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The Freeman Regional Health Services (FRHS) Board of Directors announced in a press release Monday, Jan. 4 that Courtney Unruh has been named the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the health care facility.

“After reviewing 52 applications and four rounds of interviews, Courtney was selected as our top candidate,” said Lori Uecker, who chairs the FRHS board.

Unruh, a native of Freeman, has worked at FRHS for the past five years and has steadily expanded her responsibilities during that time. Unruh earned a bachelor of science in nursing from South Dakota State University and went on to earn a master of science in nursing from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Prior to joining the team in Freeman, she worked as a board certified adult gerontology clinical nurse specialist at HealthEast Care System (Fairview) in St. Paul, Minn., and spent nine years at St. John’s Hospital in Maplewood, Minn. in various clinical and management roles.

“The Board of Directors is very pleased to have Courtney leading FRHS into the future,” Uecker said. “Being able to hire someone from within the organization is a great advantage and will keep our various projects moving quickly and seamlessly.

FRHS officials say Unruh is “extremely familiar” with how the various components of FRHS health care services function together; her prior roles as director of nursing for Freeman Medical Center hospital and Oakview Terrace nursing home, followed by the position of Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) and her term as Co-Interim CEO have provided ample opportunities for her to lead throughout FRHS.

“I am honored to serve as CEO of FRHS at this exciting time for the organization,” Unruh said. “I look forward to working with the community as we explore new projects and new partnerships that will further improve care to those we serve.”

FRHS entered into a Partner in Health agreement with Avera in July 2020. Avera assisted FRHS with the search process and will continue to guide Unruh as she fulfils the FRHS CEO duties.

“Through our many partnerships across a 72,000-square-mile footprint, Avera’s strength is quality care, close to home,” said Curt Hohman, senior vice president of Managed Facilities for Avera. “Considering Avera’s long relationship with FRHS and as our new Partner in Health, we look forward to supporting Courtney in her new role and assisting her in carrying out the priorities of the FRHS Board of Directors,”

Unruh began actively serving as full-time CEO Jan. 1, 2021. She replaces Nick Brander, who retired in November.