Hamline News

Hamline Alumnus Dr. Sheldon Burns Named 2014 Family Physician of the Year


A typical day for Dr. Sheldon Burns, M.D. often involves meeting with athletes from Minnesota’s most prominent professional sports teams. Dr. Burns serves as vice president of team medical services and medical director for the Timberwolves, medical director for the Lynx and Wild, and team physician for the Vikings. In addition to his extensive work in sports medicine, he has also been a family physician in Minnesota for almost 40 years, currently practicing at Edina Family Physicians in Edina, Minnesota. It is in this latter role that he has received his most recent of many accolades.

Dr. Burns was named 2014 Family Physician of the Year by the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP). The award, which has been presented annually since 1981, is given to a family physician who represents the highest ideals of the specialty of family medicine, including caring, comprehensive medical service, community involvement, and service as a role model. Family physicians from all across the state of Minnesota were nominated for this award by patients, colleagues, and community members, and three finalists were selected from those nominees. The MAFP then chose Dr. Burns from those three finalists to receive the award.

This isn’t the first major award that Dr. Burns has received, in 2005 he was selected National Basketball Association Physician of the Year, and in 1996 he received the Larry Neumann Distinguished Service Award from the Minnesota Athletic Trainers Association, as well as being named a “Top Doc” by Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine in 2009-2010.

Dr. Burns was a chemistry major at Hamline and a member of Hamline’s football team and Theta Chi Fraternity. After graduating magna cum laude from Hamline in 1971, he went on to attend medical school at the University of Minnesota, graduating in 1974.

During his impressive medical career, Dr. Burns has been involved in 11 different Olympic Games. He got his start with the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” U.S. men’s hockey team as the assistant equipment manager, and has been a part of four gold-medal winning teams, including the 2008 U.S. men’s and women’s basketball teams in Beijing. He also has served as deputy commissioner for the International Olympic Committee’s Medical Commission, which is responsible for all medical care at the Olympics. Dr. Burns is also the on-call physician for both the Target Center and Xcel Energy Center, and has treated high-profile music stars who have performed at those venues.

Even with all these different responsibilities, Dr. Burns still finds time to treat his family practice patients with top-notch care. He is so well respected as a family doctor that most of the athletes and front office staff of the teams he works for, and their families, are patients of his as well.

You can see what patients, colleagues, and friends have to say about Dr. Burns’ remarkable work in the video below produced by the MAFP.