Thursday, May 26, 2016

72-year-old farmer looks forward to riding WOW Bicycle Ride again

by Derrick Vander Waal

SIOUX CENTER, IOWA – Bert Van Batavia loves riding open country roads or trails on his bicycle.

The 72-year-old man who farms between Hull and Boyden logs 50-60 miles in a typical week during the bicycling season.
Bert Van Batavia, 72, who farms between Hull
and Boyden, plans to ride again in Promise
Community Health Center's Wellness on Wheels
Bicycle Ride on Saturday, June 4. He has ridden
almost every year of the six-year event.

He said you can see – and smell – so much more from a bicycle. He loves seeing the straight rows of corn, even the crooked ones. He enjoys the view of farm buildings and the scenery of rivers and rolling hills. He doesn’t even mind the wafting smell of a hog barn or cattleyard every once in awhile – this is Iowa, after all.

And it’s a perfect time for him to reflect.

“My thoughts are all to myself. I can almost even decide whom to vote for in the next election,” Van Batavia said with a chuckle. “That’s what I like.”

He also rides bicycle for the cardiovascular health benefit.

“I like the exercise. I like staying in shape,” said Van Batavia, who also jogs. “I’m a guy who likes to work up a sweat a little bit, and I can do that by biking. I’m a casual rider by many people’s standard, but I keep moving. It’s healthy. It’s very healthy.”

Van Batavia got started into bicycling about 13 years ago through the encouragement of a friend, and they often rode together until the friend moved away a few years ago.

Bert Van Batavia, 72, goes for a bicycle ride on the
Sioux Center Trail. He typically logs 50-60 miles
per week on his bicycle during the riding season.
He plans to ride in the sixth annual Wellness on
Wheels Bicycle Ride (WOW6) on Saturday, June 4.
He now goes out to ride about three times per week for 15-20 miles per trip – depending on where he goes. A couple of his favorite routes are riding the blacktop between Highway 18 and Orange City and carving out a 15-mile trek on Sioux Center Trail sections.

Van Batavia, who rides his trusty Giant bicycle that he purchased several years ago at Brothers Bicycle Shop in Sioux Center, has ridden The Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) partway three times. He also has done fundraising bicycle rides in the Iowa Great Lakes area a few times.

But he particularly enjoys Promise Community Health Center’s annual Wellness on Wheels Bicycle Ride and plans to ride WOW6 on Saturday, June 4. He will pedal the 30-mile route, which will start at Children’s Park in Sioux Center and will travel the Sioux County countryside to Ireton and back. Four routes, ranging from 6 to 60 miles, are offered for the event.

“I like the fellowship,” he said. “It’s fun. The more people, the more fun it is. Starting out with everyone is always fun. I’ll pass people, and they’ll pass you up. Afterward, we get a little bite to eat and just sit there and fellowship.”

He also appreciates supporting Promise by participating in the ride.

“I like to ride in events that are for a fundraiser,” he said. “I think Promise Community is a good cause.”

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

The sixth annual Wellness on Wheels Bicycle Ride (WOW6) in northwest Iowa will be Saturday, June 4, during the Sioux Center Summer Celebration festival and the community’s 125th anniversary celebration.

Promise Community Health Center of Sioux Center puts on the event every year with the help of many great business sponsors.

This year’s event will feature four routes for various riding levels and interests that will start at Children’s Park in Sioux Center and travel through beautiful Sioux County: a 60-mile paved route that will pass through Hawarden and Ireton, a 30-mile paved route to Ireton and back, a 6-mile Fun Ride on the Sioux Center Trail to Sandy Hollow Recreation Area and back, and an all-new 30-mile gravel route that will make a big loop intersecting with Ireton. The 60-mile ride starts at 7 a.m., the 30-mile routes at 8 a.m. and the 6-mile Fun Ride at 9 a.m. – with registration starting 30 minutes before each ride. WOW6 will include a complimentary polyester, moisture-wicking T-shirt; a Casey’s breakfast pizza meal; and prize giveaways.

Registrations will be taken up until the start of the event, including walk-ups, but advance registrations are encouraged. To register online, visit Click here for a paper registration form. For more information, visit or call 712-722-1700.

To read a preview story about the event, click here.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Rietema walks through 'open door' to serve on Promise CHC board

by Derrick Vander Waal

SIOUX CENTER, IOWA – Serving on the Promise Community Health Center Board of Directors wasn’t even on Lynn Rietema’s radar when she was approached by executive director Nancy Dykstra earlier this year about considering the role.

In fact, when she saw that call come in from Promise, she thought it was a outreach staff member calling to ask if she could provide a patient a ride to the health center – as she often has done as a volunteer.

But she decided to accept the invitation to serve in a new capacity as a board member.
Lynn Rietema has begun serving on
Promise Community Health Center's
Board of Directors. She has a passion for
helping people and reaching out to
newcomers in the community.

“To be quite truthful, sometimes I don’t have words to explain why I’m on this path,” Rietema said. “I’ve been walking through doors that have opened for me in the last few years on pure faith – basically following my heart, which sounds crazy and not very logical, but it is what it is. I think with my head and lead with my heart. I saw this as another door opening for me, so I should walk through to see what was on the other side.”

Rietema’s initial connection with Promise occurred in fall 2013 when she became the legal guardian of Jose Torres when he was in high school. He was a patient at Promise, so she brought him to appointments there.

And her volunteer involvement with Promise has grown since then.

Rietema – who also serves on the Center for Assistance, Service and Advocacy (CASA) of Sioux County board – has given patients rides to appointments at Promise and has brought community newcomers who need medical, dental or other needs met into the health center. She has worked closely with the Promise staff in getting appointments scheduled and helping to get people signed up for insurance coverage.

“I try to be actively involved in the community, and there are great needs that exist,” she said. “Most days, I fail miserably at fulfilling all the needs but work diligently on the ones that are put in my path. Some days, I am frustrated and impatient because I can’t do everything I dream of doing. I believe in looking into people, not just at them, because, essentially, we all grew up differently – culturally and geographically – and aren’t we all immigrants of some type? We can learn so much from each other, and I believe Promise Community Health Center believes the same thing. I have experienced it.”

Here are a few of Rietema’s reflections about serving as a new Promise board member:

Q: What do you hope you can bring to your role as a board member?
A: I will be the first to tell you that I do not have much experience in the role as a board member. Quite honestly, it scares me and makes me nervous. I feel I have so much to learn. I hope that my passion and my heart for people, especially those who may not look like me or feel as though they don’t belong in the community will suffice and overcome any and all shortcomings I may have in the area of knowledge of fiscal reports or quality assurance because I, too, have felt as if I didn’t belong and have somewhat of a sense what that feels like. My heart naturally reaches out to the stranger in the hopes of making them feel welcome, and I hope I can bring that to the board.

Q: How might your background help you in this role?
A: My background lies in health care when I practiced physical therapy; therefore, I have a basic knowledge of the health-care system. Although much has changed and evolved since my days in a clinic setting, the care and treatment of patients and people as a whole and the area of service to the community and surrounding area in which we live, however, should never change.

Q: Why do you think Promise is important to the greater community and region?
A: I think Promise is vitally important to the community and region, most importantly, because of their service to a growing community in need of health care that is affordable and attainable to each and every person who walks through their door. I have personally sat with patients, new and existing, and have been in awe with the respect and time the staff at Promise has given to anyone who has sat across from them trying to meet their needs however they can. To witness that, as a stranger coming through the door, not knowing anyone there or even where to begin or what questions to ask, literally gave me hope and made me realize that Promise really does care for the needs of others.

Q: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
A: I don’t know what lies ahead for me on this journey, but I am proud to tell people I am on the board of Promise, and I will work hard at whatever is put in front of me. Advocacy is my passion and where my heart lies, but if I must learn fiscal reports, I will. Thank you for reaching out to me to serve on the board. I’m happy I walked through this door.

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

Lynn Rietema and her husband, Bob, live in Sioux Center. Their children are Michael and Jamie Horowitz of Winston-Salem, NC; Caleb and Jill Graff of Washington, D.C.; Jose Torres, who is in college; and John Rietema, who is graduating from Sioux Center High School. They also have two grandchildren, Cora and Cecelia Horowitz. Rietema loves being active by running, weightlifting and participating in Crossfit, and she enjoys reading and spending days in the summer on a boat in the Iowa Great Lakes. She grew up in Kanawha, IA.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Promise CHC awarded grant toward purchase of dental chair system

by Derrick Vander Waal

SIOUX CENTER, IOWA – Promise Community Health Center of Sioux Center will get a new dental chair and associated equipment, thanks to a Sioux County Community Foundation grant.

The foundation awarded the health center a $10,000 grant during an awards ceremony today (Monday, May 16) in Orange City.
Dr. Kenneth Tjeerdsma, dentist and dental director
for Promise Community Health Center in Sioux
Center, will receive a new dental chair to serve
patients due to a $10,000 grant from the
Sioux County Community Foundation.

The grant will go toward the cost of purchasing a dental chair system for one of Promise’s three oral health exam rooms. The grant will fund about 55 percent of the cost. Promise will provide the remaining matching funds.

“We are so thankful for the Sioux County Community Foundation’s support,” said Derrick Vander Waal, public relations and development coordinator for Promise. “Promise’s dental program fills a crucial need in the community. It serves the most vulnerable populations in Sioux County by reducing barriers to care for low-income families and those from diverse ethnic backgrounds. This grant will help Promise fill that need and will have a major, long-term impact on the oral health of citizens throughout Sioux County.”

Promise accepts all patients, but in particular, it welcomes Medicaid patients who live throughout northwest Iowa. Promise also offers patients a sliding-fee scale, which greatly reduces dental costs for patients who don’t have health insurance coverage or have high deductibles.

As a result, Promise is a place where patients who otherwise would have difficulty accessing care can be referred.

Sioux County Community Foundation
board member Josh Dorhout presents
Promise Community Health Center
representatives Nancy Dykstra and
Derrick Vander Waal with a $10,000
grant award during a ceremony today
(Monday, May 16) in Orange City.

“Promise fills an important regional niche by helping to ensure that families and children receive the dental care that they need,” Vander Waal said.

Promise purchased refurbished dental chairs for its three dental exam rooms when it launched its oral health services in January 2011. They have served Promise well but are nearing the end of their useful lifespan. The chair that is in the worst condition and has had the most repairs in the last couple of years will be replaced with the help of the grant.

In addition to a new dental chair, a dental delivery unit, instrumentation and a mounted LED light will be purchased as necessary accessories for a complete dental system.

The new equipment will ensure that patients receive the best possible care.

“To properly care for patients, Promise needs high-quality dental equipment that is in good working condition,” Vander Waal said.

The Sioux County Community Foundation awarded $101,060 in grants to various entities during the awards ceremony.

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

Hygienist Rebecca Hooyer, along with Dr.
Kenneth Tjeerdsma, dentist and dental
director, are accepting new patients at
Promise Community Health Center in
Sioux Center. In particular, new
Medicaid patients are welcome.
Promise Community Health Center’s dental program is accepting all new patients.

In particular, Promise welcomes newly enrolled Medicaid patients. Most dental offices in northwest Iowa are unable to take on new Medicaid patients. Promise’s outreach team also will help people enroll for Medicaid coverage if they qualify.

People who do not have insurance or have high deductibles also might qualify for Promise’s sliding-fee scale, which greatly reduces the cost for dental care for families who have incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The minimum payment for a dental visit is $40 for patients in families that are at or below the poverty level. Promise’s outreach team can help people determine if they qualify.

Any child under the age of 18 who shows up at Promise with a dental emergency will be seen that same day –  even if they do not have an appointment. Walk-up appointments also are available every morning and afternoon for other patients.

Promise’s dental hours are: 1-6 p.m. Mondays, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Fridays. For more information about Promise’s dental services, call 712-722-1700.

Promise’s dental staff consists of: Dr. Kenneth Tjeerdsma, dentist and dental director; dental hygienist Rebecca Hooyer; and dental assistants Tysa Lloyd, Gabbie Lynch and Leonardo Gabriel Marquez.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Celebrating the impact Promise CHC's nurses have on patients

by Derrick Vander Waal

SIOUX CENTER, IOWA – Nurses positively impact the lives of patients every day with care and compassion.

That's why the National Nurses Week theme for 2016 is so fitting: "Culture of Safety – It Starts With You." National Nurses Week is celebrated May 6-12 every year, ending with Florence Nightingale's birthday.

Personnel related to the profession at Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center include registered nurses, advanced registered nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and medical assistants.
Promise Community Health Center's nurses, nurse
midwives, nurse practitioners and medical assistants
include (front, from left) Ruth Hernandez, Sandra Rodriguez, Beth Strub; (middle) Pam Hulstein, Kristen Schuler, Kari Ney, Nancy Dykstra, Alex Van Beek, Karen Sanchez; (back) Erica Robertson, Vicki Schrock, Tana Kass, Emily Tuschen and Kim Davelaar. Not pictured are Belinda Lassen and Daisy Gasca.

Here are reflections from a few of them about what makes their role rewarding:

Erica Robertson, RN: "The most rewarding aspect of this job is interacting with patients, ensuring they know someone cares about their well-being and then helping them reach their goals/potential health."

Beth Strub, ARNP: "I feel most rewarded when I feel that what we do here truly has made someone else’s life better – that we helped them in some way."

Vicki Schrock, RN, clinic manager: "I enjoy educating patients so that health can be achieved. When a patient understands their new medication, new diagnosis or new life circumstance, I get excited."

Here are thoughts about why they like to serve at Promise in particular:

Robertson: "Love that we don’t just say we have a mission – we live that mission in helping others and do so as a team."

Strub: "I feel that our mission does in fact help others! I truly think we have the best staff to work with and are truly a team making a difference for our clients every day."

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

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Dr. Clousing offers eye care service at Promise CHC on weekly basis

by Derrick Vander Waal

SIOUX CENTER, IOWA – Students couldn’t read the board at school. Diabetics were having eye problems that continued to deteriorate. People had glaucoma, macular degeneration or other eye conditions.
Dr. Dan Clousing checks the eyes of 5-year-old
Dulce Dominguez during a vision appointment at
Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center
while optometry assistant/interpreter Karen
Sanchez helps out in the background.

And much more.

Most people can go to their local eye clinic for their vision care needs. But, for some people in the community, their eye care needs were being neglected because of financial cost, language or some other barrier.

The medical professionals at Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center recognized that. The providers at Beaver Eye Care in Sioux Center realized that, too. So they decided to partner with each other to address that need.

Dr. Dan Clousing, an optometrist for Beaver Eye Care, began seeing patients weekly at Promise in April. Promise’s vision care hours are: 8 a.m.-noon Wednesdays.

There is an unmet need in our community and the surrounding area for eye care, especially within the Hispanic population,” he said. “I am excited to help meet this need, and Promise provides a perfect environment to do so. They provide interpreters and staff to help walk the patients through the process, which makes for a comfortable and non-intimidating environment that everyone benefits from.”
Promise Community Health Center has
a selection of eyeglass frames that
people can choose from.

Promise’s new vision care program was made possible through a grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration’s Health Center Expanded Services program. The funding allowed Promise to enter the contract with Beaver Eye Care and outfit an exam room with the necessary optometry equipment.

During his weekly visits to Promise, Dr. Clousing is providing routine care, such as seeing patients who just need a new pair of glasses to see more clearly. He is providing medical eye care for patients with diabetes, eye infections, glaucoma, macular degeneration and other eye conditions. He also is offering required vision screenings for school-age children.

Along with the eye exams, Promise has a selection of reasonably priced eyeglass frames to offer patients who need them. For patients who also would like contacts, they will be able to get those through Beaver Eye Care’s office.

Vicki Schrock, clinic manager for Promise, said vision care has been a wonderful addition to Promise’s core services.

“Promise always has been committed to serving the health of the whole person, and adding vision services continues our effort to meet that goal,” she said. “Vision also is an integral part of caring for patients with diabetes and other health concerns. It makes sense for them to access that service in the same building.”

Dr. Dan Clousing does a vision appointment with
Dulce Dominguez at Promise CHC.

Dr. Clousing grew up in Sioux Center and graduated from Unity Christian High School in Orange City in 2000. He went on to Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, where he graduated with a bachelor of science degree in biology in 2004. He earned his doctor of optometry degree at Indiana University School of Optometry in Bloomington in 2008.

Dr. Clousing worked as an optometrist at VisionWorks in Denver and Elizabeth, CO, 2008-09, and Pillen Optical in Rapid City, SD, 2009-13, before returning to his hometown of Sioux Center to start his optometry practice at Beaver Eye Care in 2013.

Here are his reflections about serving in the optometry profession and his new role of providing eye care at Promise:

Q: How did you originally become interested in becoming an eye doctor?
A: I originally decided that I was interested in optometry in high school. I have an older cousin that is also an optometrist, and she is responsible for getting me interested in the profession at an early age. I studied pre-optometry in college, and continued my graduate work at Indiana University after college.
Q: What’s most rewarding about the profession?
Dr. Dan Clousing began seeing patients
for vision care during April at Promise
Community Health Center.

A: I find that the most rewarding part of the profession is building personal relationships with patients. We can help make a difference in people’s lives by providing better vision, but we also develop personal relationships with patients when we see them and their children on a yearly basis.

Q: What do you hope you can bring to Promise CHC in this role?
A: I hope to bring quality vision care services to a population of people that have not had access to any eye careor may not feel comfortable visiting our traditional offices. There are a lot of vision and eye health issues out there that we are not aware of, and I hope that this service helps bring those people in to receive help.

Q: What have the first few weeks been like for you?
A: The first few weeks have been great so far, and the interest from patients has been overwhelming. A lot of the patients in the first few weeks have vision and eye health problems that were more serious than expected, and it is gratifying to know that we are providing care to these patients that they may not have sought out elsewhere.

Q: What are your initial impressions of Promise CHC as an organization?
A: I have been very impressed with Promise and their providers. As mentioned before, Promise is providing a much needed service to a population of people that are underserved in many different aspects of health care. They provide a comfortable, non-intimidating environment that is conducive to bringing in patients from these underserved populations to seek help when needed.

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

Dr. Dan Clousing and his wife, Kacie, live in Sioux Center and have two children, Quinn, 4, and Renn, 3. He enjoys spending his free time with his family and doing outdoor activities, including golfing, fishing and some hunting. He enjoys watching sports and is a big Indiana Hoosiers fan.