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Avera Rural Health Institute

Contact Us

Avera Rural Health
3900 West Avera Drive Suite 100
Sioux Falls, SD 57108

Phone: 605-322-4700

Email: Avera Rural Health

The Avera Rural Health Institute’s focus is to collaborate with community leaders and other agencies to find solutions to challenges that affect rural health care:

  • Educational programs
  • Community health planning
  • Consulting
  • Economic development
  • Leadership development
  • Grant writing
  • Resource identification

The Avera Rural Health Institute serves all facilities with an Avera affiliation and may be contacted for a variety of topics concerning funding opportunities, project development, strategic planning, community health surveys, grant writing and grant application assistance and more.

Looking for Funding?

Complete the form on the following page as thoroughly as possible.The grant department will contact you as soon as possible regarding your request.

Grant Opportunities

The following grant opportunities have fast approaching deadlines. Please apply soon.

Nursing Workforce Diversity Program

Funder: Health Resources Service Administration (HRSA)

Purpose: The Nursing Workforce Diversity Program increases nursing education opportunities for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities that are underrepresented among registered nurses by using social determinants to guide the selection of evidence-based approaches that have been successful in retaining students from disadvantaged backgrounds in schools of nursing.

Eligibility: Accredited schools of nursing, nursing centers, academic health centers and state or local governments. Faith-based organizations, community-based organizations and tribes and tribal organizations that are otherwise eligible can apply for these funds

Deadline: Nov. 16, 2015

More Details

Rural Initiative Program

Funder: Laura Jane Musser Fund

Purpose: To encourage collaborative and participatory efforts among citizens in rural communities that will help to strengthen their towns and regions in a number of civic areas including, but not limited to, economic development, business preservation, arts and humanities, public space improvements and education.

Eligibility: Nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations or local units of government in Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota and Wyoming.

Amount: Up to $25,000

Deadline: Nov. 6, 2015

More Details

Small Health Care Provider Quality Improvement

Funder: Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA)

Purpose: To provide support to rural primary care providers for the implementation of quality improvement activities. The ultimate goal of the program is to promote the development of an evidence-based culture and delivery of coordinated care in the primary care setting. Additional objectives of the program include improved health outcomes for patients, enhanced chronic disease management and better engagement of patients and their caregivers.

Eligibility: Public and non-profit organizations located in a rural county or eligible rural census tract within an urban county.

Amount: $150,000 per year for three years

Deadline: Anticipated fall 2015/winter 2016

More Details

What We Do

Grant Writing

The Avera Rural Health grant writers can help communities identify possible grant opportunities as well as coordinate and write grant proposals. Avera Rural Health has wide experience with federal, state and private grant sources, and has secured grant funding for rural health providers in amounts ranging from $5,000 to as large as $14.5 million. Avera Rural Health can coordinate the efforts of several grant applicants if it appears that a group approach will have greater funding success. Avera Rural Health can also assist communities in program management or evaluation once a grant has been awarded.

Policy and Advocacy

Through membership in the National Rural Health Association and in cooperation with the Avera Center for Public Policy, Avera Rural Health monitors rural health policy developments and promotes legislation that will benefit rural communities and fosters relationships with national rural stakeholder organizations.

Strategic Planning

Community Assessments, Planning and Development

Farm Safety Day Camps

The Avera Rural Health Institute, in cooperation with South Dakota Cares, Inc. and the South Dakota State University Cooperative Extension Services, annually sponsors dozens of farm safety day camps in communities throughout the region. More than 25,000 children ages 5 to 15 have attended the Save Our Farm Youth (SOFY) day camps since the program began in 1995.

Customized Services

In addition to the programs and services listed here, Avera Rural Health is open to helping rural community leaders with other projects. Avera Rural Health’s vision is to remain flexible enough to respond to particular needs at a particular time and place, and the Avera Rural Health staff welcomes the opportunity to help leaders find the resources they need.

Funders We Have Experience With


    • United States Dept. of Agriculture
    • United States Dept. of Health and Human Services
    • Health Resources Services Administration
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
    • National Institute of Health


    • Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust
    • Otto Bremer Foundation
    • Wellmark Foundation
    • Susan G. Koman for the Cure
    • Avon Foundation for Women
    • American Cancer Society
    • The Kresge Foundation
    • W.K. Kellogg Foundation
    • Cardinal Health
    • Land O’Lakes Foundation
    • Verizon Foundation
    • Bush Foundation


    • State Departments of Health for South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa and others

Who we work with/Partnerships

    • Avera facilities
    • Other healthcare providers
    • Community service or action organizations
    • Health collaborations
    • Community/public health entities
    • And others

Rural Health Conference

Rural Health Conference

Avera Rural Health offers a bi-annual fall conference that brings national leaders and speakers together with local voices in rural health care to our region. The Avera Rural Health Conference offers informational topics concerning health care, community and economic development, public policy, developing local leadership and more.


Rachael Sherard

Senior Vice President Rural Health Services
Phone: 605-322-4725
Fax: 605-322-4798

John Neth
Director of Grant Compliance and Financial Reporting
Phone: 605-322-4588
Fax: 605-322-4522

JR LaPlante
Director of Tribal Relations
Phone: 605-322-6347
Fax: 605-322-4799

Deanna (Dede) Parker
Grant Writer II
Phone: 605-322-4654
Fax: 605-322-4522

Janna Farley
Grant Writer II
Phone: 605-322-4741
Fax: 605-322-4522

Matt Crosby
Grant Writer II
Phone: 605-322-4657
Fax: 605-322-4522

Erin Williams
Financial Analyst
Phone: 605-322-4721
Fax: 605-322-4522