SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – James “Jim” Dover has been named the next President and Chief Executive Officer of Avera Health, one of the largest not-for-profit rural healthcare systems in the Midwest. His first day with Avera will be Oct. 23.

Dover was selected by the search committee made up of Avera System Members and representatives from the Avera Health Board of Directors. Sr. Mary Kay Panowicz, OSB, chaired the committee and expressed a deep confidence in the selection process and in Jim. He joins Avera following Bob Sutton’s resignation early this summer due to a serious health issue. Dover will be Avera’s third President and CEO.  

“For the Avera System Members and the Avera board, it was paramount that we find a leader who is committed to Avera’s 125-year legacy of rural health care and our Gospel-based mission to improve the lives of those we serve,” said Sr. Panowicz. “In Jim Dover, we see an engaging and compassionate leader who will lead Avera into its next era of serving the community’s health, our dedicated employees and our outstanding medical community.”

Dover will oversee a health system with $3 billion in annual revenue, more than 20,000 employees, a 1,200-member medical group, 37 hospitals, 200 clinics, 40 long-term care facilities, home care and hospice. Avera’s footprint includes locations in South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska.  Avera is also the region’s largest provider of behavioral health services and operates one of the region’s top health insurance plans, Avera Health Plans. As the top executive of Avera, he will provide strategic vision, operational oversight and executive leadership and direction across all aspects of the health system, including leading the Avera senior leadership team as well as interfacing with governance across the system.

“I am humbled and honored to lead such a remarkable organization,” Dover said. “Avera’s legacy of compassionate care is palpable, and I look forward to helping ensure its future success. It is my personal mission to make a difference in the lives of others. I look forward to meeting all the team members and providers who take care of our patients and communities on a daily basis.”

Dover comes to Avera from Lansing-based Sparrow Health where he served as President and CEO since 2019. Sparrow Health, a regional health system located in mid-Michigan, is comprised of a tertiary teaching and Level 1 Trauma hospital, four regional hospitals, specialty long-term acute care hospitals, a multispecialty medical group and a provider-sponsored health insurance plan. With more than 120 sites of care, Sparrow cares for a diverse population across a mix of rural and urban geography. Prior to Sparrow Health, Dover served in leadership roles for Hospital Sisters Health System in Springfield, IL; Daughters of Charity Health System in Los Altos Hills, CA; St. Anthony North Hospital in Westminster, CO; and several additional health systems on the West Coast.

Dover received his bachelor’s degree in bacteriology from the University of Idaho, his master’s degree in hospital administration from the University of Minnesota and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. 

“As I embark on this next chapter, I am committed to listening, learning and being present and engaged with our employees, our physicians, our leaders and representatives of the communities we serve. I view my role as empowering our workforce, building and maintaining trusted relationships, and helping our communities flourish,” said Dover.