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News and Notes

May 24, 2017 03:08PM ● By Digital Media Director



Preston Renshaw, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Avera Health Plans and DakotaCare, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for Physician Leadership, formerly the American College of Physician Executives. The primary focus is to help doctors gain skills to assume leadership roles. Dr. Renshaw is the first physician in South Dakota to receive this honor.



Avera Health is pleased to announce that Michael Gibbs has begun his position as President of the Avera Heart Hospital effective May 1.  Gibbs moved to this position from Rapid City, South Dakota where he was in administration at Rapid City Regional Hospital. Gibbs holds two master’s degrees in healthcare administration and biomedical ethics. He is a Fellow of the American Association for Physician Leadership.


Black Hills


Shahid Ahmad, MD, is the recipient of the Anton Hyden Award from the USD Sanford School of Medicine. Dr. Ahmad is a hospitalist at Rapid City Regional Hospital who earned his medical degree from the Kasturba Medical College in Karnataka, India, and completed his internal medicine residency at Florida State University College of Medicine in Tallahassee.



Regional Health has expanded its general surgery services in Rapid City with the addition of Patrick Kenney, DO. Dr. Kenney earned his medical degree at the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine in Glendale, Arizona.  He went on to complete his general surgery residency at LAC/USC Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, and Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, California.



Regional Health is pleased to welcome to the Dermatology Staff Roger Knutsen, MD, FACP, and Siri Knutsen-Larson, MD. Dr. Knutsen is board-certified in both dermatology and internal medicine.  Dr. Knutsen-Larson is board-certified in medical and surgical dermatology. Both doctors received their medical degrees at USD Sanford School of Medicine in Vermillion. They both went on to residencies in Wisconsin and Colorado.



In May, the inpatient rehabilitation unit that resided at Regional Rehabilitation Institute was relocated to a wing inside the Village and Skyline Pines Assisted Living. The move is part of plans for transforming the campus at Rapid City Regional Hospital.

In preparation for a new emergency department and patient tower, Rapid City Regional Hospital closed the south entrance on May 1. All patients and guests, apart from Emergency Department patients, are asked to use the north entrance. To expedite parking, free valet service will be offered at that entrance every weekday.

 Along with naming it in the top 5 percent of hospitals in the nation, Healthgrades has awarded Rapid City Regional Hospital with the Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence. Nearly 4,500 hospitals were surveyed nationwide and only 258 received this award including RCRH and Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls.

Rapid City Regional Hospital has honored their volunteers at a Volunteer Appreciation Brunch.  In 2016, 340 volunteers contributed 36,000 hours to RCRH. Awards were given for those volunteers who gave 250 hours and more.

Regional Heart Doctors has changed its name to Regional Health Heart and Vascular Institute.  The new name encompasses the wide range of services the Institute provides. The Institute provides The Heart and Vascular Clinic, Heart, Lung, and Vascular Surgery, Black Hills Cardiovascular Research, and Spearfish Queen City Cardiac Services Clinic as four essential components to its program.

On April 10, members from across Regional Health gathered at Rapid City Regional Hospital for the Donate Life Flower Planting Ceremony. The ceremony was to celebrate National Donate Life Month. The flowers were planted at the base of a tree that honors donors, recipients, and their families.

Regional Health Urgent Care – North & West have received the designation of Certified Urgent Care by the Urgent Care Association of America. 



The Edith Sanford Breast Foundation has been named the Official Charity Partner for two upcoming IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 triathlons in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Members of the Edith Sanford Breast Foundation’s national team, TeamEdith, will compete while raising awareness and funds to end breast cancer.

The 17th Annual Watertown Radiothon For Kids this spring raised $100,000. The funds generated through this two-day event stay in South Dakota to help pay for equipment, training, and programs that benefit the thousands of children treated at Sanford Children’s Hospital every year.

The Journal of Clinical Oncology published the results of a study conducted by Steven Powell, MD, on March 22. The paper explained the benefit of pembrolizumab, an immunotherapy drug, for patients in the advanced stages of head and neck cancer. The paper is based on research that began in October of 2014. Pembrolizumab was granted FDA-approval for use in these patients in August of 2016.

As part of the celebration of National Skin Cancer and Melanoma Awareness month, dermatologists in the Rapid City area and the Sioux Falls Area offered free skin cancer screenings on May 1. This was done at the Community Health Center of the Black Hills in Rapid City and Lewis Southgate in Sioux Falls. Patients who had not had screenings in the last two years qualified.

Sanford Health Research is conducting a new clinical trial at locations in Sioux Falls, Fargo, and Bismarck to determine whether medication previously approved by the FDA for specific cancers can be cross-used for others. Patients qualify by receiving genomic testing that identifies them as having targetable alterations. The study is open for cancer patients 18 and older who are not benefitting from conventional cancer treatments. To enroll a patient, call 1-87-SURVIVAL.


Sanford NICU nurse Jordan Sluzzer, RN, and Central Resource nurse Jesse Pechous, RN, were recently recognized with DAISY Awards for Nursing Excellence.



Sanford Children’s Hospital is part of I-PASS, a patient safety research group that is helping to standardize provider communication particularly during patient handoffs.  As part of their participation, Sanford Children’s Hospital received the 2016 John M. Eisenberg Award for Innovation in Patient Safety. This award is presented annually by the Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum.

Sanford Cancer Center is pleased to welcome Bongi Rudder, MD, and James Kuzman, MD, to their team of oncologists and hematologists. Dr. Rudder received her medical degree from the University of the West Indies in St. Augustine, Trinidad, and Dr. Kuzman received his medical degree from the USD[AC1] . Dr. Rudder will also provide outreach services in Worthington, Minnesota. Both doctors are board-certified in internal medicine, oncology, and hematology.

The Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care presented Sanford Heart Hospital with full Atrial Fibrillation with Electrophysiology Services Accreditation. In order to receive the accreditation from SCPC, Sanford Heart Hospital had to demonstrate adherence to stringent criteria and undergo a comprehensive onsite review.



Tracey Pick, ARNP, has joined the staff at South Sioux Mercy Medical Clinic. Pick holds a Master's Degree in Nursing/Family Nurse Practitioner from Clarkson College in Omaha, Nebraska. Prior to joining South Sioux Mercy Medical Clinic, she was an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner at St. Luke's Occupational Medicine.


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has awarded The Sioux City Agency of UnityPoint five stars for home health services. This makes the Sioux City Agency of UnityPoint the highest rated in Iowa.


UnityPoint Health–St. Luke’s is pleased to announce the appointment of Wendy Lindley, MSN, RN, NE-BC, to Chief Nursing Executive. Lindley has served on the staff of St. Luke’s since 2012 as the Director of the Emergency Department. Prior to serving at St. Luke’s, Lindley lived in Salem, Oregon and served in several positions at Salem Hospital. Lindley is a veteran of the US Navy.


Mercy's 5th Annual Donate Life Flag Raising Ceremony to honor individuals whose lives have been touched by organ, eye and tissue donation took place on Monday, April 3rd in the Central Medical Building Atrium. The flag was flown throughout the month of April. Approximately 65 percent of adults are registered donors in Iowa but the need still outpaces the number of donor organs. There are more than 700 Iowans currently waiting for an organ transplant.


Mercy Medical Center-Sioux City has announced the appointment of Dennis Bickett to therapy manager. Bickett has been on staff at Mercy since 2001 as a physical therapist. He achieved the distinction of senior therapist over 3 years ago. Bickett has served in the South Dakota National Guard as a lieutenant colonel for 29 years. 



Mercy Medical Center-Sioux City is also pleased to appoint Allison Gibler as Director of Risk and Safety. Gibler has been on staff at Mercy for over a year as a Decision Support Analyst. Gibler has just received a master’s in business analytics and has served in the health care field for nearly 25 years.



The 2017 graduation convocation for the University of South Dakota Sanford School of 

 Medicine featured 51 graduates at a May 5 ceremony at the Pentagon facility in Sioux Falls. Dr. Thomas J. Huber, a physician in Pierre and a member of the USD Sanford School of Medicine faculty, gave the convocation. The Class of 2017 includes 30 men and 21 women. Forty-four of the graduates are from South Dakota, including small communities such as Geddes, Redfield, Wanblee, Faith, Hayti, Salem, Dell Rapids and Custer.