HomeLatest NewsConvention SpotlightNine People Honored During 2022 SDAHO Distinguished Service Award Ceremony

Nine People Honored During 2022 SDAHO Distinguished Service Award Ceremony

The South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations (SDAHO) celebrated it’s 96th annual convention September 21-23, 2022 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. During the celebration, an award luncheon was held to recognize recipients of affiliate society awards, in addition to SDAHO’s own Distinguished Service Awards (DSA). Recipients of the DSA awards are nominated by their peers for their dedication to the healthcare profession and who have or continue to make a difference in the healthcare world.


The Healthcare Hero of the Year was presented to Lynette Nelson, LPN – Mobridge Regional Hospital and Clinics. Lynette joined Mobridge Regional Hospital and Clinics in August 1975, and is recognized by her peers and teammates as one of the finest Licensed Nurse Practitioners within South Dakota. Lynette has been providing care for over four decades and is recognized as a superb clinician and respected for her knowledge and patient care techniques.

Tim Rave and Lynette Nelson

The Healthcare Professional of the Year, was presented to Dr. David Basel with Avera Medical Group. Dr. Basel is the Vice President of Clinical Quality with Avera. While he is a trusted practitioner in the specialties of internal medicine and pediatrics, he also spends a day each week in a clinic in Harrisburg, SD.

Dr. Basel has taken his concern for patients to a higher level in order to have a greater impact through population health and quality initiatives through his role with the Avera Medical Group. He has brought great attention to detail as he focuses on advance goals for improved clinical quality across the Avera system of 300 locations and 1,200 medical providers.

Tim Rave and  Dr. David Basel

The Trustee of the Year Award was presented to Dr. Donald Warne, a board member with Monument Health, for the past seven years.

Dr. Donald Warne’s work experience includes several years as a primary care and integrative medicine physician, staff clinician, health researcher and director in health programs across the country. He serves as the Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Chair of the Department of Indigenous Health at the University of North Dakota. He has conducted diabetes research and developed diabetes education and prevention programs in partnership with tribes along with many other publications.


The Media Personality Award to Jodi Schwan with Sioux Falls Business. Ms. Schwan has demonstrated her commitment to getting the facts and understanding the story.

She has earned a leadership role in presenting a healthier community initiative to the leaders within Sioux Falls.  She has promoted health care organizations, the people who work there, the technology, and most importantly, she’s promoted the quality and safety of care provided to those in need.

Tim Rave and Jodi Schwan

Denise Buchholz, Director of the Scotchman Living Center in Philip, South Dakota was presented the Post Acute Care Champion Award.  Denise demonstrates leadership daily, and has an “open office door policy” should any issues/concerns arise.

Those who work alongside Denise say, she weekly goes room to room checking for tidiness and cleanliness of not only the offices and nurses station, but also resident rooms to decrease the risks of falls, and upset family members or residents.

During the Covid pandemic, Denise worked early mornings and late nights setting up personal protection equipment (PPE) tables, consistently communicated with staff and families, and cared for the residents. Denise purchased meals for the staff, placed positive quotes around the facility and used the radios to help lift up staff as often as she could.  Before, during, and after the pandemic, Denise continues lending a hand wherever is needed.

Tim Rave and Denise Buchholz

The State Legislator of 2022 Award,  went to State Senator Wayne Steinhauer. Senator Steinhauer represents district 9, which serves Hartford, Humboldt, Crooks and North West Sioux Falls.

The Senator was appointed to the House of Representatives by Governor Daugaard in late 2015 and was then elected to the office in the fall of 2016. He would then run for the South Dakota Senate, where he serves as the Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

Since his appointment in 2015, Senator Wayne Steinhauer has shown a passion to understand and address the issues that face South Dakota. Healthcare has continued to be an area of focus for him, particularly in the long-term care industry as he was one of the  key legislators who championed nursing facility Medicaid rate increases at a critical point in time to prevent further closures.


The State Official of the Year was presented to, Dr. Brian Maher, Executive Director of the South Dakota Board of Regents. During these past two years of uncertainty and disruptions due to the pandemic Dr. Maher has made tremendous progress in removing barriers for students to enroll in pre-nursing, nursing and other healthcare degree programs. The healthcare community applauds Dr. Maher for his partnership with healthcare organizations and his commitment to higher education and dedication to produce more high-demand healthcare graduates in South Dakota.

Tim Rave and Dr. Brian Maher

Rachel Wagemann, Executive Director of Oncology for Sanford Health Sioux Falls was presented with the SDAHO Young Professional Under 40 Award.

Rachel began her career as a licensed practical nurse and then transitioned to informational technology. From a system IT analyst to an EMR improvement specialist, Rachel moved her way through the leadership structure and became the regional information officer at the Avera Heart Hospital. She was then recruited and became the Sanford Health Sioux Falls technology solution business partner. Her ability to communicate at all levels within her organization and her fearless approach to take on assignments or tasks that required a seasoned executive continues to impress those who work with her.

Tim Rave and Rachel Wagemann

SDAHO honored Dr. Luann Eidsness with the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr. Eidsness has over 35 years of experience in the medical field specializing in internal medicine, hospice and palliative medicine.  She is one of the original members of LifeCircle South Dakota which began in 1999 at Sanford School of Medicine as the partnership for improving end of life care in South Dakota.  In 2006, the group was renamed LifeCircle of South Dakota.  Under Dr. Eidsness’ leadership and collaborative approach, LifeCircle has accomplished many goals to support the group’s mission- advocating on behalf of South Dakotans to improve quality of care at the end of life.   Some of these milestones include the interdisciplinary palliative care seminar through the University of South Dakota, “South Dakota’s Dying to Know” research, MOST legislation, and the Crisis Standards of Care for the state of South Dakota along with providing countless hours of continuing education on hospice and palliative care.

Tim Rave, Dr. Luann Eidsness, and Tammy Hatting

Congratulations to all of this 2022 SDAHO DSA recipients. 

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