Deep breath. It’s 2022!

Although the COVID-19 pandemic continues to draw much of our focus and priority, some light is beginning to shine through. If you need a bit of encouragement, continue reading for reflections on some good news emerging within the pandemic.

  • Vaccines remain widely available, are safe, and work to combat severe disease and hospitalizations. A recent report from The Commonwealth Fund indicates vaccines have averted 1.1 million COVID-19 deaths, more than 10 million hospitalizations, and nearly 36 million infections through November 2021.

  • The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has made free, at-home testing supplies available to health centers to support improved access to testing for our patients. Additional tests are being approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which will increase the supply of tests nationwide. At-home testing can help ease testing burdens for health care teams and reduce community spread.

  • On December 22, 2021, the FDA authorized two oral antiviral therapeutics for COVID-19. In clinical trials, Pfizer’s Paxlovid showed an 88% reduction in hospitalization and death among people with COVID-19 who were unvaccinated and considered high risk. These are amazing results and give us additional tools to avoid severe disease from COVID-19.

  • Data is beginning to suggest that the Omicron variant is less severe than previous variants. Hospitalizations and ventilation requirements for Omicron are less than half compared to the Delta variant. Masking and booster shots have also contributed to the decrease in the impact of the Omicron variant.

  • Our health care teams are rock stars. Yes, we already knew this, but the commitment and dedication of our health care teams who are weathering a pandemic for the third year are the best of the best!

Sending you optimism as we look forward to what 2022 has to offer.
Health Centers in the News
Dr. Charles Chima, executive director of Falls Community Health, and Serene Thin Elk, behavioral health direction at South Dakota Urban Indian Health, are listed among South Dakota’s "movers and shakers to watch" via the Argus Leader.
John Mengenhausen’s 38-year career and accomplishments at Horizon Health Care were included in the Mitchell Republic’s 2021 roundup of feel-good stories
The Minnehaha County jail is expanding its opiate treatment program in partnership with the state Department of Social Services, Falls Community Health, and others via the Argus Leader.
South Dakota Urban Indian Health is handing out thousands of COVID-19 at-home tests via KELO.
CHAD Welcomes Jennifer Saueressig as Clinical Quality Manager
Please join us in welcoming Jennifer Saueressig, RN, as CHAD’s clinical quality manager. Jenn joined CHAD in December 2021 and brings a strong background in primary care nursing and clinic management. In this role, Jenn facilitates and manages clinically related networks and supports quality improvement and clinical measurement activities with assessment, evaluation, and feedback. She serves as a resource and provides training and technical assistance to health center staff on clinical quality issues and services. In addition, Jenn is the clinical liaison for the Great Plains Health Data Network.

Jenn recently served as the clinic nurse manager for Northland Health Centers in North Dakota. Her primary responsibilities were to lead by example and motivate staff to deliver high-quality health care to medically underserved patients in North Dakota. Jenn also provided clinical expertise, supervised care delivery systems to ensure accuracy and consistency, and recognized and assisted in solving clinical and administrative problems.

Jenn received her nursing degree from the Dakota Nursing Program in 2010. She is an active member of Grace Lutheran Church, where she runs the Sunday school program and vacation bible school in the summer. When not busy with sports and other activities, she and her family enjoy camping, spending time at the lake near their farm, and traveling to the Black Hills in South Dakota. Jenn lives in McClusky, ND, and has three children ages six, nine, and eleven and four dogs: a corgi, two blue heelers, and a mixed breed.

South Dakota Joins Communities That Care Program
CHAD is excited to announce incorporating the Communities That Care (CTC) training program alongside two communities in South Dakota: Fort Thompson and Lower Brule. CTC is a community-level intervention that focuses on risk factors leading to teenage substance use and problem behavior. The CTC process begins with a youth survey to identify a community’s risks and strengths. CTC helps communities select and implement tested and effective prevention programs and policies based on this data. CTC also helps amplify programs already working. Certified CTC facilitators in each community will plan and organize community resources to address problematic adolescent behavior, such as aggression or drug use.

CTC training for each community will reduce communitywide risk factors that, in turn, reduce adolescent delinquent behaviors. Eugene Giago, CHAD’s community engagement manager, will work with each community as the CTC coach by providing insight on the program and technical assistance. For more information on the Communities That Care program, contact Eugene at 605-519-6777 or
Medicaid Expansion Effort Officially Receives Place on South Dakota Ballot
South Dakotans Decide Healthcare, a broad coalition of patient advocates, nurses, health care providers, farmers, faith leaders, educators, and more, announced Monday that the Secretary of State has officially validated the signatures submitted by the campaign. Their constitutional amendment to expand access to Medicaid will have a place on the ballot in November as Amendment D. Visit to learn more and join the effort.
SD Department of Health Cancer Programs Implementation Grants Request for Applications
The SD Department of Health cancer 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.

Eligible applicants include organizations that can implement the required interventions. Eligibility includes, but is 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 application deadline is Wednesday, March 16. To view the full instructions or for more information on the application, click here.
ND Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) Opportunity
The North Dakota Human Services Department is requesting non-obligatory letters of intent (LOI) from prospective Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) organizations (PPO) to increase PACE access. Meetings were held across North Dakota in August 2021, and related information was posted to the state’s PACE website. PPO-authorized personnel shall submit a signed letter of intent to PACE program administrator Annette Fischer no later than January 28. The LOI should include:
  • Service area, by zip codes, for which the PPO wishes consideration. PPOs interested in more than one zip code shall rank each in order of interest from most desirable to least desirable.
  • Share how the organization successfully worked with the elderly within North Dakota Medicaid in the past.
  • Outline how the PPO plans to use funds from the American Rescue Plan Act home and community-based services (HCBS) enhanced FMAP.
  • Outline anything other than money that the PPO might need to start a PACE organization.
Honoring the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. on January 17 and Beyond
As Martin Luther King, Jr. Day nears, it is important to remember and celebrate that community health centers were born out of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Dr. King and other civil rights activists shined a light on health care inequality. Many in the health center movement will recognize his famous quote, "Of all forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane." To honor Dr. King’s legacy, check out the five-minute health center documentary, "Faces of Hope: Past, Present, and Future," and share this with colleagues and employees. There are a variety of local and national events planned for MLK Day. Below is a shortlist.

North Dakota Events
Monday, January 17, 6:30 pm
The Fargo Theatre
Proof of vaccination and masks are required for the in-person event. It will also be live-streamed through the Facebook event page.
Hosted by: North Dakota Human Rights Coalition

Thursday, January 22, 6:30 pm
NDSU Memorial Union, Hidatsa Room
Candlelight vigil to follow
Hosted by: NDSU Office of Multicultural Programs

South Dakota Events
Monday, January 17
Sioux Falls, Pierre, Rapid City
Hosted by: Feeding South Dakota

Tuesday, January 18, 5:30 pm
SDSU Student Union (SSU 0253C Herold Crest)

Thursday, January 20, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
SDSU Student Union (SSU 0152 Market)

Monday, January 17, 4:00 – 6:00 pm
Miner Brewing Company and Prairie Berry Winery Taproom in Sioux Falls
Collects menstrual products to benefit The Banquet. Financial contributions can be made to the Promising Futures Fund to supply Title I schools in Sioux Falls with menstrual products. This is the 12th annual event coinciding with MLK Jr Day of Service projects in communities across the US.

Virtual Events

January 17, 12:00 pm CT/ 11:00 am MT
Free, no registration required
Hosted by the Smithsonian
People First: Responding to Social Determinants of Health at the Individual and Community Levels
Join CHAD for a six-part learning collaborative on responding to social determinants of health at the individual and community levels. This is a free web-based series where participants will reunite around the shared goal of responding to social determinants of health (SDOH), celebrate the past year’s milestones, and deepen skills in social interventions.

Through this interactive and action-oriented learning collaborative, participants will learn effective communication techniques for discussing SDOH with patients, best practices for documenting social needs and enabling services, and strategies for utilizing SDOH data to deepen community partnerships.

Each health center was asked to identify a core team to participate in the full series. This may include quality staff, HIT, social work or enabling services, or others. Additional staff may choose to attend specific sessions of interest. Register for session one here. Register for any or all remaining sessions here

Session 1: Poverty Competencies with Grandma Julia’s Stories, Songs, Poetry, & Humor
Tuesday, January 11 | 12:00 – 2:00 pm CT / 11:00 am – 1:00 pm MT
Audience: The core learning collaborative team + any staff interested in better understanding experiences of poverty.
Julia Dinsmore uses storytelling and her own life experiences to talk about class and poverty in America. During this creative and engaging session, Julia will introduce key poverty competencies, including understanding how people become poor, the history and causes of poverty, and how to end it. She’ll share how this larger context can inform how health professionals understand and communicate with individuals experiencing poverty.
Register here.
Session 2: Leveraging Data to Advance Social Interventions
Tuesday, January 25 | 12:00 – 1:30 pm CT / 11:00 am – 12:30 pm MT
Audience: The core learning collaborative team.
In this session presented by the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO), participants will learn the usefulness and applicability of data in advancing social interventions, including specific case examples. Participants will identify the key questions they are trying to answer with their population SDOH data.
Session 3: How to Ask: Collaborative Screening for Social Determinants of Health
Tuesday, February 8 | 12:00 – 1:30 pm CT / 11:00 am – 12:30 pm MT
Audience: The core learning collaborative team + any frontline staff involved with SDOH screening.
Many health centers have expressed the need for additional training in effective communication for SDOH screening. In this session, participants will gain skills in collaborative screening, a person-centered approach to gathering information, and following up with referrals in health and social service settings. This approach elevates the perspective, expertise, and autonomy of the individual being served to create relational safety.
Session 4: Effective Documentation and Reporting for Social Needs and Social Interventions
Tuesday, February 22 | 12:00 – 1:30 pm CT / 11:00 am – 12:30 pm MT
Audience: The core learning collaborative team + coding/billing leads.
Presented by AAPCHO, this session will introduce a standardized protocol to document patient social needs. Participants will learn to track the social interventions provided to patients in response to identifying social needs. This will include use case scenarios for social intervention documentation, activity codes, and strategies for closing the loop on referrals.
Session 5: Addressing Social Needs: Food as Medicine
Tuesday, March 8 | 12:00 – 1:30 pm CT / 11:00 am – 12:30 pm MT
Audience: The core learning collaborative team + any staff involved in community development and partnerships.
Get ready to put data into action! This panel session will focus on effective strategies for addressing social needs with a spotlight on food insecurity, including action planning time in breakout groups. Participants will learn about food bank and health care partnership models, including local case examples. Panelists will include representatives from the Great Plains Food Bank, Feeding South Dakota, Family HealthCare, and the Community Health Center of the Black Hills.
Session 6: Taking it to the Next Level: Keys to Effective Community Engagement and Partnership
Tuesday, March 22 | 12:00 – 1:30 pm CT / 11:00 am – 12:30 pm MT
Audience: The core learning collaborative team + any staff involved in community development and partnerships.
How can SDOH data drive community partnerships and inform stakeholder priorities? What does an effective and meaningful community partnership look like? This session will demonstrate cross-sector partnership examples and PRAPARE impact stories at the community level. Participants will examine their SDOH data to identify strengths and gaps in community partnerships and opportunities for growth. Speakers will share case examples from two local health centers.
Disaster Mental Health Care Support for Health Center Personnel Webinar February 10
Health center staff play a pivotal role in the health and wellbeing of the individuals and communities they serve. To be effective in this important role, they must prioritize maintaining their own mental health. This 60-minute webinar, presented by Connect Consulting, will explore current research and trends in mental health in this uniquely stressful time. Attendees will discuss barriers to access help and make suggestions for overcoming them. The presenter will share creative ideas for creating workplaces and cultures where staff feel valued and supported. Local resources will be provided for staff and administrators.

The intended audience for this presentation includes people in emergency preparedness, leadership roles, operations, quality improvement, and behavioral health. Registration information will be coming soon.
GP11 Network News
CHAD is Hiring a Health Information Technology and Data Manager

CHAD seeks a dynamic, self-motivated, and innovative individual to serve as the health information technology (HIT) and data manager. This is a full-time remote position with the ideal candidate having a physical location in North Dakota or South Dakota.
The HIT and data manager manages the Great Plains Health Data Network (GPHDN). The GPHDN is a collaboration that harnesses the strength of the Health Center Controlled Networks (HCCN) program to support the technical capacity of some of the most remote and under-resourced health centers in the country. This position assists the 11 participating health centers in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming to improve access to care, enhance the quality of care, and achieve cost efficiencies by redesigning practices under the federally-funded HCCN grant. The purpose of the network is to support health centers to leverage HIT and data, focusing on clinical quality, patient-centered care, provider and staff wellbeing, and enhancing virtual care. For more information or to apply, visit CHAD’s job board.
Dashboarding Social Needs Data: Support Population Health and Advance Equitable Care through Visual Display of Social Determinants of Health

As health centers work towards providing more patient-centered and equitable care, they are increasingly adopting standardized social needs screening tools, such as PRAPARE and others. These tools can systematically identify the challenges patients face in managing and improving their health, such as food and housing insecurity, transportation barriers, or safety concerns. This information can be used to make impactful care planning and programmatic changes that improve health outcomes, resource utilization, and reimbursement. Data dashboards help analyze social determinants of health information in visual displays that deepen insights and trigger action towards addressing patients’ social needs, improving population health, and reducing inequities in care.

Presented by HITEQ, this webinar will provide a foundational overview of social determinants of health (SDOH) dashboard design. Presenters will highlight case studies from health centers leading the way on the use of SDOH data dashboards to build community partnerships, improve linkages to services outside the clinic, and demonstrate the value-based impact of social needs services in improving health, wellbeing, and quality of life. One health center will share their experience building dashboards and using them in their clinic.

Thursday, January 13
1:00 pm CT/ 12:00 pm MT
Register here.
January is Cervical Health Awareness Month
According to the American Cancer Society, over 14,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year. Cervical cancer is more commonly found in women ages 35-44; however, over 20 percent of cases occur in women over 65. Cervical cancer was once one of the most common causes of cancer death for American women. But over the last 30 years, the cervical cancer death rate has decreased by more than 50 percent. The main reason for this change is the increased use of screening tests: screening with cytology (Pap smear) and/or for the Human papillomavirus (HPV) (depending on age). HPV vaccination is a proven tool for reducing the burden of cervical cancer in the United States.

Health centers play a significant role in promoting awareness of cervical cancer screening, including recommending preventative actions both to individuals with a cervix and parents of children old enough for the HPV vaccine. Providers should encourage all eligible patients to get screened, especially groups placed at a higher risk, including recent immigrants to the United States, people without insurance, and those without a usual source of health care.

Please join CHAD in increasing awareness about cervical cancer and the importance of regular screenings and early vaccinations. Resources for health care providers:
Now Available: 2020 Region VIII UDS Summary & 2020 UDS Workforce Metrics Infographic
CHAD is Hiring a Health Information Technology and Data Manager

The 2020 Region VIII Uniform Data System (UDS) Summary and 2020 UDS Workforce Metrics infographic are now available on the CHAMPS website. The 2020 summary compiles UDS information from across Region VIII into a summarized history, providing two-, three-, and five-year trends, plus breakdowns of data by state, Region VIII, and the nation for the current year. The 2020 UDS workforce infographic is a compilation of data from health center awardees who offer health professions education and training (HP-ET) programs. Visit the CHAMPS Publications webpage to access the documents.
Webinars & Meetings
Find these and other events on the CHAD website.

CMS Open Enrollment Webinar Featuring HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra January 6

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is hosting a partner engagement event with HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra as a special guest speaker. This will be the last webinar before the final deadline to enroll in coverage on January 15. Please join CMS to hear from Secretary Becerra and other guest speakers. During this zoom webinar, CMS will share new materials, theme week resources, and upcoming events.

CMS has a "Physical Event in a Box" that includes printed materials that are available and shipped for free to help with Health Insurance Marketplace outreach. The box includes cards, brochures, posters, stickers, and more. It’s available in English, Spanish, or a half and half mix, and some materials can be customized by ethnicity. Anyone who wants to promote the Health Insurance Marketplace can order these printed materials. To order a free event in a box, click here.

Thursday, January 6
2:00 pm CT/ 1:00 pm MT
Register here.

Seventh Annual Nicotine Dependence Conference

Join the seventh annual Nicotine Dependence Conference webinar series by CHI St. Alexius Health & Sanford Health-Bismarck. This two-day learning opportunity is available through the ND Tobacco Prevention and Control program grantees. For more information, click here or reach out to Kara Backer at 701-328-4517. Register here.

January 10
Tobacco, Electronic Cigarettes (ENDS) and the Latest Emerging Products
10:00 am – 12:00 pm CT/ 9:00 -11:00 pm MT
Lung Cancer Screening
12:00 - 1:00 pm CT/ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm MT

January 17
Motivating a Smoker to Quit
9:00 – 11:30 am CT/ 8:00 – 10:30 am MT

Health of Immigrants and Refugees

Join the Indiana Primary Health Care Association as Dr. Rachel Fabi speaks on the ethics of policy that affects immigrants and refugees’ health in the United States. This includes policies affecting access to care for undocumented immigrants, the resettlement of refugees, the treatment of people in immigration detention, and how institutional policies can protect immigrants’ health care rights and privacy.

Tuesday, January 18
10:00 am CT/ 9:00 am MT
Register here
Maternal Health Learning Collaborative

The CHAMPS 2022 Maternal Health Learning Collaborative will be offered on January 13, January 27, and February 10. This free series, created in partnership with the Denver Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs, will bring together health center care team members to discuss the latest in maternal mortality and morbidity data. Presenters will also address the impact of substance use disorders in new mothers, screening recommendations, clinical resources, and more. Register here.
CHAD Network Team Meetings

Thursday, January 6 at 12:00 pm CT/ 11:00 am MT – Clinical Quality Network Team
Tuesday, January 11 at 2:00 pm CT/ 1:00 pm MT – Communications and Marketing Network Team
Tuesday, January 25 at 1:00 pm CT/ 12:00 pm MT – Outreach & Enrollment Network Team
Tuesday, January 25 at 3:00 pm CT/ 2:00 pm MT – CFO & Finance Manager Roundtable

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