Community members continue to make themselves heard about priority health issues at Community Conversations hosted by the South Dakota Department of Health. Facilitated by the South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care (SDFMC), these events provide an opportunity to gather feedback on overall community health, areas of concern, and methods being used to improve health.
“Everyone needs healthcare at some point. Conversations to drive healthcare and health equity opportunities impact everyone, including those that I care for and love,” shared Jess Danko, MSHA, RRT, LTC-CIP, program manager for SDFMC and Chamberlain resident. “Being able to help share the perspectives of community members makes the work I do to improve healthcare incredibly important for my community, my family and myself.”
Danko is among a group of SDFMC staff who call Chamberlain home and actively engage in improving health care in the community. Several have or continue to work part-time at the Chamberlain hospital, which serves as the closest emergency healthcare for miles. The lack of after-hours or urgent care and the long distance to a higher-level facility is a barrier Chamberlain shares with others in rural South Dakota.
“During the community conversations new ideas, thoughts, and processes were shared that sparked others to start thinking about how to solve local healthcare challenges,” Helen Eimers, BSN, RN, CCM, program manager at SDFMC explained. “This is where I live and where it is convenient to get my healthcare coverage.”