Monday, November 20, 2017

Mayra Ortiz assumes role of receptionist at Promise CHC


SIOUX CENTER – Mayra Ortiz wants everyone to feel welcome as they walk into Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center.
Mayra Ortiz is a new receptionist at Promise
Community Health Center. She wants to
make people feel welcome when they
come in for an appointment.

She also wants to bring a passion for helping people in need.

Mayra, who is bilingual in English and Spanish, recently assumed the role of receptionist at Promise.

“I like the vision that Promise stands behind – that together we deliver the promise of a healthier tomorrow,” Mayra said. “Even more so, I like the fact that you will not be turned down for quality health care due to lack of insurance or financial situation.”

Mayra, who grew up in Sioux Center and graduated from Sioux Center High School in 2011, brings a variety of customer service experience to the the position. She worked as a cashier during high school at Las Palmas Mexican Grocery in Sioux Center. She served as a customer service teller at Northwest Bank in Sioux Center, 2015-16. After attending classes for a year at Northwest Iowa College in Sheldon, she started working as a customer service representative at Staples Promotional Products in Orange City in March.

She thought her background would make her a good fit for the receptionist position at Promise.

“Being the first person to help the patients when they walk in and making them feel welcome has always been important to me,” she said.

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


MORE ABOUT MAYRA:
Mayra Ortiz lives in Sioux Center and has two children, Madison, 5, and Mateo, 1. In her spare time, she enjoys staying at home and watching movies with her kids and spending time with her family.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Promise CHC selects Vander Plaats as its next executive director


SIOUX CENTER – Promise Community Health Center of Sioux Center announces the hiring of Nathan Vander Plaats as its next executive director.

His selection culminates an extensive four-month search process to replace Promise’s founding executive director, Nancy Dykstra. She plans to retire at the end of the year after serving as the guiding hand of the health center since it opened in July 2008.

Nathan Vander Plaats has been selected
as the next executive director for Promise
Community Health Center. He will assume
the role on Monday, Dec. 11. Nancy Dykstra,
the founding executive director for Promise,
plans to retire at the end of the year.


Vander Plaats, who currently serves as the director of retail for Goodwill of the Great Plains based in Sioux City, will assume the leadership role on Monday, Dec. 11. Dykstra will assist Vander Plaats as Promise makes the leadership transition.

Vander Plaats said one word sums up why he was interested in leading Promise into its next chapter: “People.”

“Thousands of people from all walks of life rely on Promise every year for their health needs, and Promise’s amazing staff is responsible for meeting those health needs,” he said. “When I first interviewed with Promise for this position, I was struck by the authentic care with which they approached their work for those who come to Promise. The board and employees’ passionate care for others is what really attracted me to Promise.”

Vander Plaats and his wife, Shawna, also look forward to returning to their hometown. She spent her entire youth in Sioux Center, and his family moved to Sioux Center when he was in middle school. He graduated from Unity Christian High School in Orange City in 1999 and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at Dordt College in Sioux Center in 2003.

Vander Plaats has steadily progressed in leadership roles throughout his career.

He served as a caseworker for former U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin in his state offices in Sioux City and later Davenport for six years, 2003-09. He then was promoted to the position of regional director for the senator’s Sioux City office, where he oversaw all operations for the western third of Iowa for three years, 2009-12.

Shortly after earning his master’s degree in public administration from Iowa State University of Ames in 2012, Vander Plaats accepted the position of director of mission services for Iowa and Nebraska for Goodwill of the Great Plains. In that role, he oversaw the development and operation of various mission-focused programs. In January 2017, he was promoted to the position of director of retail for Goodwill of the Great Plains, leading 350 retail team members, including 21 store managers and five sales territory managers.

He now anticipates his new career challenge.

“I’m really looking forward to working with the board and employees at Promise to take the organization to the next level in its second decade,” Vander Plaats said. “Nancy and her team have done such great work over the last nine years that it’s hard to know how much further Promise can go, but we know that as the needs of the communities we serve change, there are more people to serve in more ways.”

Dykstra is pleased Promise will be in capable hands in the future as it turns the page to new leadership.

“We feel confident that Nathan is a good fit for the mission, work and staff of Promise,” she said. “We feel Nathan is a visionary leader whose commitment to the community, organizational culture and lifelong learning will propel Promise forward to a continued bright and thriving future.

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


MORE ABOUT NATHAN:
Nathan Vander Plaats and his wife, Shawna, have an 8-year-old son, Keegan. In his spare time, he enjoys hunting, fishing, golfing and cooking, especially wild game.


CELEBRATING CONTRIBUTIONS:
Promise Community Health Center's founding executive director Nancy Dykstra plans to retire at the end of the year. To learn more about her contributions to Promise since it opened in 2008, read this feature story on her at: promisechcnews.blogspot.com/2017/10/dykstra-awarded-prestigious-carl.html.



Friday, November 10, 2017

Promise CHC to offer third Flu Vaccine Clinic on Wednesday, Nov. 29


SIOUX CENTER – Promise Community Health Center’s first two Flu Vaccine Clinics were so popular this fall that it has decided to offer a third.
Dordt College nursing student Courtney Groen gives
Freddy Richmond a flu vaccine shot during Promise
Community Health Center's Flu Vaccine Clinic on
Sept. 27. Promise will host another Flu Vaccine
Clinic 3-6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29. The flu shots
are free for children and $25 for adults. No
appointments necessary. Just walk in.



The flu vaccines will be offered 3-6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29, at Promise, located at 338 1st Ave. NW, Sioux Center, across from the Sioux Center city hall. No appointments are necessary. People can walk in at any time during the flu clinic.

Promise provided 38 flu vaccine shots on Sept. 27 and 83 on Nov. 1 for a total of 121 – a rate of one shot every three minutes.

The influenza vaccine shots are free for youth 18 years old and under and $25 for anyone over 18 years old. Promise also accepts insurance to cover the cost of the flu vaccines.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death in rare cases. The annual flu season can begin as early as October and last as late as May. Since 2010, the CDC has estimated that, nationwide, hospitalizations caused by influenza have ranged annually from 140,000 to 710,000 and flu-related deaths from 12,000 to 56,000.

The annual vaccine protects against the influenza virus strains that research has indicated will be the most common during the upcoming flu season, according to the CDC. People are protected against those infection strains after antibodies are developed in the body about two weeks following the vaccination. The flu vaccine cannot cause influenza.

To learn more about the flu vaccine, visit the CDC key facts page at www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm.

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 www.promisechc.org.


Friday, October 20, 2017

The Chase to present live jazz music at ‘An Evening of Promise’


SIOUX CENTER – A few adjectives will come to mind as The Chase fills the room with live jazz music during “An Evening of Promise.”

The Chase will perform a collection of jazz tunes
during Promise Community Health Center's ninth
annual "An Evening of Promise" Celebration and
Fundraiser on Thursday, Nov. 2, at Terrace View
Event Center in Sioux Center.


Smooth, melodic, soulful.

The band will entertain the audience with the pleasing background music during the the social time as people arrive and the dinner hour of Promise Community Health Center’s ninth annual celebration and fundraiser on Thursday, Nov. 2, at Terrace View Event Center in Sioux Center. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.

Michel Gomes, who plays bass, said The Chase, formerly known as AK-Squared, gets its name from “continually chasing after new styles of music and different sources of inspiration.”

“We are very excited to play at this event and look forward to being able to play for a new audience,” Gomes said. “We have been experimenting with a few different jazz genres and look forward to perform it.”

This talented group of musicians also consists of Ariel Gomes on electric guitar, Mark Brauning on drums, and Daniel Amin on piano. The Gomes brothers and Amin are students at Dordt College in Sioux Center, and Brauning graduated last year.

All of the members of the ensemble have played for many years in various bands before coming together to form The Chase.

A sampling of the tunes the audience will hear include “Autumn Leaves” and “So What” by Miles Davis, “Take Five” by Dave Brubeck, “Moanin’” by Art Blakey and “Wave” by Tom Jobim.

“Our style is mostly pop-jazz, urban-jazz, with strong influence from Bepop and 60s jazz,” Michel Gomes said.

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


‘AN EVENING OF PROMISE’:
Promise Community Health Center will present its ninth annual “An Evening of Promise” Celebration and Fundraiser on Thursday, Nov. 2, at Terrace View Event Center in Sioux Center.

The event, which serves as Promise’s primary fundraiser every year, will begin at 6 p.m. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. The event will feature a catered dinner, live jazz music, presentation of the Addink Community Service Award and a silent auction to support Promise.

Ticket sales for “An Evening of Promise” will run through Wednesday, Oct. 25.

Tickets are $40 for adults, $20 for youth ages 4-17 and free for children 3 and under. They can be purchased online at www.promiseevent2017.eventbrite.com or in person at Promise CHC, 338 1st Ave. NW, Sioux Center. For more information or to get a paper registration form, visit www.promisechc.org or call 712-722-1700.

Read this preview story to learn more about the event.



Thursday, October 19, 2017

Top to be presented Addink Community Service Award for 2017

by Derrick Vander Waal

SIOUX CENTER – The way Barbara Top of Sioux Center views it, her purpose in life is to serve.

And she has a passion for reaching out to people who society may view as “underdogs.”

Her perspective is the same whether she is serving at some distant location such as Rehoboth Christian School in New Mexico, Mississippi Christian Family Center, Guatemala or Romania or right here in northwest Iowa at Hope Food Pantry, Sioux Center Community Unity Meal or West Sioux Elementary School in Hawarden.

Barbara Top has been selected as the Addink
Community Service Award honoree for 2017.
She will be presented the honor during Promise
Community Health Center's ninth annual "An
Evening of Promise" Celebration and Fundraiser
on Thursday, Nov. 2, at Terrace View Event
Center in Sioux Center.
I’m on earth to obey and serve my God,” Top said. “These are where I have a little bit of knowledge or talent, and I can use what God has given me. My motto is to obey and to serve. That’s what God requires of me.”

In everything, she acts with humility. She doesn’t do it for her glory – but God’s glory. She quickly notices many others who do just as much or more than her.

But people have noticed and appreciated her outreach efforts as well.

For her selfless service, Top will be presented the sixth annual Addink Community Service Award during Promise Community Health Center’s “An Evening of Promise” Celebration and Fundraiser on Thursday, Nov. 2, at Terrace View Event Center in Sioux Center. She was one of a few people nominated for the annual award.

“It’s not that big a deal what I do. It really isn’t,” Top said. “I like to do it. If I didn’t have a heart for it, I don’t think it would be right to do it.”

Top isn’t exactly sure where her desire to serve people came from.

But she noted that her younger sister, Karen, had Down syndrome, so her family experience may have stirred her heart of compassion.

“You look at things differently because of that,” she said.

Top, who holds a doctorate in special education, dedicated most her career to students with developmental disabilities. After serving as an elementary teacher at four schools, she worked seven years at Hope Haven in Rock Valley, as a special education teacher and then in program development and administration. She helped establish the special education program at Dordt College in Sioux Center and taught there for four years. After working a second stint at Hope Haven for five years, she taught children with disabilities for a year in Elim Christian School in Palos Heights, IL. She served several years as a special education consultant in northwest iowa for the Area Education Agency. She then taught courses in special education at Northwestern College in Orange City for 12 years before retiring in 2005.

But her interest in serving people with various needs went well beyond her career.

Last month, Top returned from another of many trips she has made since 1977 to serve in Rolling Fork, MS, at Mississippi Christian Family Services, a mission that serves people with special needs and challenges.

She has worked with people in the residential program. She has assisted with the day habilitation program. She has helped in the shelter workshop. In more recent years, she has spent most of her time serving in the thrift shop, even bringing along a carload of items for the store. She has done various roles – whatever is necessary.

“I like to visit with people,” Top said. “In the thrift store, there are a lot of people coming in. Some people come every day. It’s almost like a social activity for them. You see more interaction between races than in the past. It’s a very positive thing.”

During the past 12 years since retiring, Top has traveled for a full month each year, usually in January, to serve Navajo children in the Rehoboth Christian School in Gallup, NM. She helps teachers by working with students who need special assistance individually or in small groups outside of their regular curriculum.

“I enjoy that. I enjoy diversity. I enjoy kids. I’ve gotten to be friends with some of the staff,” Top said. “Also, it’s a beautiful area. It’s very unique. New Mexico is called the land of enchantment, and it is. Some people call it barren. I just enjoy it.”

While serving at Northwestern, Top made four, weeklong trips with college students to Guatemala to lead spiritual retreats for children with physical disabilities and their families. She also accompanied a group to Romania in 2001 to present about autism in a few locations over eight days.

Top also has volunteered in many ways locally. For the past several years, she has mentored  at-risk youth at West Sioux Elementary School in Hawarden on a one-one-one basis for a half-day per week from October to May. She has served on the Sioux County Board of Health for over two decades, facilitates Bible studies at First Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Center and volunteers at Sioux Center Health. She also serves at the monthly Sioux Center Community Unity Meal and the Hope Food Pantry.

In addition to reaching out to people with various needs, a common thread of Top’s service has been interacting with people of many races and ethnic backgrounds.

“The church is not just First Christian Reformed Church or First Reformed or Evangelical Free or something like that,” she said. “That’s not the church. The church is the world and God’s people in it. They’re all part of the church of Christ.”

Laura Heitritter, an instructor and chair of the education department at Northwestern College, said Top has been “tireless in pursuit of helping others” and is “a champion for the most vulnerable.”

“It is amazing how the efforts of one person can have an effect on so many people and places,” Heitritter said. “Barb Top’s commitment to improving the lives of people with disabilities has translated into years of volunteering both in her community and other places in the nation and abroad. She exemplifies the characteristics of the Addink Community Service Award as an outstanding teacher and servant to her community and others.

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


PAST ADDINK AWARD HONOREES:
Here are the past Addink Community Service Award honorees:
  • Ken and Barb Addink – 2012;
  • Tom and Marlene Van Holland – 2013;
  • Jean Ellis – 2014;
  • Rob and Sharon Schelling – 2015;
  • Rod and Jayne Hofmeyer – 2016.


‘AN EVENING OF PROMISE’:
Promise Community Health Center will present its ninth annual “An Evening of Promise” Celebration and Fundraiser on Thursday, Nov. 2, at Terrace View Event Center in Sioux Center.

The event, which serves as Promise’s primary fundraiser every year, will begin at 6 p.m. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. The event will feature a catered dinner, live jazz music, presentation of the Addink Community Service Award and a silent auction to support Promise.

Ticket sales for “An Evening of Promise” will run through Oct. 25.

Tickets are $40 for adults, $20 for youth ages 4-17 and free for children 3 and under. They can be purchased online at www.promiseevent2017.eventbrite.com or in person at Promise CHC, 338 1st Ave. NW, Sioux Center. For more information or to get a paper registration form, visit www.promisechc.org or call 712-722-1700.

Read this preview story to learn more about the event.



Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Dykstra awarded prestigious Carl Kulczyk Memorial Award for 2017

by Derrick Vander Waal

SIOUX CENTER – Relief. Happiness. Anxiousness.

Nancy Dykstra was experiencing a mix of emotions when Promise Community Health Center – then known as Greater Sioux Community Health Center – opened its doors for the first time in July 2008 in Sioux Center.

Nancy Dykstra, executive director for Promise Community
Health Center of Sioux Center, receives the Carl Kulczyk
Memorial Award on Tuesday, Oct. 17, during the Iowa 
Primary Care Association's annual conference in Des
Moines. She is joined on the stage by Iowa PCA CEO
Ted Boesen, her nominators and Kulczyk's family.

The day was culmination of years of planning by a group of community stakeholders who desired to bring accessible, affordable health care to all people. The previous 120 days had been a flurry of high-pressure activity: final planning, policy development, hiring of staff and the remodeling of the former bowling alley building.

Dykstra, the founding executive director for Promise, had been an integral part of it all.

“Being able to open the door and see even one patient was a huge relief and a cause for celebration,” she said. “Also, I remember feeling anxious – and a bit nervous – wondering just how we would attract the patients and fill the schedule.”

The patients did come.

Nine years later, Promise is a growing and thriving health center. And Dykstra was the guiding hand throughout its history.

For her outstanding contributions to Promise and her tireless advocacy to the community health center model of care, Dykstra was awarded the 2017 Carl Kulczyk Memorial Award by the Iowa Primary Care Association Tuesday, Oct. 17, during its annual conference in Des Moines. The award was established in recognition of Kulczyk’s contributions to the Iowa PCA and the community health field prior to his death in 2008.


Nancy Dykstra give a brief speech as she accepts the
Carl Kulczyk Memorial Award. "I'm just humbled to stand
in front of you all because I know all of us here have
dedicated our lives and careers to community health.
I'm especially honored to accept this award because it
honors a man who exemplified the work that we do,"
Dykstra said during her acceptance speech.


“It’s an honor and a joy to receive this award because of what it stands for, because of Carl’s passion for providing care for the underserved and Iowa's communities, but it’s also an honor because it’s what I love doing,” Dykstra said during her acceptance speech. “I love the journey; I love my work; I love community health. But it’s more than about me; it’s about all the incredible people I’ve gotten to work with and know along the way.”

Promise was a fulfillment of a dream.

As the director of Community Health Partners of Sioux County, Dykstra and her staff became aware of the shifting demographics in Sioux County due to immigration and the growing number of families without health insurance and access to affordable primary health care. Leadership of the public health agency, along with staff at Mid-Sioux Opportunity, the regional community action agency, began recruiting and assembling health-care leaders, doctors and nurses; social workers; educators; and policymakers – various people who shared the common concern of providing access to care for all people.

They discussed. They researched. They talked to state experts in public and rural health. They considered their options. Ultimately, they concluded that establishing a community health center would be the best solution.

“CHCs represent the backbone of health-care safety net services in this country,” Dykstra said. “Their history, development and establishment speak to the very issues we wanted to address: We wanted to reduce barriers to health care for those who had no insurance, not enough insurance, had no transportation, were low income, didn’t speak English or who faced other socioeconomic issues. We recognized that health disparities were present and were growing for the medically underserved and marginalized in our community.”

Promise Community Health Center executive
director Nancy Dykstra (center) listens to the
description of the Carl Kulczyk Memorial
Award, along with Dr. Noreen O'Shea, a former
provider and medical director for Promise,

and her husband, Richard, during the
Tuesday, Oct. 17, ceremony in Des Moines.

To be sure, the road to where Promise is today wasn’t always smooth and straight. It had its share of perilous potholes and twisting turns.

Promise opened with state incubator funding and operated as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) Look-Alike. In the meanwhile, health center officials applied for FQHC status – and the federal funding that comes with it. But, despite a massive, persistent effort of advocacy with federal elected officials, the health center did not obtain its designation as a FQHC until 2012 – a full two years after the state incubator funding ran out.

If it was not for the leadership of Dykstra and others navigating the health center through that financially treacherous time, Promise easily could have slipped quietly into history.

Don Ortman, the longtime Rock Valley Elementary principal and a Promise board member since its beginning, remembers that time well.

“Due to Nancy’s perseverance, passion and unbelievable commitment to Promise Community Health Center staff and clients, the doors were kept open for two more years until that happy day when Promise Community Health Center became a federally qualified center,” he said.

Since then, Dykstra has overseen the health center’s impressive growth of services from primary medical and prenatal care to a comprehensive range of core services that now includes outreach assistance, dental, vision/eye, behavioral health and substance abuse counseling, family planning and victim advocacy. She has guided the health center through a continuous expansion of facilities that now encompass all of the available space in Sioux Center’s former bowling alley building, which Promise first leased and now owns. She has helped to organize Wellness on Wheels bicycle rides, health fairs, back-to-school screening events, annual celebration and fundraising events, and much more.

Dr. Noreen O’Shea, who served as a family practice physician and the medical director at Promise from 2008-10, said she remembers being amazed during her interview for the position as Dykstra laid out the extensive background on how long community members had worked to get a CHC established in northwest Iowa.

“It had been several years,” said O’Shea, who now is an assistant professor in behavioral medicine, medical humanities and bioethics at Des Moines University College of Medicine. “I was impressed with both her passion and her perseverance. Needless to say, both of those qualities have helped Nancy make Promise CHC the success it is today.”

Through it all, Dykstra never lost sight of whom Promise exists to serve.

“Her career has been full of service to the underserved, unloved and troubled,” Ortman said. “I don’t know anyone who is more committed to helping others. Of all the caring people I have met in my life, she is the apotheosis.”

No name has been more synonymous to Promise Community Health Center than Nancy Dykstra, but now as she eyes retirement at the end of the year, she prepares hand the reins of the organization to a new leader.

In doing so, she leaves a legacy of service.

“What is most satisfying to me as I look back on my time as Promise’s executive director is knowing that the center will continue to be here for all those who need access to care – care provided with dignity and compassion, no matter a person’s income level, background or life situation,” Dykstra said. “Working in a health center is about working with people – meeting them where they are and addressing their situation as it is. It’s about building roads out for people who face barriers.

“A wonderfully rewarding journey.

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


MORE ABOUT NANCY:
Nancy Dykstra’s life story illustrates a commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all people, especially those who have been marginalized.
She served patients as a registered nurse. She taught nursing students at a community college. She was instrumental in establishing the first Medicare-certified home care and hospice in Sioux County, then directed it for 13 years. She helped to redesign the public health program in Sioux County, then served as its director for 13 years.

Finally, she was the driving force behind Promise Community Health Center.

Dykstra and her husband, Richard, live in Hull. They have three adult children and seven grandchildren.

In her spare time, Dykstra enjoys reading, bicycling, taking walks, traveling for leisure and, most of all, spending time with her husband, children and grandchildren.

To learn more about Nancy’s career, read this story.


CELEBRATING CONTRIBUTIONS:
Promise Community Health Center will celebrate the contributions of Nancy Dykstra, its founding executive director, during the ninth annual “An Evening of Promise” Celebration and Fundraiser on Thursday, Nov. 2, at Terrace View Event Center in Sioux Center. An evening of food, fun and fellowship is planned. Ticket sales run through Oct. 25. For more information about Promise’s annual event, read this preview story.