The meeting room at the Huron Public Library required more tables and chairs for those who came to make themselves heard on improving health care in the community. Hosted by the South Dakota Department of Health, the Community Conversation is the first of four events and a step toward developing a State Health Assessment and achieving Public Health Accreditation Board standards.
“Health care is a personal experience,” reflected Stacie Fredenburg, who facilitated the event and serves as the director of development and outreach for the South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care. “Health trends and rates only tell part of the story. Bringing people together to discuss the challenges and share the great work being done at a local level will paint a clearer picture for the State Health Assessment.
The group brought up concerns related to workforce, mental health, substance use, childhood development, health literacy, and more. They also recognized the value of existing programs such as community health workers, health care training and education programs, cultural awareness activities, and general community collaboration.
“Huron has an active and engaged network of professionals who are committed to creating a positive health impact,” Fredenburg observed. “Even as they recognized the challenges, the conversation naturally shifted to potential solutions. That is the ideal focus, and the ultimate intention as we work to create a State Health Improvement Plan.”
Three additional Community Conversation events are being hosted in Aberdeen, Chamberlain, and Sioux Falls throughout February. Those interested are encouraged to register on the State Health Assessment website or contact Stacie Fredenburg at (605) 607-4223.