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Dr. Kenneth Nelson named Family Physician of the Year
La Grange – Dr. Kenneth S. Nelson is the 2012 Family Physician of the Year, awarded by the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians.

A physician in Westchester for more than 20 years, Nelson helped found the Prairie Medical Group in Westchester. Most of his inpatient and outpatient work is done at Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital.

Nelson also volunteers at the La Grange-based Community Nurse Health Association’s free clinic, where he has volunteered for two decades and now serves as its emeritus medical director. The clinic provides services for about 2,100 people in Cook County’s western suburbs.

“Dr. Nelson’s work with La Grange Community Nurse has been exemplary,” Regional Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gary Lipinski said. “We are very proud to have Dr. Nelson on our medical staff and congratulate him on this prestigious award.”

In 2010, Nelson led an effort to open Illinois to volunteer health care providers from other states. State legislation allowing this type of work was signed into law in June 2010. Shortly thereafter, Nelson helped to establish the Collaborative Underserved Relief and Education Network, a not-for-profit whose mission is to provide medical, dental and vision services on a large scale in the Chicago area.

The CURE Network has hosted two medical missions in the Chicago area, one in August 2011 at Malcom X College, in partnership with Remote Area Medical of Knoxville, Tenn., and the second in June 2012 at the Lake County Fairgrounds with the Illinois Dental Society’s Mission of Mercy.

“Dr. Nelson exemplifies the kind of doctor we want working with us at Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital,” ALMH CEO Lary Davis said. “Dedicated to care, involved in the community, Dr. Nelson’s work illustrates service in action. We congratulate him on the award.”

Nelson credits his partners at Prairie Medical Group for helping in his volunteer work.

“I’ve gotten a lot of recognition with this award, but I look back at it and say there are 200 or 300 people who have made that free clinic in La Grange work and who made the CURE Network work,” Nelson said.

When he received the family physician award in early November, Nelson’s father William presented him with the award. William Nelson is executive director at the ALMH residency program, the same hospital Kenneth Nelson completed his residency at in 1986.

Nelson’s brother Thomas Nelson nominated him for the physician of the year award. Thomas Nelson is a practice partner at Prairie Medical Group and attended the awards ceremony with other family.

“I had my father there, who was one of my teachers, presenting to his son, with his other son there. All my siblings were there,” Nelson said. “It was an emotional moment that I will never forget.”

Following his residency at ALMH, Nelson went on to finish a post-doctoral fellowship in clinical pharmacology from the University of Chicago in 1988.


Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. To find a physician, visit

Physicians on the medical staff of Adventist Midwest Health Hospitals are independent contractors, and are not agents of the hospitals.

Media contact: Chris LaFortune, public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health,; 630-856-2354