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

HealthEast Leadership



Cathy Barr

East Region President

Cathy brings more than 30 years of operational, strategic planning and senior leadership expertise to the role as East Region President. In her previous role as Chief Operating Officer for HealthEast, Cathy 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.
Cathy is focused on redesigning and aligning care delivery services to respond quickly to the rapidly changing, diverse communities HealthEast serves. She is committed to providing exceptional clinical outcomes, improving patient transitions and expanding primary care options for high-quality, low-cost care.


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.


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

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, 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, 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.


Dawn Ksepka

Interim Vice President of Finance

Dawn joined HealthEast in 2011. Prior to being named Interim Vice President of Finance, she served as Vice President, Controller for HealthEast. In her current role, she leads finance, revenue cycle, materials management, managed care strategy and shared services. Before joining HealthEast, Dawn spent 11 years as an audit consultant of multi-entity health care organizations.

Dawn is passionate about working across the organization to achieve the most affordable health care for our patients and the communities we serve.


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.


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.


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, 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

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

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, 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.

Fairview leadership team

Go here to learn about the Fairview leadership team.