Behne Resigns as CEO of Burgess

Burgess Health Center Board Chair, Keith Schrunk announced today that CEO Carl Behne has resigned his position and will leave the hospital in mid-June. Behne joined Burgess in September 2020 and led the hospital and area communities through the Covid-19 pandemic, and most recently steered the $18.1 million expansion and renovation of the hospital.

“We at Burgess Health Center are incredibly grateful to Carl for the energy, vision, and heart that he dedicated to our organization and our patients over the past two and half years,” said Keith Schrunk, Board Chair of Burgess Health Center. “Under his leadership, our programs and service lines grew and the culture in our organization increased.”

“It was a very tough decision leaving a great organization filled with so many amazing people,” said Carl Behne, CEO of Burgess Health Center. “I am sad I will not see the final completion of the building project expansion and renovation, but am confident the remaining pieces will better serve our patients.”

The board of directors is working on a plan for interim leadership until a replacement is found. Behne plans to stay in a consultative role for that interim leader until a permanent one is secured.

“We wish him and his family the absolute best in all their future plans and endeavors.” Adds Schrunk.


Photo: Carl Behne, FACHE

Burgess Receives Fourth Gift of Grain

The Burgess Foundation is honored to receive its fourth Gift of Grain donation since the inception of the program in 2021.

Burgess Health Center is a proud supporter of our community and our agricultural producers who we rely on to help keep our small towns thriving. With planting season being right around the corner. We want to make our agricultural community aware of the benefits not just on donating to the Burgess Foundation, but simple ways they can make a lasting difference.

Sam and Susan Johnson of Moorhead, IA recently donated the Gift of Grain to the Burgess Foundation.
“We want to encourage others to donate and see just how easy it is!” said Susan. “Burgess Health Center and the Foundation do so much for our communities and this was the perfect opportunity to give back by donating a Gift of Grain. It’s also a great way to save on your taxes!”

National Agricultural Week is celebrated every year in the month of March. This year it is celebrated this week, March 19 – 25.

“Agricultural Week is about appreciating the impact agriculture has on our daily lives,” said Bobbi Johnson, Burgess Foundation Director. “Donating grain is a simple yet valuable way to support growing the future of Burgess and the communities we serve. Through the Gift of Grain farmers are able to donate their own bushels they grow instead of a monetary donation.”

Donating grain is an easy way to save on your taxes while investing in the future of Burgess at the same time. This can be done by providing a part of what you have grown into the Burgess Foundation.  A Foundation that gives back to your own community by investing in updated medical technology, equipment, and resources that help to keep Burgess providing the best patient care possible.

The Benefits on Donating Grain

If the farmer chooses to donate grain, the farmer can then exclude the grain sale from income. Which can result in saving on your taxes. Here are some examples on how much you can save.

  • State income tax savings (up to 8.98% in Iowa)
  • Self-employment tax savings (15.3%)
  • Federal Tax income savings (up to 37%)

How can you donate?

The best way to start is contacting Bobbi Johnson, Burgess Foundation Director, at (712) 423-9374.

Keep a copy for your records. This should be unsold crop with no prior sale commitment.

Transfer the grain as a gift to the Burgess Foundation. Your elevator can send a warehouse storage receipt to the Foundation. The grain should be put in the name of the Burgess Foundation. The Foundation will then sell the grain and receive the proceeds.

Please consider consulting with a tax professional before donating to make sure this is the right choice for you. Remember, no gift is too small.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month

April is Child Abuse Prevention Awareness month.  In April, we recognize the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect and to promote the social and emotional well-being of children and families.  April is a time to help people understand that safe, stable and nurturing relationships and environments are necessary to ensure that children grow up happy and healthy. We all play a role in supporting the well-being of others during this time.

In honor of Child Abuse Prevention Awareness month, the Burgess Public Health Learning for Life program and the Monona County Child Abuse Prevention Council would like to promote positive childhood experiences to build healthy families and strong communities in Monona County.  We have planned a “Family Bingo” card for families to complete together.  The bingo squares will be filled with no/low cost family activities to promote positive bonding and togetherness.  With generous funding from the Harrison, Monona and Shelby Early Childhood Board, when a family completes a “blackout” and turn their card in, they will be eligible for a prize drawing of a family pass to the Henry Doorly Zoo or other family fun prizes.  Cards will be distributed to all three elementary schools in Monona County.

Other activities to highlight the month include the Monona County Board of Supervisors signing a proclamation declaring April as Child Abuse Prevention Awareness month to show their support to the families and children in our county.  The Burgess Public Health Learning for Life program and the Monona County Child Abuse Prevention Council would also like to “plant” pinwheel flower pots across our county to raise awareness for policies and programs that enable children, families and communities to thrive. The blue pinwheel is the national symbol for Prevent Child Abuse America.   If you would like to have a pinwheel flower pot placed in your business, please reach out to or call (712) 423-9175.

The Monona County Child Abuse Prevention Council meets regularly to ensure that EVERY CHILD has a safe childhood free of violence. The Council is actively seeking members. For information on how to be involved or if you or a friend would like to learn how to participate in educational early childhood home visits that will help your child’s growth and development, please contact Burgess Public Health at 712-423-9175. Our Learning for Life Program is a free home visiting program for families with children prenatal through kindergarten entry. 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.

Burgess Accepts Bomgaars Ladies’ Night Donation

In late October, Bomgaars held a night of festive fun and shopping for ladies to raise awareness of women’s health issues and pass along a 20% discount on purchased items. A donation of the evening’s total sales was pledged back to the radiology department at Burgess Health Center.

“We are grateful to have the support from our local Bomgaar’s store and the ladies that came out to enjoy the discounts,” Jenny Coble, Director of the Radiology Department, stated. “Our communities rally when it’s for a good cause, and in this case, cancer screening and women’s health.”

The donation of $735.58 is earmarked to support mammography services at Burgess Health Center. Breast cancer cannot be prevented; however, Burgess Health Center continues to provide and invest in the latest technologies, education, and support services for early detection.


PHOTO: Carl Behne, CEO, Jenny Coble, Director of Radiology, Eric Ridder, Manager at Bomgaars in Onawa, and Bobbi Johnson, Director of Foundation.


2022 Poinsettia Ball – Exceeds Goal Once Again!

The recent “Poinsettia Ball – Boots & Bling – It’s a Fundraising Thing!” was another huge success – grossing nearly $105,000 to purchase new endoscopy equipment for the Surgery Department. Endoscopy or “scope” is one of the most common medical imaging methods for screening and diagnosing conditions affecting the lungs, colon, throat, and gastrointestinal tract. On average, the Burgess Surgery Department performs 380 scopes per year.

“Our scope equipment is aging, and with a new scope, our surgeons can see images clearer and determine whether or not a biopsy is needed,” said Bobbi Johnson, Director of the Foundation. “In some cases, discover and even prevent some cancers.”

After being held virtually for the past two years, the Burgess Foundation’s 38th annual event offered two ways to enjoy and give this year. An online auction and the main event, held in person at the Onawa Community Center.

The online auction ran from November 28 to December 2, 2022, attracting nearly 70 registered bidders who enjoyed friendly competition, outbidding one another until the last minute on unique packages and items. On December 10, 2022, over 190 guests enjoyed an evening of food, fun, and philanthropy and enjoyed heavy hors d’oeuvres, a live auction, and a DJ for entertainment. Neither event would have been as successful without the items and packages donated by local businesses, community members, and Burgess staff/departments.

“I am continually amazed by the compassion from our supporters and their investment in growing our healthcare services at Burgess,” added Johnson. “On behalf of the Burgess Foundation Board of Directors, we appreciate your commitment to our mission and couldn’t do it without you. Our heartfelt thanks to you all.”

The Burgess Foundation Board of Directors would like to extend a sincere thank you to each and every one of the donors, local business owners, corporate donors, as well as everyone who has supported this year’s Poinsettia Ball.

Burgess Health Center Earns ACR Accreditation

Burgess Health Center Radiology Department has been awarded a three-year term of accreditation in mammography as the result of a recent review by the American College of Radiology (ACR). Mammography is a specific type of imaging test that uses a low-dose X-ray system to examine breasts. A mammography exam, called a mammogram, is used to aid in the early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases in women.

The ACR gold seal of accreditation represents the highest level of image quality and patient safety. It is awarded only to facilities meeting ACR Practice Parameters and Technical Standards after a peer-review evaluation by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field. Image quality, personnel qualifications, adequacy of facility equipment, quality control procedures and quality assurance programs are assessed. The findings are reported to the ACR Committee on Accreditation, which subsequently provides the practice with a comprehensive report that can be used for continuous practice improvement.

The ACR, founded in 1924, is a professional medical society dedicated to serving patients and society by empowering radiology professionals to advance the practice, science and professions of radiological care. The College serves more than 37,000 diagnostic/interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists, nuclear medicine physicians, and medical physicists with programs focusing on the practice of medical imaging and radiation oncology and the delivery of comprehensive health care services.


Learning for Life Hosts Two Successful Programs

Burgess Public Health and the Learning for Life program were pleased to host two Self-Defense and Abduction Awareness programs, one in Onawa and one in Mapleton.  The Public Health Department applied for and received special funding from the Community Partnership for Protecting Children (CPPC) and the HMS Decategorization Boards.  This funding made it possible to provide the programs for free to the residents of Monona County.

During the events, Public Health and the Learning for Life team provided information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children called “Be Safer with KidSmartz” and the Onawa Taekwondo Club provided instruction on self-defense techniques and how to use one’s voice and body language.  The goal of the event was not only to bring families together but also strengthen them by providing hands-on experiences to help reduce stress and anxiety when in public and during their day to day lives.  40 adults and youth participated in the events and the majority left feeling more confident with a sense of control over their surroundings.  Many walked away with door prizes including summer pool passes, themed game night, meal, and cookie decorating baskets.  All participants were able to take personal alarms and a Child ID Kit from the National Child Identification program.

Learning for Life is a free home visiting program for anyone in Monona County with children prenatal to age five.  The program aims to assist parents in giving their children the best possible start by building a strong relationship and increasing their confidence.  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 on this program, call 712-423-9175.

If you are interested in joining the Onawa Taekwondo Club’s regular classes, call Jaimie Murray at 712-420-2273.

Pictured: Annilia Pfeiffer and Addison Halverson


Sherri Johnston-McDowell Retires After 44 Years

On Monday, December 5th Sherri Johnston-McDowell was honored with a celebration for her 44 years of commitment and dedication to Burgess Health Center.

“Sherri truly leads with her heart in all she does. Watching her navigate all of her roles in her career and life is nothing short of amazing,” said Erin Brekke, Vice President of Support Services at Burgess Health Center. “She has an absolute heart of gold, who cares for all people.”

Sherri began her career at Burgess after she graduated from nursing school and the rest is history.  During Sherri’s 44 years she has held many roles, but none can compare to the role of caregiver.

“I have so many wonderful stories of my caregiving opportunities and have made so many lifelong friends along the way,” said Sherri. “As I reflect on my time here at Burgess my thoughts don’t take me to the positions I have held or my time as a Director, but the relationships and interactions I have had with my peers, patients, and the communities we serve.”

Through Sherri’s hard work and devotion to her Home Health and Hospice team and Burgess Health Center, she has ensured the success of the department for future generations to come.

Thank you, Sherri, for an incredible 44 years. Take the time to celebrate all of your accomplishments, enjoy your newfound freedom, and always remember what a positive difference you’ve made at Burgess.

Sharon Taylor – Leaving a Legacy

On Monday, November 21, Burgess Health Center celebrated Sharon Taylor’s legacy as she retires from full-time work at Burgess Health Center.

Sharon’s career began 48 years ago working part-time for Burgess to set up the education program. Since then, the impact she has had on Burgess is one for the record books.

“Sharon has always supported Burgess and has been the organization’s biggest champion and advocate,” said Erin Brekke, Vice President of Support Services at Burgess Health Center. “You can feel the pride Sharon has for this organization, and over all these years, through difficult times of change, that has never wavered. Even through a pandemic.”

Sharon was instrumental in the success and startup of many organizations, programs and departments at Burgess. Including establishing the education program, the Home Health Department, the Swing Bed Program, Employee Wellness and Community Wellness programs, and Burgess’ own employee-funded organization, Burgess People Care. In more recent years, she oversaw Infection Control and Prevention, Compliance and Risk Management, and Privacy and Accreditation.

For her commitment and devotion to Burgess, Sharon received a Guardian Angel Award and an engraved paver with her name in the Healing Garden both from Burgess People Care.

“It has been an honor to work at Burgess over the last 48 years, and I want to offer my sincere thanks to our employees whose hard work and dedication have allowed us to achieve so much,” said Sharon. “I also want to thank our patients and communities for their ongoing support. I have worked with many individuals over the years and am confident that my predecessors will continue excellent leadership for Burgess. It has been a pretty smooth transition.”

Sharon’s hard work and dedication to Burgess has created some big shoes to fill. The legacy she is leaving will be impactful for the future of Burgess, our patients, and the communities we serve. Sharon has decided to stay on as PRN (as needed) to assist in the transition of her multiple roles. Thank you, Sharon, for providing us with 48 years of knowledge and expertise. Here’s to a happy retirement and wishing you all the best!

Photo from left to right: (back row) Mark and Jenny (Taylor) Dehn, Sharon and Gary Taylor, Jessica Taylor (front row) Merrick Dehn, Graham Riley, Denver Riley