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SDAHO Recognizes “Distinguished Service”

Oct 30, 2016 11:32AM ● By MED Magazine
Two nurses, a public affairs office, a clinical informatics specialist and a healthcare educator are among nine people honored with distinguished service awards at the South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations (SDAHO) 90th Annual Convention in Sioux Falls in September.

Obstetrics nurse Mary Schwaegerl, RN, a 34-year veteran of Brookings Health System and it’s OB director since 2009, was honored with the Distinguished Service Award, Health Care Professional. Schwaegerl has led patient-centered change in maternity care practices and advocated for positive breastfeeding policies within her community and state.

Kerri Lutjens, RN, with Avera St. Benedict Hospital in Parkston and Shirley Redmond, Public Affairs Officer for the Sioux Falls VA Health Care System in Sioux Falls, were both recipients of the Distinguished Service Award, Health Care Hero. Lutjens has has been closely involved in an outreach program that brings health basics such as healthy eating, immunizations and communicable disease prevention to eight Hutterite colonies surrounding Parkston. She logs an average of 2,100 miles a month all within a 60-mile radius of Parkston.

Redmond, the VA’s public affairs officer since 2005, has the “innate ability to empathize with veterans and their families”, and has worked to ensure dignified and respectful treatment for all veterans. She has served as a coach and mentor of other rising leaders at the VA and has served as the Native American Veteran Activities Coordinator and liaison to Native American Veterans.
The Distinguished Service Award, Young Professional went to Erica Knippling, clinical informatics specialist with Brookings Health System. Knippling is responsible for the design, implementation, protection and continuing successful operation of computer, information and interfaced technologies. Knippling has been a member of the South Dakota Chapter of Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (SDHIMSS) for the past four years and is currently its president elect.

Cindy Senger with [email protected] received the Distinguished Service Award, Post-Acute Care Champion. Senger, vice president of innovation for [email protected], has more than 27 years of leadership experience in the hospital and education fields and has been visionary in thinking of new ways to deliver home- and community-based services. She has helped lead the charge to bring Avera’s home health and hospice agencies under one leader and enterprise to strengthen services and expand service areas.