Provider videos

Dr. Timothy Dirks

[MUSIC PLAYING] I chose to work in the Greater Baxter area, because as a fellow in training for cardiology, I was rotating through Abbott Northwestern Hospital with the Minneapolis Heart Institute. And this area had an opening with our group to practice cardiology. And I had, kind of, thought that I was going to have to end up at a large center in Minneapolis or another large city that had a large group, but this opportunity was perfect for me. 

My wife is from a small town. She's from Spicer. I'm from the St. Cloud area, and the opportunity to represent a very large distinguished cardiology group, but live and work in a small town is a perfect fit. And it's worked out terrific since then. We've got four kids that have gotten involved in school. We've gotten involved in church. We've found a nice lake place, and we've been very happy here. Great people to take care of and a great medical community and having the support of this large, well-established and well-recognized cardiology group has been a perfect balance of small town, but being connected to the large, large group.
The reason that I became a physician actually started in middle school. When I was in middle school, I was pretty shy and I didn't really know what I wanted to do and I was meeting with a guidance counselor and the guidance counselor suggested medicine. I had an interest in people, I had an interest in sciences, and he thought that would be a good fit. 

And that kind of turned me on to the idea. My mom was a nurse and so I had some kind of medical background but I had never really considered a career in medicine. But that decision to pursue medicine kind of stuck with me all through high school and into college. 

And as I learned more about it, I got to discover that it fit really well with my interests and I think with my abilities, and the opportunity to take care of people, to develop relationships with people, and to try to be thoughtful. And that's why I became a physician. The cardiology part actually developed in residency. When I was in residency, I did a rotation with a cardiologist that practiced at Abbott Northwestern Hospital where I did residency. 

And he was just an outstanding guy, he still practices with us. And he was an outstanding mentor and he really turned me on to cardiology. And I really like the heart, specifically, the mechanics of the heart there's an electrical side, plumbing side, and it just made a lot of sense to me. 

And I really have enjoyed, specifically, the cardiology part and the mix of patients and the mix of things that you do for people with heart problems. It's been a great fit. And so looking back all the way to middle school, I was put in a good direction and that's kind of followed through and I really enjoyed what I've done and what I'm doing now.
[MUSIC PLAYING] A patient should choose the Minneapolis Heart Institute because of the outstanding care that we can provide. And that care is individualized, and I think that's what's unique and sets us apart, is that we have the ability to do the latest, greatest things, to put in heart valves through the skin or to do some procedures that you used to have to open up the chest in order to do. 

And so we've got those things. We've got the latest and greatest things that are available in a large group of cardiologists. We have nearly 50 cardiologists that have specialized in lots of different areas of medicine. But that doesn't mean very much if it's not individualized. 

And so that's the most important thing, and I think that's what distinguishes us, is the time we take getting to know people, getting to know their individual needs, and then we can come up with the right treatment plan that fits that person. 

And it may be the latest, greatest thing, but it may be just an adjustment to medications. It may be just reassurance that everything is actually all right. 

And although we are a part of this large group out of Minneapolis, out of Abbott Northwestern Hospital, a lot of things can be done in the Brainerd-Baxter area. And most people actually can be treated completely and fully without having to travel. 

And I think our staff here excels especially at making that connection and about taking care of people. In fact, recently, we were ranked first in the state out of patient satisfaction, and I think that just speaks to that ability to connect with people and to meet their needs here in this community. 


Dr. Peter Stokman

MUSIC PLAYING] I practice in the Baxter community because it gives me the opportunity to know my patients in a more personal way. I grew up in a small town where you knew all your neighbors. And that sense of continuity and relationship is still where I find the greatest meaning in my work, and it's the reason that I stay here, and I'm grateful to be part of the community. 

[MUSIC PLAYING] Maintaining relationships and heart health is important because for most people, a cardiac diagnosis is a lifelong condition. For me, it's important to know what their understanding of their diagnosis is, what their fears are, what their motivations are, what's simply most important for them. It's this part of partnering with them in their hopes and fears that is the greatest source of satisfaction for me. I want them to be healthy and happy. 

[MUSIC PLAYING] We all know that family history is a strong risk factor for cardiac disease. Since we can't pick our parents, what is within our control? I think that early identification of those factors for which effective treatments exist can make a huge difference. So part of the role for me as a physician and you as a patient is to identify those things, and to begin early effective treatment monitoring so that we can actually prevent illness before it becomes an issue. 

[MUSIC PLAYING] One of the common questions people ask is, how can I begin an exercise program? One of the first things I would ask you to consider is someone that can partner with you, whether that's a family member or a close friend-- someone that can encourage you when you don't feel like exercising, can celebrate your successes as you continue with it and simply make the process more fun and enjoyable. I've yet to meet someone that hasn't felt better when they've committed to that. And I also know that it's a difficult process. My simple recommendations would be, one, to start where you're at and to find someone that can accompany you in that process.