Hidden History of North Dakota

Celebrating Women: Serving Her Hometown


March is Women’s History Month and KX News is spotlighting some of the women who are making big contributions to their communities.
Tonight, we head west where we meet a Williston native who has moved back to her hometown to make a difference.
Jim Olson introduces us to Dr. Theresa Hegge.

Consider your thumbs. Without them, you’d have a hard time picking up a pen. Or writing. Or buttoning a shirt. Or driving a car. Or so many other things we all do every day. Your thumb plays a role in about 20% of your normal body functions. So it’s hard when something like arthritis threatens to take away your thumbs’ utility.

(Dr. Theresa Hegge, Williston) “Everything you do revolves around your thumb.”

Keeping people’s thumbs – and hands in general – working properly, is a big part of what Dr. Theresa Hegge does.

(Dr. Theresa Hegge, Williston) “Try to relax…1,2,3 stick…look at that.”
“Pretty important because I use my hands a lot.”

This gentleman comes to Dr. Hegge from Wolf Point, Montana for his arthritis treatments. The doctor says it’s not unusual for patients to come from long distances.

(Dr. Theresa Hegge, Williston) “There is not a plastic surgeon in Minot so we often see patients coming from there. Dickinson as well. The closest referral base is usually Billings or Bismarck.”

Dr. Hegge was trained to do plastic and reconstructive surgery. And she does some of that. But her practice in Williston has morphed into one that offers a wide variety of medical treatments.

(Dr. Theresa Hegge, Williston) “We’ve been able to offer services that were in short supply in the area and hopefully have kept people from having to travel significant distances or waiting a significant amount of time.”

Dr. Hegge is a Williston High School graduate who went off to school in Minnesota and Illinois before she and her husband Ryan – a radiologist and also a 1999 Williston High grad – moved back to North Dakota, drawn by the pull of family.

(Dr. Theresa Hegge, Williston) “Being close to family and knowing the community that raised us was incredibly appealing to us. Also, the ability to bring the things that we had learned and the training we had obtained back home to the community that raised us was a really unique and different opportunity for both of us.”

That life in Williston now includes another big responsibility – serving on the Williston school board. Hegge received the most votes among more than a dozen candidates in last summer’s school board election.

(Dr. Theresa Hegge, Williston) “It was important to not sit on the sidelines and actually use the training, gifts, and other things that have been made available to us because of our upbringing in this town and use them to bring some of that back here and continue to make improvements.” 

School board member, doctor, mother. Dr. Theresa Hegge gets a thumbs up.

“She’s an amazing person.”

In Williston, Jim Olson, KX News.

Dr. Hegge’s practice is located in Williston’s 20-20 building, on the CHI St. Alexius campus.

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