Bill Gassen

President and CEO,
Sanford Health

Bill Gassen is president and CEO of Sanford Health, a $7.1 billion integrated health system serving communities across the upper Midwest.

Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Sanford Health is dedicated to transforming the health care experience and providing access to world-class health care in America’s heartland.

Gassen marked his appointment to president and CEO of Sanford Health in November 2020 by committing the organization to three pillars: patients, people and communities. This focus has positioned the system to shape the future of health care for generations to come.

In 2022, Gassen announced that Sanford Health’s strategic position and aspirational goal is to be the premier rural health system in the United States, with a commitment to ensuring the quality of care a person receives is not limited by their zip code.

The organization serves more than 1.5 million patients and 220,000 health plan members across 250,000 square miles. The integrated health system has 47 medical centers, 45,000 employees, 2,800 Sanford physicians and advanced practice providers, 170 clinical investigators and research scientists, more than 200 senior care locations and world clinics in 8 countries around the globe.

Sanford Health is the largest employer in the Dakotas. In 2020, the organization contributed nearly $12 billion to the region’s economy.

Gassen is presiding over transformational growth: In 2021, the health system unveiled a $350 million virtual care initiative to improve access to convenient, high-quality care for rural, underserved communities. That same year, Sanford Health announced plans to add eight new graduate medical residencies and fellowships in specialty areas, for a total of 15 programs, to build the next generation of rural health care providers.

Gassen is a former healthcare litigator and current member of the State Bar of South Dakota. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a law degree, both from the University of South Dakota. He previously served in a number of leadership roles for Sanford Health over a ten-year period including chief administrative officer, corporate counsel and chief human resources officer.

He serves on the Health Systems Council of the American Hospital Association and is a board member for the Healthcare Institute.

Gassen comes from a family dedicated to public service. His mother spent four decades as a hospital nurse. His father served in the Air Force, and Gassen was born on a military base in Little Rock, Arkansas, but spent most of his childhood growing up in Rapid City, South Dakota. His father played a key role in the development of Feeding South Dakota, the state’s largest charitable hunger-relief organization, and served as CEO for more than 20 years.

Gassen and his wife, Jill, a physician’s assistant for the Veterans Administration, have five children ranging in ages from three to 12 years old and live in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.