Dr. Zach Meyer honored at annual Koefoot Awards

Students describe Family Practice of Grand Island clinic physician, Dr. Zachary Meyer, as caring, genuine, and approachable. Their experience with the UNMC graduate during a third-year family medicine clerkship earned him recognition as the 2019 recipient of the Marion D. and Theodore H. Koefoot, Jr., M.D. Outstanding Preceptor in Rural Family Medicine Award.

“He took the time to get to know me and my interests, and made sure I was intimately involved in any case that could help me learn and achieve my personal goals,” one student said in his nomination form.

It is the examples set through teaching, mentorship, and as a community role model that led to honoring Dr. Meyer with the Koefoot Award at the 14th annual banquet on April 24. The evening including recognition of Dr. Meyer from UNMC Department of Family Medicine Medical Education Director, Dr. Mindy Lacey, department chairman, Dr. Michael Sitorius, and Gretchen Vondrak, daughter of Marion and Dr. Theodore Koefoot.

The Koefoot Award was created in 2005 in memory of Dr. Theodore Koefoot. He was a charter preceptor for University of Nebraska Medical Center’s rural family medicine preceptorship. The 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 the Koefoot family.

Gretchen and husband Nick Vondrak, and Dr. Koefoot’s grandchildren, Sarah Gernhart, M.D., Nicholas Vondrak, and Suzanne Hansen attended the banquet, along with their families, to honor this year’s recipient and acknowledge the influence of a preceptor’s family to the medical student experience.

The highlight of the evening included an acceptance speech from Dr. Meyer where he shared his experience as a family medicine preceptor and expressed his gratitude.

“Thanks to the students who nominated me and to all the students who come out to Grand Island for being willing to learn and engage with the practice of medicine outside the Omaha area,” Meyer said.

“Thank you for challenging me and keeping me on my toes. There are some neat people in this world and a lot of them happen to be medical students. It’s a great honor to get to work with them.”

Several medical student were also honored at the annual banquet.

  • Zachary Wordekemper 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.
  • Ryan Muehling 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.
  • John Bader received the Rodney A. Sitorius, M.D., and Virginia H. Sitorius Scholarship.
  • Katelyn Jelden was the recipient of the Audrey and Paul Paulman Scholarship

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