About Us

Guided by a rich, faith-based heritage and focused on the future.
About Us

HealthEast Leadership

Enterprise leadership team

Kathryn Correia

Kathryn Correia

President and Chief Executive Officer

Kathryn was selected as president and CEO for HealthEast in 2012. An advocate for community health and well-being, she embraced the opportunity to help create a vision that would inspire the organization to see the future of health care through a new lens, thus was born "Optimal health and well-being for our patients, our communities and ourselves." The HealthEast Vision serves to engage and motivate employees, physicians and communities alike.

Kathryn’s previous leadership roles include president of Appleton Medical Center and Theda Clark Medical Center, and senior vice president of ThedaCare. Her experience and expertise using Lean methodology is successfully transforming health care delivery with the goal of seeing value through the eyes of our customers.

Kathryn takes pride in exploring innovative ideas and solutions to support the health and vitality of our communities.

Cathy Barr

Cathy Barr

Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Cathy brings more than 30 years of operational, strategic planning and senior leadership expertise to the role of chief operating officer. Cathy has led people, programs and processes within acute care and post-acute care hospital settings as well as primary care clinics, home health and community-based service environments. Her commitment to public policy and industry advocacy has resulted in her participation in many legislative issues at the local, regional and national levels.

Currently, Cathy is focused on redesigning and aligning care delivery services to respond quickly to the rapidly changing, diverse communities HealthEast serves. She is proud to lead in an organization dedicated to providing exceptional clinical outcomes, improving patient transitions and expanding primary care options for high-quality, low-cost care.

Doug Davenport

Doug Davenport

Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Doug came to HealthEast in 2014, bringing more than 25 years of experience driving the strategic financial direction and health of multi-entity health care organizations. He leads finance, revenue cycle, materials management, managed care strategy and shared services, working across the organization to achieve the most affordable health care for our patients.

Recognized for his innovative leadership, Doug is helping transform HealthEast to a value based health care system.

Kevin Garrett

Kevin C. Garrett, MD

Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer

Kevin joined HealthEast in 2012 after 15 years of practicing pulmonary and critical care medicine and more than 20 years of leadership experience. His highest priority is to create a unified HealthEast Medical Group across all our physicians and advanced practice clinicians. This includes strengthening relationships with trusted independent partners whose specialties complement those of HealthEast.

Kevin is intent on reaping the benefits of creating everyday problem-solvers amongst our employees. The outcome is simple respect for people—employees who work to the best of their ability in an efficient environment, and patients who have the complete focus of their care team, experiencing no delays or quality defects.

Dawn Kessler

Dawn Kessler

Senior Vice President of Organizational Excellence and Chief Human Resources Officer

Dawn joined HealthEast in 2012, an accomplished health care executive with more than 20 years of broad business experience. She holds responsibility for our organizational excellence, comprised of human resources, organizational development, spiritual care, clinical quality and value based improvement.

Dawn has a passion for transforming health care and a vision of developing and empowering HealthEast employees to achieve personal and organizational success.


Joanne Sunquist

Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer

Joanne has over 30 years of experience in the health care industry in nursing and nursing leadership, technology consulting, and executive technology leadership. She joined HealthEast in 2013 and is responsible for Information Services strategy, governance and operations.

Joanne will always ensure that effective, secure and innovative information services and technologies enable connections and communications between HealthEast patients, employees, providers and community members in support of our vision.

Paul Torgerson

Paul Torgerson

Senior Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel

With HealthEast since 2013, Paul oversees the areas of strategic planning, marketing, communications, government affairs, legal, regulatory, risk management and customer experience. He has an extensive background in health care law and executive leadership, bringing an abundance of industry knowledge to his work at HealthEast.

His passion for merging strategy and law positions HealthEast for the future and creates value for those who rely on HealthEast for their health and well-being.

Vice presidents

Brian Amdahl, MD

Brian Amdahl, MD

Vice President and Executive Medical Director of Post-Acute Care and Medical Specialties

Brian joined HealthEast in 2013, after 19 years as a private-practice pulmonologist and intensivist. Driven to lead physicians through the changing healthcare environment, he is responsible for physician oversight within post-acute care (Bethesda Hospital, Home Care, Hospice/Palliative Care and Medical Care for Seniors) and the medical specialties (including Heart Care, Cancer Care, Pulmonary and Critical Care).

Brian is passionate about HealthEast delivering the right care at the right time, and becoming the first choice for all residents in the East Metro.

Linda Barnhart

Linda Barnhart, RN

Vice President of Clinical Operations and Chief Nursing Officer, Care Continuum

Linda joined HealthEast in 2011 with a rich 35-year medical career, spanning from bedside nursing to administrative leadership. She leads operational integration and quality management across the organization. She also has clinical oversight for ambulatory clinics, community services, care management, resource optimization, and Bethesda Hospital and post-acute care business development.

Life experiences drive Linda’s commitments to lifelong learning, continuous improvement in patient care and safety, and being ever-present in the moment with patients and their families.

Robert Burch

Robert Burch

Vice President of Information Services Analytics and Business Intelligence

Robert joined HealthEast in 2016, bringing with him over 22 years in information technology leadership. He has transformed business information systems and built centers of excellence across multiple organizational entities. He now leads strategy, transformation and operational delivery for business intelligence and advanced analytics within the Information Services team.

Robert provides intelligent information across HealthEast with intuitive and actionable insights to improve quality patient care, value-based financial performance, and reduce patient costs.


Lia Christiansen

Vice President of Hospital Operations

Lia joined HealthEast in 1996. She is responsible for operations in our short-term acute care hospitals, pharmacy operations, clinical lab and pathology service, rehabilitation, HealthEast Medical Transportation, security, emergency preparedness and guest services.

Lia’s passion for managing business operations ultimately enhances clinical care and the well-being of our employees, patients and the community.

Brian Gager

Brian Gager

Vice President of Operations for Acute Care and Surgical Practices

Brian joined HealthEast in 2014, bringing with him 18 years of health care leadership in physician practice, service line management and hospital operations. He now leads Imaging Services and the Surgical Services, Mental Health, Brain, Spine and Orthopaedics service lines.

Brian is passionate about how our care delivery units can work together to remove waste and provide value to our patients.

Deb Hurd

Deb Hurd, RN

Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, Acute Care

Deb has more than 30 years of nursing experience in a variety of nursing and leadership roles across HealthEast hospitals. She ensures consistently high standards of nursing practice, while remaining responsive to the ever-changing health care environment.

Through her diligence as a champion of quality health care, Deb helps HealthEast articulate the strategic direction for the delivery of patient care and the discipline of nursing across the acute care arena.

Peter Kelly

Peter Kelly, MD

Vice President and Executive Medical Director, Surgical Services

Peter has been on staff as a general surgeon with HealthEast since 1991, holding numerous leadership positions, including president of the medical staff. Peter develops and leads strategic planning for the entire spectrum of surgical services across HealthEast. This includes Brain, Spine and Orthopedics, General Surgery, Kidney Stone Institute, Vascular Care, Wound Care, Podiatry and Bariatrics.

He aims to position HealthEast surgical services to enable the organization to improve the patient care experience (including quality and satisfaction), improve the overall health of our community, and do so in a cost-effective manner.

John Kvasnicka

John Kvasnicka, MD

Vice President of Medical Affairs

John came to HealthEast in 1994. He has a wealth of experience as an emergency physician and medical director, and now leads the care given to patients at St. Joseph’s Hospital, St. John’s Hospital and Woodwinds Health Campus. He oversees the hospital-based physicians and provides leadership for all medical staff functions.

John deepens our efforts to improve the quality of care HealthEast delivers throughout our acute care hospitals.

tracy miland

Tracy Miland

Vice President of Strategy, Customer Experience and Marketing

Tracy joined HealthEast in 2010 and leads strategy development and market planning for the system. Drawing upon 25 years of experience, she provides leadership to a team that conducts strategic planning, market research and analysis; a team of marketers and creatives; and a team of customer-experience experts and analysts. She also oversees patient advocacy, physician communications, brand strategy, online services, digital, social media and reputation management.  

Tracy is passionate about connecting high-level strategic planning with customer experience insights to execute the right programs for our patients, our communities and ourselves. She knows that when HealthEast delivers a positive patient and customer experience, we create brand advocates, and we can reap the rewards of loyalty, referrals and new growth while creating greater customer value.

eric nelson

Eric Nelson

Vice President of Operations for Ambulatory Care and Medical Practices

Eric joined HealthEast in 2011, a passionate leader with diverse care delivery experience including hospital inpatient operations, medical group practice management and care delivery innovation for hospital and ambulatory settings. He leads care delivery operations within HealthEast primary and specialty care clinics, as well as specialty service lines.

With Eric’s expertise, HealthEast delivers seamless care that feels effortless to our patients, is energizing for our employees, and creates value for the communities we serve.

tim nelson

Timothy Nelson, DMin. BCC

Vice President of Spiritual Well-Being

Timothy joined HealthEast in 2006 and provides oversight for the spiritual care provided to our patients, families and employees. He tends to HealthEast’s faith-based tradition and identity, emphasizing our mission and values, impacting organizational culture and supporting an environment where employees can find meaning in their work.

Under Timothy’s leadership, spiritual well-being at HealthEast connects the head to the heart.

anne pearson

Anne Pearson, MD

Vice President and Executive Medical Director, HealthEast Medical Group

Anne joined HealthEast in 1996 as a family medicine resident at St. John’s Hospital. She started her practice at HealthEast’s Vadnais Heights Clinic three years later. Her gravitational pull toward leadership made her seek opportunities to lead physicians with a passion for quality and improvement.

Anne is building the foundation for the HealthEast Medical Group, including leading the growth of primary care and developing strong care teams throughout our clinics. She continues to practice medicine while overseeing the primary care clinics.

didier rabino

Didier Rabino

Vice President and Lean Sensei

Didier has served as vice president and Lean sensei at HealthEast since 2012. He is responsible for developing Lean systems, knowledge and behaviors that ultimately lead to improved patient care. His work extends from the executive leadership team to front line employees.

Didier strives to guide the organization in its Lean journey towards operational excellence, where every employee engages every day in continuous improvement aligned with our vision and values.


Todd Smith, MD

Vice President and Chief Medical Information Officer

Todd began his HealthEast career by completing his medical residency at St. John’s Hospital in 1998 and then working in family practice. He quickly moved into clinical leadership, and now, as chief medical information officer, he leads change related to technologies that providers and staff use to help patients in the most effective, efficient way.  

Todd is instrumental in leading HealthEast into a new era of patient care, utilizing technology as a bridge between providers and patients, while maintaining the deep personal connection critical to patient care.

John Swanholm

John Swanholm

Vice President of Community Advancement and Executive Director, HealthEast Foundation

John joined HealthEast in 2003 and has over 20 years of extensive leadership experience in nonprofit management and philanthropy. He provides leadership for Community Advancement, comprised of Community Health Improvement, Community Engagement, Ways to Wellness, Neighborhood Integration and Philanthropy.

John upholds that optimal health begins where we live, work, learn and play. He leads their focus on innovative approaches to create healthier and more vibrant communities in the Twin Cities East Metro.

Kara Tomlinson

Kara Tomlinson, MD

Vice President and Chief Clinical Quality Officer

Kara joined HealthEast in 2014. She has over 15 years of experience in quality management and process improvement and is also a practicing emergency medicine physician. She currently leads clinical quality, patient safety, infection control, employee health and safety, equitable care, and policy management.

Her highest priority is to develop and improve our quality management system to ensure a culture that delivers the safest, highest quality, best-value health care for our patients, employees and communities.

Jim Van Drasek

Jim Van Drasek

Vice President of Shared Operations

Jim joined HealthEast in 1980 and has extensive experience in health care operations. He leads a variety of Shared Operations functions including materials management, real estate, lease management, facility and plant operations, environmental services and nutrition services.

Jim is excited to help implement improvements in quality and value for patients and customers in the face of challenging, dramatic changes in health care.

Contact HealthEast Leadership

Our leadership teams welcome your questions and comments. Please feel free to contact us.
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The HealthEast executive offices are located at:
559 Capitol Boulevard
St. Paul, MN 55103