Friday, July 31, 2015

Schrock assumes role of clinic manager at Promise CHC

by Derrick Vander Waal

SIOUX CENTER – Vicki Schrock needed only two words to describe the last year of her life: “Life changing.”

She served as a nurse on the mission field in Guatemala through Paradise Bound Ministries. She managed a medical clinic in Chimaltenango and made weekly treks to remote villages to provide medical services in makeshift medical clinics.

Vicki Schrock has returned to Promise Community
Health Center in Sioux Center to assume the position
of clinic manager after a yearlong stint on the mission
field in Guatemala, where she managed a medical clinic.
“It makes you realize how much we have here and that they’re just as happy as we are even though they have so little,” Schrock said. “Just because my expectations are this, other people have different expectations. They look at life differently, and we have to realize everyone is coming from a different perspective, and I’m not right in my perspective.”

That renewed viewpoint will serve her well as she returns to Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center as the new clinic manager. She will step in to the position that has been held by Brittany Hamm, who is moving into a quality and compliance director role at Promise while taking graduate classes through the University of Iowa.

“I believe in the mission and ministry that they have here, at Promise, and I love to assist in medical care for the underserved,” Schrock said.

Schrock grew up on a farm near Maurice and graduated from MOC-Floyd Valley in 1997. She earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Northwestern College in Orange City in 2001.

She then served as a caregiver at a Bethany Christian Services home for pregnant teens in Modesto, CA, for three years, 2001-04. After her family moved back to northwest Iowa, she worked for Hospice of Sioux Center for nearly two years, 2004-06. She then returned to school to earn her degree in registered nursing at Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon in 2008. She worked for Sioux Center Hospital for nearly five years, 2008-13.

Schrock then served for a year in her first stint at Promise as a nurse before going onto the mission field for a year.

She’s happy to be back at Promise.

“It feels like home,” she said. “It’s just the right place for me. A lot of great progress has been made this last year, so that’s fun to observe – whether it’s construction or processes with computers or staffing.”

Here are her reflections as she assumes her new role:

Q: How did you initially become interested in going into the medical field?
A: One of my supervisors at Hospice said to me: “Why don’t you become a nurse?” I said, “OK.” So I did. As a kid, I wanted to be a pediatrician, and I was not necessarily encouraged to do that, but it comes back full circle.
Q: What are most rewarding aspects of nursing work?
A: I think my favorite part is the educationwhen patients get it, when they understand their condition, or the education piece that goes with prenatal careso they can live a healthier life. That’s the most rewarding for me.
Q: Why were you interested in transitioning into a medical administration position?
A: I just felt it was the right step. It really wasn’t on my radar, but a few of the staff here actually approached me about it, so I entertained the idea.
Q:  How will your background experiences help you in this role?
A: My social work and my passion to serve the Guatemalan population, the Latino population, is going to give me a more holistic approach and help me to understand the big picture. I also love to work alongside people, so that will help me with working with the whole staff.
Q: What do you hope you can bring to Promise in the clinic manager role?
A: I feel like the groundwork has been laid so very well. I just hope to refine some of the processes and continue the education piece with our patients. Maybe that means educating our staff here better, and then we’ll just have more tools in our toolbelt. I’m excited to get to know the different grants and programs that we have in place and continue to build that groundwork.

Q: How is Promise important to the greater community?
A: Promise allows for great access to many opportunitieswhether it’s medical, dental, prenatal or behavioral health. It’s a unique place to access services all in one building.

Q: If you could clear up any misconception, what would it be?
A: As I’ve been telling people that I have this job opportunity, a lot of people ask me: “Can I be seen there because I have insurance?” I always say, “Absolutely. We see all patients, all people, all demographics. Whoever wants to be seen, we’ll see, and we’ll help you access the care that you need.”

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: I’m just excited to work at a place that has a great vision and mission and that stays true to its goals.

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

Vicki Schrock and her husband, Justin, have six children, AJ, 12; Caleb, 11; Emilee, 9; Miya, 6; Kira, 6; and Naomi, 4. In her free time, she enjoys working with her family on their acreage near Orange City, sewing, taking photographs and baking.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Vaping becoming 'emerging problem,' especially among teens

by Derrick Vander Waal

SIOUX CENTER – The use of electronic cigarettes – or vaping – is more than just a fad.

Teri Bos, public health nurse at Community Health Partners of Sioux County, calls it an “emerging problem” – particularly among teens and  young adults.

Teri Bos
Bos and Shay Davis, tobacco prevention advocate for the Northwest Iowa Tobacco Free Coalition, will give a presentation on “Smoking Cessation and the Negative Effects of Electronic Cigarettes (‘Vaping’)” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 30, in the community education room at Promise Community Health Center, 338 1st Ave. NW, Sioux Center. The topic is being explored for Promise’s monthly “Bridging the Divide” Community Education Talk.

“We believe we have important information that the public needs to be aware off,” Davis said. “It’s not just water vapor. Nicotine and the adolescent brain are not a good combination. Do you know what’s in the e-juice you’re using? We will also be talking about Quitline Iowa as well and what services are offered.”

Davis and Bos said the talk might interest preteens and teens, young adults, parents, teachers, smokers considering using e-cigarettes as a tool to quit smoking, medical professionals and business owners.
Shay Davis

Bos said she and Davis provided education on the health effects of smoking and nicotine to more than 1,600 students in area middle schools and high schools in the past year.

“After being in so many schools and talking to so many kids and teachers in the area, it became very clear to us that kids are vaping at alarming rates,” Bos said, noting that statistics show that vaping rates among high school students tripled in one year from 2013 to 2014. “Far more kids now are vaping than smoking, and very few teachers, parents or even health-care providers know what vaping is.”

She said that is concerning because research shows that nicotine, including that in e-cigarettes, has negative effects on brain development in adolescents and is beginning to reveal that vaping cause damage to lung tissue similar to smoking traditional cigarettes.

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

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Promise plans Back-to-School Block Party for Wednesday, Aug. 12

by Derrick Vander Waal

SIOUX CENTER – Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center wants to make sure children are ready for the next school year – with their basic health requirements met.

Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center has
has offered back-to-school screenings for the last five
years, but block party activities were added for the
first time last year. This year's Back-to-School Block
Party is planned for 3-7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 12.
And it wants them to have a lot of fun, too.

The health center, located at 338 1st Ave. NW, across from the Sioux Center city office, will host its annual Back-to-School Block Party 3-7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 12. The event also celebrates National Health Center Week, Aug. 9-15.

“The Back-to-School Block Party is an event that serves many purposes,” said Vicki Schrock, clinic manager for Promise. “Families can complete their physicals economically, preventive screenings and immunizations are updated, and fun activities will make the night memorable.  Promise is working together to deliver a healthier community, and this event fits within that vision perfectly.”

The event is open to all area students. They do not need to make appointments in advance.

School and sports physicals will be offered again this
year during the Back-to-School Block Party 3-7 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 12. Free vaccinations and dental
screens needed for school also will be provided.
At the event, Promise will offer all the standard immunizations that students need free of charge. Dental screenings – which are required for students entering entering Head Start, kindergarten and ninth grade – will be provided for free. School and sports physicals will cost $20. In addition, Sioux Center School District staff will be available to help Spanish-speaking parents complete registration forms for school.

Promise also will give out free drawstring bags filled with school supplies and hygiene products to the first 150 children. Promise staff conducted an internal fundraiser to purchase the bags and items to fill the bags. Donations from Walmart and the I-Smile program through Mid-Sioux Opportunity also helped to fill the bags.

“The Promise staff cares deeply about the youth in our community. This project was one small way that we could show that,” said Derrick Vander Waal, public relations and development coordinator for Promise. “That’s also why we’re excited to put on this Back-to-School Block Party again this year.”

This is the sixth year that Promise has provided back-to-school screenings, but the event evolved into a full-fledged block party last year.

Children enjoyed various activities
during last year's Back-to-School
Block Party festivities.

The block party activities will be hosted in the back parking area and alley behind Promise’s building. Face painting, bean bag toss, skee ball, sidewalk chalk and bubbles, coloring and crafts, and various other activities and games will be provided. Several community organizations also will present booths with interactive activities and education for children and families. Sioux Center Health personnel will be providing car seat safety checks again this year, so people are encouraged to bring their vehicles with car seats to the event.

The event also will have plenty of good food with the help of Sioux Center businesses. KSOU Radio serve hot dogs and soda. Culver’s will hand out lemon ice treats. Fridley Theaters will provide popcorn.

“We want to provide students with what they need before returning to school, but we also want the event to be more than that. We want it to be an outing they can enjoy with their whole family,” Vander Waal said. “Come out and have a good time.”

For more information, contact Vander Waal by calling 712-722-1700 or emailing

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

Children participate in activities during last year's
Back-to-School Block Party at Promise Community
Health Center at 338 1st Ave. NW in Sioux Center.

What: Back-to-School Block Party
When: 3-7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 12
Where: Promise Community Health Center, 338 1st Ave. NW, Sioux Center
What: Promise will offer free immunizations and dental screens that students need for school and $20 school and sports physicals. Free drawstring bags with school supplies and hygiene items will be handed out to the first 150 students. The event also will include free food, games and activities.
Why: The event helps ensure students are ready for school.


This year's theme, “America’s Health Centers: Celebrating Our Legacy, Shaping Our Future,” celebrates the 50th anniversary year of community health centers being established in America.

National Health Center Week recognizes the opportunities that community health centers provide people to receive needed health-care services regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. More than 23 million Americans are served by the network of more than 1,200 community health centers and delivery sites. One in every 15 people living in the United States depends on their services.

Promise Community Health Center, one of 14 community health centers in Iowa, opened in 2008 as a nonprofit health center and earned its status as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in 2012. Promise had 2,272 patients receive medical care and 1,181 patients receive dental care during 2014.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Hooyer looks forward to caring for people's teeth as dental hygienist

by Derrick Vander Waal

SIOUX CENTER – Rebecca "Becka" Hooyer hopes she can help a lot of people improve the quality of their life through improved dental care.

Rebecca Hooyer has begun seeing patients
as a new dental hygienist at Promise
Community Health Center in Sioux Center.
She started seeing patients full time as a new dental hygienist at Promise Community Health Center on Monday, July 6.

She finds the work to be highly rewarding.

“I like seeing somebody who comes in with calculus just caked on and you work with them,” Hooyer said. “By the end, the dentist fixes up all the cavities, you get it all cleaned up, and it just looks so nice. And the patients are very appreciative.”

Hooyer’s parents originally were from Sioux Center, but her family moved around a lot during her childhood. After they moved back, she completed her last two years of high school at Sioux Center High School, graduating in 2009.

She wasn’t exactly sure what she wanted to do with her career after high school, so she went on to Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon and earned an associate of arts degree in 2011. After working mainly as a gymnastics coach for a while, she enrolled at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs and earned her associate of applied science degree in dental hygiene in December 2014.

Hooyer said she started becoming intrigued about the dental field after having braces at an older age than many people do.

“I liked how friendly everybody in the dental field was, so that kind of drew my attention,” she said.

After receiving her dental hygienist license, Hooyer filled in for a maternity leave at Murphy Family Dentistry in Rock Rapids for three months this spring before starting at Promise.

She said her favorite part of dental hygiene is working with children. She also enjoys the challenge of doing scaling and root cleaning – a deep cleaning.

“I hope to help a lot of people improve their quality of life,” Hooyer said.

When she isn’t on the job, she enjoys reading and gardening.

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

Promise Community Health Center expanded its dental clinic hours to five days per week when Dr. Kenneth Tjeerdsma, dentist and dental director, and Rebecca Hooyer, dental hygienist, joined the staff.

The new hours are:

Monday: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. hygiene; 1-6 p.m. dental;
Tuesday: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. hygiene and dental;
Wednesday: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. hygiene and dental;
Thursday: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. hygiene and dental;
Friday: 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. hygiene, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. dental.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Maria Arias assumes role as receptionist at Promise CHC

by Derrick Vander Waal

SIOUX CENTER – Maria Arias came to appreciate what Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center is all about several years ago when her family started getting its health services there.

Maria Arias has begun serving patients
as a new receptionist in the front office
at Promise Community Health Center.
She hopes to help ensure patients have
a good experience from the time that
they walk into the front door.
For example, bilingual staff was readily available in every area of the health center to help interpret for her mother when she was pregnant. Previously, Maria had to get a note for school so that she could translate for her mother when she had an appointment at another clinic.

“Just from the first time we came here, it was really amazing to see how patients are treated,” she said. “It was one of the few places in the communities nearby where I lived that I saw them go beyond to help people.”

Now, she has the chance to help people in a similar manner.

Maria started in late June as a new receptionist for Promise. Her role includes greeting patients, answering phones and scheduling appointments.

She hopes to make patients feel comfortable as she assists them with their needs when they arrive so they will want to return.

“It’s the front-end position. We get to talk and meet the patient who come here,” Maria said. “What really interested me was the fact that I’m also bilingual and I speak Spanish, so I can help them with that.”

Maria immigrated to the United States from Mexico when she was 6 years old. Her family first lived in Sheldon for a year and a half before moving to Orange City 13 years ago. She graduated from MOC-Floyd Valley High School in 2013 and earned an associate of applied science degree in business management from Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon in May.

She looks forward to her first career role.

“I hope to be able to work with all off the staff as a team for the good of the community – just helping people understand and meeting their needs,” Maria said.

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

Maria married Jesus in February. In her free time, she enjoys shopping, playing soccer and spending time with family.