Altru Achievement Awards
Ann Mason, FNP is a family nurse practitioner specializing in diabetes, internal medicine and medical weight loss. One day, Ann asked, “What if Altru was able to provide world-class weight management care?” This idea blossomed into reality in January 2014. Ann was instrumental in launching Altru’s Weight Management Program, often working and researching well beyond office hours. The program has helped over 100 participants shed more than 2,500 pounds, and this number continues to grow with Ann’s vision and leadership. Through her contagious enthusiasm and compassionate care, Ann encourages her patients to adopt healthy habits—for life.
Kami Macki, NP is a nurse practitioner specializing in gastroenterology. Kami is passionate about eliminating late stage colon cancer through regular screening, and in 2014, she created the first Run for Your Buns 5K. This annual community-wide event raises awareness and funds to help the uninsured or underinsured pay for screening colonoscopies. Kami is known for putting the needs of her patients first, often coming in early or staying late while displaying compassion and a positive attitude to her patients, peers and students. Additionally, Kami helped to develop Altru’s Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinic and Altru’s Liver Clinic.
Steve Nelson is a supervisor in maintenance where he oversees heating, ventilation, air conditioning, electrical, plumbing and the control center. In other words, he works behind the scenes to ensure patients have a safe and comfortable environment to promote healing. An employee of Altru for 36 years, Steve has a long history of doing whatever is needed, often taking care of issues before they’re noticed. He is a true servant to others, clear communicator and ambitious worker who inspires those around him to succeed. With a smile on his face, Steve works around the clock to create and maintain a highly reliable environment of care for our patients.
Robert M. Jacobson Lifetime Achievement Award
It’s no secret Dr. Casey Ryan loves what he does.
An endocrinology and internal medicine physician and former president of Altru Health System, Dr. Ryan is deeply committed to the health of his community. A Grand Forks native, he is driven to make life better for people by providing the best care possible for the entire region. Dr. Ryan values open lines of communication with his patients by being available and listening to their individual needs.
Shaping Local Healthcare
During his 17+ years as president, Dr. Ryan worked to develop a strong medical staff to care for our patients and community. When he joined Grand Forks Clinic in 1979, there were only 45 physicians on staff. Today, Altru has over 200 physicians and over 70 nurse practitioners and physician assistants representing 56 specialties. Dr. Ryan has served as a mentor to hundreds of individuals, physicians and non-physicians, throughout the years, helping them to become better leaders and better people.
Dr. Ryan was instrumental in merging Grand Forks Clinic and United Hospital in 1997 to form Altru Health System. Under his strong leadership, Altru became the first member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network in 2011, and opened a second hospital in Grand Forks, Altru Specialty Center, in 2014.
The culture of Altru is solidified around teamwork and always doing what is best for the patient. Dr. Ryan influenced this patient-centric philosophy throughout the organization, often saying “the key to caring for the patient is in caring.” Today, Altru’s vision of achieving world-class healthcare was formulated under Dr. Ryan’s lead.
Connecting with Patients
Dr. Ryan’s nurse, Mary, shared, “He has a very good relationship with his patients. I feel he really goes the extra mile for them. Dr. Ryan and I had the privilege of going to two of our patients’ 100th birthday parties. He even bought a pink tie to wear to one of them, since that was her favorite color.” (He thoughtfully continued wearing the pink tie on days this patient had clinic appointments.)
Furthermore, Dr. Ryan was instrumental in the creation of Camp Sioux, an annual camp held in Park River, North Dakota, for children with diabetes. The camp provides a safe and fun experience for children to gain confidence and independence in managing their diabetes.
Focus on Prevention
When he’s not lacing up his running shoes or rollerblades to participate in local races, Dr. Ryan is focusing his time on preventive care through his work at the Sanny & Jerry Ryan Center for Prevention and Genetics.
Along with the team of experts, Dr. Ryan encourages individuals to think about their health through preventive measures before it becomes medically necessary to seek care. Through the Sanny & Jerry Ryan Center for Prevention & Genetics, Dr. Ryan is leaving a legacy which benefits the community and its future generations.
Altru Achievement Awards
Jim Abar is a supervisor in maintenance, specializing in grounds/mechanical. Jim never says no. He puts in his hours and then comes back for more, volunteering additional time to ensure Altru’s grounds provide a welcoming environment for our patients and staff. Jim has worked closely with the Professional Nurse Committee on their Potato Bowl float for many years, as well as many of their other sponsored activities. Jim proudly treats Altru’s campus as if it were his own home, going above and beyond his duties to make Altru a beautiful place.
Dan Beauchamp is facilities manager. He is known for his ever present smile and willingness to help others. Dan takes ownership in Altru Health System and is constantly working to make our patients’ experiences positive. During countless successful renovations and office moves, he meets the needs of his customers while also being mindful of the organization’s resources. Specifically, Dan’s management of the private room conversion project contributed to the project’s success and completion. He was also instrumental in retrieving historic statues from St. Michael’s Hospital and having them restored and placed on the Columbia Road Campus.
Shannon Hansen is infection control coordinator. Through her actions, attitude and impact, Shannon is unfailingly positive and dedicated to the mission. In times of need, such as during the tuberculosis outbreak or local rabies incident, she takes her work long past regular hours and responsibilities, with careful attention to detail and keen organizational skills. Shannon was an early advocate for staff flu vaccine requirements, showing her innovative and persistent ability to catalyze successful change, directly contributing to patient health and safety. Beyond being known to “get things done,” Shannon is altruistic, generous and kind.
Alissa (Ali) Hohmann is a licensed practical nurse at Parkwood Senior Living. Ali is a proven leader and exceptional role model. She is someone that residents, families and staff rely on for valuable expertise and guidance. Working well under pressure, Ali never makes others feel like she has limited time. Her calm and reassuring demeanor provides comfort and healing for everyone she encounters. Ali deeply values her relationships with Parkwood residents, treating them as she would her own family.
Audrey Lorenz is strategic planning lead. Audrey cares deeply about the Altru brand. She always gives 110 percent, whether it’s developing business plans or ensuring a professional image across the health system. Audrey is instrumental to Altru’s senior leadership and the board of directors, guiding them through the strategic planning process and execution. She has positively impacted the community through her work with the community health assessment leading to the creation of Healthy Choices Greater Grand Forks, a committee focused on reducing obesity rates in children and adults, and the Answer, a partnership between Altru and Grand Forks Public Schools focused on reducing youth substance abuse and building healthy relationships. Whether guiding lost visitors in the halls or providing helpful feedback to staff, Audrey embodies the Altru promise everywhere she goes.
Robert M. Jacobson Lifetime Achievement Award
The son of a prominent physician in Los Angeles, Dr. Mark Siegel wasn’t expecting to find his life’s work in North Dakota. That all changed when a “practice interview” in 1978 turned into a 36-year career in Grand Forks.
At the time, the Grand Forks Clinic and United Hospital were beautiful new facilities standing on the edge of town. There was plenty of work and opportunities to practice the surgery that he loved.
Dr. Siegel brought new skills and abilities to medical care. Just a few of the many innovations he helped to launch included minimally invasive and endoscopic surgery, access lines for renal patients and the concepts of modern surgical critical care. Surgery was undergoing a rapid evolution, and Dr. Siegel stood at the forefront of that change.
Early in the 1980s, Dr. Siegel was directly involved with the Mayo Clinic, through the North Central Treatment Group. Working with Mayo, he helped bring the first portacath for a cancer patient to United Hospital.
Beyond surgery, Dr. Siegel is a natural leader. One of his proudest accomplishments was the creation of the surgical residency program with UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Grand Forks-trained surgeons now lead some of the most prestigious surgery programs in the Upper Midwest and the nation.
Dr. Siegel has served as Chief of Medical Staff for United Hospital and President of the Grand Forks Clinic. It was during this time that leaders of the hospital and clinic decided to bring these organizations together in what we know today as Altru Health System.
In his current role, Dr. Siegel serves as Medical Director of Care Management, molding Altru into a model system. Physicians and residents still frequent his office seeking advice. A thoughtful teacher, he listens, asks questions and offers support.
Dr. Siegel’s legacy will be the difference he has made in the lives of others through his kindness and compassion. Thousands of grateful patients and co-workers, hundreds of residents and students, colleagues and many others owe something of what they have become to this great healer and human being.
Altru Achievement Award
Heidi Collison works in human resources as a recruiter. She is fiercely committed to delivering the Altru Promise and goes out of her way to serve others. On a number of occasions, Heidi has “taken job applicants under her wing” and brought them to successful employment. She developed the Altru Shadowing Program 22 years ago, which has opened doors for countless students and professionals. Heidi has also played an integral role in the Mission Physician Program, a series of summer camps introducing and attracting rural high school students to health care careers. Heidi’s drive, dedication and follow-through make her an excellent member of any team. We are proud to call Heidi one of our own.
Robert M. Jacobson Lifetime Achievement Award
Compassionate. Selfless. Calm. Deeply intelligent. One in a million. These are just some of the ways Dr. James VanLooy’s peers and patients described him.
Dr. VanLooy graduated from Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit in 1974. After completing his residency at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan, he joined Grand Forks Clinic as a pediatrician in 1977. Later, he served as chief of pediatrics for both Grand Forks Clinic and United Hospital, director of the neonatal intensive care unit and, in 1985, president of Grand Forks Clinic. In 1997, he became the chief medical executive of Altru Health System, serving for 15 years until his retirement in 2012.
Described as the “nicest guy you’ll ever know,” Dr. VanLooy treated everyone from patients to nurses to fellow providers with the utmost respect and kindness. Before it was even popular to say “the patient always comes first,” Dr. VanLooy said it, believed it and exemplified it. He was a role model to others, not only in the way he practiced medicine, but in the way he lives life, approaching each day with gentle, quiet determination.
A patient, caring and open-minded leader, Dr. VanLooy was always interested in hearing nursing staff’s thoughts and ideas. During his time, he greatly improved and developed the nursery. It wasn’t uncommon for Dr. VanLooy to start his days at 4 a.m., first checking on his littlest patients in newborn nursery.
Among his many contributions to Altru and the field of medicine, Dr. VanLooy introduced the electronic medical record and promoted its use to physicians and staff. This change improved accuracy, boosted efficiency and continues to transform the way care is delivered today.
Dr. VanLooy left behind a detailed, well-thought review of medical staff bylaws and policies. He helped bring Altru to what it is today, a seamless organization working together and moving in one direction with one mission, one vision and one goal.