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  • Avera Heart Hospital Receives Harvard University Award

Published on September 26, 2012

Sioux Falls Fire Rescue and Avera Heart Hospital Program Receives Award From Harvard University

A program created by Sioux Falls Fire Rescue and the Avera Heart Hospital is one of the proud recipients of the prestigious 2012 Harvard University Kennedy School of Government Ash Institute’s Bright Ideas Award. The award recognizes the public access defibrillator (PAD) program as one of the Bright Ideas winners.

Fire Chief Jim Sideras said, “This award gives the opportunity for other communities to learn from us and build a successful PAD program more quickly and help save lives.” The program has placed over 1,200 easy-to-use public access defibrillators in the community.

The Avera Heart Hospital offers the AED’s at no profit to the hospital. “We started this program in 2003 because we wanted to spread the message about AED’s and CPR. Now, these defibrillators are saving the lives of our friends in the community,” said Jon Soderholm, CEO of the Avera Heart Hospital.

The concept of the awards is to provide government agencies with a collection of new solutions that can be considered and adopted by other communities. This award serves to recognize promising government programs and partnerships that government officials, public servants, and others might find useful when faced with their own challenges.

This year’s recipients were chosen by a team of expert evaluators made up of academics, practitioners, and former public servants. Selected from a pool of almost a thousand applicants from across the country, Sioux Falls Fire Rescue’s program offers other organizations a turn-key approach to help solve a significant medical issue facing all communities. PADs are being used on a regular basis in Sioux Falls and have saved a number of lives.



The Avera Heart Hospital of South Dakota is the region's first hospital dedicated solely to the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. By focusing on the nation's number one killer, patients receive the benefits of advanced technology and personalized services focused on their individual needs. The hospital is a cooperative venture between Avera McKennan and North Central Heart Institute.