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Benson Hsu, MD

President & Chair

He also serves as Chair of the Board. He is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine and practices at Avera Children’s Hospital in South Dakota, serving a predominately rural population encompassing several Native American communities. He is an NIH-funded researcher with over 70 peer-reviewed publications and abstracts. As a pediatric critical care leader, he has authored several national clinical guidelines for inpatient pediatric care at the American Academy of Pediatrics and Society of Critical Care Medicine. Benson previously served on the corporate leadership team of a large rural integrated delivery system, where he led the data analytics infrastructure and developed strategies for population health. He is a Bush Fellow, an Aspen Health Innovators Fellow (HIF), and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN).​


Benson spends the majority of his free time building a world of Legos with his son.


EleanorTurner, MA

Director of Operations

Originally from the United Kingdom, she now lives and works in Sioux Falls. She is the President and Co-Founder of The Legacy Foundation South Dakota, in addition to working for the Office of the Dean at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine. Eleanor completed her MA in nonprofit management and child & adult advocacy studies at the University of South Dakota, and her undergraduate degree at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth where she was the recipient of the Howell Daniels Award. As well as being the published author of two-dozen books on the topic of baby names, she is a LEND parent & family trainee graduate and committed advocate for special needs families. 


Eleanor’s free time is taken up by her four children and two fluffy cats, but when she has a spare moment she can be found indulging her passion for cinema.

Advisory Board

Michael Kim, MD
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, University of Minnesota Medical School
Elizabeth Mack, MD, MS
Division Chief of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine and Medical Director of Children's Quality and Safety, Medical University of South Carolina
Ana Núñez, MD, FACP
Vice Dean, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, University of Minnesota Medical School
Patricia Poitevien, MD, MSc
Assistant Dean of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and Pediatrics Residency Program Director, Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University
Christopher Tiongson, MD
Chair of the Department of Pediatrics, University of North Dakota School of Medicine

Board of Directors

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Kirsten Axelsen

Kirsten is an economist, a consultant, and a Senior Policy Advisor to DLA Piper. She is a visiting scholar with the American Enterprise Institute and an Aspen Institute Health Fellow. Kirsten was on the leadership team of Pfizer Inc’s $30 billion global innovative pharmaceutical business, where she led Strategy and Business Evaluation. Kirsten led multiple global reorganizations, and developed corporate strategy for emerging markets, digital technology and for a more patient-centric approach. She oversaw business development evaluation for rare disease, oncology, inflammation & immunology, and primary care. Kirsten also led Pfizer’s Global Policy team. She is a published author including on the impact of Medicaid preferred drug lists on health disparities and adherence to medicines. 


Kirsten is a board member for Ramapo for Children, she worked in Ethiopia with the International Trachoma initiative and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise $1.6 million for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center.

Connie Taylor Headshot
Connie Taylor, MD

Connie is a Co-Founder of Aequitas Health. She is a pediatric epileptologist at Avera Health in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  She has spent the majority of her training and professional life providing care for the underserved in both urban and rural settings. She has clinical interests in neonatal and pediatric neurocritical care, with a particular interest in stroke and epilepsy. Connie is dedicated to the fair and equitable care for all children, and is currently expanding telemedicine clinics in South Dakota and southwest Minnesota. Connie recently completed the Health Equity Leadership and Mentoring Program at the University of Minnesota, and is dedicated to training and preparing the next generation of physician advocates. She has spoken recently on healthcare and racial justice at the University of South Dakota School of Medicine Diversity Dialogues, University of South Dakota Advocacy in Medical Legislation panel discussion  and the South Dakota Public Health Association Annual Conference. 


Connie enjoys spending time outdoors enjoying the South Dakota Summers, and hibernating with a good book and a warm cup on tea during the long Winters.

Bill Westwood
Bill Westwood

Bill is a Co-Founder of Aequitas Health. He is a Senior Client Partner based in Korn Ferry’s Chicago office. He is a member of the CEO & Executive Development and CEO Succession practices.  He has led and participated in many senior executive assessments, coaching and succession projects over his 20-year career at KF.  Bill’s clients include companies in every sector and across four continents, including publicly traded, private equity and venture capital entities.  He has focused recently on health care and NGO clients. Bill came to Korn Ferry from Motorola, where he directed global leadership and organization development for the Communications Enterprise, the largest single business unit within Motorola. Bill serves on the Executive Committee of Project Redwood, a Stanford Business School alumni effort that funds entrepreneurial efforts to eliminate global poverty. 


Bill is a Montana native and a competitive age group distance runner, although his grandson is now obliterating his high school times.  

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