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 www.promisechc.org.

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 www.promisechc.org.



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.


‘AN EVENING OF PROMISE’:
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 promiseauction.blogspot.com.

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


TO BUY TICKETS:
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 promisecelebration.eventbrite.com 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 derrick@promisechc.org.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

88improv will share comedy during Promise CHC's 'An Evening of Promise'


SIOUX CENTER – Nate and Timothy Schoenfeld had just watched Chicago’s Improv Olympics and were discussing their desire to start their own improvisational comedy theatre troupe while driving on Tollway I-88.

88improv, an improvisational comedy troupe from
Omaha, NE, will present the entertainment for
Promise Community Health Center's "An Evening
of Promise" on Tuesday, Oct. 13. The four-member
team consists of Timothy Schoenfeld, Steve Hydeen,
Sarah Schoenfeld and Nate Schoenfeld. They are all
graduates of Northwestern College in Orange City.



Then and there, 88improv was born.

The brothers – along with two friends, Steve Hydeen and Sarah (Kennedy) Schoenfeld, now married to Timothy – already had developed a passion for improv while pursuing degrees in theatre at Northwestern College in Orange City. The quartet had found an outlet for the interest through participating in the student-led campus improv team.

Due to the encouragement and accolades they received from their peers, professors and others on campus, they began to accept other opportunities to perform throughout the Midwest. That momentum ultimately led them to form 88improv in 2003.

A dozen years later, that passion for improv continues to drive the Omaha, NE-based troupe to do shows throughout the region. 88improv’s members will savor a homecoming of sorts when they perform Tuesday, Oct. 13, for Promise Community Health Center’s “An Evening of Promise” at Terrace View Event Center in Sioux Center. The event is Promise’s seventh annual celebration and fundraiser.

Steve said 88impov prides itself with a mission “to provide smart, clean, comedic, entertaining shows” and hopes the people of northwest Iowa come to see for themselves.

“It’s been our experience that most people do not enjoy performing improvisation, yet they get a real thrill out of watching others present it for them,” he said. “88improv will also work to make the Promise event one that is personalized and tailored to this audience.”

Steve, who grew up in Orange City, said forming 88improv was an exciting opportunity that required each of the members to consider how much they wanted to live the life of an artist by establishing their own professional theatre company.
Steve Hydeen, one of the members of
88improv, grew up in Orange City. He
will return to his home territory of
northwest Iowa when his comedy
team performs Tuesday, Oct. 13, for
"An Evening of Promise" at Terrace
View Event Center in Sioux Center.

It also meant they had to relocate to the city of their choice.

“As a team, we settled on Omaha, Nebraska, because it was a small metropolis with a great deal of artistic happenings that still was virtually untouched by the improv comedy contagion so many other cities in the U.S. and world already had,” Steve said.

Even before they moved to Omaha, they started booking venues to perform in – commuting there once a month until they could all move there permanently. Nate was the first to move to the metro area. Timothy and Sarah followed suit next. Steve and his wife, Andrea, also an Orange City native, were the last to settle there after studying in Sevilla, Spain, for a half year.

Now the longest running improv comedy team in Omaha, 88improv has performed public shows at venues such as The Rock, Millennium Theatre, Grand Old Players Company, PS Collective and The Backline Comedy Theatre. The troupe has presented many private shows – for church gatherings, corporate events, holiday parties, youth events, after-prom parties and much more. They have embarked on road trips to the Out of Bounds Improv Festival in Austin, TX; the Minnesota Fringe Festival; the Kansas City Fringe Festival; and even Unexpected Productions comedy club in Pike Place Market in Seattle, WA.

They juggle those gigs around full-time occupations.

Steve said the type of show that 88improv will perform for Promise’s event will involve audience participation. They will take suggestions to play short improv games – similar to the popular TV improv comedy show “Who’s Line is it Anyway?” that aired several years ago on ABC. At other events, they do a long-form style of improv where they get a couple of audience suggestions and then unfold an unscripted piece of theatre.

They are eager to share the improv art form with the northwest Iowa audience.

Improv comedy is so inviting because it allows us to explore humanity through the lens of trust, affirmation, listening and creativity,” Steve said. “Improvisation is about honesty. Improvisors have to work together. Improvisors have to be selfless in this artform. The result is that it encourages actors to focus on making their scene partners look good rather than themselves. It requires trust from both friend and stranger. It also allows us the ability to create something that never existed before. Improv comedy also offers healing laughter for both performer and audience.”

They also forged into improv instruction three years ago.

Steve said they started noticing throughout the years that many young actors and actresses were entering the world of improvisation with little experience, and as a result, were performing “offensive, alienating and vulgar” shows. Therefore, they established 88improv Academy to teach improv techniques to middle school and high school students around four foundational rules: affirmation, trust, listening and creativity. They have hosted academies in two schools in two different districts in the Omaha area – each more than once.

Not only do they teach improv skills to the students, but they also encourage real-life applications.

“Our students obtain confidence, become better listeners and tap into their creative side as they enter the world outside the classroom,” Steve said. “Their relationships, employment, challenges, opportunities all can be addressed through the lense of their academy training.”

Steve still has family living in northwest Iowa, so he comes back to northwest Iowa more than the rest of the 88improv members. Yet, he said it always will be “a special place” for all of them. To be sure, they all look forward to their return trip on Oct. 13 for “An Evening of Promise.”

It is where we met,” he said. “It is where we developed our acting and improvisational skills. It is where we forged relationships that we continue to lean on to this day.”

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 www.promisechc.org.



‘AN EVENING OF PROMISE’:
Promise Community Health Center will present “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.

Tickets will be on sale through 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 promiseauction.blogspot.com.

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

To learn more, click here to read a preview story.



TO BUY TICKETS:
Ticket sales for “An Evening of Promise” run through Oct. 5. Tickets are $35 for adults, $20 for youth ages 4-18 and free for children 3 and under. They can be purchased online at www.promisecelebration.eventbrite.com. For more information or to request a ticket registration form, please contact Derrick Vander Waal at 712-722-1700 or derrick@promisechc.org. Tickets also can be purchased at Promise Community Health Center, 338 1st Ave. NW, Sioux Center.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Hulstein begins serving as dental assistant at Promise CHC


SIOUX CENTER – Tessa Hulstein was interested in joining a team that cared deeply about its patients and wanted to make a difference in their lives.

Tessa Hulstein is serving as a dental assistant at
Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center.
She hopes to help people understand the
importance of caring for their teeth.



She saw that with Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center.

Now, Hulstein has her chance to take part in that. She recently assumed her role as a dental assistant at Promise.

“I think they have a wonderful office here, both dental and medical, and I’m excited to be part of the team and see how much more Promise keeps expanding,” she said. “I hope that I can really help people understand the importance of caring for their teeth and getting them fixed properly. I hope I can make coming to the dentist’s office a little more fun and relaxing for the patients.”

Hulstein grew up in Chandler, MN, and graduated from Southwest Christian High School in Edgerton, MN, in 2012.

She knew she wanted to go into the medical field and be able to make a difference in people’s lives. However, becoming a nurse wasn’t for her. She had some friends who had studied dental assisting at Minnesota West Technical and Community College in Canby, so she figured, “Why not try it?” She followed that path and earned her diploma in dental assisting this year at Minnesota West.

As a dental assistant at Promise, she interacts with the patients and gets them ready for their appointments with Dr. Kenneth Tjeerdsma. She then helps the dentist during the procedure with fillings, crowns, sealant and other tasks. She also helps to educate and inform the patient about what is going on with the procedure and overall dental health.

“The most rewarding part of the job is when people thank you and genuinely mean it,” Hulstein said. “It is great to see when people are really happy with how their teeth look and when they take pride in how they care for them.”

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 www.promisechc.org.


MORE ABOUT TESSA:
Tessa Hulstein loves riding horse, showing her horse and doing ranch rodeos in her spare time. She loves spending time with her family and her boyfriend, and she particularly enjoys various outdoors activities such as trail riding and camping. She is an animal lover.


Thursday, September 10, 2015

O'Rourke reflects on years of volunteer service for Promise CHC


SIOUX CENTER – Melissa O’Rourke has been a driving force behind Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center since early dreaming about it began.

It was well over a decade ago, while advocating for under-served people in the region, when she started realizing the need in Sioux County for a community health center – a place that would provide access to care for people of all incomes, including those with no health insurance.

She recognized the cause while serving on the Center for Assistance, Service and Advocacy (CASA) Sioux County’s board during its early days and providing monthly free immigration legal assistance clinics. She saw the demand while working in the criminal justice system – both as a public defender attorney and as a prosecutor.
Melissa O'Rourke played a dynamic volunteer role during
the years in the planning, sustaining and growth of
Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center. She
was presented a clock from the Promise Board of Directors
to honor her when her direct involvement with Promise
came to a close this summer. She has moved to Decorah.

“We started having conversations about the need to provide access to health care for everyone – not just the privileged in our society,” O’Rourke said.

The informal talks about the idea to establish a community health center progressed into formal meetings that began in 2003. A steering committee and an initial board of directors was formed in 2006. O’Rourke said the team was committed to “a dream of quality, affordable health care accessible to all.”

That dream came to fruition when Promise – then named Greater Sioux Community Health Center – opened in July 2008 after receiving incubator funding from the Iowa Department of Public Health. Until 2012, Promise was recognized as a Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike. In June 2012, Promise received federal funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration and was designated as an official FQHC.

Through it all, O’Rourke played a key role. She was a mainstay on the board of directors until this summer when she and her husband, Joe Skoda, moved to rural Decorah in northeast Iowa. There, she will continue to work as a farm and agribusiness management specialist and attorney for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

“Promise CHC owes a debt of gratitude  to Melissa,” said Nancy Dykstra, executive director of Promise. “As a founding member, Melissa donated hours of her time to drafting policies, bylaws, reviewing contracts and filing documents that were essential to establishing the organization. She believed in the mission, and she knew that the center did not have the financial resources to purchase these services, so she stepped up and provided what was needed. She never wanted credit or accolades, but her background and involvement at the board level was vital to guiding the organization’s development.”

With O’Rourke’s direct involvement with Promise coming to a close, she reflected recently on her many years of volunteer service with the organization:

Q: Why were you interested and willing to serve on the Promise board all these years?
A: Everyone needs a ministry, and in a way, I guess this community health center became mine. One of my favorite texts is Matthew 25:34-40 – where those who enter into the kingdom of heaven are told, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat . . . I was sick and you looked after me . . .” And they ask, “Lord, when did we do these things?” And the response is, “Whatever you did for one of the least of my brothers and sisters, you did it for me.” Jesus didn’t tell us to take care of the sick if they have money and health insurance and if you can make a profit doing it. It’s shameful that in the world’s richest country, people go without health care because they happen to be poor or uninsured. . .

As time went by, the community health center has stayed on track and moved ahead to provide health care services accessible to all. . . The board, the staff and community members have worked together to continue to build on the early vision. That’s been very gratifying to me, and I guess that’s why I wanted to continue to serve.

Q: As you reflect on Promise’s history, what have been the most exciting progressions you’ve seen through the years?
A: There have been many exciting days. I will never forget the day when we heard that we were going to receive incubator funding from the state of Iowa and that we would actually start to move forward, remodel an old bowling alley and open our doors to provide health care.

Another exciting time was when we were working on a plan to provide oral health careit was invigorating to go door-to-door throughout the region, calling on individuals and businesses to ask for their support, making a presentation in Des Moines to Delta Dental to receive some initial funding, having Sen. Tom Harkin visit us to see the reality of our oral health-care center.

But I have to say that one of the most important decisions we made before even opening the doors was that we would provide prenatal and birth services to families in our region based on the research that many women were going without such care prior to the existence of Promise. It’s amazing that we annually have over 100 babies born to mothers who received their prenatal care at Promisemany of whom would have received no prenatal care but for our existence. This year, we expect that at least 40 women will give birth at home through the home birth services provided by the certified nurse midwives and staff employed by Promise.

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges that the health center has had to overcome?
A: Two things come to mind. I clearly a remember a time frame when the state of Iowa incubator funding was discontinued, and we had not yet been successful in obtaining our federally qualified health care status and funding. We continued to exist based on what clients could pay, donations and what insurance and Medicaid payment we could garner. We had some very generous donors, and things turned around for us, but it was a challenging time.

Second, we have had a continuous challenge with the unwillingness of some to understand the role of a community health center, and this is not uncommon for CHCs. However, we continue to hope that sometime there will be better understanding that people have the right to make choices about their health care, and that by working in a cooperative spirit, the entire community will benefit.

Q: How would you assess the overall health of Promise right now?
A: Right now, the overall health of the center is excellent. We continue to build a strong leadership team, board of directors, and a strong contingent of providers and support staff. Our strategic planning continues to guide us, and we look to the future to expand services and maintain and build the quality health care the center provides.

Q: What do you foresee for the future of Promise?
A: The Promise Birth Center. My biggest regret is that I will not be on the board when the Promise Birth Center is established. Unfortunately, we had a setback when the Iowa Health Care Facilities Council allowed themselves to be persuaded by the contingent of opposition from this region who do not understand that women and families have the right to access the kind of birth experience that is right for them.

Women want the opportunity to have births attended by qualified, certified nurse midwives, and right now the only way they can have that experience in our region is through a home birth. But that might not work for everyone, and a freestanding birth center staffed by CNMs should be an option. . . Promise will reapply, and the day with come that families in our region will have the option to choose a birth experience attended by a nurse midwife in a freestanding birth center. For now, those who can will continue to have that experience in their homes.
Q: Overall, what has the experience of serving on the Promise board been like for you?
A: Serving Promise has given me the opportunity, over and over again, to believe that a few people with a dream, building a team and working toward goals, can make a huge difference in the well-being of individuals, families and the community. Of course, there have been moments of frustration and concern, but perseverance and persistence, maintaining focus on our goals, has allowed me to see the real results of improved lives for those we serve.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: Community health centers are patient-centered, and I encourage the board and leadership to maintain that focuskeep focusing on the people we serve, their needs and their choices, and Promise will continue to make a difference in the lives of 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 services. To learn more, visit www.promisechc.org.


ABOUT MELISSA:
Melissa O’Rourke works as a farm and agribusiness management specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She is licensed as an attorney in Iowa and South Dakota and previously served as a public defender and as the county attorney for Sioux County.

She and her husband, Joe Skorda, have been married for 35 years and lived the last 16 years in Sioux County. They recently moved to rural Decorah, where O’Rourke will continue in her role with the Extension. They have three sons and five grandchildren. They raised registered Toggenburg dairy goats for 22 years.

O’Rourke is interested in traveling, writing and photography. She also is a Master Gardener.


BEHIND THE NAME:
Promise Community Health Center originally went by the name Greater Sioux Community Health Center but changed the name in 2012.

Melissa O’Rourke played a key part during many discussions about a name change.


The original name resulted in some confusion with Siouxland Community Health Center in Sioux City. Plus, O’Rourke said the name did not exemplify what Promise does.

“Somewhere along the way I was thinking about the commitment that was made when we started talking about a community health centera promise that we made to the community that we would provide quality, affordable and accessible health care services to all,” O’Rourke said. “And that word ‘promise’ just said it to methat we made a promise, and we needed to continue to focus on and keep that promise now and in the years ahead.”

She also encourages people to remember the word “community" in the name because “a community is a group of people who live together and support one another.”

“We promise to be a community that supports the health care needs of all,” O’Rourke said.