On Monday, Shelly Hegerle, CHAD HR and workforce manager, and I, in my fairly new role of director of people and culture, attended the 2023 ND State HOSA Leadership Conference in Minot. We were absolutely amazed at how engaged and excited these high school students were to explore health care professions. It gave me hope for a better future that includes mission-driven, high-quality physicians, dentists, nurses, dental hygienists, radiology technicians, medical lab scientists (my favorite), and many other highly needed professionals.

Of the conversations we had with students, a few of them really stood out to us. These students wanted to focus their work on caring for underserved and vulnerable populations. They were knowledgeable and aware of the need for safety net health workers, understood health disparities and social drivers of health, and shared their passion for making a difference with their career choices.

The ND event triggered a brainstorming session on better aligning our workforce efforts with HOSA students interested in working in health centers. Prior to the HOSA event, CHAD formed a workforce workgroup to develop a more strategic approach to our workforce efforts around staffing health centers. The health care workforce has many facets: recruitment, retention, pipeline development, apprenticeship and on-the-job training opportunities, and policy-related issues and opportunities, to name a few. We have strong partners in our state primary care offices, the state Centers for Rural Health, colleges and universities, and others that we can work with to leverage our knowledge and resources to find innovative solutions to the growing workforce crisis. Shelly connected with several exhibitors at the conference to increase our partnerships in the workforce space, and of course, we have developed a stronger relationship with the state’s HOSA program. As we move forward, we hope this workgroup can develop strategies that positively impact health center workforce needs.

Our 2023 CHAD Annual Conference in May includes a workforce track with several great sessions on building an inclusive organization, innovative workforce development, and building resiliency and wellness in the workplace. Check out the agenda for more details! And lastly, if anyone is interested in connecting with us on workforce issues, needs, opportunities, or solutions, please feel free to reach out to Shelly Hegerle or me.
Health Centers in the News

North Dakota Legislative Update
Senate bill (SB) 2155 received overwhelming support in North Dakota’s 68th Legislative Assembly. Governor Burgum signed SB 2155 to provide a $2 million appropriation to the Department of Health and Human Services for federally qualified health center (FQHC) grants and to provide for a legislative management study on expanding the number of FQHCs in North Dakota. In the halls of the Capitol, CHAD’s policy team echoed the community health center mission to provide high-quality, comprehensive primary care, behavioral health, and dental care to all individuals regardless of a person’s insurance status or ability to pay.

CHAD and community health centers (CHCs) are grateful to the North Dakota legislature, specifically Senators Lee (Fargo), Hogan (Fargo), Houge (Minot), and Representatives Dobervich (Fargo), Ruby (Minot), and Striden (Fargo), who were the original sponsors of the bill, and the House and Senate Human Services and Appropriations Committee leadership and members. A special thank you to Representative McLeod for recognizing the value CHCs bring as designated FQHCs to North Dakotans by amending SB 2155 to restore funding to $2 million in the House chamber.

Another important legislative update, HB 1530, received tremendous support from the House and Senate Chambers, with the Governor signing the bill to support an act to create and enact a new section to chapter 50-24.1 of the North Dakota Century Code relating to covered services for medical assistance for the following benefits:
  • Family adaptive behavior treatment and guidance for applied behavioral analysis;
  • Dental screening and assessments;
  • Dental case management; and,
  • Teledentistry asynchronous technology.

CHAD will continue advocating for CHCs by telling their stories to policymakers about the reach and impact CHCs have in North Dakota.
Governor Burgum signs SB 2155 into law surrounded by community health center champions on April 20.
2023 CHAD Annual Conference Around the Corner
Final details are coming together for the 2023 CHAD Annual Conference. With nearly 60 registrants, 15 sponsors and vendors, and many exciting speakers, this is shaping up to be the best CHAD conference ever! While conference registration has closed, there are still a few opportunities to make the most of this time in Fargo. Family HealthCare has recently added an opportunity for attendees to visit its health center prior to the conference.
  • Join a tour of Family HealthCare’s downtown location on Tuesday, May 2, at 3:30 pm.
  • Join a tour of the Engagement Center immediately following the conference on Thursday, May 4, at 12:45 pm. The center was established during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide a quarantine zone for people experiencing homelessness who tested positive for the virus. Today, the center offers many services, including medical care, laundry services, showers, lockers, and connections to community services and resources.

To attend either tour, please email Darci Bultje at CHAD.
National Public Health Week Panel and Discussion
Thank you to the sponsors, panelists, and guests who joined the celebration in Sioux Falls for National Public Health Week on April 6. Sponsors included the South Dakota Public Health Association, SLM Consulting, the USD-SDSU Master of Public Health Program, and CHAD. Moderated by Sandra Melstad, PhD, MPH, the panel included:
  • Charles Chima, MD, DrPH, MS – Public Health Director, City of Sioux Falls;
  • Jennifer Folliard, MPH, RDN – Policy and Communications Director, CHAD;
  • Veronica Thomas, MPH, PHN – Maternal Child Coordinator, Indian Health Service (IHS); and,
  • Adane Redda – Community Health Worker, Avera Health.

See you next year!
Join the CHAD Team as the Improvement Coach
CHAD is hiring an improvement coach who will inspire and support health centers with identifying, developing, and executing quality improvement initiatives that will ultimately assist them in delivering the highest quality of care to their patients. The coach will engage with health centers in multiple program areas, including clinical care, outreach and enabling services, and social drivers of health, and lead the development of community health worker programs.

Join CHAD in the mission to foster healthy communities by promoting and supporting programs that increase access to affordable, high-quality care for all. This is a full-time remote position with a physical location in North Dakota or South Dakota. Learn more

CHAD Awarded Funds to Build Capacity for
Mobile Health Care

CHAD was one of ten primary care associations that received an award from the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), funded by the Leon Lowenstein Foundation, to support capacity building for mobile health units. CHAD will receive $12,500 to coordinate and collaborate on strategy development and resource sharing related to mobile health care. Additional information about training opportunities will be released soon!
April is STI Awareness Month
April is STI Awareness Month and the opportunity to raise awareness about sexually transmitted infections, including their impact on our communities and the importance of STI testing and treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), STI infections have increased nationally, with more than 2.5 million chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis cases reported in 2021.

A case study released in February revealed in this article states that in the last 20 years, the STI rates in North Dakota per 100,000 residents have increased by 369 percent, the highest in the nation. The same study shows South Dakota STI cases per 100,000 residents went from 279 in 2000 to 777 in 2020. With the increase of STIs in both North Dakota and South Dakota, state health departments are asking that providers obtain a complete sexual history of their patients. They recommend testing for STIs, including HIV, for all patients who are sexually active as part of routine care and more often for those at increased risk.

While STIs are increasing across many groups, data shows that some racial and ethnic minority groups, gay and bisexual men, and our nation’s youth continue to experience higher rates of STIs. This trend shows that lack of access to regular medical care, discrimination, and stigma, continue to stand in the way of quality sexual health care for everyone who needs it. Factors such as poverty, fewer jobs, and low education levels can also make it more difficult for people to stay sexually healthy. Learning more about STIs and the factors that sustain these epidemics is a first step in empowering affected communities to improve their health status and advance health equity.

Health centers and state and local health departments can prioritize and regain lost ground against STIs resulting from a lack of contact tracing and access to free testing services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Health centers have the opportunity to increase access to high-quality STI prevention, care, and treatment as a standard of care for all patients in an environment free from stigma and discrimination. CHAD has updated its annual STI Awareness Month social media toolkit to aid health centers with education and outreach. Contact Kayla Hanson for access.

Cancer Programs Implementation Grant Request for Applications Deadline April 27
The SD Department of Health’s Cancer Programs is pleased to announce the release of the Implementation Grant request for applications (RFA). The programs seek applications that support the 2021-2025 SD Cancer Plan, focus on evidence-based intervention implementation, and promote equitable and accessible cancer prevention, early detection, and cancer survivorship efforts in South Dakota. The RFA aligns with the South Dakota Prevention Framework.

Eligible applicants include organizations that have the capacity to implement the required interventions, including, but not limited to, federally qualified health centers, health plans, health care clinics, health care systems, cancer treatment centers, health care professional organizations, Indian Health Service, non-profits, quality improvement organizations, school-based health care clinics, tribal health centers, universities, coalitions, and worksites. The deadline is 5:00 pm CT on Thursday, April 27. Applicants may request up to $25,000. Learn more here.
The Rocky Mountain Public Health Training Center
Emerging Thought Leaders

The Rocky Mountain Public Health Training Center, in collaboration with the Regional Institute for Health and Environmental Leadership and the Colorado Public Health Association, is offering a new virtual learning series. The Emerging Thought Leaders series aims to debut impactful, innovative ideas and the people behind them to provide novel insight for the community, valuable exposure and experience for the innovator, and, ultimately, a positive impact on public health. This series will attract public health professionals, community leaders, and other collaborators to cultivate ideas and manifest them into reality.

The project team is accepting presenter applications from throughout the region (Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado) through Sunday, April 30. For any questions, click here or contact Cassidy Ray.
South Dakota Cancer Coalition Develops New
Lung Cancer Dashboard

The South Dakota Cancer Coalition has published a new resource for providers and health systems to support increased access to data and support for lung cancer screening. The dashboard provides incidence and mortality data, screening facilities, risk factors, a smoking pack-per-year calculator, and other resources. There is also some limited data on other cancers on the dashboard.
2023 Statewide North Dakota Needs Assessment
The Community Action Partnership of North Dakota (CAPND) is again partnering with North Dakota State University (NDSU) to conduct a statewide needs assessment. This survey helps CAPND and other partners across North Dakota develop local action plans based on community needs. Please take a few minutes to complete this survey for North Dakota residents.
Building Clinical Trial and Health Research Access for People of Color via Community Health Centers
Neighborhood Healthcare, a community health center (CHC) based in San Diego, CA, seeks to increase the diversity of clinical research populations and improve access for people of color to clinical studies by engaging CHCs in clinical research. CHCs nationwide are invited to participate in a short online survey for this important project. Surveys will be sent out in April or May, and compensation will be provided ($2,500 per CHC to help organize surveys and $50 gift certificates per participant). At the grant’s end, a white paper and tool kit will be developed and available to organizations and any interested federally qualified health center/ CHC nationally. Only 40 CHCs nationally will be accepted. If interested in participating or for any questions, click here or contact Cecilia Levy at
SD Medicaid Unwinding Informational Webinars
As the Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) unwinding begins, CHAD continues to track updates and make resources available. As a reminder, the Get Covered South Dakota coalition presented this informational webinar about the Medicaid and CHIP and continuous enrollment unwinding. In the next three months, as many as 22,000 South Dakotans will lose the continuous Medicaid coverage they have experienced since the public health emergency (PHE) started. Navigators from Get Covered South Dakota and CHAD discussed Medicaid unwinding, including a general overview, the challenges enrollees could face during the unwinding process, special enrollment periods (SEPs), and next steps. This 45-minute presentation is intended for any patient-facing health center staff.

Click here for the session recording.
Click here for the Health Center Unwinding toolkit.
GP11 Network News
ND Medicaid Webinar and Discussion: Tell Me More about Telehealth
North Dakota Medicaid is updating its telehealth policy. The updated policy will become effective beginning in May and will be available in Medicaid’s general provider manual. Staff will give an overview of the changes and added services and answer questions during this 45-minute webinar. The webinar will be recorded and available afterward.

Monday, May 1
12:15 pm - 1:00 pm CT/ 11:15 am – 12:00 pm MT
Register here.

Azara DRVS for Quality Improvement: It’s Time to Measure Up Series
Session Four: Understanding Social Drivers of Health within Azara
It’s time to leverage social needs screenings to improve care! In the fourth session, presenters will tackle social drivers of health data available within Azara, including its role in risk stratification and how to filter existing reports to identify patients with social drivers that may impact their health outcomes. The session will also highlight how health centers can leverage population health data to identify community advocacy opportunities.

Tuesday, May 9
12:00 pm CT / 11:00 am MT
Register here.

2023 SD Health Link Roadshows
Please join SD Health Link staff as they highlight and feature Health Insight’s suite of tools – pop analyzer and pop insights. For more information and the event agenda, click here.
  • Rapid City – May 22
  • Pierre – May 23
  • Aberdeen – May 24
  • Watertown – May 24
  • Sioux Falls – May 25

TELEHEALTH EVERYWHERE Conference Deadlines Approaching
TELEHEALTH EVERYWHERE! is an annual regional telehealth conference for executives, providers, managers, and staff engaged in the operational aspects of telehealth. It focuses on delivering information and experiences that will help drive organizations’ telehealth programs forward into the future while providing foundational information for telehealth beginners.

This conference focuses primarily on operational aspects of telehealth, including policy, billing, reimbursement, workflows, performance evaluation, best practices, training, technology optimization, and quality measurement. The regular registration rate ends Tuesday, April 25. Click here for more information.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental health disorders can happen to anyone, anywhere. Last year, health centers provided services to patients for a variety of mental health concerns, including anxiety, depression, attention deficit disorder, and other mental health disorders. CHAD believe that everyone has a right to high-quality, reliable, affordable health care, regardless of where they live. Health centers have in-person and telehealth options to address any mental or behavioral health issues patients may be experiencing.
Webinars & Meetings
Find these and other events on the CHAD website.
Reaching Communities through Patient Navigation: Evidence for Action
The webinar will address how to explore the Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) findings, use promotional materials, and identify implementation tools with a focus on CPSTF’s recommendation for patient navigation to increase breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening. Presenters will explore implementing patient navigation through the lens of the Oncology Navigation Standards of Professional Practice (PONT Standards), as well as ways that Comprehensive Cancer Control coalitions might promote patient navigation-centered screening strategies through their collaborative efforts across the country.

Tuesday, May 2
2:30 – 3:45 pm CT/ 1:30 – 2:45 pm MT
Register here.
Equity Talk: Building Inclusive Health Care Experiences for Persons Living with Disabilities
How do organizations design health care environments that are fully welcoming and inclusive of persons with disabilities? This requires thoughtful practices and policies designed to identify and remove barriers, such as physical, communication, and attitudinal. Often these practices benefit people of all ages and abilities. In this session, the presenter will define disabilities and discuss the health inequities experienced by these populations, as well as tangible strategies to build inclusion and accessibility into everyday health care practices. This CHAD Equity Talk is open to all health center staff & partners.

Thursday, May 11
12:00 pm CT/ 11:00 am MT
Register here.
Register Now for the Annual South Dakota CHW Conference
Make plans now to attend the annual South Dakota CHW conference. This in-person conference has expanded from the first year and will include a day and a half of keynotes, panels, breakout sessions, networking, and more! It is an opportunity for CHWs, CHRs, supervisors, and allies to come together for a day-and-a-half of networking and education and to learn more about Community Health Worker (CHW) initiatives and workforce development in South Dakota. This event is free this year due to grant funding from the South Dakota Department of Health, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

Monday, May 15, 1:00–5:00 pm CT
Tuesday, May 16th, 8:00
am – 3:30 pm CT
Sioux Falls, SD
Register here.

CHAD Network Team Meetings
Tuesday, April 25 at 3:00 pm CT/ 2:00 pm MT – CFO and Finance Manager Roundtable
Tuesday, May 2 at 12:00 pm CT/ 11:00 am MT – Behavorial Health Workgroup
Monday, May 8 at 1:00 pm CT/ 12:00 pm MT – Operational Excellence/ Compliance Workgroup
Tuesday, May 9 at 2:00 pm CT/ 1:00 pm MT – Communications and Marketing Network Team Meeting
Thursday, May 11 at 9:00 am CT/ 8:00 am MT – Emergency Preparedness Network Team Meeting
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