Gundersen Health System

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Gundersen Health System
Type Non-profit organization
Industry Health care
Founded La Crosse, Wisconsin (1902)
Founders Adolf Gundersen, MD
Headquarters La Crosse, Wisconsin, United States
Area served Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota
Key people Jeffrey E. Thompson
(Chairman and CEO)
Employees 5,685[1]
Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center - East Building in La Crosse, Wisconsin

Gundersen Health System is a nonprofit comprehensive health care network headquartered in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Its system includes multi-specialty group medical practices, a teaching hospital, regional community clinics, affiliate hospitals and clinics, behavioral health services, vision centers, pharmacies, and air and ground ambulances.[2] Gundersen Health's flagship campus is located in La Crosse, Wisconsin and is also the designated Western Clinical Campus for the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.[3][4]

In 2014, Gundersen Health received Healthgrades America's 50 Best Hospitals™ designation, placing the system among the top 1 percent of hospitals nationwide.[5] Additional awards include receiving the Healthgrades Distinguished Hospital Award-Clinical Excellence™ recognition seven years in a row from 2008 to 2014.[6]


Adolf Gundersen, who arrived in 1891 from Norway, was the founder of Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center. Gundersen graduated from University of Oslo. In 1893 he married Helga Isaksaetre, with whom he had eight children. Four of the sons, Gunnar, Alf, Sigurd B. Sr. and Thorolf, joined their father in his first clinic, which opened in 1930 on the outskirts of the city. In 1944, three of the physician sons created Gundersen Medical Foundation (now known as Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation).[7]

Medical operations[edit]

Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center is the designated Western Clinical Campus for the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and School of Nursing.

During 2007, Gundersen had 14,164 admissions, 1,597 births, and 23,192 emergency and trauma center visits. Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center is an ACS verified Level II Trauma Center. The center has been named[who?] among the top 100 in the nation 13 times in the last 11 years.[citation needed][when?] There are approximately 6,316 employees, and 434 physicians and 259 physician assistants and nurse practitioners on staff.[8]


Gundersen Lutheran was named one of the top 100 hospitals in the nation for cardiovascular care by Thomson Reuters for the fifth time in 2008.[citation needed] Gundersen Lutheran also received the honor in 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007.[9]

Environmental efforts[edit]

Gundersen Lutheran's Environmental Promise states: "We will meet 100 percent of our energy needs for our facilities by 2014 by creating renewable energy and improving energy efficiency."[10]

The underground parking ramp that opened on the health system’s La Crosse campus in 2008 had solar panels.[11]

Respecting Choices Program[edit]

An innovative Advanced Care Planning Program, Respecting Choices uses an evidence-based model to communicate patient's wishes for care, treatment, or services before and at the end of life. Respecting Choices is internationally recognized and provides training and consultation to organizations and communities around the world.[12]


Gundersen Lutheran's flagship campus is located on the south side of La Crosse. There are also 24 satellite clinics in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa.


Other sources[edit]

  • Hessel, Susan T. Medicine, the Gundersen experience, 1891-1991 (Gundersen Clinic, Ltd., La Crosse, Wisconsin: 1991)
  • Midelfort, H. Christine A Norwegian Immigrant's Accommodation To America: The Early Letters of Dr. Adolf Gundersen (Peninsula Nordic Study Circle Lecture Series. 2005-2006)

External links[edit]