Panelist Biographies

Laura J. Ackman – joined Essentia Health-Northern Pines Medical Center in Aurora in 2008 and serves as its President and Chief Operating Officer.  Northern Pines Medical Center is a 16-bed Critical Access Hospital with an attached 50-bed skilled nursing facility and a rural health clinic.  She is the licensed nursing home administrator at a sister facility in Deer River, MN. Over the years, Laura has worked on many teams to change the way healthcare is provided by piloting new programs.  One such program is a tele-health project that links emergency room providers with the St. Mary’s Medical Center emergency room physicians.  Another project was a tele-medical weight loss management project.  Both projects received the Essentia Health Process Excellence Project of the Year Award.

Laura is an active member of the Minnesota Hospital Association and serves on its Small, Rural Hospital Committee.  She is also a member of the Office of Rural Health & Primary Care’s Flex Advisory Committee and has recently become a member of the National Rural Health Resource Center’s Integrated Behavioral Health Advisory Council. She serves on the Range Area’s Community Mental Health Task Force.  She has served on the Leading Age Quality and Performance Improvement Committee as well as the Survey Review & Regulatory Analysis Committee. Laura graduated with honors and received her B.S. from Baker College in Michigan.  She received her J.D. from Thomas Cooley Law School in Michigan.


Jeffrey L. Tucker – has more than 29 years of experience in health care and serves as the President and CEO at Integrity Health Network and Integrity Health Foundation. He joined Northstar Physicians Network in 1997 as Director of Network Development. In 2005 the Northstar Board of Directors appointed Jeff CEO. Jeff oversaw expansion of the network’s services, including purchasing expense management, contracting and reimbursement analysis, new technology programs, and piloting new models of healthcare. In 2010 Jeff played an integral role in combining two long-established names in healthcare — Northstar Physicians Network and Northland Medial Associates — creating a new entity to respond to market forces and offer a competitive alternative to the big health systems. That same year he was elected President and CEO of Integrity Health Network, LLC. Shortly thereafter IHN formed a subsidiary to operate as an Accountable Care Organization under the Medicare Shared Savings Program (Integrity Health Innovations, LLC) as well as expanding its affiliated non-profit foundation (Integrity Health Foundation) support of independent medicine through direct grants and resources to assist clinics in areas expansion of services and recruitment of new providers.


Blaine Gamst- currently serves as the executive director of Ecumen Lakeshore, a dynamic and vibrant senior living and health care campus located in Duluth, Minn. Lakeshore’s independent living apartments sit on the edge of Lake Superior. The campus also offers both assisted and memory care living. Lakeshore’s transitional care unit provides care and rehabilitation services to 900 patients each year whose stays average between 10 – 20 days before returning home. To compliment the high volume of patients transitioning back to home, Lakeshore offers skilled home care and home delivered meals that help people to live as independently as possible. Ecumen Lakeshore currently employs 250 great people, who make it all happen. Blaine and his wife, Afton, have a two year old son, Weston. The Gamst family enjoys taking in the beautiful Duluth landscape and spending time outdoors. Blaine also enjoys golf, biking, fishing, hockey, and skiing.

Close DescriptionBlaine has a B.A.in health care administration and long-term care from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn. He is also a graduate of St. Catherine University graduate-level certificate program in Organizational Leadership and Ecumen’s Velocity Leadership program.


Greg Ruberg- is the President/CEO of Lake View Hospital in Two Harbors and Vice President of St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth, MN. He has a Master of Business Administration and Master of Arts in Physical Therapy from The College of Saint Scholastica.  Greg is the Region 2 Chair of the Minnesota Hospital Association, board chair of the Two Harbors Federal Credit Union, and a board member of Wilderness Health.  He is also a graduate of the Blandin Community Leadership Program and a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.  Greg lives in Two Harbors with his wife and three children and the family enjoys traveling, boating and other outdoor activities.