After two decades providing family-based health care, Dr. Jason Wray-Raabolle says his favorite part of being a doctor is still helping deliver babies.
“It’s about the thrill of being there as a new life comes into the world and watch the family welcome their newest member,” Wray-Raabolle said. “I just feel very fortunate for all the times I have been able to do that.”
Having been a part of the Mayo Clinic Health System – Owatonna immediately following his residency, Wray-Raabolle has been able to watch many of those babies grow up as he continued to care for them as their family medicine physician throughout the years. Though family medicine remains his passion, Wray-Raabolle is excited to take on a new leadership role.
Beginning Wednesday, Wray-Raabolle begins his new role as site lead physician for Mayor Clinic Health System in Owatonna and Faribault. He steps into this role following Dr. Brian Bunkers’ decision to step down from his role as CEO of the two clinic sites and return solely to family medicine. Wray-Raabolle’s role will also absorb the responsibilities of former medical director Dr. Diane Wallner, who also recently stepped down from her leadership role but continues to practice at the Owatonna clinic.
Though he admits that growing up, he never had “administrative role in health care” as one of his career goals, Wray-Raabolle said he was able to learn quickly in his residency the importance such roles have in a clinic setting.
“I really appreciate the fact that while you may not be in a room seeing one patient, you are actively trying to influence the practice and operations of the clinic in order to improve the care delivered,” Wray-Raabolle said.
Originally from Northfield, Wray-Raabolle said he always knew he wanted to be a doctor. He specifically recalls good experiences with his own family physician growing up and how it shaped his view of medicine in a way that he was able to envision his own career.
“Family medicine has always been my passion because it’s really the full spectrum of care,” Wray-Raabolle said. “I really enjoy that it’s a full breath of care from the newborns through the end of life and everything in between.”
Wray-Raabolle has served in administrative positions since he began practicing in 2001 in Owatonna. He has previously served as the vice chair of primary care for Southeast Minnesota Region and as chair of the Department of Family Medicine in Owatonna. Though he has spent most of his time in Owatonna, Wray-Raabolle said he has spent some time in Faribault and is looking forward to interacting the clinic’s team more.
“With my previous role of leading primary care, it was really about helping lead an amazing team in both Owatonna and Faribault, especially during the pandemic,” Wray-Raabolle said. “It’s an exciting time to be in a leadership position coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic and being able to leverage the momentum that a number of innovations were launched with. We made a lot of changes as a result of the pandemic – some that had been put on the table as 2030 goals – and now it is about how to incorporate that into the practice and continue to grow those opportunities to access care in new and different ways that better fit into our patients’ lives and schedules.”
One of the things Wray-Raabolle is most excited for in terms of his new role is the community engagement aspect it entails. Noting that Bunkers was a great mentor for him when it comes to being a community leader from Mayo, Wray-Raabolle said he believes in the importance his roles holds as an advocate for both the communities he serves.
“One focus that we have that I am passionate about is chronic disease management such as those living with diabetes,” Wray-Raabolle offered as an example of an area he would like to get more involved with in the community on a health platform. “I want to look at the aspect of that population that is growing and be able to demonstrate how to receive optimal diabetic care and also reduce the risk of complications and improve their overall quality of life.”
Wray-Raabolle said he also hopes to continue working on the various ongoing public health issues, such as the vaping epidemic and opioid crisis, that he believes the pandemic took the spotlight off for the last year.
Most importantly, however, Wray-Raabolle said he will still be seeing patients on an essentially normal schedule as he has been.
“It’s important to be in the trenches and to be providing that care to experience what my partners are experiencing and what the patients are experiencing,” Wray-Raabolle said, adding that things such as patients struggling with insurance coverage is one of the many things a physician hears firsthand that he could then bring to his administrative role. “I want to be an advocate for the practice and to represent the Owatonna and Faribault clinics.”
“I am very excited for this opportunity,” he continued. “I am both honored and humbled by the chance to continue to represent the community that I call home and to help lead us into this exciting future we have ahead of us.”