G U I D E
Crowne Plaza Hotel-Riverfront
St. Paul, MN
President-elect to joining his current medical practice, St. Paul Cardiology, he
was an assistant professor of medicine at the former St. Paul-
Benjamin H. Whitten, M.D. Ramsey Medical Center from 1986 to 1998, where he was
Benjamin H. Whitten, M.D., F.A.C.P., is an internist who has director of the cardiac catheterization laboratory and director
been practicing in the Twin Cities since 1985. He is an alter- of cardiovascular research. Dr. Swenson is one of three inter-
nate delegate to the AMA House of Delegates. He has served ventional cardiologists with St. Paul Cardiology, which has
on the MMA Board of Trustees and as the chair of the Uniform offices in downtown St. Paul, Maplewood, and Woodbury. He
Credentialing Task Force. Dr. Whitten has been the chair of the is a clinical assistant professor with the Department of Family
Committee on Medical Ethics and Legal Affairs and is currently Practice at the University of Minnesota and is involved in teach-
chair of the Committee on Legislation. Dr. Whitten’s specific ing family practice residents as well as medical students at St.
interests are in legal and legislative issues that impact the prac- Joseph’s Hospital in St. Paul. Dr. Swenson is board certified
tice of medicine and in patient safety initiatives. in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease, and interven-
tional cardiology, and is a fellow of the American College
Current AMA alternate delegate.
of Cardiology and the Society for Cardiac Angiography and
Intervention. Dr. Swenson has been an active member of
Secretary/Treasurer the Ramsey Medical Society since 1987 and has served the
society as secretary, treasurer, and president. He has served
David E. Westgard, M.D.
as president of the Joint Services Organization for the MMA,
David E. Westgard, M.D., M.S., is a family physician who has West Metro Medical Society (formerly Hennepin Medical
served as the chief medical officer for the Olmsted Medical Society), and East Metro Medical Society (formerly Ramsey
Center in Rochester, MN, for the past six years. Dr. Westgard Medical Society). Dr. Swenson has been a member of the
was a Bush Medical Fellow in the class of 1988 completing a MMA Committee on Legislation and the Committee on Medical
master’s degree in administrative medicine from the University of Practice and Planning.
Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Westgard received his undergraduate Current speaker of the MMA House of Delegates
BA degree from Concordia College, Moorhead, MN, and his
medical degree from the University of Washington in Seattle,
WA. His family medicine residency was at San Bernardino
Vice Speaker of the House
County Medical Center in Southern California. He subsequently
Karen K. Dickson, M.D.
returned to the Midwest and practiced family medicine for 20
years in a multispecialty clinic in La Crosse, WI, serving as Karen Dickson, M.D. received her undergraduate degree in
department chair and growing the family medicine department biology, magna cum laude, from Brown University and was
from three physicians to more than 40 physicians with a regional elected to Phi Beta Kappa. After earning her medical degree
delivery system. During that time he served on multiple boards of from Harvard Medical School, she completed an internship
directors and finance and investment committees, served as trea- year in medicine and neurology at Mount Auburn Hospital
surer for the Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians for seven in Cambridge, Massachusetts and an internship year of psy-
years and served as president and then chair of the board of chiatric residency at Massachusetts General Hospital. She
directors of the WAFP in 1987 and 1988. From 1995 to 2000 completed her psychiatric residency at McLean Hospital at
Dr. Westgard served as vice president of medical affairs for busi- Harvard Medical School in 1986 and remained on staff until
ness development for FranciscanSkemp Healthcare, a merged she moved to Minnesota in 1988. Since then, Dr. Dickson has
delivery system between the clinics and hospital in La Crosse, been in the private practice of psychiatry and has taken on
which was merged into the Mayo Health System. He then served many consulting positions. From 1988 to 1999 she was at
as chief medical officer for Shannon Healthcare System in Texas Clinical Psychopharmacology Consultants in Minneapolis, and
and subsequently returned to the Midwest at Olmsted Medical since 1999 she has practiced at Nystrom and Associates, a
Center where he served as CMO for the past six years. Dr. mental health clinic in New Brighton. Dr. Dickson has been a
Westgard has been active in the MMA serving on the Committe member of the Minnesota Psychiatric Society since 1988. She
on Accreditation and Continuing Medical Education and most served as MPS president and on its Ethics Committee, Program
recently on the Committee on Administration and Finance. His Committee, Correctional Psychiatric Committee, and two terms
areas of special interest are in information services, quality on the governing council. She was the first chair of the Board
improvement, medical management and the integration of health of the MPS-PAC and was awarded the MPS Distinguished
care delivery systems with insurance and financing functions. Service Award in 2007. She served for 10 years as the presi-
dent of the Women Psychiatrists of Minnesota. A member of the
Speaker of the House American Psychiatric Association since 1986, she was elected
a Distinguished Fellow in 2003. Dr. Dickson served eight years
Lyle J. Swenson, M.D., F.A.C.C. on the Board of the National Alliance of the Mentally Ill, MN
Chapter, (NAMI-MN) and won a national NAMI Exemplary
Lyle Swenson, M.D., F.A.C.C., received his undergraduate and
Psychiatrist Award in 2005 for work and leadership on a
medical degrees from the University of Minnesota. He complet-
paper recommending improvements in mental health care and
ed his internal medicine residency at Hennepin County Medical
correctional psychiatry in the MN Department of Corrections.
Center in Minneapolis and his cardiology fellowship at the
She also served several years on the Board of Faithways, a
Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, Oregon. Prior
mental health advocacy group. Dr. Dickson has been a mem-
ber of the MMA and the West Metro Medical Society (formerly on the Midwest Regional Advisory Committee to the Centers for
Hennepin Medical Society) since 1996. She served on the Medicare and Medicaid Services. He is the past president of
West Metro Medical Society Stop the Violence Committee and the Minnesota Orthopaedic Society, and currently serves on the
has been a delegate to the MMA House of Delegates since Board of Counselors of the American Academy of Orthopaedic
1996, serving two years as chair of the West Metro Medical Surgeons. Dr. Matson is a member of the American Medical
Society delegation. Dr. Dickson has been a trustee on the Association, Minnesota Medical Association, Blue Earth County
MMA Board of Trustees since 1997, and has served three Medical Society, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons,
terms on the MMA Executive Committee. American College of Surgeons, Arthroscopy Association of
Current vice speaker of the MMA House of Delegates. North America, International Arthroscopy, Knee Surgery and
Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Association, Health Volunteers
Overseas, and Global Health Ministries.
AMA Delegates Current AMA alternate delegate.
Kenneth W. Crabb, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.
John M. Van Etta, M.D., F.A.C.P., A.B.I.M.
Kenneth W. Crabb, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., is board certified in
obstetrics and gynecology and has practiced in St. Paul since John M. Van Etta, M.D., F.A.C.P., A.B.I.M., is a board certified
1979. He received his M.D. from the University of Iowa and internist and a fellow in the American College of Physicians
completed his residency at Regions Hospital (formerly St. Paul who practices at St. Luke’s Internal Medicine Associates.
Ramsey Medical Center). He is an adjunct professor in the After receiving his M.D. from the University of Minnesota, he
OB-Gyn Department at the University of Minnesota. He is cur- completed his residency at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in
rently a delegate to the AMA and a past president of the East 1981. Dr. Van Etta practiced in Minneapolis for two years
Metro Medical Society (formerly Ramsey Medical Society). Dr. and then moved to Duluth. Since his residency, he has actively
Crabb is a member of the MEDPAC Board. He has served on practiced primary care in internal medicine. He is a clinical
the MMA Committees on Legislation, Medical Practice and assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, where he is
Planning, Administration and Finance, and the Nominating active in teaching residents and students. Dr. Van Etta holds
Committee. He is a past member of the Minnesota Section staff appointments at three hospitals and also conducts rounds
Advisory Council of the American College of Obstetricians at a nursing home. He has served as chief of medicine for
and Gynecologists as well as of many hospital committees two years at St. Mary’s Medical Center and for six years at
at both HealthEast and United. He is a past president of the the Duluth Clinic. He is a member and previous chair of qual-
PreferredOne Physicians Association and served on its board. ity assurance at both institutions. He has served as a member
He is a physician reviewer/advisor for Stratis Health and and as secretary of the board of directors of the Duluth Clinic.
several private review companies and is a member of the On behalf of the American Group Practice Association, he
American Society of Reproductive Medicine and the American lobbied in Washington for Medicare reform. Dr. Van Etta is a
Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology. He was recent- member of the MMIC Group board of directors. He joined the
ly selected as one of “Minnesota’s Most Influential 100 Health MMA and the AMA in 1980. He served as president of Lake
Care Leaders” by Minnesota Physician. He is committed to Superior Medical Society, as chair of its legislative committee
improving health care delivery for the community and reducing since 1987, as a member of its judiciary committee, and as a
red tape for his peers. His non-medical interests include serving delegate to the MMA House of Delegates for the last 10 years.
on the Chairman’s Cabinet of the Northern Star Council, Boy As an active MMA member, he served on its legislative com-
Scouts of America and in many areas of Rotary International mittee from 1989 to 1999, when he was elected MMA presi-
as a past district governor (04-05). His avocations include sail- dent. Dr. Van Etta served on the MMA’s Uniform Credentialing
ing, skiing, reading, volleyball, and theatre. Task Force, Strategic Planning Committee and Health Care
Current AMA delegate Reform Task Force. He serves as an ex-officio member of the
MMA Board of Trustees and as an AMA delegate. He is chair
Paul C. Matson, M.D. of the AMA Council on Legislation. In this role he serves as
Paul C. Matson, M.D., is a board certified orthopaedic sur- an advisory counsel to the board on legislative issues and
geon who has been practicing at the Orthopaedic and Fracture attends meetings in Washington, D.C., to help review pending
Clinic in Mankato, Minnesota, since 1988. He received his health care legislation. He is a member of the AMA Health
medical training at the University of Minnesota and com- Information Task Force, a member of the AMA Board Task
pleted an orthopaedic surgery residency at the University Force on Quality, Safety and Health Information Technology, a
of Minnesota. He is a fellow of the American Academy of member of the AMA Board of Trustee Task Force on Physician
Orthopaedic Surgeons, a fellow of the American College of Data Release, a member of the AMA Board of Trustee Task
Surgeons, and a clinical associate professor at the University Force on Medical Liability Reform, and a member of the AMA
of Minnesota. He has served as a medical volunteer in Kenya Board of Trustee Task Force on Health Information Technology.
and Cameroon. He is currently an alternate delegate to the He has also served as a teller for the AMA House of Delegates
AMA House of Delegates. He is a past chair of the MMA and on an AMA subcommittee on pharmaceutical availability
Board of Trustees, past president of the MMA, and a past chair in the U.S. and Internet prescribing. He was elected to the
of the MMA Committee on Legislation and served on the MMA AMA House of Delegates in 2002.
Health Care Reform Task Force. He has been a member of the Current AMA delegate
MMA House of Delegates since 1989. Dr. Matson has served
AMA Alternate Delegates U.S. Dr. Luehr has taught at the Duluth Family Practice Center, and
at the University of Minnesota-Duluth School of Medicine, for more
Blanton Bessinger, M.D., M.B.A. than 20 years. He is also an associate clinical professor with the
University of Minnesota.
Blanton Bessinger, M.D., M.B.A., is seeking his fourth term as
an alternate delegate to the AMA. He received his medical Benjamin H. Whitten, M.D.
degree from Emory University in 1965. His pediatric and pedi-
atric cardiology training was at the University of Minnesota. Benjamin H. Whitten, M.D., F.A.C.P., is an internist who has
He is board certified and re-certified in both specialties. His been practicing in the Twin Cities since 1985. He is an alter-
career has included academic medicine at the University of nate delegate to the AMA House of Delegates. He has served
Minnesota, private pediatric cardiology practice in Minneapolis on the MMA Board of Trustees and as the chair of the Uniform
and St. Paul, serving as full-time medical director for Children’s Credentialing Task Force. Dr. Whitten has been the chair of the
Hospitals and Clinics, and director for child advocacy and Committee on Medical Ethics and Legal Affairs and is currently
child policy at Children's Hospitals and Clinics. Dr. Bessinger chair of the Committee on Legislation. Dr. Whitten’s specific
earned an M.B.A. in 1992 at the University of Minnesota and interests are in legal and legislative issues that impact the prac-
was certified by the American Board of Medical Management tice of medicine and in patient safety initiatives.
in 1994. He is a member of East Metro Medical Society, the Current AMA alternate delegate.
Minnesota Medical Association, and the American Medical
Association. At the MMA, he has been a delegate to the
House of Delegates, served on a reference committee, served
as vice speaker and speaker, president-elect, and served as
president in 2000. In 2006 he was elected to a four-year
term on the AMA Council on Constitution and Bylaws. He
is a board member of ClearWay Minnesota, a fellow of the
American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of
Current AMA alternate delegate
David D. Luehr, M.D., F.A.A.F.P.
David D. Luehr, M.D., F.A.A.F.P., has been a champion for quality
improvement of medical care throughout his career. He is a gradu-
ate of St. Olaf College and the University of Minnesota Medical
School. Dr. Luehr completed his residency in the Duluth Family
Practice Residency and has practiced as a family physician at
the Raiter Clinic in Cloquet for three decades. Dr. Luehr served as
president of the MMA during 2005-2006. His focus during that
year was to promote the MMA as an organization that stands for
quality in health care. Dr. Luehr chaired the MMA Quality Health
Care Committee for the past four years. He also served on the
MMA Committee on Legislation and the Committee on Medical
Practice and Planning. He also served on the quality committee
for the Healthy Minnesota Project. In 2007, Dr. Luehr represented
the MMA at the annual Institute for Healthcare Improvement
meeting and presented the work done at the MMA in promot-
ing quality improvement. For the past several years he has been
active in ICSI and has served on committees and participated in
guideline development. For over a decade, Dr. Luehr served on
the board of the North Star Physicians, and for six years served
as its medical director—working primarily in quality improvement.
For the past two years he has been the MMA representative to the
AMA Physicians Consortium for Practice Improvement (PCPI). Dr.
Luehr has been active in the Lake Superior Medical Society, and
served as its president in 1999. He is a member of the Minnesota
Academy of Family Physicians and served as the vice president
of the Lake Superior chapter. Dr. Luehr served as delegate to the
MMA House of Delegates and in 1983 he authored, and pre-
sented, to the MMA a resolution dealing with the inequitable pay-
ments to rural hospitals. This resolution was accepted by the AMA,
and several years later the Urban-Rural Inequities Act was passed
in Congress, changing the pattern of Medicare payments in the Nominations as of August 25, 2008. Nominations remain open.