Skip to main content


Avera ALS Clinic Honored by ALS Association

Dec 28, 2016 11:30AM ● By MED Magazine
The ALS Association, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Chapter has presented its Honoree Award to staff and leadership of the Avera ALS Clinic at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center.

The Avera ALS Clinic, which started in 2010, was launched after neurologist Karen Garnaas, MD, facilitated a meeting between Avera and the ALS Association. Dr. Garnaas had lost her brother to ALS and her experience, coupled with her work as a neurologist, motivated her to help make the clinic a reality.

David Kapaska, DO, President and CEO of Avera McKennan, said Garnaas’ request exposed a critical need, and that receiving this honor underlines the clinic’s important role in the region.
“We aimed to develop a clinic built on the multidisciplinary model which allows individuals living with ALS to meet with a team of specialists during a single visit,” Kapaska said. “That greatly reduces scheduling and accessibility barriers for families traveling to Sioux Falls from greater South Dakota.”

“Over these six-plus years of serving ALS families in our area, we have come to realize just how important a dedicated clinic can be to helping them live more fully,” says Mary Jones, PT, MBA, the director of the Avera Brain & Spine Institute, which is home of the Avera ALS Clinic.

“Every person who works in this clinical setting is honored to have received this recognition because it shows that our daily valued not only by our patients and their families, but on a national level as well.”

The Avera ALS Clinic is recognized as an ALS Association Recognized Treatment Center. Organizations that earn the Honoree Award have exceeded expectations in helping raise awareness and funds for ALS research and supporting the regional ALS Chapter.