Monday, February 29, 2016

Hey kids, come join the Dr. Seuss Celebration at Promise CHC this week

SIOUX CENTER – “Green Eggs and Ham.” “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.” “The Cat in a Hat.” “Fox in Sox.” “Horton Hears a Who!”
Liz Vargas reads to children during last year's
Dr. Seuss Celebration at Promise Community
Health Center in Sioux Center. Promise will be
celebrating the legendary children's book author
this week. Staff will read to children and hand
out bookmarks, pencils and coloring pages.

Everyone loves those classic Dr. Seuss books.

Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center will put on its second annual Dr. Seuss Celebration this week to celebrate the birthday of the legendary children’s books author. The fun event will be offered during Promise’s open hours Tuesday through Friday, March 1-4, in the waiting room to patients and any other children who would like to stop by. The hours are 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday.

Staff members will dress up as their favorite Dr. Seuss character on the author’s birthday on Wednesday, but they will read read Dr. Seuss books to children in both in English and Spanish all week. They will hand out Dr. Seuss pencils, bookmarks and coloring sheets. The waiting room will be decorated with a Dr. Seuss theme.

Handouts also will be given to parents throughout the week with facts about why it is important for them to read to their children.

“This event is a way for us to give back to our patients and their children,” said Kendra Kleinwolterink, community educator for Promise. “Along with giving back to our patients, we want to emphasis the importance of reading and education for children.”

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

Theodor Seuss Geisel, best known as Dr. Seuss, was born March 2, 1904, in Springfield, MA. His early work was as a cartoonist, and his cartoons were published in many magazines. He later illustrated a children’s collection that gave him his break into children’s literature. His first book, “And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street,” was published in 1937. During his career, he wrote more than 60 books, including nearly 50 books under the name of Dr. Seuss. He died in 1991 at the age of 87.

At least 20 publishers rejected Dr. Seuss’ first book before it was selected. There you go, kids! Don’t give up on your dreams. Keep trying.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

SCCS students collect books for children served by Promise CHC

SIOUX CENTER – Kids collecting books for kids.

What could be more cool that that?
Sioux Center Christian School students Levi Tintle
and AnnaBelle Koele read together the books that
they donated as part of a book drive for Promise
Community Health Center in Sioux Center.

Sioux Center Christian School first- and second-graders collected about 130 books for Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center. The books will be used for Promise’s Reach Out and Read Program and in its waiting room.

First-grader Kianna Kooi was excited to donate “Andrew’s Loose Tooth” by Robert Munsch.

“I like that I’m giving them a book. I hope they enjoy it and have fun with it,” she said. “This is a book I used to really like. I don’t read it any more, so I want to give it to someone else who would like it.”

Jill Van Soelen, a first-grade teacher at Sioux Center Christian, said the book drive project stems from the Teaching for Transformation pilot program that Sioux Center Christian School is doing through the work of the Center for the Advancement of Christian Education and Dordt College in Sioux Center.

A big part of that pilot program is to have students “participate as restorers in the creation, fall, redemption and restoration story,” she said. Therefore, she was looking for a way her students could actively participate in restoration in their own community. Her school also was having a Literacy Week, and she was having her class write book reviews, so the book drive seemed like a wonderful combination project.

“The first-graders get to actively participate in being community builders and justice seekers by donating books for children and families,” Van Soelen said. “In doing this, kids get to act as agents of restoration.”
Sioux Center Christian School students Caitlyn Frens
and Elena Te Krony read the books that they
donated for Promise Community Health Center.

The project started with three sections of first-graders – a total of 53 students. The students picked out new or gently used books, wrote reviews about the books that were inserted inside of them and then gave the books Promise. The second-graders thought it was an exciting project, so they got involved in donated books, too. That involved another 64 students.

The students donated a large variety of books – board books, picture books and easy readers. Van Soelen said all the books are in great shape, so the students really picked out books that they themselves would like.

“The students have embraced the project, and participation has been great,” Van Soelen said. “It was fun to see other teachers get excited about it, too. I would have liked to have heard the conversations between parents and their kids at home as the kids picked out their books to donate. Also, it would be nice to figure out a way to continue seeing how their involvement impacts others, so we will have to see what this leads to.”

Van Soelen decided that Promise was the perfect organization to give the books to.

“I was looking for an organization that served people below the poverty level, assisted children and reached out to Spanish-speaking people in our community,” she said. “I was open to any organization that did this, and God led me to Promise Community Health.”

In 2015, 50 percent of Promise’s patients fell at or below the poverty line. Another 41 percent were between 101-200 percent of that level. Also, 44 percent of Promise’s patients last year were 19 or younger. Promise serves many Spanish-speaking people.

“My deep hope for this project was that students would see that their community extends outside of their classroom and school walls and includes people in Sioux Center – primarily people who are not able to afford extras,” Van Soelen 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

Many of the books donated through Sioux Center Christian School’s book drive will go to Promise Community Health Center’s Reach Out and Read program.

As part of the national effort, Promise’s medical providers talk to parents about the importance of reading aloud to their young children, offer reading tips and give each child who comes in for a well-child visit an age-appropriate book.

The goal is to help prepare children for success in school.
Sioux Center Christian School's first- and second-grade students donated 130 books
to Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center during a book drive project.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Promise CHC launches expanded family planning program with aid of grant

SIOUX CENTER – In the past, women – or men, for that matter – who lived in the far northwest corner of Iowa had to travel to Sioux City for the closest family planning clinic.

Now, they have a local option at Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center.

Promise officially launched its expanded family planning services in February. The health center was awarded a federal grant of $84,721 annually for two years through the Family Planning Council of Iowa to establish the program.

“It’s about fulfilling our mission of improving care and finding resources that will prompt people to get that care. It was a no-brainer to apply,” said Nancy Dykstra, executive director for Promise. “They encouraged us to write the application because they thought we would do a good job with the program, and they knew there weren’t services up here. It is a good fit with what we do.”
Emma Westerholm is serving as the family planning
coordinator for Promise Community Health Center
in Sioux Center. The health center launched its
expanded family planning services in February
after being awarded a federal grant through
the Family Planning Council of Iowa.

People between the ages of 12-55 can access the services. The services include:
  • Well-woman exams, pap smears and male physicals;
  • Birth control counseling and supplies;
  • Sexually transmitted diseases testing and treatment;
  • Pregnancy tests;
  • Urinary tract infection treatment;
  • Sexual health education;
  • Basic fertility counseling.

Promise did already provide these services, but the grant allows the health center to offer much greater discounts than its regular sliding-fee scale. As a result, those who are 100 percent or below the federal poverty level will receive the family planning services for free. Those between 101-150 percent of the FPL will pay 25 percent of the charges, between 151-200 percent will pay 50 percent and between 200-250 percent will pay 75 percent.

Dykstra noted that Promise already cares for many low-income patients, including a high percentage who are women. She said the nurse practitioners will be able to better serve that population with the additional resources. For example, she noted a woman might have received prenatal and medical care during a pregnancy, but the prior financial barrier might have caused her not to get the contraceptive care that she desired afterward. Now she can.

“This just gives the practitioners more options,” Dykstra said. “They’re able to give the women more choices and more comprehensive care because this expands those choices. We are able to better service a population of women who are low income with limited options because of where they are in life.”

The family planning funding cannot and will not be used for abortions.

“It’s absolutely black and white in our funding and our agreement that it cannot be used for that,” Dykstra emphasized.

She also noted the grant program required Promise to put into place strict security standards to ensure complete confidentiality for those who receive family planning services.

“No one else has to know that they’re getting health-care testing for sexually transmitted diseases or contraceptive services,” she said. “They and only they and their provider know that. They can go and very privately and confidentially get services. I think that’s one of the most important components of this service.”

Promise’s primary service area for the family-planning program will be Sioux, Lyon, O’Brien and Osceola counties, but the grant also includes financial resources for outreach in five additional counties for a nine-county region.

The state has more than 50 family planning clinics, but most of them are concentrated in the eastern half of the state. The northwest Iowa region was a wide open territory. The only other Iowa family planning clinics located within 100 miles of Sioux Center are in Sioux City, Onawa, Denison, Logan, Harlan and Humboldt.

“Prior to us getting this, there was really nothing in this corner of the state. That is why they allocated those additional outreach dollars,” Dykstra said. “People who were seeking the service had nowhere to go and had to drive a long ways. Now they do.”

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

People who would like to receive family planning services from Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center are encouraged to talk to family planning coordinator Emma Westerholm. She can be reached at 712-722-1700 Ext. 670. She can answer questions and arrange for appointments. All conversations and care will remain strictly confidential.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

United CHC personnel visit Promise CHC for peer review process

SIOUX CENTER – Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center welcomed visitors from United Community Health Center of Storm Lake today (Thursday, Feb. 18) for a mutual peer review process.

Dr. Brian Smith (right), dentist and dental director
for United Community Health Center of Storm Lake,
and Dr. Kenneth Tjeerdsma, dentist and dental
director for Promise Community Health Center of
Sioux Center, work through mutual peer review.
In the past, the two health centers used other connections and contracts to fulfill the peer review requirement, which is a quality assurance and improvement measure under the Federal Tort Claim Act to maintain malpractice liability insurance coverage.

Rich Gehrig, chief executive officer for United, approached Promise executive director 
Nancy Dykstra to see if she would be interested in a mutual arrangement. She agreed that it was a good idea to pursue.

“I’m very grateful about it,” Gehrig said. “I think it will be a good thing.”

Promise executive director Nancy Dykstra and United
CEO Rich Gehrig finalize an agreement for doing
peer reviews between the agencies going forward.
Dr. Natalie Schaller, medical director; Dr. Brian Smith, dentist and dental director; and Tina Rydstrom, clinic manager, joined Gehrig on United’s trip to Promise. Schaller and Smith worked directly with their counterparts at Promise – Dr. Del Lassen, medical director, and Dr. Kenneth Tjeerdsma, dentist and dental director – to review a selection of each other’s charts. Rydstrom visited with Promise clinic manager Vicki Schrock.

In the future, the peer reviews will be completed remotely every six months.

The privacy of patients is ensured and maintained in compliance with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) throughout the peer review process.

Dykstra thinks the peer review collaboration is off to a good start. The process worked smoothly between the medical teams because the organizations already have the same software. They just have to work through a few technical matters on the dental side due to having different software programs.

“Everyone agreed that this is an ideal way to work through a peer review – by doing it between community health professionals. It went really well,” Dykstra said, adding that the opportunity for the health professionals to meet each other also might lead to future networking if they have any questions in their own practices.

The visitors from United also toured Promise’s recently remodeled and expanded facilities during their visit.

“I’ve never been here before,” Gehrig said. “You have a nice facility. It’s larger than I expected.”

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

Friday, February 12, 2016

Kleinwolterink eager to educate community about Promise's services

SIOUX CENTER – Kendra Kleinwolterink has had great respect for the important role that Promise Community Health Center plays in the community since she found out about the organization during college.

She now is excited to educate the community about the services it has to offer as the new community educator at Promise.
Kendra Kleinwolterink has assumed the role of community
educator at Promise Community Health Center in Sioux
Center. In the newly created position, she will educate
the community about the services Promise has to offer.

“I really admired the mission Promise has to offer everyone,” she said. “I think it’s fantastic that Promise offers to serve everyone that walks through their doors.”

Promise’s community educator position was created to make connections with personnel in area schools, businesses and other organizations to educate them about the wide-ranging services that the health center has to offer. She also will help arrange community health education opportunities, along with various other tasks.

Kleinwolterink has discovered that many people still do not realize all that Promise offers, so she is excited to find creative ways to inform the community about Promise.

“As an entire organization, Promise has really continued to grow over the years,” she said. “I want to be a part of the awareness that will spread about our organization. As employees and services are added to Promise, I want to have a hand in expanding the knowledge of those things in the community.”

Kleinwolterink grew up in Sibley and graduated from Sibley-Ocheyedan High School in 2010. She then earned an associate’s degree in liberal arts from Minnesota West Community & Technical College in Worthington in 2012 and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Northwestern College in Orange City in 2014.

She interned for The Bridge in Orange City, January-May 2014, and as a domestic violence advocate for YWCA Northeastern New York in Schenectady, June 2014-April 2015. She then served as a community care coordinator for Seasons Center for Behavioral Health in Sioux Center, June 2015-January 2016.

“I have worked in a nonprofit setting since my senior year of college,” Kleinwolterink said. “Through those experiences, I learned about different cultures and diverse backgrounds. With that experience, I feel I am really able to better understand the message of Promise and what to tell the community about the services that we offer.”

Kleinwolterink, who lives in Orange City, said everyone at Promise has been “overwhelmingly welcoming.

“It’s obvious that everyone works as a team within their specific departments and as a whole organization,” she 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