Oyate News - News For The Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Community

Community Health Education - Audrey German, Program Manager


Last updated 3/16/2021 at 12:26am

PROGRAM NAME: Community Health Education - Audrey German, Program Manager

Function/Mission Statement:

To provide community health education services in a manner that empowers Tribal members to make positive, progressive and sustained personal choices about healthy lifestyles, utilization of available health services, and prevention of chronic diseases.

Staff Update: The CHE Continuity of Operations Plan identifies all staff as essential. Staff worked in the office, Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM – 4:30PM. CHE offices are located at the Woodrow Wilson Keeble Memorial Health Care Center. Staff continue to follow safety protocols implemented by the Sisseton IHS which includes mandatory face masks, social distancing, documenting daily temperature and health screening questions. All staff meetings are conducted using the IHS Skype for Business through the Indian Health Service.


Laci LaFromboise – Wellness Educator

Start Date: February 8, 2021

Email: [email protected]

Direct Phone Line: 742-3738

Located: Woodrow Wilson Keeble Memorial Health Care Center

Melvin Waupoose – Wellness Screener

Start Date: February 23, 2021

Direct Phone Line: 419-2649

Located: Tribal Administration Building

Prevention Education

Prevention activities hosted and organized this month:

1. February is Heart Health Awareness Month For Heart Health Month the program partnered with the Diabetes Program for a tabling event at the

Tribal Administration Building. CHE had a registration table with door prizes, an information booth, a snack booth with fruit smoothies and yogurt parfaits, and a blood pressure booth. The Diabetes Center had a blood pressure booth and offered chair Zumba. 58 people registered for the event with about 45 prizes given out. Each person that got their blood pressure check received a prize. Four (4) referrals were made to the Sisseton Public Health Nurses for a follow-up as a result of this event.

2. Facebook Live “CHE Fast Facts”: During this time of the pandemic CHE uses Facebook Live to share information with the community. February 8, 2021 – Immune Response & the Moderna Vaccine

3. COVID-19 Preparedness & Response Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine – On December 21st the Sisseton IHS received the first shipment of the Moderna Vaccine. This is a two (2) dose vaccine with a booster shot given 28 days after the initial shot. Vaccine appointments are made in phases dependent on when and how much the Sisseton IHS receives. Right now appointments continue to be made for Phase 1b (critical infrastructure employees) and Phase 1c, those over 65 and 18 – 64 with underlying health conditions. Vaccine Progress Phases: Phase 1a/completed – Started: 12/21/20 with Sisseton IHS staff, on-site tribal health staff, Tribal Law Enforcement. Mid-January individuals received their booster shot.

Phase 1b/completed – Started: 1/04/21 Critical infrastructure workers and those over 75 years.

Phase 1b and/or 1c – Started: Mid-February continue critical infrastructure workers and start Phase 1c: Individuals over 65 & 18 – 64 years with health conditions. This was opened up on 2/25/21 to anyone over age 18. The vaccine is another layer of protection. Individuals getting vaccinated are encouraged to continue to adhere to the 3 W’s – Wash your hands, Wear a mask & Watch your distance.

Educational materials developed & disseminated:

1. Flyer – Sisseton IHS Evening Vaccine Clinic. On February 24 & 25 the Sisseton IHS scheduled after hour vaccine clinics from 4:30 – 6:30PM. No appointment was needed.

2. Button – 1,000 buttons were procured for relatives receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at the Sisseton IHS. There is a finding that people wearing a sticker after receiving a vaccination motivates or encourages others to get vaccinated. Every virus is different as to when “herd immunity” is reached. A large portion of the population needs to be vaccinated for herd immunity to occur. When the proportion of the population that is immune to the disease is larger than the threshold proportion then the spread of the disease decreases. So it is important that we encourage everyone that can and wants to get the vaccine calls and gets vaccinated.

3. Cards – 500 business size cards were designed with contact information on who to contact about the COVID-19 vaccine and to schedule a vaccine. These cards will be distributed by the Wellness Screeners, CHR/MCH & at key locations in the community.

CDC-RFA-OT20-2004: Supporting Tribal Public Health Capacity in Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Grant. Community Health Education was awarded CDC funding in the amount of $352,877.00 for the prevention, preparedness and response to

COVID-19. Project period: May 13, 2020 – June 9, 2021. An additional Wellness Screener was hired to assist with screening employees and visitors to the Tribal Administrative building. The third screener started February 23rd. The purpose is to assure everyone that enters the building is well. On January 19th all employees on remote work status returned to work. This has led to more employees coming into the building. With more employees there are more visitors and events happening at the building. There was a total of 17 screening days in February. The total number of employees screened for this period were 2,211 for an average of 130 employees per day. Total visitors screened was 2,194 or an average of 129 visitors per day. TOTAL EMPLOYEES & VISITORS SCREENED: 4,405 for an average of 259 wellness screenings per day.

29 non-contact thermometers were delivered to the following tribal programs: Little Steps Daycare, Head Start, Waciyan Tipi, Warming House, Tribal Elderly Nutrition Program, Youth Center, Dakota Language, Law Enforcement, SWO Behavioral Health & SWO Food Shelf.

CHALLENGES: Procurement of supplies for quarantined & isolated families continues to be a need due to the limited supply of items that vendors have. As mentioned last month it was proposed to revise the budget and reprogram funds for another Wellness Screener and put the remaining funds into supplies for quarantined and isolated families. This was accomplished. Another challenge is not all employees are getting screened or are allowing visitors to enter through their suite doors and not come in the main entrance. It is recommended that all employees get screened every day and that visitors enter through the main entrance. It would also be helpful for Security to assure everyone is properly wearing their face mask and has been screened.

3. Injury Prevention Education:

Child Passenger Safety Distribution Program – 4 child passenger seats distributed with 1 pending & 5 caregivers completing process Any eligible parent or guardian that needs a child passenger safety can call the CHE office. Currently our process is when called and it’s determined the child is eligible for a car seat a Word document is sent containing YouTube links to watch car seat installation videos. These take the place of the education we normally provide in person. The Word document also has a link to a Survey Monkey quiz they are required to complete before scheduling a time to pick up their seat at the Sisseton IHS Security desk. For February 4 car seats were distributed, one ready for pick-up, through 5 applications. In the upcoming months the plan is to secure child passenger training certification for CHE staff. It is recommended that other program staff that work with children also complete this training.

HepC Prevention Education

Staff presented HepC prevention education to the relatives in treatment at the Dakotah Pride Treatment Center on Wed. February 24th. Nine (9) relatives received education.

Health Career Promotion

Every summer the Community Health Education Program hosts a Summer Student Extern Program for students working toward a health care degree. The program starts May 24th and ends July 30th Placement sites include the Sisseton IHS: Administration, Behavioral Health, Lab, Optometry and Physical Therapy and SWO: Dakotah Pride Treatment Center. Deadline to apply is April 2nd.

COVID-19 Coordinator Report- Diana Hawkins

For the month of February I did one CHE Fast Fact on February 8th. The topic was on immune response, specifically to the COVID-19 Moderna Vaccine. I would like to start back on a regular schedule again with the CHE Fast Facts for the month of March. Previously the schedule was Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:30am. I have still be utilizing our Facebook page to share the weekly COVID-19 Newsletter, update county active COVID-19 cases, and share other relevant articles and information related to COVID-19. I have not shared much information outside of the scope of COVID-19, which I would like to start doing soon. I think this will be more possible with Laci a part of the team now.

On February 8 I spoke with Enemy Swim District’s Chairwoman Crystal Owen and supplied her with 200 oximeter information sheets. She obtained oximeters for district members but did not have information on how to use them or the importance of them and reached out the CHE for information. On February 8 I updated the COVID-19 Positive Brochure and ordered 500 from the Dakota Language Institute. These brochures will be distributed through the IHS clinic to COVID-19 positive individuals. They are part of the supply bags. The supply bags that are being put together by CHE and distributed by the COVID-19 clinical staff contain the following: 1 oximeter, 1 digital thermometer, 10 disposable surgical masks, 1 container of 65 Sani wipes, 1 -16oz container of hand sanitizer, rubber gloves, information on how to clean and disinfect, information on the importance and how to use an oximeter, and the COVID-19 Positive Brochure. As of February 24 there have been 15 bags distributed to the COVID-19 clinic. More will be created and distributed as needed. Right now the limitation of our supplies are children’s facemasks and gloves.

I designed a COVID-19 vaccine “business card” to be distributed throughout the community. The two sided card has a number to call WWKMHCC Public Health Nursing with questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and also a number to call to make an appointment to schedule the vaccine. The card also states that it is only intended for IHS beneficiaries. I ordered 500 cards from the Dakota Language Institute on February 22 but I have not yet got a return email stating when they will be ready for pick up. They will likely be ready for distributing by the end of this week.

There have been several COVID-19 Response Meetings for the month of February. Primarily these meetings have been in regard to the new COVID-19 Facility and its operations. There is still little that has been determined but IHS has attended one of these meetings and gave some good insight. We have had meetings on February 1, 8, and 10th. We will also be meeting today February 24, at 1:30pm to discuss it further. I have taken minutes for one of the meetings and will attach those. I will also take minutes at today’s meeting and make it a point to continue doing so in future meetings. I have also met with Courtney and Jim from EMS to discuss the COVID-19 Vaccine roll out and determine which the schedule for employees to receive their vaccines. This meeting was held on February 2.

The Johns Hopkins Center for American Indians has provided us with two radio scripts to combat vaccine hesitancy, one 60 second script and a 30 second script. Six people in the community were reached out to inquiring if they would be open to recording one of the scripts to be played throughout the community. So far there has been no response. I think it will be good to send out a follow up email and I will plan to do that.

There were three COVID-19 newsletters for the month of February. They were released on the following dates: February 1-Issue 13, February 8- Issue 14, and February 22-Issue 15. They included the following topics: Community Numbers, Wellness Screener Updates, COVID-19 Testing, Vaccine Efficacy, Second Dose Experiences, Vaccine Timeline, COVID-19 Transmission, COVID-19 Variants, Vaccinated: What Next, Influenza Decrease, COVID-19 Supplies, COVID-19 Positive and the Vaccine, WWKMHCC Evening Vaccine Clinic, and COVID-19 Vaccine and Pregnancy. The newsletter is distributed through a variety of medians including Facebook, Sota, Tribal and IHS email, and hard copies throughout the community.

I have attended the weekly Great Plains Tribal Leaders Health Board call for February 10 and 17. I was out of the office February 3 so I missed that call. Today, there seems to be a technical difficulty going on with Zoom and there is yet to be anyone on the call. I use a lot of the information and topics from this weekly call to help me develop the COVID-19 Newsletter. I find this call to be interesting and full of relevant information. I also attended the Tribal EOC call on February 12 and provided SWO updates.


Staff planning meetings are held once a week and as needed. Meetings are held virtually via skype business. Skype business is offered through the Sisseton IHS. Four (4) meetings were held: February 8, 10, 17 & 24


The GPTLHB facilitates weekly meetings to share information on the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff attended three meetings this month: February 3, 10 & 17. No meeting 2/23


Laci LaFromboise completed all the required trainings for new employees here at the Sisseton IHS.


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