She brings a strong background in operations management, event coordination, and partner relationships. In this new role, she will support the organization’s expansion, diversify coalition membership, and oversee operations. She will also manage communications and advocate for ISD as the most trusted source of information on immunizations and vaccine-preventable diseases in South Dakota. In addition, Dani will manage the organization’s annual conference and other educational opportunities.
Previously, Dani spent seven years at the Community HealthCare Association of the Dakotas (CHAD), where she grew her role into the event and operations manager. Dani managed virtual and in-person events at CHAD, including two annual multi-state conferences, meetings, trainings, and webinars. She also assisted the CEO and supported CHAD staff in operations, training, and finance. In addition to her primary responsibilities, Dani also provided partnership oversite and event management for the Sioux Falls Area Immunization Coalition, overseeing the transition from a regional coalition to a statewide organization, making her a natural choice to lead ISD.
Dani holds an associate degree in business administration from Southeast Technical Institute. In her free time, she enjoys reading and camping. She lives in Harrisburg with her husband and a full house of children and pets.
Andrea Polkinghorn, BSN, RN-BC is the board president for Immunize South Dakota, where she manages the business and affairs of the board. She oversees the coalition achieving short-term and long -term goals and presides over coalition meetings. In addition to her role with ISD, Andrea works as the immunization strategy leader for Sanford Health, where she develops and leads the implementation of immunization strategy for all vaccinating locations. She provides oversight and consultation to over 40 medical centers and more than 200 clinics to ensure standardization of immunization practices, appropriate implementation of immunization guidelines and provides ongoing immunization education for staff. Lastly, she is responsible for identifying, analyzing, implementing, and evaluating quality improvement measures to support a robust immunization program.
Andrea became passionate about vaccines in 2015 when she found herself questioning vaccines prior to her first daughter’s birth. As a nurse, she heard some of her colleagues citing misinformation, which resulted in her questioning vaccine safety. Thankfully, her daughter’s pediatrician educated her about vaccines’ science and safety, and her daughter was vaccinated as recommended and on schedule. As Andrea learned more, she discovered the disparities in some immunization rates, and it ignited a passion within her to do what she can to educate and advocate for vaccination. Andrea graduated from South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science in nursing. She lives in Sioux Falls with her husband, Chris, her three daughters, and their dog, Diesel.
Carmen Toft is the vice president for Immunize South Dakota. She assists the president with their duties and responsibilities, promotes collaboration, conflict resolution, and decision making for ISD.
In addition to her role with ISD, Carmen is the communications specialist at the Community HealthCare Association of the Dakotas, where she contributes to communications, marketing, and policy initiatives designed to promote health centers and their impact on population health and the communities they serve.
Treasurer / Secretary
Amanda Spiering serves as the treasurer/secretary for Immunize South Dakota where she oversees financial details and grant management. She also records, distributes, and maintains meeting minutes.
In addition to her role at ISD, Amanda is an Associate Trust Officer for South Dakota Trust Company LLC where she works in Trust Administration. She attended the University of South Dakota and graduated in 2015 with a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice and a Minor in Sociology. After graduation, she started her career at SDTC and graduated from Trust School through Cannon Financial in May 2020. She is also a 2022 graduate of the Leadership South Dakota program. Her hobbies include reading, cooking and baking, spending time outdoors, cheering on her sports teams and loving on her corgi, Tater.
Director at Large
Allie lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and is married to Greg. They have 4 kids ages 17 to 25, 4 dogs, and a cat. She is originally from Kansas City and attended college and medical school at the University of Kansas. After medical school she started out in Internal Medicine but then switched to Psychiatry, completing a residency in Sioux Falls through the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine.
She quit practicing to start the South Dakota Arthritis Foundation office in Sioux Falls after her son was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis when he was very young. She worked to advocate and educate about this debilitating and incurable disease across the state. She has also been a leader in many different organizations over the years, making a difference across the community.
One of her passions has always been vaccine advocacy. With her science and medical background, she understands that it is vital for individuals and communities to stay up to date on the recommended immunizations and to promote vaccination by supporting evidence-based public policy and education to counter vaccine misinformation. She also wants to protect her son who is immune-compromised due to his autoimmune disease and the medications he has to take. Everyone knows or loves someone who needs their community to protect them by being vaccinated, and she is excited to lead South Dakota Families for Vaccines in advocating for public health to keep everyone in our state healthy and safe.
Director at Large
Matt Hammer is the Director of Consumer Insights at Lawrence & Schiller, an advertising agency based in Sioux Falls, SD. As the Director of Consumer Insights, Matt leads research initiatives and strategy development across the agency for L&S’s clients. Prior to his professional career, Matt attended the University of South Dakota where he studied Communication and got his start in research. In his free time, he enjoys cycling, sci-fi movies and the never-ending process of remodeling his home.
Director at Large
Benson Langat is a therapist at Family Service, Inc. in Sioux Falls. He is also a Level I & II Certified Running Coach and Certified Coaching Instructor for the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA), as well as the director of private coaching at 605 Running Company in Sioux Falls. Benson earned his undergraduate and graduate studies at Butler College and the University of South Dakota. He was also a track and cross country team member representing both colleges.
Director at Large
Christy Ward is a Senior Strategic Planning Advisor for Sanford Health. In this role, Christy assists teams in developing strategic plans, providing strategic recommendations and translating research into trends with business impact. Another key aspect of this work is conducting community health needs assessments, identifying priorities and helping to shape solutions to drive improvements in community health. Christy has a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of South Dakota and a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Northern State University. She is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).
Christy and her husband Tom have lived in Sioux Falls, SD since 1995 where they raised two incredible humans, Emma and Ian, and currently share their empty nest with an energetic German Shorthair Pointer puppy named Echo. Christy is a mentor for Leadership SD, a career coach for Dress for Success, and an avid reader, yogi, and movie buff.