April 14, 2023

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Experience counts, especially when considering who to select as your primary care physician.

With more than 125 years of family medicine experience, the physicians of Van Diest Family Health Clinics bring a wealth of knowledge, skill, and care to their patients.

Dr. Subhash Sahai is celebrating 47 years in practice this year, including six years with Van Diest Family Health Clinic (VDFHC). His wife, Dr. Sushma Sahai, will mark 45 years in pediatrics practice this year.

Subhash Sahai has cared for hundreds, and likely thousands of patients through the years. Often, there are multiple generations of families seeing him for their medical needs.

“And in one family, there were five generations. There have been a lot of three-generation families and a few four generation families,” he said.

Working in a rural setting has proven to be the ideal situation for Sahai.

“It’s just perfect. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” he commented. “In a rural setting, it’s much more personal, and the breadth of care that can be provided for patients is just amazing.”

Sahai said not only are the clinic physicians top-notch, the nurses, aides and technicians all provide exceptional care.

“The support staff here at the clinic and the hospital is superb. We are blessed to have such a fine staff,” he said. “The personal care, that continuity of care, really makes such a difference.”

A love of science is what drew Dr. Nikki Ehn to pursue a career in medicine.

“I decided to get into medicine because I loved the opportunity to work with people and to really apply the science to problems people face,” Ehn said.

The Hamilton County native has been in practice for 10 years, the last six at VDFHC. The best part of her practice, according to Ehn, is building relationships with her patients and their families.

“I love getting to know patients and their families,” she said. “Understanding generational relationships can help a lot with understanding individual patient stories.”

Often, patients will refer family members or friends to Ehn when they need medical care.

“I consider that to be the highest compliment,” she commented.

The VDFHC doctors have a solid core of support from the clinic team, according to Ehn.

“The staff is great. I feel like I’m really supported by the crew that we have,” she said.

From an early age, Dr. Elise Duwe knew she wanted to be a doctor.

“When I was five, I knew I wanted to be a physician,” she shared. “I tried other things. I got a PhD in sociology. I studied religious studies. I did a lot of bench research. But the vocation that continued to call to me was medicine and family medicine is the best.”

Duwe completed a three-year residency in Waterloo and in August 2021, she joined the staff of Van Diest Family Health Clinic. She is committed to providing quality care for patients in multiple contexts – including seeing patients in the hospital and in the clinic.

“That really provides the most continuity of care if I see you while you are an inpatient and then follow your care when you are well and at home,” she explained.

She continues to build her practice at the Webster City Clinic. In January, Duwe and Ehn started a collaboration with three physicians at Boone County Family Medicine North to provide shared-care for obstetrical patients.

“I think the greatest excitement for me is certainly meeting the moms and building that practice, but also getting to see more babies,” Duwe said. The collaboration will also mean there will be a good relationship with a trusted provider offering support and care in labor and delivery.

Dr. Caleb Glawe has been practicing family medicine since 2009 and is beginning his third year at Van Diest Family Health Clinic.

Like Ehn, Glawe decided to pursue a career in medicine because of his love of science and a desire to help people.

“Giving back and providing care to people who have taken care of me gives me great satisfaction,” he commented.

The physician said he has enjoyed building trusted long-term patient-physician relationships.

“I appreciate how over time, I am able to learn more about a patient, their family, what makes them who they are, and this often extends to other family members,” he shared. “The trust created through repeat visits, and the sharing of experiences with these families, makes family medicine very rewarding personally.”

Glawe also gives credit to the support of his VDFHC team members.

“I enjoy the team effort and atmosphere of Van Diest Family Health Clinic,” he said. “The staff members are very caring, both to the patients, and to their colleagues.”

In addition to his patients at the Webster City clinic, Glawe also sees patients at the Stratford satellite clinic.

Two physicians provide care to patients at the VDFHC in Fort Dodge. Dr. John Birkett and Dr. Alan Nguyen joined the Van Diest team when the clinic opened in July 2020.

Both have had extensive careers in family medicine.

Birkett received his medical degree from the University of Iowa College of Medicine.

He has been practicing since 1975. He said he decided on a career in family medicine as it was a field that always interested him.

Nguyen has been practicing family medicine for 27 years.

He is board certified in family medicine and received his education at Des Moines University, Youngstown Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine, and the University of Nebraska College of Medicine.

Nguyen said he enjoys the family atmosphere at the VDFHC.

“The staff is very easy to work with. They are very supportive and always address questions and needs promptly,” he said.

Developing and maintaining long-term relationships with his patients is another rewarding aspect of his practice.

“It’s amazing to provide care for kids and then seeing how they have developed, and now they are bringing their children into the practice,” he said. “There is an unspoken trust, and oftentimes, they see me as part of their family.”

Working alongside the physicians at the Webster City clinic are Darin Eklund, PA-C, Madeline Keane, PA-C, Giselle Allred, FNP-BC, and Amanda Langford, ARNP-C.

Tonia Odden, PA-C, practices at the Jewell Clinic and Tricia Widlund, ARNP, is on staff at the Fort Dodge Clinic.

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