Every so often, if we’re lucky, we encounter people whose grit and generosity remind us of all that can be accomplished. Dr. Nick Reuter and Dr. Richard Lien donated funds to the MMA Foundation in hopes their example will inspire generosity in others. Their donations were used to establish the Reuter-Lien Health Equity & Well-being Fund, which offers opportunities for medical students, residents, and fellows to create positive change for health equity and/or well-being.
Nicholas F. Reuter was born with a bilateral cleft lip and cleft palate. As a child, he had several corrective surgeries at the University of Minnesota under the care of Dr. Logan Levin and Dr. Conrad Karleen. His rural school didn’t offer resources such as speech therapy or coaching, so Reuter did the next best thing. For six summers, he attended speech and hearing camps including the Dowling Speech and Hearing Summer Camp at the Faribault School for the Deaf, Camp Kiwanis near Marine on the St. Croix, and Camp Courage near Maple Lake. After graduation from high school, Reuter lacked the financial means to pursue his dream to go to college, so he remained at home and worked alongside his parents on the family farm. After a year or two, he requested and received financial aid from the Minnesota Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. They granted his request with one stipulation: that he not major in any area that required interaction with the public.
Reuter credits a professor at St. John’s University, Father Paul Marx OSB, for inspiring his confidence and his career. As the only science major in a sociology class, Reuter stood out. Father Marx requested Reuter stay after class one day and asked if he had considered becoming a physician. In all, Father Marx spent six weeks convincing Reuter that he was an excellent candidate for medical school and that a speech impediment should not hold him back. Reuter took the MCAT two weeks later and entered the University of Minnesota Medical School after his college graduation.
His early career included a one-year rotating internship at St. Mary’s Hospital in Duluth and three years in the United States Air Force, most of them stationed at in Great Falls, MT working as a general medicine officer in family practice. After Reuter completed his military service, he accepted a three-year residency in internal medicine with an emphasis on hematology and oncology at Abbot Northwestern and spent his six months there as chief resident.
He moved to St. Cloud after his residency to build a practice that has now spanned more than four decades. Over the years, he has orchestrated many positive changes at the organizations where he’s worked, in cancer treatment, and in the greater St. Cloud community. Dr. Reuter partnered with Dr. Harold Windschitl, a founding member of the North Center Cancer Treatment Group, and the two were instrumental in expanding access to care for patients with cancer who previously would have to travel to Minneapolis/ St. Paul for their treatments. He was the Chief of Medical Staff for St. Cloud Hospital, has been a physician leader for the St. Cloud Hospital Hospice Program since its inception, and he served on the board of the Physicians Health Plan.
Reuter has also done extensive humanitarian and volunteer work, including organizing blood drives, mentoring high school and college students interested in pursuing medical careers, and providing medical care to the homeless in St. Cloud. In addition, Reuter served on the MMA Foundation Board for two decades. He played an active role in the Foundation’s transformation to its current organizational structure and remains a generous supporter of the MMA Foundation’s work.
During his life, Richard J. Lien MD, was a generous donor to the MMA Foundation. Over many decades, his gifts helped Minnesota’s medical students cover the costs of medical school and allowed practicing physicians to repay loans. Today, proceeds from the Richard Lien, MD Scholarship Fund are being tapped to help Minnesota’s medical students and physicians in training pursue their interests in advancing health equity and clinician well-being.
Committed to paying it forward, Lien was a doctor who worked in a small practice, made house calls, and did everything he could do his patients.
Richard Lien was born in Owatonna, graduated from high school in Austin, and graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1937. After graduation, he had a fellowship at the Mayo Clinic and a residency at Johns Hopkins University Medical School in Baltimore. He practiced pediatrics in St. Paul and Roseville and worked until his death in 1994.
Completed proposals should be emailed in a single file, to Kristen Gloege by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, October 26, 2023.
Late applications will not be considered.
Nicholas Reuter, MD
“Medicine has been a fascinating and fulfilling career for me. I have been blessed to work with excellent colleagues, nurses, and administrative staff.” In fact, his career in medicine nearly didn’t happen.