Named Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center’s 2016 Employee of the Year, 2003 University of Sioux Falls alumna Stephanie Myers, a physical therapist with Avera Therapy, exemplifies Avera’s core values of compassion, hospitality and stewardship—values that were strengthened in her during her time at USF. 

“I make an extreme effort to do whatever I can to make a patient, intern, family member or co-worker feel safe, comfortable, valued and respected,” said Myers. “As a physical therapist, I am so fortunate to be able to practice service on a daily basis and I am so blessed to have had such a strong faith-based foundation at USF.” 

Myers works primarily with individuals with neurological issues and has a special interest in Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis and CVA.

According to Avera McKennan, Employee of the Year nominations are most often submitted by Avera coworkers or leaders. Myers is unique in that her nomination was submitted by patients. 

Modeling USF’s Culture for Service motto in her day-to-day interactions, Myers was described by one of her patients as “our greatest cheerleader,” and someone who “encourages all patients regardless of abilities, or lack of.” 

Another patient noted, “We love her for what she has done for us—a small community of people with a disease that makes us shake, tremor and walk funny. She has embraced all of our quirks and I think she should be Employee of the Year.” 

Always going above and beyond for her patients, Myers traveled to Madison, WI, in 2013 to receive special training for an exercise program designed specifically for people with Parkinson’s disease. Upon her return, she began offering weekly exercise classes that help her patients live well with a chronic, debilitating disease.

Myers credits USF for teaching her how to effectively balance academics and athletics, preparing her for the rigors of professional education.

“I work closely with occupational and speech therapists and this requires close communication and interaction,” said Myers. “As said in sports, there is no ‘I’ in team. With the population we serve, patient success in rehab is elevated when we are all on the same team and work together to meet the needs of the patient.”

After marrying Nick Myers—also a 2003 USF graduate—Myers pursued her degree in physical therapy, and in 2006 she received her doctorate from Creighton University, with an additional health care management certificate. After that, she started her work at Avera Therapy. In addition to her job responsibilities at Avera, Myers volunteers her time in the community through various events. She is also a board member on the South Dakota Parkinson Foundation and was recently named vice president.