My past four weeks in Sisseton were as educational as they were fun! Having grown up in Sioux Falls, I’ve never gotten to experience the small community setting that Sisseton has to offer. Every morning I was greeted by the smiling faces of the Coteau des Prairies receptionists, and each provider that I worked with welcomed me into their practice and came ready to teach. As I look back on the past month, I’m grateful for the opportunity to get to know each and every staff member at CDP and for the overwhelmingly positive patient interactions I experienced here.
Brandon and I were invited back to IHS to watch a documentary called Resilience followed by a discussion with the IHS summer externs. The movie documents the correlation between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and disease, homelessness, prison time, and early death. It was an eye-opening and heart-wrenching documentary, and in it they discussed how the negative consequences of toxic stress caused by ACEs can be mitigated by positive human relationships. I would recommend this documentary to every provider, nurse, teacher, social worker and police officer in the US.
For one of our community projects, Brandon and I presented a program called Be MedWise to the Boy Scouts of Sisseton ages 11-17. The program aims to educate adolescents on what a medication is, the differences between prescription and over-the-counter medications, and safe use of OTC medications. We organized games that incorporated these learning goals, and the event was a huge success.
We wrapped up our month with a final presentation for the staff to document our experience and share what we had learned throughout our community projects. In this presentation we reported our findings from our research on how social determinants of health affect Roberts County, and made suggestions about how to remove some of the barriers to health that exist currently. The staff was very receptive to our suggestions, and at the end of our presentation we had an interactive discussion about how resources can be better utilized by collaborating on more projects with IHS. It was great to see the enthusiasm around the table as we discussed how we can better care for the great community of Sisseton.