Dr. Michael Zaruba honored at Annual Family Medicine Koefoot Banquet

The Marion D. and Theodore Koefoot, Jr., M.D. Outstanding Preceptor in Rural Family Medicine Award was presented by the University of Nebraska Medical Center Department of Family Medicine at the annual banquet on Tuesday, April 26.

This year’s recipient was Dr. Michael Zaruba. Dr. Zaruba is an invaluable preceptor practicing at Auburn Family Health Clinic in Auburn, Nebraska.

“The Department of Family Medicine is proud to recognize Dr. Zaruba with the Koefoot Award. We appreciate his commitment to the students of UNMC as a mentor and as a role model within his community. Like many of our preceptors, Dr. Zaruba is dedicated to training the next generation of physicians,” Department of Family Medicine Chair Dr. Michael Sitorius said.

The Koefoot Award was created in 2005 in memory of Dr. Theodore Koefoot. He was a charter preceptor for UNMC’s rural family medicine preceptorship. This award is granted to a rural Nebraska family physician who provides outstanding teaching and mentoring of medical students during their Family Medicine rural preceptorship and serves as an outstanding community physician. The award was established through a gift made to the University of Nebraska Foundation by Dr. Koefoot’s wife, Marion, and his family, Gretchen and Nick Vondrak, Sarah and Gary Gernhart, Stephanie and Nicholas Vondrak, and Suzanne and Brad Hansen.

“I’m truly thankful and humbled to receive this award. This award has my name on it but truly is a testament to the cohesiveness of the Auburn medical community,” Dr. Zaruba said.

Marion and Dr. Koefoot’s grandchildren Suzanne Hansen and Nicholas Vondrak were in attendance to recognize the importance of Family Medicine and acknowledge the influence of a preceptor’s family to the medical student experience.

The highlight of the evening included a testimony from a student who spent their rotation with Dr. Zaruba. His impact carries over when students interact with patients in Fremont.

“Because of Dr. Zaruba’s mentorship and guidance, I have had the best hands-on learning experience,” nominator and UNMC graduate Clayton Damme said. “On a daily basis he guaranteed that I felt like I was part of the clinic team and always made me feel like my contributions were valuable.”

Several other medical students were also recognized by the department. Alexis Erbst received the James L. Leahy Award, given to an outstanding senior medical student who will enter the Family Medicine House Officer program at this medical center. Emory Dye received the Fay Smith award given to a graduating UNMC medical student who has completed a family medicine clerkship and who will be entering a family medicine residency program. Allee Kuska received the Rodney A. Sitorius, MD, and Virginia H. Sitorius Scholarship while Jason Long was the recipient of the Audrey and Paul Paulman Scholarship.

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