Dr. Josh Deere selected to be next president of Altru Health System

Sep. 1—GRAND FORKS — A physician who has steadily risen through a series of leadership positions at Altru Health System has been chosen as the organization's next president.

Altru made the announcement early Thursday afternoon.

"On behalf of Altru's Board of Directors, we are thrilled to share that Dr. Josh Deere will be Altru's next president," Karen Thingelstad, chairwoman of Altru's Board of Directors, said in a statement released to the media. "Dr. Deere's experience in physician leadership, focus on providing exceptional patient experiences and a long-standing commitment to our community align with the vision the Board of Directors has for this role."

Deere has been a primary care physician with the Grand Forks-based organization since 2009, according to the release. He served as chairman of family medicine for four years and medical director of primary care for seven years. He also has been interim chief medical officer since February.

"I am excited to become Altru's president and to continue serving our organization in physician leadership," Deere said in a statement sent to the Herald. "As president, I, along with my physician leader colleagues, bring clinical expertise to the forefront, ensuring decisions are made with the care of the patient at the center. I am honored to continue to work alongside Todd Forkel, Altru's CEO, as we lead our team toward Altru's vision of providing world-class care to the residents we serve."

Deere is a native of Kennedy, Minnesota, and a graduate of the UND School of Medicine. He did his residency within the Altru Family Medicine Residency Program. He and his wife, Liz, have two children.

Deere's promotion continues a newsworthy period for Altru. At present, the organization is in the midst of building a $470 million hospital just north of its current hospital. The facility will have 226 beds and, as hospital leaders told the Herald

in a tour last month

, will feature larger spaces, more access points, more daylight and more technology than the current building. Move-in could take place in late 2024 or early 2025.

In January,

Altru announced the hiring of Todd Forkel as CEO, a decision that became effective in late February

. Forkel came to Altru from an executive position in the Avera system in South Dakota. He took over for

Dave Molmen

, who had been interim CEO since July 2020.

In February,

Altru and its then-president, Dr. Steven Weiser, parted ways

. Few details of the change were made public.

Altru also has expressed its plans to pursue a more prominent role in Devils Lake.

Deere, in the statement sent to the media Thursday, said being on the leadership team "for our locally owned health system is a privilege.

"I have spent my entire life in the upper Red River Valley, and it is incredibly important to me to continue to provide high-quality care, close to home for those we serve," he said.