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Patient Portal

Dr. Stephen VanWylen, MD

Thoracic and General Surgeon
Dr. Ravindra Joshi MD, FAAOS, FRCSC

Dr. Stephen VanWylen, Thoracic and General Surgeon, has a career spanning 35 years and special interest in esophageal surgery. Dr. VanWylen developed a unique skill set in surgical treatment of acid reflux. Of acid reflux, Dr. VanWylen said, “There are around 200 million people who deal with reflux, only a small percent will benefit from surgical treatment. It’s my role as a surgeon to have done the right testing to see who would be benefit from surgery.”

Among Dr. VanWylen’s strengths is patient education. It is important to him to help people understand what reflux is and whether they’d be a good candidate for surgery or not, providing enough information to help people make good decisions. He can treat other acute issues as well, including gall bladders, appendectomies, bowel obstructions, endoscopies, colonoscopies, hemorrhoids, and hernias to name a few.


Born and raised in Michigan, Dr. VanWylen and his wife, Kathy, have five children (spread across the U.S. and Spain) and four grandchildren. He and Kathy are in the process of relocating to Minneapolis where they will be close to grand children and a major airport hub.

When not providing surgeries, Dr. VanWylen enjoys spending time outside both camping and wilderness canoeing, hiking, and swimming. A green thumb, he used to have a backyard apple orchard where he would graft his own trees. A masters swimming competitor, it’s no surprise he enjoys swimming for exercise.

McKenzie Health is excited to have Dr. VanWylen’s expertise on the surgical team! He will provide services one week per month. To schedule an appointment with Dr.VanWylen, please call 701-444-8730. Certainly, if you visit our Emergency Department for unexpected surgical needs, Dr.VanWylen may be the surgeon on-call to provide your treatment.



"I would recommend swing bed and McKenzie Health services to all! Everyone involved in my care made my experience rewarding. The facility was above excellent. Rooms are neat, clean, and large. Staff was exceptional. Nursing staff was very professional and responsive. Both physical therapy and occupational therapy did an excellent job. The nursing aides were highly responsive. The friendliness and professionalism here made my experience perfect!"

— Gene McCowan Trenton, ND

"I recently had hip replacement surgery at McKenzie Health in Watford City.

The entire experience, beginning with registration, to my primary doctor (Dr. Ramage and Maria), Dr. Johnson, Dr. Brewster in surgery scheduling, Dr. Joshi and his surgical team, the nurses on the surgical floor and physical therapists (Jess, Corey, kara and Lexyn) was all that I could ask for and more.

I felt your genuine concern for my well-being and care. You folks all deserve some recognition, so please give yourself a big pat on the back for a job well done and the service you continue to provide the citizens of western North Dakota.

We are indeed fortunate to have a facility of this caliber, along with its dedicated health professionals and employees, here in Watford City. Thank you again McKenzie Health!"

— Kent Taylor

"I wanted to thank the hospital staff and doctors for the amazing care I received during my unexpected stay. Your professional care is beyond words. The nurses were very kind and helpful and went out of their way to make sure I was comfortable, and my needs were met ...Again thank you from the bottom of my and my family’s heart. God bless each and every one of you!"

— Ernest Lambert; Belcourt, ND

"Dr. Ramage has been working side by side with all stakeholders of MCHS for many years. He has been committed to the healthcare system during his tenure. I am one of the many whose life was saved as a result of his exceptional ability to diagnose a life-threatening brain bleed. Our community is grateful for Dr. Ramage."

— Patsy Levang; Keene, ND

"The swing bed program was great! I liked the nurses, aides, doctors, and food. The therapists were wonderful! It was nice to be close to where my family could visit me."

— Lorraine Baye; Watford City, ND

"I write this letter to the administration of Connie Wold Wellness Center. I was a client there getting rehabilitation for my Stroke and diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. I just want to express my sincere appreciation to the expert professional personnel there. I learned a lot from the Wellness Center while I was getting rehab sessions that will benefit me for the duration of my life. "

— Ted Lone Fight III; Mandaree, ND

"In an effort to establish with a primary care physician after not having one for some time, I scheduled an appointment with Dr. Kiedrowski in September of 2023. He was thorough, personable, attentive and efficient. His nurse, Karlee was excellent as well. In the lab, I didn't even feel Taylor's stick or draw. From check in to check out, it was an exceptional experience, and I didn't have to leave town. I was back to work within the hour and had my lab results on EPIC's My Chart as soon as they were available. I would recommend McKenzie Health's Rural Health Center to my friends and family."

— Vawnita Best; Rural Watford City, ND

"I am so thankful I have Dr. Kiedrowski as my physician. He is extremely patient, pays attention to detail, and has really helped me get my health back. I highly recommend him!"

— David J Pelto Jr Watford City, ND

"I had surgery on a torn meniscus in Feb 2022 and the entire process was very pleasant and professional. My surgery was done by Dr. Joshi and the referral by Dr. Tomjack. I found both to be very professional. Following the surgery I was forwarded to the Connie Wold Fitness Center for physical therapy and the therapist there that I worked with were professional and knowledgeable. The entire experience was positive and I’m the most excited about the fact that all took place right in Watford City. No more traveling to Bismarck for medical appointments!"

— Marco Pelton; Watford City, ND

"In January of 2022, I slipped on the ice and broke my ankle. The initial ER visit that Thursday evening to stabilize it until surgery was efficient and the care was very good. Dr Joshi's nurse scheduled a pre-op consultation by telemed Friday morning and two hours later, Dr Joshi was conducting that consultation with me. The following Monday I had surgery to plate the break and clean and repair the damaged joint. Post-op with Dr. Joshi and his surgical team was seamless. They were caring, efficient and concise in their communication and their treatment plan. Follow-ups with Dr. Joshi and Dr. Tomjack were easy to schedule; they were on schedule, and check-in and check-outs were quick and easy, including pharmacy and insurance aspects of the user experience. All of these skilled services were high-quality, efficient, and delivered right here at home. All the medical visits and procedures were quick, efficient and convenient, so I could get right back to healing."

— Vawnita Best; Rural Watford City, ND

"I had a very good experience with my knee surgery performed by Dr. Joshi. He is very friendly and made me feel very safe about the operation. Recovery was quicker than I anticipated. I highly recommend Dr. Joshi. 5 Stars"

— Kelly Peterson; Watford City, ND

"McKenzie Health was a godsend for our family when my 90-year-old mother was returning from Bismarck hospital. She had taken a fall with broken bones and surgery. We then transferred her to the swing bed at McKenzie Health rather than a recovery home in Bismarck. The hospital staff, therapy, and all involved (that allowed her to be at a "home" facility) at McKenzie Health were fantastic. Our family highly recommends this wonderful choice for your loved one (or yourself)."

— Jan Dodge; Watford City, ND

"Dr. Ravindra Joshi performed a total hip replacement on me in September 2020. I never imagined what a total success it would be. I'm back walking, hiking, and enjoying life without pain. An added bonus to my surgery was the outstanding care I received in the hospital, at physical therapy, and the long term follow up by Dr. Joshi and his associates."

— Ron Anderson; Keene, ND

"It's never easy to see our parents and loved ones age out of staying in their own homes, but our experience with both my mother-in-law, Olga Anderson, and our aunt, Helen Muirhead, showed us this next stage of life can be filled with joy and contentment. BothOlga and Helen lived in the Horizon Assisted Living and later in the Good Shepherd Home. The Horizon facility is beautiful, and Helen was lucky to move into the newly constructed GSH. But the best part of their life in both places was the personal, wonderful loving care they received from the entire staff. The staff treated our loved ones with complete love; we could ask for nothing more."

— Myra Anderson; Keene, ND

"My mother received wonderful care at the Good Shepherd Home where she was surrounded by loving, caring professionals every day. Although I live in Alabama, moving her here was never a consideration. The quality of care provided at the Good Shepherd Home cannot be matched. My 103-year-old mother was tended for and loved like she was a family member."

— Evelyn Wilson; Huntsville, AL

"Thank you McKenzie Health providers and staff. You are making a difference in the lives of McKenzie County residents and beyond."

— Vawnita Best; Rural Watford City, ND 

Dr. VanWylen has Specialized Skills in:

  • 29+ years practicing Thoracic and General Surgery in Holland, Michigan
  • Anti-reflux surgery
    • Diagnosis (development of esophageal lab: impedance high resolution manometry, impedance pH testing, BRAVO pH testing, Restech pharyngeal pH testing)
    • Treatment (laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication, laparoscopic LINX procedure, Belsey MarkIV fundoplication, transoral incisionless fundoplication)
  • Diagnosis and treatment of benign esophageal diseases including achalasia
  • General surgery
    • Advanced laparoscopic skills including anti-reflux, colon, adrenal, CBD exploration
    • Breast, hernia (including complex abdominal wall reconstruction)
    • Endocrine (thyroid and adrenal)
    • Gastrointestinal
    • Hepato-pancreatic-biliary procedures utilizing open and advanced laparoscopic techniques
  • 3 years as rural surgeon in Medford, WI
  • EGD
  • Colonoscopy
  • Gallbladder
  • Hernia Repair
  • Appendix
  • Lumps and Bumps
  • Foreign Body Removal

Awards & Accolades

  • The effect of imidazole in endotoxin shock in dogs.
    VanWylen SJ, Browning DP, Villalba M. Am Surg. 1986 Aug; 52(8):413-7.
    Winner Charles G. Johnston award (Detroit Surgical Association), Midwest Surgical Association, and William Beaumont Hospital resident research awards.1984
  • Disappearance of Pneumoperitoneum after Laparoscopy
    Winner of clinical research award, GRAMEC, 1992

Education & Certifications

  • B.A., Chemistry, Philosophy — Hope College; Holland, MI
  • Dip. H.E., Theology — Trinity Theological College; Bristol, England
  • M.D. — Michigan State University College of Human Medicine; East Lansing, MI
  • Post Graduate Training
    General Surgery — William Beaumont Hospital; Royal Oak, MI
    General Thoracic Surgery — E. Birmingham Hospital; Birmingham, England

Dr. VanWylen's Favorite Things to do:

  • Board Member Regional HMO–1990s
  • Catechism teacher–local church for 22 years
  • Service as elder/deacon at local church
  • Youth soccer coach