Dan Friedrich, CISSP – Director

Dan Friedrich is the Director of the Center for Advancement of Health Information Technology (CAHIT) at Dakota State University. Dan is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional with more than 35 years of experience in information assurance and adult technical instruction. Prior positions include Director of Technology Support Services at DSU, Data Network Administrator for the College of Engineering at SDSU, and Data Systems Instructor for the US Navy. Dan regularly speaks at Dakota State University offerings as well as at conferences as a privacy/security expert. Dan is based in Madison, SD and is widely regarded as an expert in network privacy and security issues.


  • Privacy/Security
  • Quality Payment Program

Recent Speaking Engagements:

  • Community Healthcare Association of the Dakotas Conference
  • South Dakota eHealth Summit
  • North Dakota – Health Information Management Systems Society
  • South Dakota – Health Information Management Systems Society
  • Texas Organization of Rural Hospital’s
  • South Dakota Chiropractic Conference
  • Independent Insurance Agents of South Dakota
  • South Dakota Dental Association

Kevin Atkins, CAHIMS – Engagement Manager

Kevin Atkins is the Engagement Manager for HealthPOINT at Dakota State University. Kevin is a Certified Associate in Health Information & Management Systems (CAHIMS) with over 10 years experience in health care. As Engagement Manager, Kevin is responsible for coordinating and managing multiple single services and individual small or large interconnected projects as well as providing direct technical assistance to clients. Kevin’s assessment and outcomes-based responsibilities at HealthPOINT draw from his successful IT and EHR implementation experience. Kevin is based in the Brookings, SD area.


  • Information Technology
  • Privacy & Security
  • Workflow
  • Business Operations
  • Clinic Management

Previous Speaking Engagements

  • Independent Insurance Agents of South Dakota
  • South Dakota Dental Association
  • School Education Programs
  • Law Enforcement Conferences

Tara Leonard, MSAS, CHSP – HealthPOINT Project Manager, Compass PTN Quality Advisor

Tara is based in Yankton, SD and has a BA in Communications and an MA in Healthcare Administration with a specialization in long-term care. She worked 13 years at the South Dakota Human Services Center in many areas including admissions, volunteers services and staff development. She provided training for staff in nonviolence crisis intervention and dementia education. In 2010 she started her position as Clinical IT Specialist Lead for HealthPOINT and providing assistance to clinics and hospitals with electronic health record implementation, Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, and HIPAA security risk analysis and remediation. In 2016 she was promoted as HealthPOINT Project Manager for the Compass PTN Project. She develops quality project plans and provides guidance with workflow redesign, data collecting and reporting, and change management for practices to be successful with the Quality Payment Program.

Colette Hesla RN, MBA – Quality Improvement Advisor

Before joining HealthPOINT, Colette was the Clinical Quality Specialist at CHAD, the PCA for North and South Dakota, providing training and technical assistance to Federally Qualified Health Centers. Colette has also served as coordinator of the South Dakota Diabetes Prevention & Control program where she led diabetes-related public health program development and surveillance. She has also worked as a Registered Nurse in long-term care, home health, and inpatient care. Colette has an AA and a BSN in Nursing and a MBA specializing in health service administration. Based in Pierre, Colette actively assists practices with the Quality Payment Program MIPS efforts.