Fred Townsend, MD | Internal Medicine | Sanford Health Skip To Content

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Fred Townsend, MD


  • Medical School
    University of Minnesota Medical School (Minneapolis, MN)
  • Residency
    Internal Medicine: Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN)
  • Internship
    Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN)
  • Board Certifications
    American Board of Internal Medicine

I endeavor to make my Christian faith the basis for all I do. My patient philosophy is to give the best possible value for their medical experience. Obviously, that is founded on quality care, but the patient is not usually in a position to evaluate quality. For them, the key is TRUST. The patient-doctor relationship builds on trust. For the patient to develop that trust, I try to give them a peek into my own soul to know that my focus is on them when we are together and to let them understand I will do all I can to bring the best solution to the situation. That may mean pills or lifestyle changes; it may mean challenging therapy or surgery; it may even mean hospice care. Spiritual or psychiatric help is needed more often than most people realize. I often pray with my patients when we find it appropriate, because there are many situations when the right plan is not obvious or when high risk therapy is facing us. Asking for God’s blessing, direction and wisdom brings reassurance and peace.

During my senior year of medical school, I spent 3 months in Capetown, South Africa studying orthopedics and observed medical practice in Zululand. I did an exchange program to Cardiff, Wales where lung cancer and Black Lung were prevalent among the coal miners. When I began my specialty training in internal medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, I realized I would never receive the broad exposure to medicine that my father had. I enlisted for 2.5 years in the Indian Health branch of the US Public Health Service on the Navajo Reservation in Shiprock, New Mexico. This definitely expanded my experience in general medicine, as well as pediatrics and OB. On returning to Mayo, pulmonary medicine and cardiology were my prime areas of interest. I was granted a senior resident associate position in cardiovascular disease which was very helpful and there I learned about the newly developed technique of echocardiography which I have continued to practice throughout my career. In 2001, I was awarded a Bush Medical Fellowship to study Physician Leadership at St. Thomas University and also received training in nuclear cardiology which enhanced the detection and management of heart disease in the Alexandria medical community. My father’s six children have obtained three PhDs, two MDs and a medical technology degree, so I always felt a push to maintain high academic standards in my training.


After I decided at about 8 years old that I could not be Roy Rogers, I wanted to be a doctor. I am a 3rd generation physician and my father was clearly the most important person in the process. As a solo practitioner in rural Minnesota, he allowed me to watch him lance abscesses, perform farmhouse tonsillectomies and appendectomies and was still using maggots to clean up gangrene and ulcers. He loved the people and they loved him. I never considered doing anything else. I married my wife, Sarah, after graduation from St. Olaf College and now over 43 years later, she is still my helpmate and dedicated partner. Our three daughters, on son and eight grandchildren have provided huge opportunities for memorable experiences that we will continue to expand upon and always treasure. We are blessed with great family relationships and gatherings are always a highpoint for us.

I participated in basketball, football and track and field in high school and college, but as the years have gone by, I have focused more on boating, water and snow skiing. Golf and gardening were dismal failures, but workshop projects give me great opportunity to unwind. Church participation and teaching is something Sarah and I love to do together. We have participated in teaching seminars on prayer nationally as well as in Kenya and Germany. I currently serve on the board of trustees of three Christian-para church organizations.

Primary Practice Location

Sanford Health Broadway Clinic

1527 Broadway Street
Alexandria, MN 56308

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