On fall Friday nights, you’ll find Megan Johnston Flanders, M.D., a family medicine physician at Mayo Clinic Health System in Cannon Falls, on the Bombers’ sidelines. She’s not just cheering on her team; she’s monitoring player injuries and consulting on concussions. With her background in athletic training and family and sports medicine, and her love for a town that has brought flexibility and balance to her family life and career, there’s no place she’d rather be at halftime.
“Cannon Falls seemed like a great place to raise a family,” says Dr. Johnston Flanders. She relocated to Cannon Falls with her family in 2011. “My husband initially wanted a more urban setting, but really liked the outdoor opportunities here, and I liked the idea of living more rurally. The affordable cost of living, the small schools and the flexible hours at the medical center… it just made sense to be here.”
While Joe Flanders enjoys the proximity to the metro area and his law practice, Dr. Johnston Flanders draws on her rural upbringing and a seven month rural medical school rotation during her time at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences to guide her practice at Mayo Clinic Health System. “We’re a small community, but we have a lot of resources,” says Dr. Johnston Flanders. “With the connection to Mayo Clinic, the hospital is focused on quality and performance improvement and providing the best care possible. I really enjoy both inpatient and outpatient care, and with a young family, I wanted to have some flexibility in when I worked so that I could pick our kids up from school in the future. The small-town environment makes that possible.”
To find such quality medical care in a smaller community is a gift, says Dr. Johnston Flanders. She credits community involvement and the connection to Mayo Clinic, but says a new facility is necessary to meet patient needs. “The current hospital has served the community well for years, but it’s bursting at the seams. We’ve made use of every possible square inch of space we have, but it’s just not enough for emerging technologies and standards,” says Dr. Johnston Flanders.
Updates like larger and better-equipped operating rooms, clinic rooms and patient rooms will make care easier to provide to patients and their families. Dr. Johnston Flanders sees the community campaign as a way to keep Cannon Falls the growing and family-focused community she saw when searching for jobs after residency.
Mayo Clinic will provide the majority of funds to build a new medical center. A fundraising effort has been underway since fall 2012 to raise the rest of the funds locally.
“Ultimately,” says Johnston Flanders, “I think this new facility will attract patients and families to the area for the next fifty years. It will allow us to keep providing top quality care with a hometown feel.”
Dr. Megan Johnston Flanders, her husband, Joe, and son, Benjamin (2), relocated to Cannon Falls in 2011.