Guardian Angel Recognized at Burgess Health Center

Burgess Health Center is proud to announce the nomination of Brooke Barnett, RN and Critical Care Paramedic in the Emergency Department, for the Burgess Foundation Guardian Angel Award.

Shari Pithan recognizes and thanks Brooke for going above and beyond in providing exceptional care. Pithan was involved in a car accident, and Brooke was one of the first paramedics on the scene.

“It was a very scary situation, and Brooke calmly answered and explained all my questions,” said Pithan. “She is very kind and helpful and rode all the way to Omaha with me. Burgess is lucky to have her”.

Burgess Foundation’s Guardian Angel program provides patients, family members, and friends a chance to show their gratitude to a physician, nurse, or another caregiver who has played an exceptional role in their lives. The Guardian Angel received an acknowledgment letter announcing that a donation has been made in their honor and given a custom-crafted lapel pin to wear proudly.

Did a caregiver at Burgess make a memorable difference for you or your family? If so, you can honor that special person in a highly visible way through Burgess Foundation’s Guardian Angel program. It is more than a pin. When you take advantage of our Guardian Angel program, you also help ensure the future of outstanding health care in the region.


Photo: Bobbi Johnson, Foundation Director, Karla Copple, Director of Emergency Services, Brooke Barnett, and Mona Pithan, Shari’s daughter-in-law.

Burgess Mental Health Celebrates 35 Year Anniversary

The team at Burgess Mental Health celebrated 35 years of providing a broad range of outpatient counseling and therapy services to individuals, families, and couples of all age groups. Founded in 1987, the department started with one therapist and has spent the last 35 years advancing the behavioral healthcare services offered. Today, the department has 13 employees and serves over 600 patients in over 5,000 sessions annually.

“We could not be happier to celebrate thirty-five years of service in Monona County and surrounding areas,” says Jenn Skaff, Director, and Therapist at Burgess Mental Health. “The work we do isn’t always easy, but it’s essential for our family members, community members, and neighbors that struggle with mental health. We want to help our communities to become a happier, healthier place to live.”

In addition to the primary location on the Burgess campus in Onawa, a satellite office is located in Mapleton. Walk-in clinics are held every Saturday from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on a first come, first serve basis. Psychiatric services are also provided in person and via a secure live-video telehealth connection by a board-certified psychiatrist and a psychiatric physician’s assistant.

If you or someone you know could benefit from an appointment with one of our Burgess Mental Health team members, please call 712-423-9160 or seek a referral from your primary healthcare provider. For more information on the services offered, please visit


Photo (Front L to R): Jessica Gross, Sara Keenan, Jayna Woolridge, Jenn Skaff, Director of Mental Health, Greg Nooney, Dr. Kelsey Sigler, Amber Jones, Jessica Cox. (Back L to R): Bobbi Johnson, Foundation Director, Geri Johnson, Erin Brekke, Carl Behne, CEO of Burgess Health Center, Rob Meyer, and Tori Vogt.


Learning for Life Received Excellent Reviews from Families

The Learning for Life Program received excellent reviews from participating families. All families who completed the anonymous Parent Satisfaction survey strongly agreed or agreed that the Learning for Life program has helped them understand their child’s development, handle stress, find resources, and has motivated them to try new parenting techniques when needed. Many families stated the program has helped them manage stress, meet other families, and work toward goals.

Parents were given an opportunity to leave comments on the survey.

Here are a few of the things they had to say about their parent educators:

  • “She is very kind and helps me understand my kids more. I love having my meetings with her”
  • “Helping my children with sharing, fighting/ working with others, and working with developing their sensory and motor skills”
  • “Knowing the development of my children and where they are at”
  • “Helping me understand how to help my child learn things and also how to act when they have an upset moment”
  • “We love Sara she always has great ideas and is always very helpful with any questions or concerns I have about my son.”

Way to go, parent educators Sara and Kaylee!!

Enroll now – openings are available! Learning for Life is a free home visiting program for anyone in Monona County with children prenatal-5 years old. Our parent educators assist parents in giving their children the best possible start by building strong relationships and helping parents increase their confidence. Our staff bring fun educational parent-child activities, provide support and encouragement, as well as complete developmental assessments to be sure the children are school ready when that time comes. Enrolled families have access to passes to the LaunchPad Children’s Museum and the Henry Doorly Zoo. Families also earn incentives such as diapers, wipes, and other child care items.

The Learning for Life Program is funded by grants from the Harrison, Monona and Shelby Early Childhood Iowa Board, Iowa Child Abuse Prevention Program grant funding and the Monona County Board of Supervisors.

For more information or to join Learning for Life, call 712-423-9175.


Grief Support Group Offered

Grief is a journey that doesn’t have to be traveled alone. Often, talking or being with someone else who has experienced a loss can be helpful.

Burgess Home Health and Hospice is offering a 5-session grief support group for adults. Sessions will be September 15, September 22, September 29, October 6, and October 13, 2022 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. The support group will meet at the Onawa Public Library in Onawa, Iowa.

There is no charge to participate. Please bring a photo of your loved one for the first meeting. ­

This support group is for any adult who has experienced a loss through death. It is designed to offer members a safe and understanding atmosphere where support can be drawn, and feelings, fears, and frustrations can be shared with others traveling the same “road of grief.”

While there is no time frame for when you experienced the loss of your loved one, it is recommended the loss have occurred at least two months before the start of the grief group.

Participants must pre-register by Thursday, September 1, 2022. A minimum of four members is required for the group to take place. If you have questions or would like to register, please contact Carrie Conley at Burgess Hospice by calling 712-420-0716.

Burgess Auxiliary Awards Five Scholarships

Five scholarships of $500 each are awarded each spring to area high school seniors and first-year college students that wish to pursue a career in a health-related field.

The 2022 recipients are as follows: Emma Gross, graduate of Whiting Community School plans to attend the University of South Dakota for Radiological Technician; Cole Halverson, graduate of West Monona High School plans to attend Morningside College for Pharmacy Biochemistry; Calliyah Mareau, graduate of MVAOCOU High School plans to attend WITCC for Nursing; Caden Nielsen, graduate of Boyer Valley High School plans to attend the University of Iowa for Nursing (Nurse Anesthetist); and Sydney Seward, graduate of Westwood High School plans to attend WITCC for Nursing.

Applications are available January through March online at or at the Burgess Health Center front desk and accepted until April 1.


Burgess Teams Recognized for Excellent Care

Every day at Burgess Health Center, our emergency crew responds to numerous 911 calls, whether a patient transfer or stand-by at a house fire. They show up ready and willing for what they are about to face. And they did just that, and more recently when a call came that a family was injured in a motor vehicle accident on I-29. Not only did the emergency crew respond, but upon return to the hospital, several departments offered assistance to keep everyone involved in the accident cared for and safe.

“In healthcare, you always hear it is a team sport. Here at Burgess, we talk a lot about our team and how great our team is. Then something like this happens where 16 individuals selflessly focus on a patient, their family, and everything impacting them,” Carl Behne, CEO at Burgess Health Center.

A recognition event was held at Burgess Health Center on Thursday, July 7, honoring those who exemplified incredible teamwork and commitment to three patients involved in the motor vehicle accident.

“Our staff members are all amazing clinicians, but they are also some of the most caring and compassionate staff I have ever worked with,” said Karla Copple, ER Director at Burgess Health Center. “They go above and beyond for all the patients they care for.”

Those honored this morning for their teamwork, collaboration, and unwavering commitment were Patrick Prorok, Sarah Solberg, Kelsey Gray, Steve Gordon, Jon Pinkelman, Elsa Roslansky, Jenny Coble, Brad Prescott, Jessica Renz, Dawn Bonham, Dr. Waseem Alounk, Melissa Allen, Morgan Ridder, Rachel Pinkelman, Duane Renz and Sara Keenan.

“You begin to really understand why the word team is used the way it is. Individually each of them did great things. Collectively they were amazing,” added Behne. “We are very proud of them.”


Photo: Back left to right: Carl Behne and Rachel Pinkelman

Front left to right: Morgan Ridder (holding Logyn and Lincoln Ridder), Karla Copple, Kelsey Gray, Steve Gordon, Sarah Solberg, Jon Pinkelman, Dr. Waseem Alounk, and Sheriff Jeff Pratt

Not pictured: Patrick Prorok, Elsa Roslansky, Jenny Coble, Brad Prescott, Jessica Renz, Dawn Bonham, Melissa Allen, Duane Renz, and Sara Keenan.

Burgess Foundation Held Two Successful Golf Tournaments

Burgess Foundation recently held two very successful golf tournaments! New this year, the tournaments were held on two Fridays, June 10 at Willow Vale Golf Course in Mapleton and June 17 at the Onawa Golf Course in Onawa. Golfers had the choice to register for one day or sign up for both fun-filled days.

The beautiful weather provided two perfect days where teams enjoyed camaraderie on the greens, a steak sandwich meal for lunch, a 19th hole putting contest, and pin prizes. Both tournaments raised nearly $35,000 that will go towards future needs within the Burgess healthcare system.

“We couldn’t have asked for better weather or a better group of golfers, donors, sponsors, and volunteers to help make the Burgess Foundation Golf Tournament a major success,” Bobbi Johnson, Director of the Burgess Foundation, stated. “We were able to raise funds to assist in our mission and invest in the health of the communities we serve.”

Mapleton Tournament:

Champion Flight: Bayer Crop Science Team #1 – 54, Team Lander – 55, Hoffman Agency – 56.

First Flight: AgriVision – 62, Fister Farms – 62.

Second Flight: Echo Electric Supply – 62, Vision Care Clinic – 68.

19th Hole Happy Hour Putting Contest Winner: Rob Copple.

Onawa Tournament:

ChampionFlight: Cory Bumann Farms – 56, Hoffman Agency – 57, Team Lander – 58.

First Flight: Morton Buildings – 62, CMBA Architects – 63.

Second Flight: Ahren Fire Protection – 68, Graham Construction – 69.

19th Hole Happy Hour Putting Contest Winner: Carl Miller.

Tournament Sponsors:

Carl & Allison Behne, Burgess Auxiliary, CMBA Architects, Community Bank, Graham Construction, Dr. Peter & Jennifer Daher, Great Southern Bank, Family Medicine Clinic, AssuredPartners/ServiShare, Shawn Gosch Memorial, Specialized Engineering Solutions, Dr. John Terry, The Hoffman Agency, and Williams & Company.

Team Sponsors:

AgriVision, Ahern Fire Protection, Bayer Crop Science, Cory Bumann Farms, Burgess Mapleton PT, Rob & Karla Copple, Denison Drywall Contracting, Echo Electric Supply, Fister Farms, Adam Hadden (6 Mile Pursuit), Helm Mechanical, Josh Lander, Lander Farms, Lee’s Small Engine Repair, MAC’S Chevrolet, Inc., Maple Heights, Morton Buildings, Inc., Nelson & Rock Construction, Ted Nutt (Burgess Ute), Security National Bank, Spring Valley Ag, Stangel Pharmacy, Struble Agronomy, Unity Point Health – St. Lukes, US Bank, Vision Care Clinic, Grady & Stacy Warner.

Prize Sponsors:

AgriVision, AssuredPartners/ServiShare, Bomgaars – Mapleton, Burgess Foundation, Calm Water Financial Group, Casey’s, Downtown Coffee & Cream, Echo Electric Supply, Farm Bureau – Brent McCall, Graceful Boutique, Graham Construction, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Josh Lander, River Front Crop Insurance, Security National Bank, Joel Spaan, Struble Agronomy, The Hut, Tug’s, US Bank, Vision Care Eye Clinic, Willow Vale Golf Course, and WIPCO.

Meal Sponsors: 

Fiesta Foods – Breakfast, AssuredPartners/ServiShare – Lunch

19th Hole Sponsor:

Shawn Gosch Memorial

Burgess Adds New Surgeon to the Team

Burgess Health Center announces that Rachel Knudson, DO will be joining the Burgess Surgical Services team in August, where she will practice with general surgeon John Garred, MD. Both are certified by the American Board of Surgery.

As a General Surgeon, Dr. Knudson performs all types of general surgeries, including colonoscopies, EGD (an endoscopic procedure to examine the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum), gallbladder surgery, hernia repair, removing skin cancers, breast surgeries and repairing small bowel obstructions. She comes to us from the McFarland Clinic in Carroll, Iowa.

“We are very excited to have Dr. Knudson join our Burgess family. She will build upon the highly skilled team of providers, nurses and support staff who deliver exceptional surgical care to our communities,” Carl Behne, CEO of Burgess Health Center stated.  “Being on-campus daily and focused solely on general surgery services will greatly improve local access to care.”

Knudson, who grew up near Marshalltown, attended the University of Iowa, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences. She received a Doctor of Osteopathy from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences and then did her general surgery residency at Mercy Medical in Des Moines. She didn’t have to look far for influences on her career choice. Her uncle was a trauma surgeon and her grandmother and aunt were nurses.

Dr. Knudson and her husband, Brady, live in Sioux City with their son, Sam, age 8. Brady is an environmental scientist but is staying at home right now.

She and Brady are certified in SCUBA diving and have enjoyed the waters of the Caribbean and Hawaii. Knudson also enjoys scrapbooking and canning.

Photo: Rachel Knudson, DO

Burgess Auxiliary Donates New Patient Privacy Curtains

Thanks to the generous donation from the Burgess Auxiliary, all 25 inpatient rooms at Burgess Health Center received new patient privacy curtains. These strong and durable curtains provide patients with needed privacy during interactions with staff and family visits and prevent infections from spreading throughout the hospital.

The Burgess Auxiliary was founded in 1962, and since then, they have helped raise funds for Burgess Health Center through memberships, book and jewelry sales, gift shop sales, and annual initiatives like Ventures Arts and Craft Fair. Another major source of income is ACT II, a consignment shop in Onawa that opened for business in October 1987.

“We are grateful for the Burgess Auxiliary’s commitment to Burgess Health Center,” Carl Behne, CEO of Burgess Health Center stated. “The incredible amount of time and devotion each of these members have put forth over the years is truly inspiring and plays a critical role in Burgess’ long-standing commitment to provide quality healthcare to the communities we serve.”

The Burgess Auxiliary has collectively donated $39,000 to Burgess Health Center this Fiscal Year 2022, including significant monetary donations to the Poinsettia Ball and the Burgess Foundation Golf Tournament.

For more information on the Burgess Auxiliary, or to become a member, visit


Photo: (back L to R) Elaine Eisele, Lou Hewitt, Julie Miller, Cheryl Warner, Michele Waples, Brenda Howland, and Mary Tramp. Not pictured: Teresa Butler, Jessica Hupke, Mona Pithan, Cindy King, Patty Sandmann, Amy Johnston, and Rhonda Willey.