Brookings group honors Prairie Doc team for volunteerism

From left are Brookings Mayor Ope Niemeyer; the Prairie Doc team members Dr. Kelly Evans-Hulligner, Dr. Andrew Ellsworth, Dr. Jill Kruse and Dr. Debra Johnston; Shelby Byers of First Bank & Trust; Heidi Gullickson, executive director of Brookings Area United Way; and CNP Joanie Holm.

BROOKINGS — The Brookings Area United Way’s Volunteer United program recently announced that the Prairie Doc has been named the September 2023 Volunteer of the Month, an area-wide award program sponsored by First Bank & Trust.

The Prairie Doc team — Dr. Andrew Ellsworth, Dr. Jill Kruse, Dr. Kelly Evans-Hulligner and Dr. Debra Johnston — spends over 20 hours a month hosting a television show, a radio show, two podcasts and provide a syndicated column to various newspapers to help promote trusted healthcare and make information accessible to all — especially in the rural areas of South Dakota.

Many of the Prairie Doc team members have been involved for over 10 years while taking over full-time hosting duties nearly four years ago.

The mission of Prairie Doc programming is to enhance health and diminish suffering by communicating useful information based on honest science, provided in a respectful and compassionate manner. The programming covers all topics like heart disease, diabetes, mental health, weight loss, vaccines and more. Offering a live show allows the doctors to talk about topics that impact those in the community.

Callers can also call in and ask questions — it is free, and all calls remain anonymous.

To learn more about what they offer, visit or find them on social media — the Prairie Docs.