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Sanford Health Honors Employees of the Year

Oct 08, 2020 01:22PM ● By MED Magazine

Sanford Health recently announced its employee of the year award winners for 2020. Winners are nominated by their peers for demonstrating the organization’s values.  This year, one Fargo employee received Sanford’s only Sanford Health Veteran of the Year award. Four Fargo employees were honored in regional categories and two East Grand Forks employees were honored in two network system categories.

 Cathy Keogh, a registered nurse with Sanford Home Health and Community Based Services, was honored as the Sanford Health Veteran of the Year. Keogh served in the North Dakota Army National Guard for 28 years and has worked for Sanford for 38 years. She has been an advocate for her patients and especially veterans in her patient care role. Keogh has also volunteered for the Red River Valley Veterans Concert Band, the North Dakota American Legion State Band, AMVETS, the American Legion, State Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Board and North Dakota Veterans Home in Lisbon, North Dakota Governing Board, as well as working as a parish nurse for Nativity Catholic Church.

The Sanford Health Veteran of the Year Award was established in 2018 by the Sanford Health Department of Veterans and Military Services. This award recognizes an employee with current or prior military service who displays the qualities of professionalism, adaptability, stability, critical thinking, service excellence and accountability. The recipient honorably represents their military service, supports veterans programs or initiatives, and shows compassion and respect to fellow veterans, as well as Sanford patients, visitors, co-workers and members of the community.

Sanford Fargo honored employees in four regional categories:

 Dr. Avish Nagpal was named Sanford Fargo 2020 Physician of the Year. Dr. Nagpal is the medical director of Sanford Fargo’s infection prevention and control. He practices internal medicine, specializing in infectious disease and travel and tropical medicine. He also serves as an associate professor of medicine at the University of North Dakota and as adjunct faculty at North Dakota State University. Dr. Nagpal's dedication to the quality, safety and well-being of patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been truly unprecedented. In addition to helping lead Sanford Fargo’s pandemic response efforts, Dr. Nagpal has worked tirelessly to education leaders, providers, staff, patients and members of the media to protect our community and reduce the number of COVID-19 cases. Dr. Nagpal was recognized for his wealth of infectious disease knowledge, his integrity, his leadership and his compassion.

 Cindy Kennedy was named clinical employee of the year. Kennedy is a patient care technician at Sanford Fargo Medical Center. Kennedy received the award because she constantly looks for new and innovative ideas to improve patient care and employee satisfaction, including ensuring patients understand their care plans and coordinating staff education.

 Mary Neiss was named management employee of the year. Neiss is a manger in health care environmental services. She has been employed with Sanford for 12 years. In her role, she oversees a team that processes about 7 million pounds of linen each year for 67 Sanford sites, clinics and hospitals and 18 non-Sanford customers. Mary genuinely enjoys working with people, understanding their challenges and identifying solutions to solve those challenges in a systematic way.

 David Lampl was named support services employee of the year. Lampl is a lead groundskeeper, serving all Sanford locations in the Fargo-Moorhead area and neighboring network clinics. David not only loves his job, but is so driven he will literally stop at nothing to ensure walking paths are clear and grounds are in good order for our patients and employees. Last winter, as the area was pounded with heavy snow that crippled the area, Lampl and his team ensured Sanford Health’s clinic and medical center locations were able to remain open and operational – even transporting critically-needed employees who would not have been able to travel to work safely.

Two employees in East Grand Forks, Minnesota, received Sanford Health Network awards:

 Casey Naastad was named Sanford Health Network Clinical Employee of the Year. She is the manager for the Sanford East Grand Forks Clinic. Naastad was nominated for her focus on patient and work safety, nursing care, leadership and her contribution to the growth of the family medicine and specialty clinics.


 Katie Gavere was named Sanford Health Network Employee of the Year. She is a clinical care leader for the Sanford East Grand Forks Clinic. Gavere works collaboratively with physicians and mid-level providers to support their practices and provides a team approach to care. She consistently advances ideas for workflow improvement and quality initiatives.