For the Media

Essentia Health has a team of media relations professionals who work with local, state, and national media.

Media Contacts

To coordinate interviews, photos, and/or video, contact the media relations team member in you

Essentia Health (All Areas)

Shannon Dahnke
Director of communications

Phone: 218-576-0052
Cell Phone: 218-428-1781
Email Shannon Dahnke


Northeast Minnesota & Northwest Wisconsin

Maureen Talarico
Media relations specialist

Phone: 218-786-2315
Cell Phone: 218-428-1781
Email Maureen Talarico


Central Minnesota

Kathy Sell
Marketing manager

Phone: 218-828-7565
Cell Phone: 218-839-9913
Email Kathy Sell


Eastern North Dakota & Western Minnesota

Tara Ekren
Media relations specialist

Phone: 701-364-3030
Cell Phone: 701-630-1270
Email Tara Ekren


Visiting Essentia Health Facilities in a Professional Capacity

Please contact a member of the media relations team before going to an Essentia Health facility to report a story. All members of the news media must be accompanied by a member of Essentia's media relations team when visiting an Essentia facility in a professional capacity.

Patient Condition Reports

To request information about the condition of a patient at Essentia, call a member of the media relations team in your area. Media are required to identify themselves by name and news affiliation, and provide the correct spelling of the first and last name of the patient.

Privacy Policies

In accordance with Essentia’s policies and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA):

  • Essentia honors family requests to withhold information about a patient’s condition.
  • If the patient has agreed ahead of time, patient directory information can be released.
  • If the patient has not agreed to be included in the patient directory, Essentia can neither confirm nor deny their presence in our facility.
  • Information that could possibly endanger or embarrass patients will never be released.
  • We do not release any death information. To find out if a patient died, or details, reporters are instructed to contact the coroner’s officer or medical examiner, whichever has jurisdiction.

Patient Condition Definitions

Essentia uses the following definitions to describe a patient’s condition:

  • Undetermined – Patient is awaiting physician and/or assessment
  • Good – Vital signs, including pulse, respiration rate, temperature, and blood pressure, are stable and within normal limits. The patient is conscious and comfortable.
  • Fair Vital signs are stable and within normal limits, but the patient may be uncomfortable or suffering minor complications. Indicators are favorable.
  • Serious – Vital signs may be outside normal limits and treatments are being directed toward assisting return of some vital signs to normal limits. Patient is acutely ill.
  • Critical – Vital signs are unstable and frequently outside normal limits, and one or more organ systems are in failure. Patient may be unconscious. Indicators are unfavorable.