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Published on July 08, 2020

Ekeren Named Interim President/CEO of Avera Queen of Peace Hospital

Doug EkerenBob Sutton, Avera Health President and CEO, announces that Doug Ekeren has been selected as the Interim Regional President and CEO of Avera Queen of Peace Hospital in Mitchell, S.D.

He will succeed Tom Clark, who was recently named Chief Strategy and Growth Officer for Avera Health. Clark will assume that role July 12, at which time Ekeren will begin his interim role at Avera Queen of Peace.

Ekeren is also the Regional President and CEO of Avera Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton and will continue to serve in that role alongside the new administrative duties at Avera Queen of Peace. It is anticipated that this will remain an interim position for 18 months in order to fully evaluate the effectiveness of the arrangement.

“Doug brings a wealth of experience, having served as the Regional President and CEO of Avera Sacred Heart Hospital since 2014 and spending more than two decades overall on that administrative team,” Sutton said. “He is a well-respected leader across our organization, and I know he will build on the success of Tom Clark in the Avera Queen of Peace region.”

In addition to Avera Queen of Peace Hospital, the Avera Queen of Peace region includes Avera St. Benedict Hospital in Parkston, Avera Weskota Memorial Hospital in Wessington Springs and Avera De Smet Memorial Hospital in De Smet.

During his time in Yankton, Ekeren has led efforts to build relationships with area critical access hospitals, including the purchase of two facilities and management of two others, carrying forth Avera’s goal of making sure access to quality health care is available throughout the region. He has also overseen numerous building projects that have grown Avera’s presence into several outreach locations.

Additionally, Ekeren is the administrative lead of Avera’s Long-Term Care Strategic Business Unit, Emergency Medicine Steering Committee and General Surgery Steering Committee.

He currently serves on the Make-A-Wish of South Dakota Board and the South Dakota Board of Technical Education.

“I am looking forward to working with our employees, providers and community members in the Mitchell area to meet the challenges health care faces today and in the future. The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us of the importance of public health and the roles we all play in it,” Ekeren said. “Avera is committed to providing quality services guided by Christian values in the communities we serve, and the pandemic has only sharpened our focus on the importance of our health care ministry.”

Avera has previously implemented a similar shared Regional President/CEO role between Avera St. Luke’s Hospital in Aberdeen and Avera St. Mary’s Hospital in Pierre. The organization will utilize the lessons learned from that experience to benefit this new arrangement between Mitchell and Yankton.

The Avera Queen of Peace and Avera Sacred Heart regions already successfully share several leadership positions, so further integration is a natural progression of these efforts. Overall, these measures reduce administrative costs while increasing span of control – things Avera Health believes are necessary to sustain the health care ministry began by the Benedictine and Presentation Sisters.

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