Mad Scientist: Ojibwe Doctor Named Physician of the Year

Posted by Jamie McDaniel on 08/18/2017

 Arne Vainio, M.D. was born in Chisholm, Minnesota to a full-blood Ojibwe mother and a Finnish father.  He is an enrolled member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.  

He completed his undergraduate studies in 1990 at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, entered the University of Minnesota Medical School – Duluth and graduated in 1994.  He completed his Family Practice Residency Program at the Seattle Indian Health Board and Providence Hospital in Seattle, Washington in 1997.  

He has been employed as a Family Practice Physician at the Min-No-Aya-Win Human Services Clinic on the Fond du Lac Ojibwe Reservation in Cloquet, Minnesota since September of 1997.  

He is a member of the Association of American Family Physicians and the Association of American Indian Physicians.  Dr. Vainio is the recipient of the following awards:  National Indian Health Service Director’s Award, National Diabetes Physician’s Recognition Award, the Minnesota Medical Foundation’s Early Distinguished Career Award, the 2016 Virginia McKnight Binger Unsung Hero Award, and was a finalist for the 2017 Minnesota Academy of Family Physician’s “Minnesota Physician of the Year” Award . Dr. Vainio is featured in the 2009 Emmy nominated American Indian health documentary film “Walking Into The Unknown,” in PBS’s WDSE-TV Native Report’s “Health Matters” weekly segment, and in “We Are Healers” a Native produced film series.  He is a columnist for national News From Indian Country (for the past 8 years) and Indianz.com newspapers (for past 2 years).