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Cunningham named to Essentia position

Essentia Health recently announced Rob Cunningham is the new senior vice president of operations for Essentia’s West Region.

A North Dakota native, Cunningham grew up in Jamestown. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Dakota and master’s degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato. After many years working throughout the country in the health care industry, Cunningham and his family wanted to get closer to home.

“Knowing that I am doing the work that I love to do in a place that I love to be makes it that much more special,” said Cunningham, who moved here with his wife and four children. “We made a conscious decision to make a move back ‘home’ and are very glad to be here and part of the regional community.”

Cunningham began his career with Avera in Sioux Falls, S.D., where he assisted in the opening of the Heart Hospital of South Dakota. He worked in administration with Children’s Care Hospital and School in Sioux Falls before taking a role with Catholic Health Initiatives in Nebraska where he spent nine years. Most recently, Cunningham worked for Essentia Health’s East Region where he served as the vice president of professional and ancillary services at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth, Minn.

Seeing the mission of a health care organization being accomplished on a day-to-day basis is one of the things that Cunningham enjoys most about his profession, he said.

“I am not trained to treat patients, but very much enjoy my role of supporting those who do,” he said. “When I see that occurring on a day-to-day basis, it instills a sense of pride and a desire to do even better on behalf of those we serve.”

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