Published on September 30, 2021

When Deanna Larson came on-board to lead in 2006, she was one of four dedicated eCare staff who oversaw two service lines and one giant vision – to provide underserved and rural communities with unprecedented access to health care. Since then, Avel has become the world’s largest and most comprehensive telehealth system with six service lines reaching over 550 locations.

Rural and Global Connections

Larson grew up in Howard, S.D., and held her first nursing jobs in the surrounding small communities. It was there that she first learned about the challenges and limitations of rural health care.

Over the next 25 years of her career, she gained experience in nursing, administration, leadership and quality improvement that prepared her to lead Avel. It also instilled her passion to provide better access to quality health care and specialty services for residents of rural communities.

“It’s all about the people,” she says. “Our hope is to improve the lives and communities of those we serve by offering a new model of health care delivery.”

Trips to Nicaragua, Guatemala and Haiti expanded her vision for providing access to health care for rural and underserved communities across the world.

“Providing access to care is a great responsibility and we strive to be good stewards by not only providing telehealth services, but also sharing our knowledge and experience,” she says. “It’s exciting to wake up and go to work knowing that you will make a difference.”


Larson’s diverse background in health care gives her a broad perspective on the needs of patients, care providers and communities. With her expertise, she guides the development and implementation of Avel’s new technologies and service lines. She also supports federal, state and local quality initiatives and improvement processes that help integrate evidence-based care practices into the daily operations of health care facilities.

Within Avel, Larson has held leadership roles in acute care, critical care, behavioral health, long-term care and home care. She has spent more than 10 years as Vice President of Quality Innovation at Avera, and served on the National Board of Examiners for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Program since 2007. Larson received her Bachelor of Science degree from Presentation College and her Master’s in Nursing Administration from South Dakota State University.