Schwaegerl, Knippling Receive SDAHO Distinguished Service Awards

Posted: 9/26/2016

Brookings Health System Clinical Informatics Specialist Erica Knippling and Obstetrics Directory Mary Schwaegerl each received Distinguished Service Awards at the 90th annual South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations’ annual convention. Knippling was honored in the young professionals category for her leadership as the SDHIMSS program director; Schwaegerl was recognized in the health care professional category for her work with in maternity care and breastfeeding advocacy.Obstetrics Director Mary Schwaegerl, RN, and Clinical Informatics Specialist Erica Knippling received the South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organization (SDAHO) Distinguished Service Awards last week at SDAHO’s 90th annual convention.

Schwaegerl was recognized in the health care professional category for her work in leading patient-centered changes in maternity care practices at Brookings Health System and advocating for positive breastfeeding policies within the Brookings community and South Dakota.

Since becoming Brookings Health System’s obstetrics director in 2009, Schwaegerl has implemented a volunteer doula program to provide free doula services to delivering parents; launched New Beginnings Baby Café to provide free, weekly breastfeeding support for nursing and expectant mothers; and led Brookings Health System’s efforts to become the first non-Indian Health Services hospital in South Dakota to receive the Baby-Friendly® Hospital designation.

On the community level, Schwaegerl belongs to the South Dakota Breastfeeding Coalition and is a founding member of Brookings Supports Breastfeeding, a joint effort between SDSU, Brookings Health System and the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce focused on helping area businesses support breastfeeding mothers.

Knippling was recognized in the young professional category, which honors individuals under 40 who demonstrate leadership. She joined Brookings Health System’s IT department in 2011. She works with Brookings Health System’s electronic medical record (EMR) system and serves on the health system’s HIPAA Compliance Team to ensure privacy of digital patient records. She was nominated for her distinguished service as the program director of the South Dakota Chapter of Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (SDHIMSS), a membership of healthcare technology professionals who advocate for, and educate on, health IT systems.

Knippling filled a gap in SDHIMSS Board of Directors in 2014 when the current program director unexpectedly stepped down. Over the next two years, Knippling doubled the chapter’s programming committee, grew programming sponsorships, and expanded the Spring SDHIMSS Forum. For her leadership, she received SDHIMSS Leader Award. Knippling currently serves as SDHIMSS President Elect and will serve two more years on SDHIMSS Board of Directors.

About Brookings Health System

Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes a 49-bed hospital, the 79-bed The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home, Brookhaven Estates senior living apartments, Yorkshire Eye Clinic, Arlington Medical Center, White Medical Clinic and Volga Medical Clinic. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, surgical and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at