Thursday, September 22, 2016

Promise CHC awarded $45,361 grant for health IT enhancements

SIOUX CENTER – Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center has been awarded a $45,361 grant for health information technology enhancements.

The grant was awarded through the Delivery System Health Information Investment program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Karen Sanchez, optometry/medical assistant for
Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center,
enters information into the computer. Promise has
been awarded a $45,361 federal grant for health
information technology enhancements.

The funds will be used toward the purchase of equipment and supplies to upgrade an aging server and technology infrastructure to support the expansion of integrated services and the transition to value-based care. The project also involves the purchase of equipment and software for the implementation of telehealth services.

“This grant helps us keep pace with the delivery of health care in an integrated and fast-paced environment,” said Nancy Dykstra, executive director of Promise. “Health care continues to move forward and requires state-of-the-art delivery systems. This is a way for us to ensure that we have the equipment and capacity necessary.”

More than $87 million was awarded through the grant program to 1,310 health centers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Pacific Basin. Iowa’s 14 community health centers were awarded $838,044.
Registered nurse Kari Ney uses her
laptop computer in the prenatal
wing at Promise Community Health
Center. Promise has been awarded
a $45,361 grant to enhance health
information technology systems.

The grant program’s purpose is to provide one-time support for health information technology enhancements that accelerate health centers’ transition to value-based models of care, improve efforts to share and use information to support better health decisions for patients, and increase engagement in delivery system transformation. It was the first significant investment directly awarded to health centers to support the purchase of health information technology since 2009.

“Health centers across the country are instrumental in providing high-quality, comprehensive primary care to millions of people,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell. “This investment will help unlock health-care data and put it to work, improving health outcomes and building a better health-care system for the American people.”

Dykstra said the grant will give Promise the technological capacity to continue to be competitive and on the frontline of delivering care. She noted that health care is making a significant paradigm shift from volume-based care to value-based care, which requires health-care facilities to demonstrate that what they’re doing and how they’re doing it is quality care for the patient.

“You can have high-quality practitioners, but if you don’t have this kind of infrastructure in place, you can’t do it anymore,” she said. “You have to have the technology in your systems or your practitioners are without the tools they need and we’re without the infrastructure we need to deliver that kind of integrated and high-level care. That’s really what the grant is intended to do.”

The grant also will give Promise and other community health centers across Iowa the ability to implement telehealth services to connect patients directly with specialists through University of Iowa Health Care. That will allow Promise to be able to care for patients who otherwise might have been referred elsewhere to specialists.

“What these specialties might be still is being looked at,” Dykstra said.

Promise Community Health Center of Sioux Center is the only Federally Qualified Health Center serving the far northwest corner of Iowa. Promise provides medical, prenatal, dental, vision and behavioral health services. To learn more, visit and watch this video.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Karina Gonzalez assumes receptionist position at Promise CHC

SIOUX CENTER – Karina Gonzalez did not know what her future held for her when she visited Promise Community Health Center for the first time.

Karina Gonzalez recently started serving as a receptionist
at Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center. As
one of the first faces that patients see, she wants to help
make sure they have a good visit to the health center.
“I walked in and felt very welcomed,” she said. “I had come in to make an appointment – not knowing that I was going to ask for an application. I saw that everything was clean and so organized. Everyone dressed nice and seemed that they had good communication. In a medical-related environment, it is very important that there is good communication.”

That first visit ended with an application in her hand and, ultimately, led to a job at Promise.

Karina, who is bilingual in English and Spanish, recently assumed the position of receptionist at the health center.

“I was interested in working for Promise since many people have spoken very well of the Promise clinic. They spoke things like, ‘Everyone is so nice and friendly,’” she said, noting that it has turned out to be “way better” than she expected. “Everyone dressed so nice and professional. I knew that I would fit in perfectly.”

Karina grew up up in Los Angeles. Her family moved in 2009 to Sioux City, where she graduated from North High School in 2012. She attended Northeast Community College in the South Sioux City Extended Campus for a couple of years, but she was undecided on her field of study. She might eventually to go back to college.

Karina and her husband, Rodrigo Gonzalez, moved to Sioux Center in May 2015. She then worked for Sioux Center Health for over a year as a collection specialist, interpreter and admissions representative.

She’s now happy to be serving patients as a receptionist at Promise.

“What interests me about my position is to meet new faces and help them out with their visit here at Promise,” she said. “Since we are the first faces patients see, we are responsible for making the visit a good one. I enjoy working in the medical field.”

Promise Community Health Center of Sioux Center is the only Federally Qualified Health Center serving the far northwest corner of Iowa. Promise provides medical, prenatal, dental, vision and behavioral health services. To learn more, visit and watch this video.

Karina Gonzalez and her husband, Rodrigo, who is the pastor of Iglesia Pentecostes Jesucristo el Buen Pastor in Sioux Center, are excited to be expecting their first baby in 2017. Karina likes spending time with her husband and going to church. She enjoys photography, art and music and hopes to learn the piano someday.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Promise serves record 184 students at Back-to-School Block Party

SIOUX CENTER – Promise Community Health Center shattered its record for the number of children who were provided health screenings during its seventh annual Back-to-School Block Party on Wednesday, Aug. 17.

People stream into the front door and pack the front
 lobby of Promise Community Health Center as a
record 184 student received health screenings
during the Back-to-School Block Party on Aug. 17.

The total of 184 easily topped the 126 children served in 2015 and 104 in 2014.

Along with the children who received screenings, many more people enjoyed the block party meal and activities outside of the health center in downtown Sioux Center.

The event celebrated National Health Center Week.

“We’re thrilled that so many families found this to be a valuable service again this year to get their children adequately prepared for school,” said Derrick Vander Waal, public relations and development coordinator for Promise. “Not only did students get required screening for school, but everyone had a great time at the block party.”

The 184 students received at least one of the four health services offered – with many of them receiving multiple services.

Sioux Center Public Library was one of
several community organizations that
provided interactive and educational
activities during the Back-to-School
Block Party at Promise CHC on Aug. 17.

As a breakdown, 110 students – or 17 more than last year – received low-cost physicals. Eighty youth – double of last year’s total of 40 – were given free immunizations. No official numbers were available for the free dental and vision screenings, but an estimated 75 children were served with each of those services. The vision screenings were provided for the first time.

The children, their families and many others from the community also enjoyed block party activities in the parking area and alley behind the health center during the four-hour event. Promise CHC and several Sioux Center area organizations – Sioux Center Public Library, Mid-Sioux Opportunity, Seasons Center for Behavioral Health and Compass Pointe – offered interactive and educational games. KSOU Radio served a free hot dog meal. Cinema 5 Theatres provided free popcorn.

In addition, Sioux Center Health did car-seat safety checks – making adjustments to ensure the seats were safely secured in vehicles and replacing car seats no longer in good condition with new ones. Sioux Center School District personnel helped Spanish-speaking parents with school registrations. Dordt College volleyball players and Sioux Center High School students volunteered their time to help with the block party and the screenings.
A free hot dog meal was provided by KSOU
Radio for the Back-to-School Block Party
at Promise Community Health Center.

Promise gave away more than 150 drawstring bags filled with school and hygiene supplies to students, thanks in large part to a $500 grant from the Walmart Foundation. Delta Dental of Iowa donated toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss for the bags.

Area political leaders visited and toured Promise during the block party: Iowa Sen. Randy Feenstra (R-Hull), Iowa Rep. John Kooiker (R-Boyden) and Skyler Wheeler of Orange City, Republican nominee for the Iowa House of Representatives. Jerry Self, regional director from the Sioux City office of U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), also took the time to visit.

Promise Community Health Center of Sioux Center is the only Federally Qualified Health Center serving the far northwest corner of Iowa. Promise provides medical, prenatal, dental, vision and behavioral health services. To learn more, visit and watch this video.

To get a better feel for what the event was like, check out the many photos on multiple posts on Promise Community Health Center’s Facebook page at

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Lynch hopes to make children feel comfortable with dental chair

SIOUX CENTER – Gabbie Lynch loved going to the dentist as a kid. Yes, it’s true.
Gabbie Lynch's interest in the dental
field began during appointments to
the dentist as a child. She now serves
as a dental assistant at Promise
Community Health Center.

She had a great dentist with great assistants whom she looked up to. And that got her interested in going into the dental field.

Now, as a new dental assistant at Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center, Gabbie can offer that same level of care to the patients who come into Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center.

“I previously worked at a pediatric office, and I love working with children,” she said. “Seeing them smile and feel more comfortable in a ‘scary place’ is rewarding enough.”

Gabbie grew up in Sloan, IA, and graduated from Westwood High School in 2015. She earned her dental assistant diploma from Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City in May 2016 and is nitrous certified. She worked at Dunes Dental 4 Kids in Dakota Dunes, SD, for her second session of clinicals earlier this year and during the summer before assuming her position at Promise in August.

“Being a community health center, I felt that Promise had a lot to offer not only for us as employees but the community as well,” she said. “I hope to help more with the children that come in and make them feel comfortable and welcomed. I also hope to be a helping team member.”

Gabbie has been impressed by Promise so far.

“They really care about their patients and the work they do, and they’re all so friendly and welcoming,” she said.

Promise Community Health Center of Sioux Center is the only Federally Qualified Health Center serving the far northwest corner of Iowa. Promise provides medical, prenatal, dental, vision and behavioral health care as its core services. To learn more, visit and watch this video.


Gabbie Lynch lives in Sioux Center. In her free time, she enjoys relaxing by watching “The Walking Dead,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Orange is the New Black” on Netflix; going to new movies; and hanging out with family and friends.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Promise CHC to offer two Flu Vaccine Clinics: Sept. 21 and Oct. 19

SIOUX CENTER – Promise Community Health Center will offer two Flu Vaccine Clinics this fall.

They will be held at Promise – located at 338 1st Ave. NW, Sioux Center, across from the Sioux Center city hall – on the following dates:
  • 3-6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21;
  • 3-6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19.
Lester Molina prepares to get his flu shot during
last year's Flu Vaccine Clinic at Promise Community
Health Center in Sioux Center. This year, Promise
will offer the flu shots 3-6 p.m. Sept. 21 and Oct. 19.

The influenza vaccine shots are free for youth 18 years old and under and $25 for anyone over 18 years old. Promise also accepts insurance to cover the cost of the flu vaccines.

No appointments are necessary. People can walk in at any time during the flu clinics.

Any child between the ages of 6-35 months will need to get two half doses that are at least 28 days apart. Therefore, parents of those children are encouraged to attend both flu clinic dates so both doses can be given to their child. Otherwise, a special appointment will need to be made for the second dose.

This year, the nasal mist will not be offered due to the Centers of Disease Control’s recommendation on the effectiveness of the vaccination method. The CDC does strongly recommend the flu vaccine shot, however.

According to the CDC, influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death. The annual flu season can begin as early as October and last as late as May. During the past 31 flu seasons, the CDC has estimated that influenza deaths annually have ranged from as low as 3,000 to as high as 49,000.

The annual vaccine protects against the influenza virus strains that research has indicated will be the most common during the upcoming flu season, according to the CDC. People are protected against those infection strains after antibodies are developed in the body about two weeks following the vaccination.

To learn more about the flu vaccine, visit the CDC key facts page at

Promise Community Health Center of Sioux Center is the only Federally Qualified Health Center in the far northwest corner of Iowa. Promise provides medical, prenatal, dental, vision and behavioral health services. To learn more, visit or watch this video.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Crime victim advocate finds role to be perfect blend of her passions

SIOUX CENTER – She’s a crime victim advocate for Family Crisis Centers, but she spends her days full time at Promise Community Health Center.

Kelsey, who has been serving in the position since since Aug. 1, is at the forefront of a pilot project that aims to reach out to crime victims in northwest Iowa in a new and innovative way through the partnership of the two Sioux Center-based organizations.

Kelsey, a victim advocate for Family Crisis Centers,
is serving her role full time at Promise Community
Health Center in Sioux Center. The two nonprofit
organizations are partnering on the project as
another means to better reach out to victims.

Kelsey started working for the Iowa Domestic Violence Helpline operated by Family Crisis Centers in May after graduating from Northwestern College in Orange City. She then was approached by FCC executive director Shari Kastein in June about whether she would have an interest in the victim advocate role.

“As Shari explained the idea to me, it just seemed like a perfect fit,” Kelsey said. “I originally went to college for Spanish translation and interpretation but later found that I had a passion for this type of work, too. I always wondered if there may be a job out there that would merge those two passions. Little did I know as I was finishing my studies at Northwestern College, FCC and Promise Community Health Center were partnering together to write a grant that would eventually fund this position. Now, after tons of training, I am finally ready to take on this new role.”

The project was made possible through a $235,000 federal grant awarded by the Iowa Attorney General’s Office from the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) fund. After the template is developed and refined at Promise, Family Crisis Centers will expand the project by initiating two more partnerships in Storm Lake and Carroll during the first year of the program. The program might be eligible for two additional years of funding.

Kelsey, who is bilingual in English and Spanish, will provide a full range of services to victims, including crisis intervention and response, at Promise as she gets established in her position.

Here are her reflections about her role:

Q: Why do you think it’s a good idea for Promise CHC and Family Crisis Centers to partner together to offer victim advocate services onsite at the health center?
A: Family Crisis Centers is always looking for better ways to reach victims. One place we were finding a lot of people falling through the cracks was in the health-care system. Patients trust their doctors and nurses and may choose to disclose to them about violence going on in their life. Aside from providing a referral to FCC, there was not much that health-care providers could do. For many reasons, such as unsafe circumstances or lack of transportation, these patients would often not take that next step. This partnership is all about bridging that gap making health-care providers’ jobs hopefully easier by allowing them to make a simple, more immediate referral to an in-house advocate and breaking down some of those barriers for victims.
Kelsey promotes that she is bilingual
and can help people in both English
and Spanish with this sign in her room
at Promise Community Health Center.

Q: Why did this role interest you?
A: This position is the perfect marriage of my passions. It is sometimes a bit intimidating to be the pilot program for not only the other two advocates that will eventually also fill this same role at other clinics, but also for similar programs throughout the state. However, I think that this was a challenge I was more than ready to take on, and I have loved getting to be part of the development process of this new program.

Q: Why did you originally become interested in going into victim advocacy work as a career?
A: As a Spanish interpreter, I wanted to be a voice for those without one. Victim advocacy does this in a whole new way: Not only can I help bridge the communication gap for Spanish speakers, but I can be a voice for victims as well.

Q: How do you hope you can help people in this role?
A: I hope to be able to bring some clarity and understanding to victims in the region. This is tricky terrain on its own, even without a language barrier. I hope to be able to help victims in any way I can and be a voice for those that don’t have one.

Q: What are your initial impressions of Promise as an organization?
A: I was very surprised with the extent of Promise’s health care. Being able to have your health care, dental, vision and mental health needs met all in one place just makes sense. It’s great that Promise is always growing and changing their needs to fit those of their patients.

Promise Community Health Center, headquartered in Sioux Center, is the only Federally Qualified Health Center in the far northwest corner of Iowa. Promise provides medical, prenatal, dental, vision and behavioral health services. To learn more, visit and watch this video.

Kelsey grew up in Alton and graduated from MOC-Floyd Valley High School before going on to Northwestern College in Orange City. She and her husband live in Orange City. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, sewing, doing crafts and being outside.

For more information on the crime victim advocacy partnership project between Promise Community Health Center and Family Crisis Centers, read this story.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Marquez pursues lifetime aspiration at Promise CHC: Helping people

SIOUX CENTER – Leonardo Gabriel Marquez always got this bit of advice from his grandmother while he was a child growing up in Mexico:

No matter what you do, help people.

That’s exactly what he’s doing now as a new dental assistant at Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center.
Leonardo Gabriel Marquez takes one of his first steps in his
dental career by serving as a dental assistant at Promise
Community Health Center in Sioux Center. He chose the
career path because he desires to help people.

“I want to help my community,” he said. “I am so lucky because people are very kind with me. People never told me anything bad about my background, but I know there are other people that don’t have the same situation as me. There are people from other countries – Mexico or Guatemala – that always live afraid of the situation. Fortunately, that’s not my case. I really want to help my people and make those people feel comfortable coming to the health center.”

Leonardo grew up in Colotlán, Jalisco, Mexico, and graduated from high school there in 2010. His family then moved to Rock Valley.

Leonardo stayed in Rock Valley for about six months, but he decided to return to Mexico in 2011 for dental training at Universidad Guadalajara Lamar. He knew it was a career where he could help people because he had a cousin who worked as a dentist. He completed his studies in 2015 and then served his social service for six months as the dentist at a small clinic – completing the requirement in half the time because he put in double the work.

He then moved back to Rock Valley in February with hopes of saving enough money and learning to speak English well enough to be able to enroll in the Dental International Student Program at a university in the United States to become a dentist here.

In the meantime, Leonardo decided that working at Promise would be the perfect start for him.

“This is a great opportunity for me to start my career in this country,” he said. “I came here six months ago, and I just wanted to learn the language and start to be an American more, but I found the opportunity to work here. I thought, ‘Why not?’ This is a huge step for me because right now I’m improving my English here, I’m working in my (career) area, and I’m helping my community.”

Leonardo has found Promise to be “the perfect workplace” for him because the main purpose of the health center is to help people – no matter their financial resources or their background.

“You just do it, and that’s the most important part,” he said. “That’s the benefit that I have for working at Promise – helping people no matter of nothing.”

But people are helping him, too.

“People help me a lot,” Leonardo said. “I don’t know how to speak sometimes. My pronunciation is bad yet, but there are people that are very patient with me and show me a lot of stuff. It’s nice because I receive information about my area in English, and I teach them a little stuff in Spanish. It’s like you teach me, and I teach you.”

Promise Community Health Center of Sioux Center is the only Federally Qualified Health Center in the far northwest corner of Iowa. Promise provides medical, prenatal, dental, vision and behavioral health services. To learn more, visit and watch this video. To read more Promise news, visit

Leonardo Gabriel Marquez lives in Rock Valley with his family. His interests include photography and traveling. He also likes going to tractor pulls, car races and other events in the area so he can learn more about and experience the culture of northwest Iowa.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Nominations sought for 2016 Addink Community Service Award

SIOUX CENTER – Volunteers are the lifeblood of northwest Iowa communities.

They fuel the engines of churches, schools and community organizations. Their passions spark life into programs and projects.
Rob and Sharon Schelling of Sioux Center
were the recipients of the 2015 Addink
Community Service Award. They have
been involved in rebuilding efforts at
disaster sites throughout North America
for 25-plus years, along with serving the
community in various other ways.

That’s why Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center recognizes an individual, or family, every year with the Addink Community Service Award.

Promise now is accepting nominations for this year’s honoree. The deadline to submit a nomination is Sept. 15, 2016.

“We feel it’s important to recognize a person or family through our annual community service award because unselfish giving and volunteerism are essential elements if we are to deliver the promise of a healthier community,” said Nancy Dykstra, executive director of Promise. “Unselfish giving inspires others to serve, making our community and our world a better place for all.”

The award will be presented at Promise Community Health Center’s annual celebration event on Thursday, Nov. 3, at Terrace View Event Center in Sioux Center. The honoree will be notified prior to the event and will be recognized publicly.

The Addink Community Service Award was created in 2012 to recognize one individual, or family, who has made a positive impact on the community through volunteerism. The award is named after Ken and Barb Addink of Sioux Center in recognition of their lifetime of involvement in community activities. In particular, their volunteer service was instrumental in establishing dental services at Promise.

The award recognizes and honors an exceptional individual or family that makes volunteerism and community service a way of life. The award recipient exemplifies the best in volunteeringa sense of caring and responsibility for others, for the betterment of the local community and for the greater world beyond.

Nominees are being sought
for the Addink Community
Service Award for 2016.
The deadline to nominate
someone is Sept. 15.
Specifically, the winner will be someone who:

  • Gives freely and unselfishly of their time to community activities;
  • Inspires others to serve and acts as a role model;
  • Has a positive impact upon the direction and success of community projects, programs or individuals;
  • Improves the lives of others.

Anyone can nominate a person, or family, for the award. Anyone except for a Promise employee, current board member or immediate family member of an employee or board member  is eligible to receive the award. Nominations will remain on file for three years.

To fill out an online nomination form, visit To have a nomination form emailed or mailed to you, contact Derrick Vander Waal at 712-722-1700 or

For more information about the award, visit this link to review the full criteria.

Promise Community Health Center of Sioux Center is the only Federally Qualified Health Center in the far northwest corner of Iowa. Promise provides medical, prenatal, dental, vision and behavioral health services. To learn more, visit and watch this video. To read more Promise news, visit

David Hira, a magician and comedian from
Dallas, TX, with ties to northwest Iowa, will
be the entertainer for Promise Community
Health Center's "An Evening of Promise"
celebration on Thursday, Nov. 3.
Promise Community Health Center’s eighth annual “An Evening of Promise” celebration and fundraiser is slated for Thursday, Nov. 3, at Terrace View Event Center in Sioux Center. David Hira, an entertainer with northwest Iowa ties to family in Rock Valley, will delight the crowd with his comedy magic show and roving entertainment. The event also will feature a dinner catered by Blue Mountain Culinary Emporium, presentation of the Addink Community Service Award and a silent auction. Tickets can be purchased online at or at Promise, 333 1st Ave. NW, Sioux Center. For more information or to request a ticket form, please contact Derrick Vander Waal at 712-722-1700 or

  • Ken and Barb Addink – 2012;
  • Tom and Marlene Van Holland – 2013;
  • Jean Ellis – 2014;
  • Rob and Sharon Schelling – 2015.