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New Ulm Medical Center

Family medicine physician Tawnya Kreilkamp, MD, returns to her Minnesota roots

Tawnya Kreilkamp, M.D., grew up on a farm in Elmore, Minn., so it was natural that she wanted to move closer to her childhood home in the south central part of the state when she became a family medicine physician at New Ulm Medical Center (NUMC). Dr. Kreilkamp started seeing patients in the clinics the first week in April.

Dr. Kreilkamp had been in a group practice in Fairmont, Minn. She enjoyed her job, but wanted “a better fit for me and my family somewhere in the South Central Minnesota region,” she said.

The medical staff at New Ulm won her over. “I met with the family medicine physicians here and it seemed exactly what I wanted,” she said. “They all seemed to get along so well.” She also loved the community. “Everyone is so friendly and it is an ideal size,” she said.

Undergraduate Experience Led to Career

Dr. Kreilkamp might not have become a doctor if she hadn’t been selected to participate in a summer program for undergraduates interested in careers in medicine while at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

“I had been doing some shadowing with physical therapists and was thinking that’s what I wanted to do,” she recalled. “But then I became a surgery fellow as an undergraduate and helped with a research study. The experience just confirmed that I wanted to be a physician,” she said. “I wanted to help people and do more than just the physical therapy aspect.”

A doctor cousin who enthusiastically talked about his work also influenced her decision to attend the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine in St. Maarten. She went there after graduating from college in 1998. Choosing her specialty wasn’t easy. “I had been a hospital volunteer and I knew I wanted to work with kids,” she said. “But I also liked obstetrics and I liked psychiatry.” Dr. Kreilkamp settled on family medicine because it would allow her to pursue all of her interests to some degree and help a wide variety of people.

Dr. Kreilkamp graduated medical school in 2006 and returned to the U.S. to complete her residency. In 2009, she joined the family practice group at Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont. At the time her services included obstetrics.

Listening to Patients

Dr. Kreilkamp, 35, now lives in New Ulm with her husband, Todd, their son, Logan, 6, and two dogs. They are just an hour from her parents’ home in South Central Minnesota.

At New Ulm Dr. Kreilkamp no longer practices obstetrics. Now, with her focus on family medicine, she is happy to see patients of all ages.

“I try to give each of my patients as much time as they need so that we can get to the bottom of any issue they may have,” she said. “Listening to patients is one of the most important things you can do as a doctor. You need to get the full story from the start, or you won’t be able to help the person as much as they need.”

Dr. Kreilkamp encourages her patients to make healthy lifestyle choices and to be proactive about their well-being. She also encourages them to have appropriate health screenings for their age and family history, and to be immunized. “I talk to my patients about maintaining a healthy weight and exercising,” she said.

Dr. Kreilkamp’s hobbies include enjoying gourmet food and cheering for the Milwaukee Brewers although she grew up rooting for the Minnesota Twins.

Her first hobby is helped by her husband who is a classic French-cuisine trained chef. “He does all the cooking in the house,” she said with a smile.

While French cooking has a lot of rich sauces, “he cooks on the healthier side for me,” she noted. One of her favorites is his sesame-crusted salmon.