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Altru Physician Receives NDAFP ‘ND Family Physician of the Year’ Award

Posted OnNovember 19, 2021

Grand Forks, N.D. — Joel Walz, M.D. has been recognized by the North Dakota Academy of Family Physicians as the 2021 ‘North Dakota Family Physician of the Year.’

“Joel is a dedicated family doctor who always puts his patients first,” said Joel’s nominator. “He is well-respected and loved by patients, colleagues and staff alike. Joel has taught countless students and residents over the years. During these times, he shares both his expertise and passion for family medicine and continuing the tradition of homegrown education.”

Walz received this award at the annual meeting of the North Dakota Academy of Family Physicians in early November. He has practiced family medicine with Altru since 1997.

“Dr. Walz has been a leader in our community throughout the pandemic. He continues to exemplify the family physician qualities we all strive to have. We are proud to have Dr. Walz as a member of Altru and the family medicine team,” said Josh Deere, M.D., Altru Health System medical director of primary care.

As our region navigates the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Walz has advocated for the health of the Grand Forks community, in part through his role as Grand Forks health officer, a post he has held since 2015.

Director of Grand Forks Public Health Debbie Swanson, affirmed, “In his role as health officer for the city of Grand Forks and Grand Forks County, Dr. Walz is committed to improving the health of area residents by bringing his expertise as a family physician to the field of public health.” Swanson continued, “He is a source of support and guidance to the staff at Grand Forks Public Health as we navigate the challenges of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. For this, and his many years of serving patients in his practice at Altru, he is most deserving of the recognition of the 2021 ND Family Physician of the Year.”

Founded in 1950, the North Dakota Academy of Family Physicians represents over 500 family physicians, medical students and residents in the state. The mission of the North Dakota Academy of Family Physicians is to promote and support access to excellent health care for all North Dakotans through education, advocacy, and promotion of the core values of family medicine for its members and in the training of medical students and residents.