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Employee Awards

Altru Health System recognizes the dedication and hard work of its physicians and staff through Altru Achievement Awards and the Robert M. Jacobson Lifetime Achievement Award.

Altru Achievement Awards are peer-nominated and given to employees who exemplify the values of Altru Health System, commit to serving others, and go above and beyond their everyday responsibilities.

The Robert M. Jacobson Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes individuals who have made ongoing and lasting contributions, enhancing the culture and services provided by Altru Health System.

2020 Achievement Awards

Every year, Altru Health System recognizes the dedication and hard work of its physicians and staff through Altru Achievement Awards and the Robert M. Jacobson Lifetime Achievement Award. These awards are presented at the annual career achievement dinner.

Altru Achievement Awards

Alette PetersonAlette Peterson, LPN Clinic (MN)

Years of Service: 24

“Letty (Alette) exceeds expectations daily in the areas of team, respect, accountable and understand. She has been pivotal in moving forward primary care, lab, x-ray and telemedicine initiatives in Thief River Falls. She always puts the patient and her team first, often ahead of herself. The thing that stands out the most is that Letty always does everything with a positive attitude and a smile on her face, even when those things are hard or unpopular.”

Nominated by April Kraemer, Practice Manager Employer Health Solutions

April KraemerApril Kraemer, Practice Manager Employer Health Solutions

Years of Service: 20

“April is a loyal and dedicated employee that demonstrates our behavior standards each and every day. Through her years with Altru in each role she has been in, she has approached her work with respect, integrity and accountability. She has never asked anyone that she works with to do something that she would not be willing to do herself consistently leading through example. She is committed to providing our patients and our communities with world class care and has a passion for the work that we do around our region. Most recently she has led the work with our employees surrounding our COVID response and ensuring we are keeping our workforce healthy and safe.”

Nominated by Jenny Estad, Director Orthopedics & Neurosciences

Ashley NephewAshley Nephew, Nurse Practitioner l (ND/MN)

Years of Service: 8

“Ashley has been instrumental in the success of the COVID testing process. Ashley stays up to date on the latest information from the CDC, educating COVID staff as well as physician leaders at Altru. She is fastidious in her oversight of the patients coming to Altru for their care, screening hundreds of patients each week. Ashley also has been progressive in establishing testing sites and developing relationships in our rural areas. She is a wonderful team member and mentor for the COVID staff. She is respectful to all staff and patients alike. Ashley often extends her day just to meet the demands of the COVID work, often working into the weekend. She shows true dedication and commitment to the Altru behavior standards.”

Nominated by Deb Anderson, RN Patient Care Supervisor (24/7)

David ThompsonDavid Thompson, Pharmacy IV Room Coordinator

Years of Service: 8

“David has been an integral member of pharmacy sterile compounding and hazardous drug handling compliance programming. His role requires he monitor the hospital IV Room practices, although David has taken this role to mean so much more. David has taken it upon himself to oversee the engineering controls of not only the hospital clean room, but also the Cancer Center, Surgery, South Campus Surgery, and Devils Lake sterile compounding practices as well. David’s role lies outside of what others in our organization have to think about on a day to day basis, and we can always count on David to know the latest requirements from USP, NIOSH, OSHA and others as it relates to compliance and safe practices. David has been an entrepreneur and innovator to develop the role beyond expectation and into exactly what is needed for safe patient care at Altru. His work leaves a lasting impact on patient safety in the way of infection prevention and improved outcomes, as well as improving all drug handling practices system-wide”

Nominated by Erin Navarro, Director Pharmacy Services

Donovan Donovan Decoteau, Cook

Years of Service: 6

“Donovan never complains he just does what needs to be done even if it means more work and stress, he will do it! He acknowledges people and his favorite way to address people is as “my friend”. Donovan will always help anyone no matter how busy he is. He stays on task and stays busy while having fun and makes it look effortless! I truly enjoy working with Donovan as he is always on board with helping us provide the best possible food for our patients and the best possible work environment for our team!”

Nominated by Alex Zuniga, Sodexo Executive Chef

HeatherHeather Strandell, Director Primary Care Operations

Years of Service: 16

“Heather is a fierce advocate for our patients and improving our organization to serve them better. In her leadership positions, she focuses on the importance of learning from the people closest to the work and understanding how to improve from their perspective. She is highly accountable and respectful in her interactions. In 2020, she has worked tirelessly in the command center to coordinate our response to the pandemic—focusing on what Altru needs but also understanding the impacts to the community at large. Her ability to work across many constituencies and her work ethic, positioned us well to handle the uncertainties in the early days of coronavirus response. Heather’s work with the KPO was impacting numerous departments across the system and every leader. She now is leading our primary care team and impacting thousands of patients across the region as she works with our clinic leaders and physicians. Heather is a go-to leader in many situations and is counted on to be able to successfully carry the work forward.”

Nominated by Audrey Lorenz, Director Planning & Marketing and Annie Bonzer, Manager Marketing Communications

JenniferJennifer Semling, Manager Provider Recruitment

Years of Service: 12

“Jenny Semling brings many exemplary qualities to her work, team and the organization. In her 12 year tenure with Altru she has supported the organization and our mission by recruiting providers from far and wide. She is an example to others in graciously serving others, working collaboratively with all disciplines while always living our behavior standards. Jenny continuously takes initiative to process improve, manage other’s up, and goes above and beyond in responding to provider questions (day and night!) Jenny is incredibly insightful, able to work the details of a situation while thinking strategically and systematically. Her unwavering commitment to Altru is a wonderful example of an individual, employee, leader, and colleague and someone I admire.”

Nominated by Marlene Miller, Director People Resources

Matt ElliotMatt Elliot, Environmental Services

Years of Service: 22

“Matt Elliott has worked in the Environmental Services department for 22 years and was a Team Lead for a large portion of his tenure. What makes Matt a remarkable team member is his professionalism, positive attitude, high work standards and strong work ethic. He acts with integrity and is accountable to complete anything requested of him. He has built strong relationships with the team and is seen as a leader in the department. He is well respected by his coworkers and has a natural ability to understand people’s differences and provide both professional and personal support whenever needed. Matt is actively involved in Altru’s success by seeking continuous improvement. He recently completed 5S training and his contributions are seen by the community from the shining floors to the overall cleanliness of Altru’s facilities.”

Nominated by Hari Bhattarai, Assistant Manager Environmental Services and Michele Behm, Manager Environmental Services

StephanieDr. Stephanie Foughty, Physician

Years of Service: 8

“Dr. Stephanie Foughty took on the role of our Department Chair in Jan 2020 and what a year it has been. Dr. Foughty has taken the time, energy, skills and teamwork to make our clinic run as smoothly as possible through the COVID pandemic. She is here for our staff, our patients and our community making sure that we are doing the best we can to care for and keep everyone safe. She listens to concerns, she explains the “whys” to what we are doing and makes it meaningful. She is always accountable for her decisions and will make changes as needed to benefit others. Dr. Foughty listens and understands what it is we need and works very well with her team. Dr. Foughty is an excellent Dyad partner and I am glad she is by my side during these trying times.”

Nominated by Amber Stokke, Practice Manager Devils Lake

Our congratulations as well to all those celebrating a milestone anniversary. We thank you for your commitment to our patients and the communities we serve.

  • 5 years- 167 employees
  • •10 years- 81 employees
  • 15 years- 71 employees
  • 20 years- 60 employees
  • 25 years- 42 employees
  • 30 years- 27 employees
  • 35 years- 13 employees
  • 40 years- 18 employees
  • 50 years- 1 employee

2019 Altru Achievement Awards

ParsuParsu Subedi, Environmental Services

Continually seeking out more responsibility and job knowledge, Parsu Subedi is a vital asset to Altru’s Environmental Services team. While keeping our floors shiny and presentable, Parsu’s professionalism, kindness and desire to see Altru succeed shine just as brightly. He understands the importance of continual improvement, and takes time to teach others, thereby encouraging their engagement. Parsu displays the utmost respect for anyone he interacts with, and he willingly fills in for other team members whenever needed. His positive attitude, high standards, strong work ethic and devotion to the team are direct reflections of what Altru strives to be.

CindyCindy Broden, Regional TherapyCindy Broden

Often coming in early or staying late, Cindy Broden accommodates her workday as a therapist to best meet her patients’ needs. Often going above and beyond for others, Cindy approaches life with a selfless attitude to serve the people around her, including her colleagues and patients. As a strong team player, she assists with staffing needs in a variety of Regional Therapy locations during times of high census or extended leave. Through change, she keeps an open mind and tries to understand how she can best adapt, create solutions and overcome roadblocks. Cindy consistently creates a meaningful experience for her patients while providing high-quality care. Highly trusted and respected by her entire team, Cindy continually demonstrates her commitment to others.

WilliamDr. William McKinnon, Regional Operations

As Medical Director of Regional Operations, Dr. William McKinnon exemplifies patient-centered values. He works tirelessly to ensure the highest quality of care is delivered to the residents of our region. Dr. McKinnon is committed to ensuring our regional partners are supported in providing care close to home. He is personable, approachable and motivates all those he comes into contact with. Through his quarterly newsletter, informational conferences and ongoing relationship-building, Dr. McKinnon is the gateway to communication in the region and was recently described by a rural hospital administrator as supportive and someone who not only talks the talk but walks the walk. Dr. McKinnon is a strong leader, physician, colleague, employee and ambassador of Altru.

Pam Pam Massie, Employer Health Solutions

Pam Massie continually goes above and beyond at her job. Known for greeting everyone with a welcoming smile and genuine hello, Pam’s honest and approachable personality glows throughout her interactions with co-workers, patients and community members. Pam has served as a mentor to many. She’s a listening ear, supportive and selfless, and she’s coached many people throughout her career. Pam has spent countless hours spearheading Altru’s Employer Health Solutions business plan to partner and serve community employers. And her work is noticed—people throughout the community continually mention Pam’s kindness, passion and helpfulness.

2018 Altru Achievement Awards

MarshaMarsha Waind

Marsha Waind is a unique mix of passion, knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit, while possessing the tenacity to accomplish any task at hand. Marsha is passionate about making healthcare as convenient as possible, saving many miles and minutes for patients across our region. With a concept in 2008, she has developed and built Altru’s Telemedicine Program. Marsha has nurtured and grown the telemedicine program from nearly no appointments or encounters in 2008 to more than 9,000 in 2017, with projected continual growth. Despite occasional barriers with technology or logistics, Marsha is driven by her caring and compassionate demeanor to continue to enhance this program, for the benefit of the patients we are serving in the region.

CherylCheryl Storbakken

Cheryl Storbakken has delivered outstanding patient care for over 40 years. Cheryl began her career as a surgical tech in 1975 and remarkably completed her nursing degree at age 50. She has been an advocate for thousands of patients and a phenomenal mentor and educator to her peers. Whether in the operating room, working on projects to enhance patient experience, or assisting with further understanding and education about surgical services in the community, Cheryl is committed to the success of the entire surgery team. She is a trusted source of information, stability and honesty. She listens. She is accountable. She is respectful and respected by all. Cheryl is an example of true commitment to Altru Health System and the community.

LindseyDoreen Lindsey

From caring for the most critical patients in the ICU-CCU to her abundant knowledge and understanding of the health system’s conversion to the electronic medical record with EPIC, Doreen Lindsey has been driven and determined to understand all aspects of patient care and share her expertise with those around her. Doreen is a shining example of how to handle the most difficult tasks with grace and determination, being versatile in management styles. Doreen was a leader in preparation for the recent successful HIMSS Stage 7 site visit for recertification. As her roles have changed, Doreen is providing a new kind of patient care that ensures our use of information technology meets all patient safety standards and allows us to provide the best care possible.

MarvinA Marvin Cooley, MD

With a career spanning over four decades, Dr. Cooley is a leader, mentor, confidant and friend to many who walk the Altru’s halls. Dr. Cooley’s oversight and guidance to pathology and laboratory services has been immeasurable over the years and his dedication to the Dak Minn Blood Bank—from inception to donor relations and current operations—has contributed to Dak Minn Blood Bank’s success. Dr. Cooley has humbly devoted his entire professional career to the community of Grand Forks and Altru Health System, including all regional locations. Being known as the “voice of the lab”, Dr. Cooley works closely with physicians and patients to ensure diagnostic services meet their needs. Dr. Cooley is committed to serving others, without expectation of recognition.

BrendaBrenda Pauley-Colter

Brenda Pauley-Coulter leads by example and treats all around her according to the golden rule. For more than 25 years Brenda has assumed various roles, including psych tech, occupational therapist, supervisor, manager and now a lean facilitator with the Kaizen Promotion Office. Brenda is described as innovative and holistic in her thinking and listens to understand. She effectively places herself “in the shoes” of those with whom she works, considering the downline impact of decisions and changes. She is flexible, enthusiastic, and works with grace, to the benefit of her team and the community.

Robert M. Jacobson Lifetime Achievement Award

James BrosseauDr. Brosseau

Care. Compassion. Connection.

Dr. James Brosseau has spent the last fifty years of his life devoted to caring for the needs of others. Patients and colleagues in Internal Medicine at Altru have been touched by his impact for the last four of these five decades.

Born and raised in Drayton, North Dakota, Dr. Brosseau first earned his undergrad degrees in chemistry and biology from the University of North Dakota, followed by two years of medical school. He finished his schooling at the University of Minnesota in 1970, completed a yearlong internship at the University of New Mexico, and was drafted into the military. He later took internal medicine training at Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin, and in 1978, returned to his North Dakota roots.

While seeing countless patients through the years, Dr. Brosseau makes a point to remember details about every person he encounters. In fact, he connects so well with his patients that some still traveled across the country to see him for yearly check-ups.

Looking back on his vast career, developing Altru’s Diabetes Center stands out as a top highlight for Dr. Brosseau. He helped to establish and then direct the Diabetes Center, as well as serve as medical director for the Valley Eldercare Center for more than 30 years.

He is most proud of the "Master of the College" award which he received three years ago from the American College of Physicians. Dr. Brosseau is the only internist in North Dakota who holds the distinction.

Through the years, so much in healthcare has evolved, from technology to facilities and everything in between. Yet, one thing remains: our patients are at the center of everything we do. While the computer has enhanced patient care and provided a useful tool, it’s important to remember it’s not the main thing in the room. The patient always is.

Not only does Dr. Brosseau care for his patients; he cares for his entire team. He shares, “Absolutely everyone plays a role in helping people. There’s always one more thing you can do.” Dr. Brosseau has left a legacy of compassion that has touched the lives of many.

2017 Altru Achievement Awards

DianeDiane Gunderson

In every action, Diane holds herself to the highest standard. She is a deeply respected and highly sought-after resource, confidant and mentor throughout the health system by leaders and staff across all divisions and leadership levels. Her success, and the success of her teams, is partly due to her comprehensive experience across several areas across the organization, but also due to her uncompromising character and strong moral compass.

JanelleJanelle Holth

During her career, Janelle Holth has proven many times over her unwavering commitment to the success of Altru Health System. In the last year, she’s served as a Regulatory Compliance Coordinator, Chief Nurse Designee, and now as Manager of Privacy and Compliance. In every role, she exemplified great strength in leadership, accountability and teamwork, and always made the needs of our patients her top priority.

KerwinKerwin Sletto

Kerwin Sletto has been a shining example of consistency and teamwork in his role as a chaplain for Altru’s Pastoral Services department. His peers regularly seek his advice, complimenting on his ability to carefully listen and understand before offering his response. Through his attention and sensitivity to the “little things,” Kerwin has earned the love and respect of staff, patients and visitors, religious and non-religious alike.

2016 Altru Achievement Awards

LynnLynn Holum

In her role as a registered dietitian, Lynn Holum is a quiet, strong and consistent employee who works diligently behind the scenes, whether with patients, policies or providers. If Lynn doesn’t know an answer to a question, she goes above and beyond researching to find the answer. She digs deeper, not because she has to, but because she truly cares. While she is respected by the entire team for her expertise and professionalism, Lynn is most known for her kindness. For example, when Lynn worked with a patient with an eating disorder who needed help financially, Lynn took steps to help the patient receive financial assistance. Whether educating patients, teaching classes or developing protocols, Lynn puts her entire heart into her work and does it with a smile on her face.

DebDeb Abar

It’s easy to see Deb Abar, human resources supervisor, genuinely cares for Altru’s employees. Through her work, she is able to connect with any employee by demonstrating empathy and integrity. Deb respects differences and is always willing to go the extra mile. She has weathered plenty of change through the years and has developed both a respect for the past as well as a foot in the future. Altru employees can enjoy retirement knowing they have invested in the future, thanks to Deb serving as the cornerstone to Altru’s commitment to market-based retirement options. Further, Deb is respected by partner vendors in our community and is sought out for advice by other organizations.

Bonnie Bonnie Lewis

Bonnie Lewis, clinic office nurse, serves our patients at Altru’s Specialty Care in Cavalier, N.D. Bonnie genuinely cares about her patients, even coming into the office on her days off to provide follow-up. During our collaboration with Pembina County Memorial Hospital in 2015, Bonnie was instrumental throughout the transition. She spent countless days unpacking and moving into the new space, always with a positive attitude. Bonnie works independently and she does not hesitate to take on any task asked of her—whether it’s in her job description or not. She juggles a busy schedule, working for two providers on many occasions, as well as providing telemedicine services, and yet she makes it look effortless with her calm and cheerful outlook.

Robert M. Jacobson Lifetime Achievement Award

Margaret ReedMargaret Reed

Forty years ago, Margaret Reed was studying art in college, with dreams of making the world a more beautiful place. After switching career paths and serving as Altru's Chief Nurse, she has created a beautiful legacy at Altru Health System for years to come.

Margaret Reed grew up in Grand Forks, N.D., watching her mom, Evelyn Kenna, as a labor and delivery nurse. “She was just wonderful—the best nurse, my biggest role model,” beams Margaret. Margaret followed in her mother’s footsteps, always pushing herself to be an exceptional nurse and teaching others along the way.

Margaret began her career as a renal dialysis nurse, and then became manager of dialysis. Next, she moved to fourth floor surgery/oncology and, when the opportunity arose, she stepped forward to serve as the unit’s supervisor, the first position of its kind. From there, she moved up as administrative director of surgical services and, when Altru Health System reorganized its leadership in 2008, Margaret led the entire nursing team as Chief Nurse.

Through the years, Margaret has demonstrated a deeply selfless and compassionate way of serving her patients, her staff and her community. She has guided countless nurses at Altru Health System and beyond, by training all different shifts and starting a robust mentorship program. Margaret demonstrated her ability to go above and beyond caring for her staff by leading the development of “Care for the Caregivers,” a program which incorporates forward-thinking complementary therapies to help nurses keep themselves healthy—physically, mentally and spiritually.

Beyond her gentle-yet-strong leadership at Altru Health System, Margaret has influenced nursing practices throughout the state by serving as the first president of the North Dakota Center for Nursing. You don’t have to look far to find a nurse who has been touched in some way by Margaret’s influence.

“Her remarkable nursing career spans more than 40 years in our organization,” shares Dave Molmen, CEO of Altru Health System. “Through her leadership and the example she has set, Margaret has built a lasting legacy that will benefit our region for generations to come.”

Margaret’s role as a nurse is truly a work of art and a work of heart.

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