March of Dimes recognizes Allina Health providers for excellence in health care

MINNEAPOLIS (Nov. 15, 2021) — Allina Health congratulates and celebrates the health care workers who work tirelessly to provide exceptional care. Recently, the March of Dimes highlighted the work of five Allina Health finalists for the 2021 Heroes in Action Awards. Two of those finalists won in their respective care categories. 

The winners were Patricia Bruns (Oncology) and Jena Wirt (Critical Care). Ruth Bryant (Education & Research), Matthew Ditmore (Friend to Nursing) and Susan Gersch (Oncology) received recognition as finalists.

Coworkers and managers who nominated the finalists and winners shared their message about these heroes in action:

Patricia BrunsPatricia Bruns works as a clinical nurse specialist in the Givens Brain Tumor Center at Abbott Northwestern Hospital. She sees patients both in the hospital and in the clinic where she goes above and beyond to provide compassionate care to our patients. She uses her background as a clinical nurse specialist to understand this unique population as a whole through improving data collection for brain tumor patients and takes the time to get to know the patients individually as well. Patricia embraces the philosophy that when the patient hits a brick wall, her role is to help them get up or to find a way to help them crawl over the wall, and to move forward.



Jena WirtJena Wirt is an intensivist at Abbott Northwestern Hospital who has volunteered countless hours organizing vaccination clinics, generously helping deliver as many as 2200 vaccinations in a single day. Jena focused on underserved and marginalized populations and took the vaccines to those who are homebound to ensure everyone had the opportunity for vaccination.




Ruth BryantRuth Bryant is a champion of nursing research and evidence-based practice at Abbott Northwestern Hospital and across Allina Health. She has been instrumental in the development of the Allina Nursing Research Review Council. She continues to pursue innovations in nursing practice through projects that enhance patient outcomes, resiliency and diversity, equity and inclusion. 




Matthew DitmoreMatthew Ditmore is an invaluable pharmacist collaborator at Abbott Northwestern Hospital and an incredible team resource for nursing and providers. He is appreciated for his wide knowledge of medications, support for ensuring safe medication use and providing education to the team and our patients. Throughout the pandemic, Matt has been resourceful, working with his team and hospital stakeholders to continually evaluate potential drug shortages and alternative options to ensure care is not compromised. Matt is very positive and is always willing to support the health care team.


Susan GerschSusan Gersch is an oncology nurse navigator at New Ulm Medical Center. She meets patients where they are at, understands their needs and wishes, advocates on their behalf, and supports their whole person – mind body and spirit. Key recurring words to describe Susan, as written by her colleagues, are knowledgeable, compassionate and kind, hardworking, collaborative, team player.




Allina Health was proud to be a platinum sponsor of the March of Dimes Heroes in Action Awards. 

About Allina Health

Allina Health is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of illness and enhancing the greater health of individuals, families and communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. A nonprofit health care system, Allina Health cares for patients from beginning to end-of-life through its 90+ clinics, 12 hospital campuses, 14 retail pharmacies, and many specialty care centers and specialty medical services, home care, and emergency medical transportation services. Learn more at and join us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.