Foundation board: An important piece of the puzzle

March 23, 2018

Meet the Sioux Falls Sanford Health Foundation board of directors, and find out more about what they do for our organization.

One of the many strengths of the Sanford Health Foundation is our dedicated board of directors. The women and men who serve on our board set the course for our organization and represent our donors, volunteers and the patients we help.

The board of directors is made up of recognized leaders across many areas of expertise. As volunteer board members, they contribute significant amounts of personal time, talent and energy to further the mission of the organization.

This dedicated group provides direction and advises the Foundation towards a sustainable future. They also help identify fundraising opportunities and truly are an extension of the Foundation staff.

“Our board of directors is a vital part of our organization,” said Bobbie Tibbetts, vice president of the Sanford Health Foundation. “They are our best brand ambassadors in the community, volunteer so much of their time to ensure our success and are so important to our team.”

One of their many duties is reviewing and formally voting on unrestricted grant requests. During a recent meeting, the board approved funding for the Coordination of Rare Diseases at Sanford (CoRDS) registry.


Funding worthy causes

Because most physicians are not exposed to large numbers of rare disease patients, their knowledge of how best to treat these diseases, and determine their prognoses, can be incomplete.

These gaps in medical understanding are an obstacle for research efforts designed to improve the outlook of patients with rare diseases.

In 2010, Dr. David Pearce, executive vice president of innovation and research at Sanford Health, founded the Coordination of Rare Diseases at Sanford (CoRDS), a registry that serves as a central resource for data on rare diseases with the goal of accelerating research related to their treatment.

“Rare diseases deeply impact individuals and their families,” Dr. Pearce said. “When researchers, health care providers and individuals affected by rare diseases are connected through a central resource like CoRDS, we can look forward to real change in the field.”

CoRDS is free for patients to enroll and for researchers to access. Currently, however, the database is only available in English. Non-English-speaking participants must enlist the services of an interpreter to complete enrollment in the registry.

The Foundation board of directors recently allocated unrestricted funds to CoRDS to help provide translations of the registry into Spanish and Portuguese, allowing for increased patient participation in Latin America. The translation and integration with the database is expected to take up to 1,850 hours and about six months to complete.

The board saw the potential for this funding to make a real difference in helping advance treatments and cures for rare diseases. Expanding the language capabilities of CoRDS will allow millions more rare disease patients to participate in the CoRDS registry and could open new research opportunities across the globe.


Meet our 2017-2018 board of directors

Kristen Zueger
Board Chair
Van Buskirk Companies, commercial investment brokerage

Al Schoeneman
Vice Chair
Schoeneman’s, owner/president

Ed Evans
Evans Haigh and Hinton LLC, managing partner

Mark Gath
Gath Farms, owner

Nick Garry, MS,CPA/PFS
Garry Private Wealth Resources, LLC., owner

John Paulson
Retired health care administrator

Julie Anderson
Retired teacher

Keith Hansen, MD
Sanford Women’s Health, physician

Marva McMillen
Midwest Alarm, CEO/owner

Dick Bohy

Mike Jerstad
Prairiegold Venture Partners, partner

Michelle Micka
Sanford Health, senior vice president of finance

Ken Stork

Dan Kirby
Kirby Financial, LLC, owner

Kelby Krabbenhoft
Sanford Health, president/CEO

Mary Jo Murray
Community volunteer

Larry Toll

Amy Kusmak
Community volunteer

Dr. Jim Oakland

Chris Thorkelson
Lloyd Companies, president/CEO

Tom Everist
The Everist Company, CEO

Dr. Beth Lapka
Sanford Health, physician

Dr. Steven Powell
Sanford Health, physician

Suzanne Veenis
Community volunteer