23 people at HealthPartners to know
These colleagues and volunteers make a big difference for our patients, members and community. Meet them and find out how they make good happen.
Our colleagues at HealthPartners are 25,000 people who believe in the power of good. It’s our passion, culture and in our DNA. The individuals we work with go above and beyond, and each year we’re so proud to show how. Here’s a sampling of some of the truly special people that we got to know in 2017:
1. HealthPartners and Regions Hospital volunteer Randé Tomas
The HealthPartners Neuroscience Center was designed so that natural sunlight fills the inside. But the building gets even brighter on days former professional dancer Randé Tomas is there volunteering.
2. Park Nicollet nurse supervisor Kelly Maciej, RN
Kelly Maciej is a colleague who takes living the HealthPartners value of compassion to the next level. When a patient at our Women’s Services Clinic in Burnsville said she was homeless, Kelly immediately changed into scrubs and gave the patient her own skirt and top.
3. Hudson Hospital & Clinic and Westfields Hospital & Clinic therapy dog Finnegan (and his owner Bob Molenda)
OK, Finnegan’s not a person per se, but he has made more than 350 hospital visits since he started volunteering with HealthPartners’ pet therapy program in 2011! Finnegan’s special talent is working with kids and people with disabilities, and the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association named him their Companion Animal of the Year.
4. HealthPartners Diversity & Inclusion director Shamayne Braman
Shamayne Braman began leading HealthPartners’ diversity and inclusion efforts in June 2017. She believes relationships are the most important vehicle that can transform an organization or community, and says a question she asks herself a lot is, “Am I working to create the kind of environment where the communities I serve would really thrive?”
5. Park Nicollet family medicine physician Eduardo Medina, MD, MPH
When Hurricane Maria hit in September 2017 bringing widespread devastation to Puerto Rico, there was no doubt in Dr. Eduardo Medina’s mind that he had to help. With the help of his colleagues at Park Nicollet and Methodist Hospital, he was able to embark on a trip to provide relief across the island that is so near and dear to his heart.
6. Regions Hospital ICU nurse Emily Druffner, RN
As a nurse, Emily Druffner believes she is never really off-duty. So when a man collapsed in a pew behind her at church, she sprang into action to perform CPR – an act that earned her a Lifesaving Award from the Bayport Police Department.
7. Park Nicollet nurse Jamie Whitehead, RN
Jamie Whitehead is compassionate and has a knack for connecting with just about anyone she meets. She gives her patients at Park Nicollet Heart and Vascular Center the royal treatment – and was even crowned Miss Minnesota United States in 2017!
8. Regions Hospital speech language pathologist Evan Page, CCC-SLP
In honor of his stepmother and many of his patients, Evan Page biked 3,160 miles in 51 days to raise awareness for lesser known dementias. Evan gave the money he raised through the bike ride to the HealthPartners Center for Memory & Aging to support a clinical trial treatment for patients with fronto-temporal dementia.
9. HealthPartners Institute colleague and oncology nurse Ann Deshler, RN
Fighting cancer is Ann Deshler’s life. She works in cancer research administration at HealthPartners Institute. And outside of work, she was a driving force in the movement to get the City of Edina to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco to 21.
10. Regions Hospital Emergency Room technician Jeff Loeks
Most couples just need to get a marriage license before their wedding. But Jeff Loeks and his fiancée said they first needed to collect 3,800 pounds of food for kids in need, too.
11. HealthPartners Information Systems colleagues Tim Hunecke and Todd Quist
These HealthPartners colleagues had a milestone year in 2017 when it comes to saving our planet! They celebrated 28 years of carpooling this year – and are great examples of our organization’s commitment to sustainability. Tim and Todd both live in Hastings and commute together daily to the HealthPartners corporate office in Bloomington. Each says he’s made a great friend in the other through this routine – and saved thousands of dollars.
12. Lakeview Hospital nurse Alyce Brekke, RN
Alyce Brekke started a knitting group at Lakeview Hospital and Stillwater Medical Group to create soft and light-weight breast prostheses for breast cancer survivors. Funded with Lakeview Foundation support, the “knitted knockers” are offered free of charge to any patient who has had a mastectomy.
13. HealthPartners chiropractor Charles Hausman, DC
Dr. Charles Hausman is a chiropractor with HealthPartners RiverWay Clinic in Anoka – and a team doctor for the Cannondale-Drapac Cycling Team. In 2017, he traveled to Europe with the team for the Tour de France, and got a shoutout for helping the cyclists win one of the stages in the race!
14. HealthPartners volunteers Wade Owens, Heidi Marie Jurgens and Michael Welsh
This dynamic trio of volunteers got connected with our organization through Partnership Resources, Inc., a local non-profit that matches individuals with developmental disabilities with places where they can play a respected and valued role in their community. They’ve now been helping out with a variety of projects at the HealthPartners corporate office for 3 years!
15. Park Nicollet endocrinologist David Tridgell, MD
When he was 15, Dr. David Tridgell was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes himself. He takes insulin injections every day and has seen the cost of the medication skyrocket over the last decade to a price that’s now unaffordable to many of his patients. Because of that, he’s taking a lead role in advocating for lower prescription drug costs.
16. HealthPartners patient account representative Katie Kocherer
HealthPartners is committed to helping moms-to-be have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies. And because of that, we are a proud supporter of the March of Dimes and its research, education and care. When our colleague Katie Kocherer’s twin boys were born 12 weeks early, they were no bigger than bottles of pop. She shared her story to help explain why our organization’s participation in the March for Babies is so important.
17. Park Nicollet OB-GYN Deb Thorp, MD
Dr. Deb Thorp has been seeing LGBTQ patients for more than 25 years at Methodist Hospital and the Park Nicollet Gender Services Clinic. It’s her goal to improve care and eliminate barriers for this diverse community and others. And because of that, she actively helps cultivate a more accepting health care system by educating other medical professionals.
18. HealthPartners ear, nose and throat surgeon Brigadier General David Hamlar, MD
Dr. David Hamlar is part of the National Guard and has worked at Regions Hospital since 1995. During that time, he’s been deployed more than 6 times. To recognize his community leadership, the Minnesota Humanities Center honored him with a Veterans’ Voices Award.
19. virtuwell nurse practitioner Gwen Verchota, PhD, APRN-BC
Gwen Verchota is our lead nurse practitioner for virtuwell.com, and a working mom. Yet somehow, she also found enough spare time to earn her PhD. Inspired by her past work with kids with type 1 diabetes, she decided to research adolescents with that autoimmune disease and her findings are now published in a well-respected, peer-reviewed journal.
20. HealthPartners intern Alma Godinez
Alma Godinez, a high school senior, interned at our HealthPartners Specialty Center and with our Sustainability team through the STEP-UP Achieve program. The program connects Minneapolis youth ages 16-21 with paid internships, and Alma applied because she wanted to learn more about health care and hopes to one day be a midwife.
21. Lakeview Hospital volunteers Barbara Dahlke and Janet Roderick
Barbara Dahlke and Janet Roderick have provided warm welcomes to Lakeview Hospital’s patients and visitors for a combined 76 years. The two were honored for their service over National Volunteer Week, and took some time to describe what the hospital was like when they first started helping out decades ago.
22. Park Nicollet pediatrician Anne Edwards, MD, FAAP
Dr. Anne Edwards is a passionate advocate for children. She was a co-chair of HealthPartners’ Children’s Health Initiative and a key champion of our message that children’s health starts in families, neighborhoods and schools. And in February 2017, Dr. Edwards was named a Senior Vice President for the American Academy of Pediatrics.
23. HealthPartners President and CEO Andrea Walsh
Andrea Walsh was named our organization’s president and CEO in June 2017 when Mary Brainerd retired. Before taking over the CEO spot, Andrea had served nearly 15 years as our chief marketing officer, and has been a senior leader with HealthPartners since 1994. She is also very involved in community work across the Twin Cities.