Thursday, December 3, 2015

Sandra Rodriguez assumes medical assistant role at Promise CHC

Sandra Rodriguez has begun serving as a medical
assistant at Promise Community Health Center in
Sioux Center. She's looking forward to "being
able to help others" in her position.

SIOUX CENTER – A career quiz in the ninth grade planted the seed in Sandra Rodriguez’s mind that she might want to go into the medical field someday.

The results of her quiz showed that radiology tech would best suit her. So she did a little of investigating into it and said to herself: “This is exactly what I want to do.”

Sandra is excited that her career path has now taken her into health-care work as she has begun serving as a medical assistant at Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center.

“Ever since I was in high school, I knew I wanted to go into the medical field one day,” she said. “I have always dreamed of helping others, and I believe this is a great way to help those people.”

Sandra was born in Grand Island, NE, and moved several times throughout her childhood. Orange City became her hometown when her family moved their nine years ago, and she graduated from MOC-Floyd Valley High School in 2013.

Her primary tasks as a medical assistant at Promise will be greet and escort patients to the exam room for medical provider visits, obtain necessary information from the patient for the visit, communicate information from the patient to the provider, interpret for Spanish-speaking patients, provide basic education to patients, prepare them for and explain lab tests, and assist in their care in various other ways.

She has found Promise to be a place with “many helpful people” who are “not willing to let one fail.” Therefore, she is most looking forward to this purpose in her new role:

“Being able to help others.”

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, dental, prenatal and behavioral health care. To learn more, visit

Sandra Rodriguez lives in Orange City and has a 14-month-old daughter, Nathalie. Her fiance is Arturo Tapia. In her free time, she enjoys shopping and spending time with her daughter.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Dr. Tjeerdsma selected for National Oral Health Learning Institute

Dr. Kenneth Tjeerdsma, dentist and dental director
for Promise Community Health Center in Sioux
Center, was selected as one of 18 scholars from
across the nation for the National Oral Health
Learning Institute. NOHTI is a yearlong program.
SIOUX CENTER – Dr. Kenneth Tjeerdsma is being immersed into intensive training for leadership of community health center dental program.

The dentist and dental director for Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center was selected as one of 18 participants nationwide in the 2015-16 class of the National Oral Health Learning Institute (NOHLI).

Tjeerdsma returned this week from a four-day National Network for Oral Health Access (NNOHA) Conference, which was Nov. 15-18 in Indianapolis, IN, that all of the NOHLI scholars were required to attend. Nancy Dykstra, Promise’s executive director, also was required to accompany him to the initial conference.

Tjeerdsma, who completed his dental training at Creighton University Dental School in Omaha, NE, in May and assumed his position at Promise in July, said he was amazed by how many community health centers there are nationwide.

“After attending NNOHA and discussing issues with other NOHLI scholars, I saw that many of the issues that I deal with on a day-to-day basis are the same issues that many other dental directors face on a day-to-day basis as well,” he said. “I feel that with the connections that I made with other dental directors, along with the connection I made with NNOHA, I have gained resources to better address the challenges that I face.”
Dr. Tjeerdsma

Tjeerdsma took part in an introductory webinar and did initial coursework in advance of the national conference. Throughout the year, he will complete seven recorded modules and assignments, six 90-minute live webinars and four 60-minute learning pod meetings. He also will attend a three-day NOHLI Boot Camp in the spring in Denver, CO, and attend a wrap-up meeting during the 2016 NNOHA Conference in November 2016 in Denver. He also will be required to devote time to testing and implementing practical changes in the dental practice.

He thinks the yearlong learning institute will be a productive experience for him.

“I saw it as an opportunity to learn more about how to run a dental program in a health center, along with gaining further information for my skills as a clinician,” Tjeerdsma said.

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, dental, prenatal and behavioral health services. To learn more, visit

Monday, November 16, 2015

Promise CHC will begin offering vision care in early 2016

SIOUX CENTER – Promise Community Health Center will take the next step in the growth of its services with the addition of vision care.

The health center was awarded grant funding of $497,208 over two years through the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration’s Health Center Expanded Services program to initiate the vision services and enhance its other services.

Promise plans to begin offering the optometry services in early 2016 at its downtown Sioux Center health center.
Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center
will begin offering vision services in early 2016.

“It’s exciting because we’re providing another service that we know our patients need,” said Amy Kleinhesselink, chief financial officer for Promise. “And we’re providing it here on site, so they won’t have to go somewhere else – which can be such a barrier for them.”

Promise has entered a partnership with Beaver Eye Care of Sioux Center to offer eye exams eight hours per week at the health center. A limited selection of corrective lens and glasses also will be available to patients at Promise.

Nancy Dykstra, executive director for Promise, said people who otherwise had difficulty accessing affordable vision care now will have that option.
“We want to make sure we reach our target population – folks who are at or below the poverty level or who don’t have health insurance,” she said. “Affordable vision care was identified as a need in our population of patients. It fits our mission of holistic care. It’s exciting that people can come to Promise, and all the dimensions of their health care can be met in one place.”

Kleinhesselink said Promise will receive continued funding for vision services beyond the two years as part of its primary federal grant if it demonstrates that it is meeting the vision need.

The Expanded Services grant also provides funding to enhance Promise’s other programs, including digital panoramic X-ray equipment for the dental program. The grant also supports additional personnel, including a medical/optometrist assistant, billing assistant and community outreach educator.

“The community education piece is about making sure those who really need our care can get into our services,” Dykstra said.

Nationwide, 1,184 community health centers were awarded $350 million in Expanded Services grants for medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy and vision care. Iowa’s 14 community health centers will receive nearly $3.92 million.

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, dental, prenatal and behavioral health services. To learn more, visit

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Don't let the sugar bugs have a Halloween party in your kids' mouths

SIOUX CENTER – Your kids will come home with piles of candy after Halloween trick-or-treating on Saturday.

You want them to enjoy their stash and eat at least some of the candy, but you also worry about those frightful sugar bugs haunting their teeth.
Promise Community Health Center's dental staff,
Lupe Tapia, Dr. Kenneth Tjeerdsma, Rebecca Hooyer
and Nikki Fischer, share their tips for how you can
manage your children's Halloween candy stash.

The dental staff at Promise Community Health Center shared some of their candy tips for you to consider this Halloween:

  • Eat candy in one sitting. It may give your kids a sugar rush if they eat all that they want at one time, but it’s better for their teeth. Eating candy throughout the day constantly bathes the teeth in sugar. Also, it lowers the pH of the mouth all day, making it easier to get cavities.
  • Eat candy at meal times. The meal acts as a buffer.
  • Rinse your teeth with water or brush your teeth after eating the candy.
  • Eat candy that dissolves easily. Candy like pixie sticks and chocolate is better for your teeth than hard candy that you suck on for long periods of time or the worst type of candy: chewy, sticky candy like caramels or gummies. The chewy, sticky candy are high in sugar and spend a long period of time stuck to the teeth and are more difficult for your body to break down.
Finally, the dental staff gives this suggestion: Remember the rule of twos! Brush your teeth at least two times per day for two minutes and visit the dentist two times per year.

By following these tips, your children’s Halloween exploits might not be such a horror show for their teeth after all.

Trick or treat?

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, dental, prenatal and behavioral health services. To learn more, visit

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Many screenings, information to be offered at Adult Health Fair

SIOUX CENTER – People often focus on the health of their children but let their own health matters slip to the background.

An Adult Health Fair 2-6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28, will help adults put their own health into focus and answer the following question for themselves: How healthy am I? The event will be held in the House of Missions & Equipping (HOME) building in Sioux Center, located behind Culver’s and Hy-Vee.

A variety of screenings and information will be
offered during an Adult Health Fair that will be
held 2-6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28, at the 
of Missions & Equipping (HOME) building,
located behind Culver's and Hy-Vee on
the south side of Sioux Center.
The health fair, which will include various health screenings and information, is geared toward the Latino population with Spanish-speaking interpreters available at every station, but it is open to everyone. It is being put on in a joint partnership of Promise Community Health Center of Sioux Center, Sioux Center Health and Community Health Partners of Sioux County.

“It’s fun to see Community Health Partners, Sioux Center Health and Promise working together to create a healthier community – and specifically the Latino population,” said Vicki Schrock, clinic manager for Promise.

Schrock said members of the Latino Health Coalition of Sioux County, which falls under the umbrella of Community Health Partners, dreamt up the idea for the health fair – with the goal of helping their men become healthier. CHP then partnered with Promise and Sioux Center Health to plan the health fair, and many other health-related organizations in the county will participate in the event itself.

The health fair will include the following screenings:

  • Weight and body mass index (BMI) – free;
  • Blood pressure – free;
  • Dirty neck syndrome – free;
  • Vision – free;
  • Mental health – free;
  • Diabetes – $15;
  • Colon cancer – $15;
  • Flu vaccine shot – $25 – and flu vaccine mist – $35;

Information also will be provided by various organizations on many topics including:

  • Men’s health;
  • Women’s health, including breast cancer awareness and mammograms;
  • Birth control, including Creighton Model FertilityCare System;
  • Dental care;
  • Vaccines for adults;
  • Tobacco and e-cigarette use;
  • Exercise and fitness;
  • Mental, spiritual, emotional and family health.

Healthy snacks and water also will be offered at the event.

Schrock said Promise appreciates being involved in the inaugural Adult Health Fair.

“I really believe that this buys into our mission of creating a healthier community, so I’m excited for it,” she said. “I hope it becomes an annual event.”

For more information about the health fair, contact the following representatives of the Latino Health Coalition: Raquel Rojas at 712-449-5654 or Kelly Reyes at 712-441-0006.

Promise Community Health Center, headquartered in Sioux Center, is the only Federally Qualified Health Center in the far northwest corner of Iowa. To learn more, visit

Organizations participating in the Adult Health Fair:

  • Promise Community Health Center;
  • Sioux Center Health;
  • Community Health Partners of Sioux County;
  • Latino Health Coalition of Sioux County;
  • ATLAS of Sioux Center;
  • Beaver Eye Care;
  • Christian Friendship;
  • Compass Pointe;
  • Creative Living Center;
  • Family Crisis Centers of Northwest Iowa;
  • Jesus the Good Shepherd;
  • Jorgensen Hearing Center;
  • Northwest Iowa Community College;
  • Orange City FertilityCare Center;
  • Seasons Center for Behavioral Health;
  • Sioux Center Public Library;
  • Snap Fitness;
  • 4H;
  • And more.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Community invited to see expanded and remodeled spaces at Promise CHC

SIOUX CENTER – Patients have noticed a much improved front reception area when walking into Promise Community Health Center. The Promise staff isn’t cramped anymore.

The health center recently completed a major renovation and expansion project in its downtown Sioux Center facility.

Clinical assistant/interpreter Ruth Hernandez and
registered nurse Kary Ney lead a Spanish Childbirth
Education Class in Promise Community Health
Center's new community education and conference
room in its expansion area on Tuesday, Sept. 22.

Promise CHC, located at 338 1st Ave. NW, invites the public to view the revamped facilities 4:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1. The Sioux Center Chamber of Commerce will conduct a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4:30 p.m. Tours and refreshments will follow during an open house reception in conjunction with a chamber Business After Hours event.

“The capital improvement project was designed to enhance the patient-centered medical home goals of Promise,” said Nancy Dykstra, executive director for Promise.

The most noticeable part of the project for patients is the remodel of the front reception area, which was completed about a month ago.

As patients come into the front door, four check-in stations are situated at standing height to the right. Patients can walk right up to a receptionist who is sitting at eye level to them.

Two lower stations are located to the left for Promise’s outreach staff. People can sit down in chairs to have conversations with community care coordinators about various needs – ranging from assistance in enrolling in health insurance programs and various government programs to referrals to other community resources that can help them.

“When they enter the building, they find more room in our reception area, and they find a more welcoming, patient-friendly environment,” Dykstra said.

Receptionists Liz Vargas and Emma
Westerholm work in the remodeled
front reception area at Promise
Community Health Center.
Also as part of the remodeling project, a two-unit work pod for the medical providers in the clinic area was remodeled with a more open feel. The former break room also was converted into two back-to-back work pods for clinical staff. Promise medical providers, nurses and behavioral health personnel work out of those areas.

The expansion portion of the project was completed in June.

Highlights of the expansion include:

  • A community education and conference room;
  • A new prenatal wing that includes two back-to-back work pods for the two certified nurse midwives, a nurse, and a clinical assistant and interpreter, and two exam rooms;
  • Four offices for the executive director, chief financial officer, quality and compliance director, and executive assistant and public relations and development director;
  • A behavioral health therapy room;
  • A larger break room for employees.

Because of the expansion, space also was opened up for the dental director and medical director to share an office and the clinic manager to have her own office.

In the past, most of the employees worked in tight spaces with multiple people sharing offices throughout the health center. Dykstra thinks the more adequate space will indirectly benefit the patients of the health center.
Certified nurse midwife Belinda
Lassen works in one of the pods
in the new prenatal wing at
Promise CHC.

“When you help your staff serve in a better environment, the patients also are served better,” Dykstra said. “If our staff are working more effectively, then our patients can be served more effectively.”

She noted that the community education and conference room is a particularly big component of the project. It facilitates board meetings, staff meetings and training sessions, and community health education classes. In the past, Promise arranged for such meetings at Sioux Center Public Library, churches or other places in the community. Promise now can offer classes and meetings on site, allowing it to greatly increase its community education outreach.

“Anytime we can do a better job of education for the people we’re serving about how they need to care for themselves, then we’re doing better care. We haven’t been able to have much patient education as part of our health-care services before, so that’s really a big part of this,” she said, noting as an example that prenatal classes in Spanish and English can be offered for the first time. “That’s so exciting to finally get that off the ground.”

The expansion and renovation project was made possible through a $250,000 federal capital improvement grant that was awarded to the health center in August 2014 by the Health Resources and Services Administration.

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, dental, prenatal and behavioral health services. To learn more, visit

Monday, September 28, 2015

Schellings to be presented Addink Community Service Award

SIOUX CENTER – Rob and Sharon Schelling of Sioux Center always wondered what would happen if a disaster struck in their own backyard.

They found out.

Massive flooding caused devastating damage in the neighboring community of Rock Valley in June 2014. In the aftermath of the disaster, the Schellings again were called to serve – as they had many times before at disaster sites throughout North America. They oversaw the rehabilitation of 35 homes during a seven-month period as volunteer construction supervisors for World Renew.

The Schellings, who are the former owners of Schelling Construction in Sioux Center and now are retired, don’t think their efforts are more special than many ways other people serve. They say it’s just their way to serve.

“That’s what God calls us to do,” Sharon said. “He’s given us a gift, and we need to use it.”
Rob and Sharon Schelling of Sioux Center will be
presented the Addink Community Service Award
during Promise Community Health Center's "An
Evening of Promise" on Tuesday, Oct. 13. They
have been involved in rebuilding efforts at disaster
sites throughout North America during the past 25
years, including Rock Valley after the flood of 2014.

For their selfless service throughout the years, the Schellings will be presented with the fourth annual Addink Community Service Award during Promise Community Health Center’s “An Evening of Promise” on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at Terrace View Event Center in Sioux Center. They were selected after being nominated for the honor by multiple people.

The Rev. Don De Kok of Maurice Reformed Church stated in his nomination that the Schellings have “positively impacted countless lives” through their service.

“Rob and Sharon have faithfully used the gifts God has given them,” he said. “Rob and Sharon have provided provided hope and encouragement to many they have served. Rob and Sharon have been excellent role models of what it means to serve Christ through how He has gifted you.”

About 25 years ago, the Schellings started taking part in annual, one-week, winter work projects arranged by their church, Maurice Reformed, to many sites throughout the country. Because of their experience in the construction business, they figured reconstruction work was a way they could help people. Those projects were under the umbrella of various organizations, but many of them were headed up by World Renew, which then was known as Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC).

After retiring in 2010, the Schellings stepped up their involvement in disaster relief efforts even more. They purchased a RV and embarked on longer assignments to various locations across the country. In 2012, they assumed the role of construction supervisor for World Renew, which now is a joint ministry of the CRC and RCA denominations.

Throughout the years, they have been to some of North America’s worst disaster areas: New Orleans a few times after Hurricane Katrina, New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy, Oklahoma after the church fires, Birmingham, AL, after the tornadoes, and many other places. They recently returned from High River, Alberta, Canada, where massive flooding occurred.

World Renew assignments run three weeks for the retired volunteer program, but the Schellings often volunteer to do two in a row for a six-week period.

“There’s no automatic as to what we do or how often,” Rob said. “Our goal in our conversations is two or three times a year we will go and fill an assignment.”

The Rock Valley project was unique compared to other assignments the Schellings have been involved with. They could go home every night, and it extended for seven months from October 2014 to May 2015.

World Renew did initial need assessments in Rock Valley by going door to door. It then passed off the direct supervision of the project to a long-term Rock Valley recovery team. That’s when the Schellings were brought into the picture.

They initially were handed 25 projects to oversee, but the list ultimately expanded to 35, mostly involving basement rehabilitations. They determined what needed to be done at each site, put together a materials list and developed a scope of work to give to the volunteers. They reviewed skill assessments, which the volunteers completed in advance through World Renew, so they could place the volunteers in jobs that best fit their capabilities. Tasks included reframing walls, hanging drywall, painting, doing electrical work and cooking meals for volunteers.

Teams from many different places – including Minnesota, Michigan, Florida and Canada – came to Rock Valley during the rebuilding process. In May, a challenge was put out to the churches of Rock Valley to finish the few remaining projects.

Joe Vander Zee, executive director of Rock Valley-based Justice for All, which also was directly involved in the rebuilding project, said the Schelling’s “can-do attitude and resourcefulness made a huge difference in the rebuilding of our community.”

“It’s awesome seeing Rob and Sharon in action,” Vander Zee said. “They love what they do, and their God-given abilities and experience make them extremely effective.”

And the Schellings will never forget that project.

“We loved it in Rock Valley,” Sharon said. “Rock Valley was very special.”

The Schellings also have overseen projects the last several years for Hands in Service (HIS) Work Camp of the RCA denomination. Crews of high school students go to a location two out of three years to do various tasks such as shingling, painting, siding and cleaning up yards. The Schellings’ first experience with HIS Work Camp was in Parkersburg, IA, after the devastating tornado in 2008. The rest of the projects mostly have been in Tennessee.

They also have helped to head up various building projects at Maurice Reformed, including the Family Life Center addition that was finished in 2002, a fellowship hall remodel and currently a bus barn construction project.

“The ministry of Maurice Reformed Church has adequate facilities because of Rob and Sharon,” Rev. De Kok said.

Sharon said they don’t like to sit around, so they prefer to be busy working on a project together.

“I’m very task oriented. She’s very people oriented,” Rob said. “It’s a great combination because in reality we can fix up people’s homes, but they all have a story. That’s where she comes in and is a key part of it. That’s why we’re a good team – always.”

Promise Community Health Center, headquartered in Sioux Center, is the only Federally Qualified Health Center in the far northwest corner of Iowa. To learn more, visit

88improv will perform during Promise
Community Health Center's "An Evening
of Promise" on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at
Terrace View Event Center in Sioux
Center. Ticket sales end Oct. 5.

Rob and Sharon Schelling will be presented the Addink Community Service Award during Promise Community Health Center’s “An Evening of Promise” on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at Terrace View Event Center in Sioux Center.

The event, which will serve as Promise’s seventh annual celebration and fundraiser, will begin at 6 p.m. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.

Ticket sales end Oct. 5.

The evening will feature:
  • Entertainment by 88improv, an improvisational comedy troupe from Omaha, NE;
  • Dinner catered by Blue Mountain Culinary Emporium of Orange City;
  • Presentation of the Addink Community Service Award;
  • Silent auction to support Promise. View the auction items online at

Former KTIV TV news anchor Kristie VerMulm of Sioux City will serve as the emcee for the evening.

Tickets for Promise Community Health Center's "An Evening of Promise" will be sold through Oct. 5. They are $35 for adults, $20 for youth ages 4-18 and free for children 3 and under. Tickets can be purchased online at or at Promise Community Health Center, 338 1st Ave. NW, Sioux Center. For more information or to request a ticket registration form, contact Derrick Vander Waal at 712-722-1700 or