optimal Vascular Care.

May 2011

Dr. Kenneth Ripp is new Integrity Health Board chair

Integrity Health Network recently selected Raiter Clinic physician, Kenneth Ripp, as chairman of its Board of Governors. Dr. Ripp previously served as the board’s vice chair.

Integrity Health Network is the largest, most comprehensive health network of independently operated clinics in the region and represents more than 200 physicians at 46 care centers across northern and central Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. The organization formed one year agoo as a result of Northstar Physicians Network, a network of primary and specialty care providers, merging with Northland Medical Associates, a group of speciality care providers.

January 2011

Dr. David Luehr Wins Award for Dedication to Medicine

Raiter Clinic's Dr. David Luehr was awarded with the "Thomas A. Stolee Exceptional Dedication to the practice of Medicine Award" from the Lake Superior Medical Society. The award is given to a member physician who has "demonstrated a lifetime of exceptional dedication to the practice of medicine." Dr. Luehr has been a physician at Raiter Clinic since 1978. He has been an active member of the Lake Superior Medical Society for more than 20 years. He has served on the organizations executive committee and as president in 1999. Dr. Luehr is an associate clinical professor at the University of Minnesota and has taught in the Duluth Family Practice Center and in the University of Minnesota Medical School in Duluth for over 20 years. He also served as president of the Minnesota Medical Association in 2005.

December 2010

Raiter Clinic physicians mentor University of Minnesota medical students

Forty years ago, when rural family physicians were in short supply and the problem was getting worse in Minnesota, state legislators established a two-year medical campus in Duluth that would specialize in educating students committed to practicing in rural communities and who would complete medical school on the Twin Cities campus. As part of that experience, medical students participate in the University's Rural Physician Associate Program. Through the Rural Physician Associate Program, Raiter Clinic physicians mentor medical students and educate them on the various aspects of practicing medicine in a rural area.

Today 50 percent of University of Minnesota Medical School–Duluth Campus alumni practice in small communities, compared with 4 percent of doctors nationwide.

In 2009, 58 percent of Duluth graduates chose primary-care residencies—family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, and medicine/pediatrics. Thirty-four percent selected family medicine—four times the national average.

“Our success starts at admissions,” says Gary Davis, Ph.D., senior associate dean of the Medical School’s Duluth campus. “We especially select students with a demonstrated commitment to rural or Native American communities. We look for students demonstrating leadership and service—major responsibilities for family physicians.”

Davis also credits a nationally recognized curriculum that emphasizes preceptorships and other opportunities for students to work closely with community doctors.

Dr. David Luehr Appointed as New Integrity Health Network Medical Director

(Duluth) Integrity Health Network announces the appointment of two new Medical Directors: David C. McKee, MD, will serve as Medical Director-Specialty Care, and David D. Luehr, MD, will serve as Medical Director-Primary Care. Dr. Luehr will also serve as IHN’s Chief Medical Officer.

Dr. Luehr, a family practice physician at Raiter Clinic in Cloquet, Minn. for 32 years, has also chaired the Quality in Medicine committee for the Minnesota Medical Association and served as that association’s president. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Medical School.

“I look forward to the opportunity to work with physicians who deliver excellent medical care,” says Luehr. “I will strive with them to make our systems for delivering medical care better.”

Dr. McKee, a neurologist at Northland Neurology and Myology in Duluth, Minn., is in his 18th year of practice. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine.

“This new role will allow me to help other physicians function at the highest level possible, so as to improve patient care and outcomes,” says McKee.

Integrity Health Network represents 215 physicians from 20 fields of medicine at 43 clinics across Northern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin. These physicians create the largest, most comprehensive health network of independently operated clinics in the region.

October 2010

Raiter Clinic will  Upgrade to Electronic Medical Record-Keeping System

By: John Turonie, Raiter Clinic Administrator

At Raiter Clinic, we are committed to providing the best patient care in the Northland. This involves utilizing innovative practices and state-of-the-art technology. We are excited to announce that beginning mid-November, we will complete a system upgrade to convert to an Electronic Medical Record Keeping System for all our patients.

Electronic Medical Records are a complete record of patient history entered in to a secure computer system and digitalized. When you come to the clinic for an appointment, the physician treating you will be able to access your record through a computer outfitted with specialized software made available through a company specializing in secure EMR systems. The doctor will have a complete picture of your medical history.

EMRs are convenient and can save you time. You will have the capability of filling out medical forms online via a secure website, in the convenience of your own home prior to your appointment. Records are accessed easily and immediately by authorized medical staff. There’s no more shuffling through files of paper, meaning you spend less time sitting and waiting at the doctor’s office.

Quality of care is enhanced with EMR’s because information is comprehensive as well as typed and easy to read. There’s no shuffling through stacks of paper records to find pertinent information. During a doctor’s visit, your complete medical history, including immunizations, tests, allergies and prescription medications is all right there at the physician’s fingertips on the computer screen.

EMRs can easily move, right along with you. If you move to a different community, or have a medical procedure done in a distant city, you can request to have your digital medical records follow you. In these scenarios, no information is lost and your continuity of care is maintained.

EMRs have safety benefits. They have components that provide physicians with alerts and reminders regarding various aspects of treatment. For instance, an EMR can provide information about medications and potential drug interactions with other prescription drugs you may be taking, alerting the physician and minimizing the potential negative effects on you.

EMRs are confidential. Only authorized users will be able to access your files.

Traditional paper medical records can be burdensome to maintain and track. Because EMR’s reduce the need for paper records, they benefit the environment, which benefits us all. Of course a paper copy of your EMR can be printed and kept, the overall use of paper is greatly reduced.

Raiter Clinic has been providing quality care in the Northland for decades. The conversion to an Electronic Medical Record-Keeping System is just the latest change in our continuing efforts to provide our patients with the best health care possible and I, along with the Raiter Clinic physicians and staff, look forward to bringing the benefits of this change to the patients we treat. During the transition phase when we upgrade from paper records to Electronic Medical Records, our staff will be learning the best ways to use the new system. This may slow us down a bit at first. But in the end, we will have a state-of-the-art system in place. We believe that benefits everyone. This change is all in the name of bringing the best medical care to the Northland and everyone at Raiter Clinic appreciates your patience and understanding as we complete this important system upgrade.


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