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May 04, 2010 3:38 am

New surgeon coming to Powell

Written by Tribune Staff

A new surgeon will come to Powell this summer, but he's no stranger to Powell Valley Healthcare.

Dr. Nathaniel Rieb and his family plan to move to Powell in July after he completes his five-year surgical residency at Bassett Healthcare, an affiliate of Columbia University in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Rieb will take some time to get settled and to prepare for his board exams before joining Powell Valley Healthcare officially sometime in mid-August or the beginning of September.

Rieb, who grew up in Chugwater, graduated in 2000 from the University of Wyoming with a bachelor's degree in science, specializing in sports science.

He then attended medical school through the WWAMI program at the University of Washington in Seattle. Through WWAMI, the states of Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho pay the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition for medical students from each respective state.

Rieb first came to Powell Valley Healthcare as a third-year medical student. Here, he performed rotations in each department of the clinic and hospital.

It was then that he met Dr. Nick Morris, whom Rieb said has been his mentor ever since.

“He's the one who encouraged me to go into general surgery and sort of directed my path towards Cooperstown for training.”
Mike Gillmore, vice president of physician services at Powell Valley Healthcare, said Rieb has expressed an ongoing interest in returning to Powell ever since he left.

Morris retired in 2008, and Dr. Paul Smith was hired to provide surgical services at Powell Valley Healthcare for the two years between Morris' retirement and Rieb's completion of his residency.

Morris still provides relief and emergency surgical services for Powell Valley Healthcare in addition to his continuous work with the Heart Mountain Volunteer Medical Clinic.

Rieb said he's looking forward to working with Morris again.

“I know he's sort of been a legend in the community,” he said. “I have some big shoes to fill. I don't know if I can, but I'm confident that Nick is committed to seeing me succeed, and that is reassuring.”

Rieb's wife, Lisa Miller Rieb is from Powell and a graduate of Powell High School. The couple now has four children, Julia, 10; Jackson, 5; Justin, 3; and Jonathan, 3 months.

Rieb said he and his family are looking forward to returning to Powell.

“The kids are excited to be close to family,” he said.

By providing medical care in Wyoming for a few years, Rieb will erase the debt he owes the state of Wyoming for its investment in his medical education.

But Rieb said he intends to stay in Powell long after that debt is paid.

“If we like the community and I like my work, we don't plan on going anywhere,” he said. “It's not a short-term commitment at this point.”