Meet Our Boards & Senior Leaders
Sanford Health leadership drives us to improve, to heal, and to cure. Three main teams make up our leadership:
- Board of Trustees members are volunteers. This dedicated group of community leaders has strategic responsibility for activities affecting the entire organization and fulfillment of our mission across our system.
- Executive Leadership members, as corporate officers of Sanford Health, are accountable to the Board of Trustees for fulfillment of the mission of our nonprofit organization.
Board of Trustees
Co-Founder/President & CEO, Align
CEO & Founder, ActivLife Solutions
Retired CEO, TMI Hospitality, Inc.
Former Professional Golfer
Robin Smith, MD
Robin Smith, MD
President and Chair, Stem for Life Foundation
New York, NY
Sales General Manager, Perficient
President & CEO
Maria Bell, MD
Maria Bell, MD
Sanford Cancer Center
Sioux Falls, SD
KeyBanc Capital Markets
Director of communications, PR and IT
Capital Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Chief Banking Officer
Security First Bank
Rapid City, SD
Donald "Jake" Jacobs
Donald "Jake" Jacobs
Market Manager/VP, Townsquare Media
Sioux Falls, SD
Mark Lundeen, MD
Mark Lundeen, MD
Sanford Orthopedics & Sports Medicine
Mark Paulson, MD
Mark Paulson, MD
Perham Health Clinic
Bill Gassen, President & Chief Executive Officer
Bill Gassen marked his appointment to president and CEO of Sanford Health in November 2020 by committing the organization to three pillars: Patients, people and communities. This focus has allowed the system to become a model of integrated health care that covers the lifespan.
Gassen leads a workforce of more than 46,000 that cares for patients and residents across 26 states and 10 countries.
Before his elevation to president and CEO, Gassen served as chief administrative officer. He began his career at Sanford Health in 2012 as corporate counsel and transitioned to the human resources department two years later as vice president of human resource integration. Gassen also spent four years in private legal practice.
A former all-America nose guard in football, conference shot put champion in track and field and multiple Academic all-North Central Conference honoree, Gassen holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a law degree, both from the University of South Dakota.
Gassen and his wife, Jill, have five children.
Michelle Bruhn, Executive Vice President Chief Financial Officer & Treasurer
As Sanford Health’s executive vice president and chief financial officer and treasurer, Michelle Bruhn is responsible for Sanford Health’s financial strategy and operations, investments, asset management, and business development and innovation efforts.
Bruhn joined Sanford Health in 1999 after nearly a decade in public accounting, focused on the hospitality, health care and nonprofit sectors. She has held various financial and operational leadership positions within Sanford, most recently serving as system vice president of health services operations, where she drove clinical, operational and financial performance to deliver high-quality affordable care to the communities and patients served.
Bruhn holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration from the University of South Dakota. She is a certified public accountant and a member of various industry associations, and currently serves on the board of the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Bruhn and her husband, Dave, have one son, Cole.
Jennifer Grennan, JD, Executive Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer
As officer, Jennifer Grennan, JD, is responsible for human resources, legal, risk, compliance and government affairs. She joined Sanford Health in 2009 and has held multiple positions in the organization’s legal department, including chief legal officer and vice president of legal.
Grennan, a Sioux Falls native, holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a juris doctor from the Creighton University School of Law.
Grennan lives in Sioux Falls with her husband, David.
Matt Hocks, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
Matt Hocks, Sanford Health’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, is responsible for the successful planning and implementation of operational and strategic goals.
Hocks graduated from the University of South Dakota in 2002 with a Master of Business Administration degree with a specialization in health services administration. He joined Sanford Health in 2004 and held various clinic director and vice president positions before assuming his current role in 2019.
Hocks and his wife, Rachel, live in Sioux Falls and have three children.
Nathan Peterson, Executive Vice President & Chief Strategy and Development Officer
Nathan Peterson serves as Sanford Health’s executive vice president and chief strategy and development officer, overseeing Sanford Health Plan and the system’s strategic planning, enterprise project management, data analytics, digital strategy, marketing, philanthropy and corporate governance functions.
Peterson began his career at Sanford Health in 2010 and has held multiple positions, including director of legislative affairs and enterprise vice president of marketing. Prior to joining Sanford Health, he was the managing director of a national political consulting and issues management firm based in Sioux Falls.
A retired member of the South Dakota Air National Guard who served in the military for more than 20 years, Peterson holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a Master of Business Administration, both from the University of South Dakota.
Peterson and his wife, Megan, live in Sioux Falls with their three children.
David Shulkin, MD, Executive Vice President & Strategic Advisor
Former Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, MD, offers his expertise in health care, government, technology and public health as executive vice president and strategic advisor to Sanford Health.
Shulkin is also a director on the Sanford International Board and serves as an ambassador for Sanford Health for its many domestic and international projects.
Prior to serving as Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Shulkin was the leader of the largest integrated health care system in the United States as the VA’s Under Secretary of Health. He has also served in CEO roles for the University of Pennsylvania Health System, Temple University Hospital and the Medical College of Pennsylvania Hospital.
Shulkin received his medical degree from the Medical College of Pennsylvania and is a board-certified internist. He completed an internship at Yale University School of Medicine and a residency and fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Presbyterian Medical Center.
Corey Brown, Vice President Government Affairs
Corey Brown, vice president of government affairs for Sanford Health, oversees the organization’s public policy activities at the state and federal levels.
A former South Dakota state senator and native of Gettysburg, Brown represented District 23 from 2009 to 2016, serving as majority leader, president pro tempore, assistant majority leader and chairman of the appropriations committee. He was actively involved in shaping policy related to Native American health, primary care, emergency medical services and medical licensing.
Brown joined Sanford Health in 2018 after working with his family owned insurance agency and serving as executive director of the Gettysburg/Whitlock Bay Development Corporation. He also spent a decade in the United States Navy, where he was an aviator and flight instructor and rose to the rank of lieutenant commander.
Brown holds a bachelor’s degree in government and international relations from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s in international business from the University of San Diego.
He lives in Sioux Fall with his wife, Karen, and their four children.
Jeremy Cauwels, MD, Chief Physician
Jeremy Cauwels, MD, FACP, FHM, serves as Sanford Health’s chief physician. In this role, he represents physician interests to the executive leadership team and Board of Trustees. He also chairs the quality cabinet, champions the system’s effort to become a highly reliable organization and oversees enterprise aspects of the medical staff.
Prior to his appointment to chief physician in 2021, Cauwels led safety, quality and patient experience as senior vice president of quality. He also served as vice president and chief medical officer for Sanford Health Plan. Cauwels started with Sanford Health as a hospitalist in Sioux Falls in 2006, was promoted to director of the group and eventually became Sanford USD Medical Center’s chief of staff.
Born in South Dakota and raised in northwest Iowa, Cauwels has bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and biology from the University of Northern Iowa and a medical degree from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. He completed his residency and a chief resident year at the University of Kansas in Kansas City, Kansas. Cauwels is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the Society of Hospital Medicine.
Cauwels and his wife, Teresa, live in Sioux Falls with their three children
Erica C. DeBoer, Chief Nursing Officer
Erica DeBoer, RN, MA, CCRN-K, CNL, serves as Sanford Health’s chief nursing officer. A member of the organization’s executive leadership team, DeBoer provides clinical expertise for Sanford Health’s work in quality, safety, research and care management. She also oversees the integration of clinical initiatives.
DeBoer has more than 20 years of experience as a front-line registered nurse, including roles in critical care, clinical leadership and education. She most recently served as Sanford Health’s senior executive director of nursing and clinical services and clinical informatics. DeBoer has also served as adjunct faculty for nursing programs at South Dakota State University and the University of Sioux Falls.
Active in several professional associations, DeBoer holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from South Dakota State University and a master’s degree in nursing from Augustana University.
DeBoer resides in Lennox, South Dakota, with her husband, Shane, and their two children.
Luis Garcia, MD, President, Sanford Clinic
Luis Garcia, MD, serves as the president of Sanford Health’s clinic division, overseeing governance, mergers and acquisitions, and overall clinic integration.
Garcia has been with Sanford Health in Fargo since 2002 (when it was MeritCare) and is a board-certified surgeon who specializes in advanced laparoscopic and bariatric surgeries. He was born and raised in Mexico City, where he also attended medical school at LaSalle University. Garcia completed his general surgery residency at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences and did a mini-fellowship in bariatric surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He also holds a Health Care Master of Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota).
Garcia and his wife, Greta, have four children.
Paul Hanson, President & CEO, Sanford Sioux Falls
As president and CEO of Sanford Sioux Falls, Paul Hanson leads Sanford Health’s Sioux Falls market and network operations for facilities in South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska. He also works closely with enterprise resources to coordinate corporate initiatives with local operational priorities.
Hanson began his career with Sanford Health at a managed facility in Watertown, South Dakota, in 2000. In 2011, he coordinated Sanford Health’s merger with North Country Health Services in Bemidji, Minnesota. He served as the president of Sanford Bemidji from the time of the merger through 2013 and before being named president of Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls.
A graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, Hanson graduated with double majors in business administration with an emphasis in hospital administration and social work with an emphasis in long-term care administration. Hanson also holds a master’s degree in health care administration from the University of Colorado.
Hanson has received the American College of Healthcare Executives Regent’s Award for Outstanding Healthcare Executive and is also a fellow in that organization.
Hanson currently serves on the boards of South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations, the State of South Dakota Chamber of Commerce, Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce, University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine, University of South Dakota Discovery District, Forward Sioux Falls Economic Development and the Sioux Falls Downtown Rotary Club. He is also a member of special task forces associated with local economic development and Augustana University.
Hanson and his wife, Paige, have four children and two grandchildren.
Susan Jarvis, President & CEO, Sanford Bemidji
Susan Jarvis, president and CEO of Sanford Bemidji, oversees Sanford Health’s Bemidji market in northern Minnesota.
Jarvis has held several executive leadership roles since joining Sanford Health in 2010. Prior to her promotion to the top post in Bemidji, she served as Sanford Fargo’s vice president of operations, helping open that region’s new $500 million medical center in 2017. Jarvis began her tenure with the organization as Fargo’s executive director of emergency and trauma services where she the led her facility to Level I Trauma designation.
Prior to Sanford Health, Jarvis was the administrative director of emergency services for Mission Hospitals and Health System in Asheville, North Carolina.
Jarvis holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Saint Francis and a master’s degree in Nursing from the University of Phoenix.
She and her husband, Ed, live in Bemidji and have two grown daughters
Kent Lehr, Chief Business Development Officer
Kent Lehr, chief business development officer, oversees Sanford Health’s business development strategy, growth initiatives, innovative partnerships and commercialization efforts.
Lehr joined Sanford Health in 2020 after a decade-long career with UnityPoint Health, where he started as an administrative fellow before holding several leadership positions in strategic growth and business development. He most recently served as UnityPoint Health’s vice president of strategy and business development.
A native of Des Moines, Iowa, Lehr holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from Cornell College (Iowa) and a Master of Business Administration and Master of Health Administration from the University of Iowa
Michael LeBeau, MD, System Vice President, Chief of Health Services Operations
Michael LeBeau, MD, serves as Sanford Health’s system vice president and chief of health services operations.
LeBeau has been with Sanford Health for more than 10 years and started with the organization as a nephrologist. Prior to his current role, he served on the Sanford Health Board of Trustees,as vice president of clinics, and as president and CEO of the Bismarck region.
A graduate of the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences, LeBeau completed his residency in internal medicine at Gunderson Lutheran Medical Foundation in La Crosse, Wis. He also completed a nephrology fellowship at the University of Iowa and is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. He currently serves on the University of North Dakota Foundation Board of Directors and Bismarck State College Foundation Board.
LeBeau and his wife, Michelle, have five children.
Deb Koski, Chief Philanthropy Officer
Deb Koski serves as Sanford Health’s chief philanthropy officer, overseeing all philanthropic strategies and initiatives across Sanford’s system of care, including the Good Samaritan Society.
Koski joined the Sanford Health Foundation in 2004 and most recently served as system executive director for the foundation. She has led teams responsible for every aspect of fundraising, including planned, major and annual giving; donor stewardship; volunteer management; special events; finance; data analytics; gift processing and marketing.
Koski holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from the University of South Dakota and a certification in healthcare fundraising management from the University of Wisconsin – Madison; she has also achieved the professional designation of certified fundraising executive (CFRE), and is a dedicated volunteer in her community.
Koski and her husband, Sheldon, live in Sioux Falls, S.D. They have two teenage sons, Preston and Keaton.
Bryan Nermoe, President & CEO, Sanford Fargo
As president and CEO of Sanford Fargo, Bryan Nermoe is responsible for the management and operations of the Fargo market for Sanford Health.
Nermoe has more than 20 years of experience in the health care industry as a leader in multi-specialty group practice, integrated health systems strategy, planning, development and operations. He joined Sanford Health in 2008 and has held the roles of chief operating officer for Sanford Clinic’s Sioux Falls region, enterprise vice president of population health strategy and enterprise services and president of Sanford Bemidji. He became president of Sanford Fargo in 2019.
Nermoe has a bachelor’s degree in health care administration from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. He and his wife, Katie, have two children.
David A. Pearce, PhD, President, Innovation, Research and Sanford World Clinic
As Sanford Health’s president of innovation, research and Sanford World Clinic, David A. Pearce, PhD, oversees the organization’s research activities and global clinic initiative. He is responsible for 450 researchers, eight research centers, more than 300 ongoing clinical trials and the commercialization of select research strategies. Pearce also leads Sanford World Clinic and manages Sanford Health’s international relationships.
Pearce heads the leading lab studying juvenile Batten disease, and his research has led to the first clinical trial for children with this disease. He also manages a national registry for rare diseases known as the Coordination of Rare Diseases at Sanford, or CoRDS.
Pearce completed his bachelor’s degree with honors in biological sciences at Wolverhampton Polytechnic. He holds a doctorate from the University of Bath and did postdoctoral training at the University of Rochester and Oxford University.
He and his wife, Suzanne, have three children.
Brad Reimer, System Vice President, Chief Information Officer
Brad Reimer serves as Sanford Health’s chief information officer, responsible for all technology systems including patient-critical applications like Epic, Cloverleaf and Sectra PACS; business solutions like Workday, ServiceNow and productivity applications; and information security.
In his time at Sanford Health, Reimer has revamped the information security program; renewed the department’s focus on efficiencies, contracts and quality; and successfully positioned the system’s technical infrastructure for stability, agility and nimbleness, a critical component for success during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to joining Sanford in 2017, Reimer held leadership positions at DocuTAP and Wells Fargo.
Reimer holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of South Dakota. He and his wife, Salena, have three children.
Nate Schema, President & CEO, The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society
Nathan Schema serves as president and CEO of The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, leading the nation’s largest non-profit provider of senior care and services. He oversees the development and execution of organizational priorities, and in partnership with Sanford Health leadership, works to advance the integrated health care system.
Schema’s longstanding career with the Society began in 2006 as an administrator-in-training in Mountain Lake, Minnesota. He was a nursing home administrator at multiple Society locations, and also held positions as associate director of operations, regional executive director of operations and most recently, vice president of operations.
A native of Faribault, Minnesota, Schema holds a bachelor’s degree in health care administration from Concordia College (Minnesota) and a Master of Business Administration from Bellevue University.
Schema lives in Sioux Falls with his wife, Alex, and their two sons.
Todd Schaffer, MD, President & CEO, Sanford Bismarck
Todd Schaffer, MD, serves as president and CEO of Sanford Health’s Bismarck region, where he oversees health services and is responsible for the successful planning and implementation of operational and strategic goals.
Schaffer joined Sanford Health in 2014 as a family practitioner and walk-in clinic physician, becoming vice president of clinic in 2019. He holds a doctor of pharmacy degree with honors from North Dakota State University; a medical degree from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, where he graduated first in his class; and a master’s degree in strategic studies with distinguished honors from the United States Army War College.
In addition to his work with Sanford, Schaffer is a colonel in the North Dakota Army National Guard, serving as the State Surgeon. He also sits on the North Dakota Medical Association Board of Directors and is active in a number of other community organizations.
Dr. Schaffer and his wife, Erin, have four daughters and one grandson.
Robb Schlimgen, System Vice President & Chief Compliance Officer
Robb Schlimgen, system vice president and chief compliance officer for Sanford Health, oversees the organization’s compliance and privacy programs.
Schlimgen previously advised Sanford Health leadership on employment law issues and handled legal and compliance affairs for Sanford Health Plan. Prior to joining Sanford Health in 2016, he clerked for the South Dakota Supreme Court and and worked in private practice.
Schlimgen holds bachelor’s degrees in political science and accounting from the University of South Dakota and a law degree from the University of Minnesota School of Law.
He lives in Sioux Falls with his wife, Mary, and their son.
John Snyder, President, Sanford Health Plan
John Snyder, president of Sanford Health Plan, oversees all aspects of Sanford Health’s insurance arm, which serves members in South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and North Dakota. He develops managed-care products, payment models and integrated service-delivery strategies.
Snyder has more than 40 years of experience in health care. Before assuming duties as Sanford Health Plan’s top leader, he held dual roles as president and CEO of Health Alliance Medical Plans and executive vice president/system chief operating officer of Carle Health System. Snyder worked for Carle Health System for more than three decades in a variety of leadership positions in pharmacy, operations and health plan administration.
A native of Tennessee, Snyder holds a pharmacy degree from the St. Louis College of Pharmacy and a Master of Business Administration from Eastern Illinois University. He also completed an executive fellowship program through Northwestern University’s Kellogg Executive Program.
Steve Young, President, Sanford Sports
Steve Young, president of Sanford Sports, oversees Sanford Health’s expanding portfolio of services and facilities designed to develop and better understand today’s athlete through health services, training programs and research.
Sanford Sports includes the Sanford Sports Complex, Sanford POWER training, Sanford POWER academies, Sanford POWER Physical Therapy and the Sanford Sports Science Institute.
Young re-joined Sanford Health in 2017 as senior executive director of the system’s orthopedics and sports medicine service line. A physical therapist by trade, he practiced with Sanford Orthopedics and Sports Medicine from 2009 to 2013. Outside of Sanford Health, Young has held various leadership and physical therapy roles at clinics in Sioux Falls and Illinois.
A native of Custer, South Dakota, Young received his bachelor’s and Master of Physical Therapy degrees from the University of South Dakota. He is also fellowship trained through the Gray Institute and a certified strength and conditioning specialist.
Young and his wife, Tara, have four children.