Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Weekly beginner and youth running group starts Thursday, June 6


SIOUX CENTER, IOWA – Join beginner and youth runners for a weekly training group!

The group will train together 6:30 p.m. Thursdays, starting June 6, at Children's Park in Sioux Center. Note: Due to construction going on at Children’s Park, park your vehicles either along the street or at Kinsey Elementary.

Join a weekly running group at 6:30 p.m.
Thursdays at Children's Park in Sioux Center
 to train for the second annual Healthy Heroes
Run & Walk slated for Saturday, Sept. 21.

The goal will be to help people train to run the 5-kilometer race (3.1 miles) for the second annual Healthy Heroes Run & Walk on Saturday, Sept. 21. Participants in the weekly running group will receive free entry into the race.

Anyone who wants to learn about running and take their first steps toward running are encouraged to attend. All ages from 6 years old to adults are welcome.

“Taking that first step toward running for health or to accomplish a goal – like a race – can be scary and a bit intimidating,” said Stephanie Van Ruler, nurse health coach at Promise Community Health Center, which is organizing the Healthy Heroes event in partnership with Sioux Center Health. “We want to encourage and show others that anyone who moves is a runner. It is not about how fast or long you go; it is about being brave enough to try. Join us for positive encouragement and fun!”

Van Rulerwho will lead the running group sessions along with Missy Clabaugh, a local attorney, and Vicki Schrock, a registered nurse from Promisesaid they will offer running and training tips – with the first few weeks focusing on pacing and breathing while running. Each week will vary depending on the age of the participants.

The sessions will last about 30 minutes.

“We hope to instill a love for moving and running and an awe for the amazing ways our bodies can move and function,” Van Ruler said.

The second annual Healthy Heroes Run & Walk event is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 21. To register, visit

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Dr. Lassen shares six bits of advice for Men’s Health Month

SIOUX CENTER, IOWA – Men die five years younger than women on average.

Men are more likely than women to die for nine of the 10 leading causes of death, whether it be heart disease, most cancers or even non-disease causes, such as suicide and accidental injuries.

Men also are less likely to see a health provider for regular physical exams or to have health insurance.

These statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that men tend to be less healthy, are less concerned about their health and face significant risk factors.

For Men’s Health Month in June, Dr. Del Lassen of Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center shares the following advice for men to consider:


Dr. Del Lassen
“In terms of risk factors for your overall health, it just so far outweighs and overshadows most every other risk factor if someone is smoking. The evidence is so monumental. If anything, you need to stop smoking. See us. See someone. There are ways that we can help you with that,” Dr. Lassen says, noting that both medication and non-medication approaches can be used.


“If you’ve never had your lipids checked, get that done. Get a baseline. Know where you’re at. Know where your good cholesterol and bad cholesterol levels are,” Dr. Lassen says.

“Know if you have blood sugars that are borderline. Type 2 diabetes is an epidemic in this country. We can do a test called A1C, which tells us what your blood sugar has been doing for the past 120 days.”


“You do not need to be a marathon runner. You do not need to spend $5,000 on an exercise machine. You do not need to do crazy things. Take a walk, but do it on a consistent basis. Aim to get that walk in five out of the seven days. Get consistent exercise,” Dr. Lassen says.


“There is much controversy in terms of how often and what way you need to screen for prostate cancer. That will probably continue to be controversial,” Dr. Lassen says. “But pay attention to your urinary symptoms and, certainly, if you are age 50 or above, talk to your health-care provider about what’s appropriate for screening for your prostate. If there is a history of prostate cancer in your family, do it sooner than age 50maybe even age 40. But talk to your health-care provider.”


“Colon cancer continues to be a big deal. It’s a killer,” Dr. Lassen says. “A colonoscopy certainly is a definitive measure for looking at the colon, but there are certainly ways other than a colonoscopy to do some screening for potential polyps that can lead to colon cancer. Again, talk to your health-care provider. Many of these things are easy to do in the home.”


“Skin cancer and sun damage impact a lot of people, so remember your skin,” Dr. Lassen says. “Summer is on us. Cover up appropriately in terms of a hat and clothing and use of appropriate sunscreen. Keep an eye on your skin and have somebody else keep an eye on your skin. If you notice that there are changes, get it looked at.

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

Promise Community Health Center is open during the following hours: 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday. To schedule an appointment, call Promise at 712-722-1700 or visit Promise's website at

Monday, June 3, 2019

Janelle Padilla enjoys helping people as Promise CHC receptionist

SIOUX CENTER, IOWA – Janelle Padilla loves meeting and helping people.

Janelle Padilla is serving as a new bilingual
receptionist at Promise Community Health
Center in Sioux Center. She loves meeting
new people and meeting their needs.

Thus, that makes her excited about taking on a different type of role than she has had in the past as a new receptionist at Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center.

“I’m a great people person. I absolutely love talking to new people,” she said. “I hope to bring happiness and reach people’s needs.”

Janelle, who is bilingual in English and Spanish, grew up in Sioux Center and graduated from West Sioux High School in Hawarden in 2015. She then worked for Groschopp in Sioux Center, 2015-19.

Now at Promise, she’s impressed by what she’s seen so far.

“I love how Promise is willing to help people,” she said, noting that not all health clinics go to the lengths that Promise does to address people’s needs. “Promise is a great place. The staff is super nice. The environment is super great, too.”

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

Janelle Padilla lives in Le Mars, IA. She is engaged to Ryan Emerson. In her spare time, she loves taking her dog, Riley, on long walks; going boating; hanging out with her friends and family; and working out.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Patients express high satisfaction with Promise's interpreting services

SIOUX CENTER, IOWA – Promise Community Health Center values the importance of offering high-quality interpreting services to patients who speak another language, and patients are pleased with the services they are receiving.

Ellen Podhajsky presents the findings of a research
project that she and two other students did for their
social work course at Northwestern College about
Promise Community Health Center's professional
interpreting services.
Those were the conclusions of a research project conducted by three students – Ellen Podhajsky, Amy Tuttle and Cassidy Bultena – for a social work course at Northwestern College in Orange City. The project included interviews, in Spanish, with seven patients at Promise after appointments at the health center.

Podhajsky, who graduated earlier this month with a major in Spanish, recently presented their research findings to Promise staff.

“We were very impressed with the feedback that we heard about Promise and the steps that you are taking to provide good interpretive services,” she said.

Podhajsky said it’s an important service as studies show the quality of care, as well as how patients perceive the care they receive, is directly linked to medical interpretation.

Here are highlights of the six themes that came out of the students’ interviews with patients:

Theme 1: Striving for English Proficiency

Most of the Spanish-speaking patient participants said they recognize the value of learning English, acknowledge there is an increased difficulty to communicate in a primarily English-speaking country and desire to improve their English. For those who have improved their knowledge of English, it also also has increased their comfort level in the health-care setting and has helped confirm to them the accuracy of interpretation.

One patient said: “I feel more comfortable now because, even though the interpreter is translating for me, I’m understanding at the same time.”

Theme 2: Powerlessness

The interviewed patients expressed that they have felt a sense of powerlessness during past situations when an interpreter wasn’t present. In those settings, they experienced emotions such as fear, frustration and a lack of confidence due to concerns that they are not being understood or that they do not understand.

Podhajsky cited a study that found high-quality clinical care is compromised when communication barriers exist. Therefore, professional interpreting services are an important component even if the gap can’t be completely bridged.

“Although interpreters significantly alleviate the negative feelings and sense of powerlessness associated with the language barrier, they may not be capable of eliminating them entirely,” Podhajsky said. “Some of the patients’ fears were expressed even when interpretive services were available, which shows that even the best interpretive services do not replicate shared language connections.”

Ellen Podhajsky, a recent graduate of
Northwestern College, said patients
more comfortable with their health
provider when they are confident
in the skills of their interpreter.
Theme 3: Interpreter as Crucial Link

In interpreting situations, verbal communication travels from the medical practitioner, via the interpreter, to the patient – then back again.

Naturally, Podhajsky said the interpersonal connections between the provider and patient take the same path. Six of the seven patients spoke first of their interpreter when asked about the connections they felt with their provider.

“We found that the connection with one’s doctor depends on the confidence that they have with their interpreter,” she said. “Some indicated that they even feel a stronger connection with their interpreter because they’re the one speaking the same language as them.”

Participants expressed confidence at Promise, thanks to the skill of their interpreters. In fact, some felt equally understood by both their interpreter and provider. They feel good about asking the provider questions when they are confident everything is being interpreted correctly.

“We found that our participants had more confidence in the interpreters at Promise than indicated in all of the previous studies that we found,” Podhajsky said.

Theme 4: Quality and Uniqueness of Site

Six of the seven patients interviewed spoke about Promise’s uniqueness and good reputation in interpreting services.

The patients respect and appreciate the services. They feel comfortable with the interpreters. Some travel from other towns to the health center due to its excellent interpreting services and its experience in working with Hispanic patients.

Podhajsky noted a study that shows miscommunication about health problems and expectations occur when there are verbal and nonverbal communication barriers.

“At Promise, there were no indications of miscommunication or dissatisfaction. Nobody had any complaints about the services that they receive,” she said, noting that participants were specifically asked to share ways the health center could improve. “We didn’t hear anything.”

Theme 5: Benefits of a Professional

The patients interviewed prefer professional interpreters and recognize the advantages that professional services have. When they use a professional interpreter, they know they are getting expertise in medical language and are receiving accurate and complete explanations of what the provider is telling them. The patients also like that they don’t have to inconvenience and burden family and friendswhich Podhajsky noted was the opposite of previous studies that showed some patients are concerned about burdening an interpreter.

The important role of professional interpreters is further emphasized by studies that show using family, friends and other nonprofessionals increases interpreting errors.

“Participants were appreciative of the available interpreting services at Promise,” Podhajsky said.

Theme 6: Preferences Between Consecutive and Simultaneous Interpreting

The patients interviewed were split between which type of interpreting they prefer.

Podhajsky noted one correlation: Those who prefer consecutive interpreting tend to be those who were learning English. It allows them to clearly hear both languages and gives them more assurance about accurate interpretation. Those that prefer simultaneous like the more conversational style and less waiting and delay.

Following the research project, the students were complimentary of Promise.

“Promise is providing very good services,” Podhajsky said. “We were really impressed with all of the steps that Promise takes to ensure accurate interpretations for their patients. That obviously was reflected in the feedback that we received from patients.”

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

Ellen Podhajsky closed out the presentation by sharing qualities of Promise Community Health Center’s interpreting services that other clinics can learn from:
  • All interpreters must pass an exam consisting of medical terminology, interpreting ethics, the interpreter role and a mock consecutive session.
  • Importance is placed on continuing education.
  • Friends and family are not allowed to interpret for patients.
  • Forms and medication instructions are available in Spanish.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Mental Health Month: Caring for both mind and body is important

SIOUX CENTER, IOWA – May is Mental Health Month.

Jo Thyr, LMSW, tCADC, behavioral health director and therapist for Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center, and Michelle Van Beek, bilingual behavioral health coordinator, believe in the importance of people caring for both their mind and body.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than 43 million Americans experience mental health problems in any given year. More than 9 million adults in the United States have mental illness that is serious enough to interfere with their day-to-day lives, causing them to be unable to work or to function normally.

"Here at Promise, we believe that we are making a positive difference as we walk alongside our patients and teach them coping skills for their lifetime," Jo says.

They share six key messages from the Mental Health America in this video:

1) Mental health is essential to everyone’s health and wellbeing, and mental illnesses are common and treatable.

2) A healthy lifestyle can help to prevent the onset or worsening of mental health conditions, as well as chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

3) The company of animalswhether as pets or service animalscan have a profound impact on a person’s quality of life. A pet can be a source of comfort and can help us to live mentally healthier lives.

4) Whether you go to church, meditate daily or simply find time to enjoy that cup of tea each morning while checking in with yourself, it can be important to connect with your spiritual side in order to find that mind-body connection.

5) Living a healthy lifestyle may not be easy but can be achieved by gradually making small changes and building on those successes.

6) Finding the balancebetween work and play, the ups and downs of life, physical health and mental healthcan help put you on the path toward focusing both on mind and body.

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

For more information about Promise Community Health Center's behavioral/mental health services, visit:

Jo Thyr, behavioral health therapist, offers therapy care to patients during the following hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. and Thursday.

To make an appointment, call Promise at 712-722-1700 or visit Promise's website at

Thursday, May 16, 2019

New routes featured for Wellness on Wheels Bicycle Ride (WOW9)

SIOUX CENTER, IOWA – All new routes are featured for Promise Community Health Center’s ninth annual Wellness on Wheels Bicycle Ride.
WOW9 is slated for Saturday, June 8, as an official event of Sioux Center Summer Celebration.
The event, which is put on by Promise with the help of many great business sponsors, will offer three routes: 60-mile paved, 30-mile paved and 30-mile gravel. WOW9 also will feature a a complimentary moisture-wicking event T-shirt, brunch with breakfast pizza from Pizza Ranch and a prize drawing for a youth bicycle donated by Brothers Bicycle Shop of Sioux Center.

Promise CHC's ninth annual Wellness on Wheels
Bicycle Ride (WOW9) will feature three new
routes: 60-mile paved, 30-mile paved and
30-mile gravel rides. Register by the May 30
early-bird deadline for a discount.

The event will start at a new location in Sioux Center this year – Country View Park, 1051 12th St. NE – due to ongoing construction at the previous site. The park is located on the northeast side of the softball field in that area.

Bicyclists can register up until the date of the event, but those who register by the early-bird deadline of Thursday, May 30, will receive a discount.

“We’re excited to offer refreshed routes for our riders this year,” said Derrick Vander Waal, public relations officer for Promise. “Our Wellness on Wheels Bicycle Ride has been a popular event for bicyclists every year. Riders come from communities across the tristate area to participate. Many of them return every year, and we always get many new riders as well.”
Here are highlights of the three routes that will depart from Country View Park:
  • A 60-mile paved route will travel through the communities of Rock Valley and Hawarden. Aid stations will be located in those towns to welcome riders and rejuvenate them with Gatorade, water and snacks before heading back out on the road. The ride is departing a half hour earlier this year at 6 a.m.
  • A 30-mile paved route will travel to Rock Valley and back through the Sioux County countryside. The ride will depart at 8 a.m.
  • A 30-mile gravel route will loop riders through rural Sioux County. The ride will depart at 8 a.m.
“The 60-mile route travels through some of the most scenic portions of Sioux County. It’s a partial hybrid of previous routes that we have used before, along with stretches that are completely new,” Vander Waal said. “Our 30-mile route is entirely new from recent years but brings back elements from a route that we use a few years ago. Most stretches of these routes are on quiet, country roads with relatively low traffic counts. We will ensure that the routes are well-marked again.”
Brothers Bicycle Shop is donating this youth bike
for the prize drawing during the WOW9 Bicycle Ride
on Saturday, June 8. Owner Nathan Nykamp says
the drawing winner also could use it as "gift card
on wheels" toward the purchase of another item
in his downtown Sioux Center store.

Participants who register by the early-bird deadline of Thursday, May 30, will receive a discount. The cost is $25 through that date. The price will increase by $10 to $35 thereafter until the day of the event. Participants who register by May 30 will guarantee a T-shirt in their size.
A meal featuring Pizza Ranch breakfast pizza will be served to all the riders when they return to Country View Park from their morning treks.
WOW9 not only will be a fun, relaxing, outdoor activity that promotes wellness, but it also will serve as a fundraiser for Promise. The health center provides a comprehensive range of health-care services to patients – with a particular focus on reaching out to underserved people and helping them overcome barriers that they face to health care.
“We have the mission of making health care accessible to all people – no matter their income level, ethnic background or life situation,” Vander Waal said. “We desire to care for the whole person, whether it be their physical condition or mental well-being. In doing so, we can help build a healthier community.”

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

Bicyclists can register online for the Wellness on Wheels Bicycle Ride (WOW9) at Or, a paper registration form to mail in can be accessed online on Promise's homepage at, by clicking this link or by visiting Promise Community Health Center at 338 First Ave. NW, Sioux Center, IA. For more information, call Promise at 712-722-1700 or email Visit the WOW9 Facebook event page at:

Promise Community Health Center is bringing you WOW9 with the help of these generous sponsors:
  • American State Bank,
    WOW9 Bicycle Ride will offer aid stations along the
    way for riders to get Gatorade, water and snacks,
    as well as assistance with their bicycles.
  • Peoples Bank,
  • Premier Bank,
  • Northwest Bank,
  • Primebank,
  • Proactive Physical Therapy & Sports Rehab,
  • Brothers Bicycle Shop,
  • Dordt College,
  • Lewis Family Drug,
  • Mane Attraction,
  • Robin’s School of Dance,
  • Sioux Center Chiropractic Wellness Clinic.

The following businesses are donating materials or services to the event: Pizza Ranch, Fareway, Hy-Vee and McDonald’s.