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.


Altru Achievement Awards

Diane Gunderson

Diane 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. 

Janelle Holth

Janelle 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.

Kerwin Sletto

Kerwin 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. 


Altru Achievement Awards

Lynn Holum

Holum, Lynn 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.

Deb Abar

Deb AbarIt’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 Lewis

Bonnie LewisBonnie 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 ReedForty 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.


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.