During the Community Medical Center annual public information meeting earlier this month, Hopstial CEO Ryan Larsen announced that in Dr. Justin Westengaard will begin his practice at Family Medicine Clinic in Falls City. The recently graduated doc has signed a contract and will join the local practice in about a year.
Interestingly, Westengaard was just last week the central character of aOmaha World-Herald column penned by award-winning columnist Matthew Hansen, who refreshingly and with great success introduced sensible thought to the insanity of the ACT. More to the point, not the insanity of the test itself, but the perception of it. The reality is that not only is the ACT (or SAT) a poor predictor of a high school kid’s future success in college or life, Hansen writes, but even the widely accepted notion that elite colleges care about ACT performance is largely untrue.
He uses Dr. Westengaard, a fellow native of Red Cloud, as a shining example. Westengaard scored 23 on his ACT (lower, actually, a decimal point or two than the state average), graduated from Hastings College in 2000 with a degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, joined the workforce for a until 2006, went back to college for pre-med at Kearney, and “tackled chemistry and biochemistry” before graduating in 2009. At UNMC, he “lived and breathed MCAT preparations for a year, studying flash cards and listening to an audio prep course as he jogged around midtown Omaha,” Hansen writes.
Westengaard scored a solid 30 out of 45 on the MCAT and is currently in his final year of residency at a family medical clinic at Kearney before starting his position in Falls City.
If the ACT didn’t predict success for Justin Westengaard, Matthew Hansen most definitely did.
“He could read people and understand situations quickly,” Hansen writes. “He could identify your strong spot and offer a quick insight. He could probe your soft spot and exploit it with a punch line.
“In short, he had serious interpersonal skills.”
Westengaard is married and he and his wife, Holly, a Kenesaw native, have two young children.
Larsen also announced that Rheumatologist Dr. Alan Erickson, of Omaha, has joined the hospital’s specialty clinic, and will be in Falls City the fourth Monday of each month.
Further, the CMC Board of Directors is entertaining the prospect of adding surgical space to the facility, which was completed in 2009. Larsen said the current surgery suite isn’t large enough to accomodate the number of procedures being performed at the hosptial, so a review with architects is underway. A bigger surgical area would also allow for more than one surgeon to work on any given day.
For more on Community Medical Center visit www.cmcfc.org or