COPIC Humanitarian Award Nominees

The COPIC Humanitarian Award honors a physician for volunteer medical services and contributions to their community. COPIC specifically looks to recognize those individuals who unassumingly volunteer outside the spectrum of their day-to-day lives. The recipient of the award designates a $10,000 donation from COPIC to be provided to a health care-related 501(c)(3) organization in South Dakota of the recipient's choice. COPIC is committed to helping physicians, providers, and facilities in the communities they serve. Corporate social responsibility is a core value of COPIC. COPIC is happy to expand its engagement and support of South Dakotans by giving back through the COPIC Humanitarian Award and is pleased to collaborate with SDSMA in offering this award.

: Mark Harlow, MD
Specialty: Orthopedic Surgery
Nominated by: Special Olympics South Dakota

Excerpt from nomination statement (written by Special Olympics CEO Darryl Nordquist): "Mark started getting involved as a volunteer with Special Olympics when he was in college at Northwestern University nearly 40 years ago. Mark started the Special Olympics program there that eventually grew to be the second largest event in the state of Illinois! Mark moved to Rapid City, SD 28 years ago becoming an orthopedic surgeon in Rapid City. Mark re-engaged with Special Olympics here in South Dakota in 2007 with our local delegation called the Rapid City Flame and what a blessing he has been. Mark has held just about every volunteer position within the Flame delegation since that time, all in a volunteer capacity. When Mark started with the Flame they had fewer than 20 athletes. Because of Mark's selfless efforts the group has grown to over 150 participants. Mark has coached, arranged nearly every venue of competition as the Head of Delegation, and even driven the bus on countless trips with his group to attend competitions. Mark was on our Special Olympics South Dakota (SOSO) state Board of Directors for seven years with his last two of those years as Chairman. We also appointed Mark as the Medical Director of Special Olympics South Dakota because of his amazing training and he put in countless volunteer hours in that capacity!! Mark recently completed a 4 hour Special Olympics International training to be the SOSO Director of our Medfest program under the Healthy Athlete curriculum. Our inaugural Medfest was held last December where Mark conducted over 40 free physicals for our SO athletes ... this was a huge savings for those athletes! Mark plans to be the Director in future years for as long as we will have him. Mark helped initiate and is still actively involved with a letter jacket program at the local high schools in Rapid City giving out free high school letter jackets to individuals with disabilities that qualify. Mark has even jumped in several polar plunges over the years helping raise funds for both the Rapid City Flame and the SOSO state office. In an even larger fund raising effort, Mark works with the Buffalo Chip in Sturgis, SD (during the Sturgis Bike Rally) where he has successfully helped raise the funds to provide a new floor at a local Rapid City gymnasium that provides services to those with intellectual disabilities and special needs. It is simply amazing all the time and financial resources Mark has donated over his years of involvement with Special Olympics. You can see we could not be nearly as successful as we are without Dr. Mark Harlow and all the volunteer activities of which he has blessed SOSO and beyond!! You can certainly see from all of the Special Olympic volunteer activities above that Mark's impact to the community, specifically the disability community, has been tremendous. From providing free medical services for those less fortunate to helping those with disabilities become productive, accepted members of the communities in which they live. I also know that Mark's giving does not just involve SOSO. Mark has a huge list of other non-profit organizations that benefit from his volunteerism including for the homeless and those on the reservations in South Dakota.

Mark deserves to be recognized because the list of accomplishments above are greater than multiple people could possibly accomplish. He has a heart of gold and rarely gets recognized for all he does. Thank God for Dr. Mark Harlow!!"


Jonathan McAreavey, MD
Specialty: Family Medicine
Nominated by: Watertown District Medical Society

Excerpt from nomination statement (written by Catherine C. Gerrish, MD): Jonathan McAreavey was born in 1975 in Sioux Falls, SD, and has practiced at Brown Clinic in Watertown, SD, since his graduation from Family Medicine Residency. He attended Augustana College and the University of South Dakota School of Medicine. He did his Family Medicine Residency in Sioux Falls and was Co-Chief Resident in 2003-2004. He received the Outstanding Medical Student Teaching Award from the Department of Family Medicine in 2004. He has had an interest in Sports Medicine for many years and volunteers for Watertown High School Athletics at their sporting events.

Dr. McAreavey is a member of the SDSMA and the SD Academy of Family Physicians. He is actively involved in the Watertown District Medical Society and has served as an officer on a number of occasions. He has served as Vice-Chief of Staff from Prairie Lakes Hospital and is currently the Hospice and Palliative Care Medical Director for Prairie Lakes Hospice as of May 2007. He has served on committees at Brown Clinic, including the quality committee and IT committee. He has been a clinical instructor for medical, physician assistant and nurse practitioner students.

Dr. McAreavey is very active in the Watertown community. He is a presenter for the Brown Clinic Strive to Survive program educating patients about living well. He has been on the Board of Directors for the Watertown Boys and Girls club since 2006 and was actively involved with their capital campaign for their new building in 2018. He and his wife also served as the Chairs for the Watertown United Way Campaign. He is being nominated at this time by the Watertown District Medical Society for the above achievements. It is with great pleasure that I nominate Dr. McAreavey for the 2020 COPIC Humanitarian Award.


Nominee: Patricia Peters, MD
Specialty: Family Medicine
Nominated by: Mike Elliott, MD

Excerpt from nomination statement: "Dr. Peters is a graduate of Augustan a College and the University of South Dakota School of Medicine. She completed her Family Medicine Residency training in Sioux Falls and joined the McGreevy Clinic in 1983. Over her more than 30 years of dedicated service to our community, Dr. Peters has participated in a host of community activities in Sioux Falls and across South Dakota.

As a faculty member for the Department of Family Medicine with the University of South Dakota School of Medicine, Dr. Peters volunteered her time as the coordinator of the Longitudinal Integrated
Curriculum. She has been an esteemed volunteer instructor for medical students and physician assistant/nurse practitioner students. Additionally Dr. Peters is a facilitator for the Healer's Art Course and the Spirituality and Medicine Course. Dr. Peters is a highly respected member of the Sioux Falls medical community, was the first female chief of staff at Avera McKennan hospital, and has been an unofficial mentor to countless young physicians throughout her career.

Dr. Peters has received several awards for her community participation including the YWCA Leadership Award (1995), Achievement Award from the Business and Professional Women Organization (1998), Avera McKennan Physician Recognition Award (2003), and the Sanford School of Medicine Humanism Award (2014).

Over her career, Dr. Peters has served on multiple boards and committees including the Avera Health Board of Directors; South Dakota Perinatal Association Board of Directors; Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; Education Committee of the SD Academy of Family Practice; Augustana Booster Club and Alumni Counsel; Our Redeemer Lutheran Church Sunday School teacher, choir member, and council member; Center for Family Medicine Board of Directors; South Dakota Breast Feeding Coalition, Prairie Rehab Medical Director; USDSM Nominating Committee for OB/GYN Department Chair; Avera Health Mission and Strategic Planning Committee; and the SDSMA Commission on External Relations Committee.

In addition to her great work within South Dakota, Dr. Peters has gone on multiple mission trips to Haiti and Central America. Over the past several years she has been asked to speak on the benefits of mission trips related to overall career satisfaction and burnout prevention at the Avera Physician Leadership Academy.

It is for all these reasons that I believe Dr. Peters is a wonderful candidate for the 2020 COPIC Humanitarian Award."


Jennifer Tinguley, MD, MPH
Family Medicine
Nominated by:
David Zeigler, MD, PhD

Excerpt from nomination statement:
"As president of the 7th District South Dakota State Medical Association, I am proud to be nominating Jennifer Tinguely, MD, MPH for the Humanitarian Award for COPIC. I have known her as a member of the South Dakota State Medical Association since 2014 and in her capacity as At-Large Board Member in 2017 and as Secretary/Treasurer of the 7th District of the South Dakota State Medical Association since 2018. The 7th District is the largest in South Dakota.
Dr. Tinguely works as the Chief Medical Officer of Falls Community Health for the City of Sioux Falls. She is responsible for planning and resource allocation as well as compliance at Falls Community Health that is a Federally Qualified Health Center.    

Dr. Tinguely graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (2001) from College of St. Benedict/St John’s University and has her Master’s in Public Health from Boston University of Public Health with a Maternal and Child Health concentration (2003).  She earned her MD degree from the University Of South Dakota School Of Medicine in Vermillion SD in 2010.  She went on to her family medicine Residency at the Center for Family Medicine in Sioux Falls, SD (2014).   

She has been passionate about minority health issues for many years. In her MPH studies, she focused on American Indian Health.  In medical school, she worked as the Class Representative for the Sanford School of Medicine Minority Affairs Health Committee. Since completing her Family Medicine Residency in 2014, she took a job as the Chief Medical Officer for Falls Community Health, City of Sioux Falls. In this role, she has been responsible for planning, resource allocation, regulatory compliance, quality and efficiency of medical services provided at Falls Community Health, a Federally Qualified Health Center.    

Dr. Tinguely has been part of the Sanford School of Medicine Primary Care Ambulatory Program Coordination committee. She directly supervises Medical Students and Residents during their Community Health rotations. She has been on the Sanford School of Medicine Pandemic Planning Committee and she has coordinated points of dispensing and testing for the eastern half of South Dakota.   

She was selected as the Young Physician of the Year by the South Dakota State Medical Association in 2016. She is a Gold Humanism Honor Society inductee and is a Delta Omega Public health Honor Society Member. She volunteers as a coach with the YMCA girls’ basketball and volleyball. She is also active with in the Medical School instructing students in their Healthcare for the Underserved Rotation as well the Chronic Pain and Addition rotation.  

Dr. Tinguely is invaluable in her expertise and her commitment to the health of South Dakota. She is dedicated in the promotion of care of the poor and disadvantaged in our community and around the region. She is especially passionate about minority health and advocacy. I strongly recommend Dr. Tinguely for the COPIC Humanitarian Award."


Mark Wheeler, MD
Specialty: Orthopedic Surgery
Nominated by: Stephen Eckrich, MD

Excerpt from nomination statement: "It is with great honor and humility that I nominate Dr. Mark Wheeler of Custer, South Dakota for the COPIC Humanitarian Award of 2020. Dr. Wheeler’s volunteer activities alone are worthy of any humanitarian award, but what sets him apart from all others is his tremendous ability to reach out and kindle profound acts of volunteerism by other physicians in our State.

Dr. Wheeler is a retired orthopedic surgeon who practiced in Dakota Dunes and the surrounding area for nearly thirty years. He retired from active medical practice in 2008, but has continued his active involvement in orthopedics through Hope Ministries of Elk Point, S.D.  Every year since 2014, Dr. Wheeler has accompanied Hope Ministries to Tanzania on its medical mission trips, serving as a volunteer physician at hospitals serving the poor. These include the very small Selian Hospital in Arusha, to Bugando Medical Centre in Mwanza, the largest general hospital in Tanzania. He not only involves himself in the direct care of patients, many of whom suffer from complex orthopedic conditions, but even more importantly, he has taken on the role of medical educator. In addition to the U.S. students who go on these trips, he directly interacts with the Tanzanian medical students, residents, and staff physicians, conducting formal presentations on various medical topics.  His educational style is collaborative, relaxed, and highly effective. The students, faculty, and staff look forward to, and appreciate his educational presentations. Upon his return to the United States, through the Internet he collaborates with, and provides assistance to the physicians at these various hospitals.  As a testament to his commitment to medical education, Dr. Wheeler financially sponsors one orthopedic surgery resident per year at Bugando Medical Center.

Though Dr. Wheeler’s personal involvement of orthopedic education in Tanzania is laudable, how does his work a half a world away benefit South Dakota? The answer to that question is the real reason Dr. Wheeler is deserving of this award. Dr. Wheeler doesn’t spend the remaining fifty weeks of the year enjoying solitude and peace in retirement; he is actively involved in recruiting other physicians of many specialties to engage in acts of volunteerism. He has provided presentations to various medical groups, including the South Dakota State Orthopedic Society on his work in Tanzania and encouraged other physicians, including myself, to realize the satisfaction associated with volunteer medical work. It is a scary thing to travel to a foreign country and see things that exist only in textbooks in the United States. His relaxed demeanor helped to put me at ease when I went for the first time to Tanzania, having been billed as a pediatric orthopedic expert but really never experiencing the depth and complexity of the orthopedic conditions I encountered in a very austere environment. I came home to South Dakota a better physician because of my experience in Tanzania. Through his energies, he has recruited five orthopedic surgeons, a general surgeon, neurosurgeon, urologist, otolaryngologist, gastroenterologist, and a breast surgeon to come to Tanzania and teach. They have likewise returned to South Dakota as better, more empathetic physicians. For those South Dakota physicians who cannot travel to Tanzania, he has fostered volunteerism by presenting the need for used orthopedic equipment, most recently a fracture table from a hospital in Yankton which was delivered last year to Bugando Medical Centre, which, although the largest hospital in Tanzania caring for orthopedic trauma, did not even have this most basic piece of orthopedic equipment. The donation of the table came about when a physician with whom Mark spoke with about the need mentioned it to another physician who happened to remember that a no longer used fracture table was in storage at his local hospital. It is through this interconnectedness that Dr. Wheeler has created a strong and expanding list of South Dakota physicians and students who have been introduced to the gratifying nature of medical volunteerism.

In addition to his own support of resident education in Tanzania, Dr. Wheeler has influenced others to sponsor residents in Tanzania. Through his efforts, the State Orthopedic Society of Iowa now provides scholarships to residents in orthopedic surgery at Bugando, and he has obtained the support of other South Dakota physicians who now sponsor residents in Otolaryngology, Urology, and Obstetrics/Gynecology. He has helped physicians from Tanzania refine their surgical skills by coming to South Dakota and interacting with South Dakota physicians. South Dakota nursing and medical students have travelled to Tanzania on these twice-yearly trips where Dr. Wheeler stands as an excellent role model for them in the value and personal satisfaction one gets from selfless volunteerism.

I am certain that there are others being considered for the Copic Humanitarian Award, and they are all deserving. I believe that which sets Dr. Mark Wheeler apart from the others is his demonstrated ability to nurture the spirit of volunteerism in everyone with whom he comes into contact, and having those contacts further spread the message to others. Whether that volunteerism is manifested in traveling to the next county or to a country half-way around the world, the effect is the same on those who practice it…the fulfillment that one gets from using his or her talents to serve others and do good. Dr. Mark Wheeler, South Dakota’s Pied Piper of medical volunteerism is truly deserving of this Award."